Happy Blogiversary to Us!

11.17.2010

November 16th, 2010 marks the 11th year since I first began publishing under the title Voice Actors in the News.

Over the course of a decade [you can read about the blog’s history here], it has progressed from a periodic newsletter focused on voice actors in animation to a blog covering entertainment news about voice actors in all forms of media.

It also used to be a newsletter that I self-published via The Voice Actors Appreciation Society, which even though the group had a few hundred members I didn’t even know if anyone was reading it since I rarely ever got any feedback on it. It was just something I did as a hobby.

After upgrading to a blog format in March 2009, I discovered that not only were others reading it, but within the few first months I was averaging around 100 readers per day.

And after seeing my readership triple in the first year, it became very clear to me that this was not a task I could continue to attempt on my own. I began reaching out to others in the fandom to assist as staff contributors and as of this posting we’re up to a staff of eight.

And just in this month of November, we have reached four more milestones with the blog:

– 150,000 blog views.
– 800 followers on Facebook.
– 500 followers on Twitter.
– And this wasn’t planned but it’s certainly appropriate that this marks my own 600th post on the blog since March 2009.

A very special thanks to my friends Brian and Harley at toonzone.net for being the first to give me a platform to publish my newsletter and for the continued years of friendship and support for my efforts.

Also special thanks to my longtime friends and fellow voice actor fans Kristy (Voicechasers.com), Doreen (Sites By Doreen), and Hillary (CultofCummings.com) — seeing their devotion to bring recognition to voice actors motivated me to spend the last 11 years writing about them.

And I attribute the incredible boost in blog traffic in 2010 to the addition of our staff contributors, whom I am most grateful that they have joined in this team effort: Doreen, Jeff, Mark, Kyle, Ashley, Sonia and Rosemary.

I’m very excited about some of the upcoming additions and expanded coverage for the blog, the first of which we will announce in the first quarter of 2011.

Thanks to all our readers out there — both the professional and fan community — for their support over the last 11 years. We will strive to continue and expand our efforts to serve the fandom and bring recognition to and appreciation for the work of voice actors.

Also thanks to my wife Joy being supportive of my non-profit hobby. She’s been very patient to wait for her chance to use the computer in little windows between the time I spend in service to the fandom online, and has tolerated my spending time blogging when I could have been doing other (and perhaps more important) things, and I love her for it.

~Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News


Cast Announced for Funimation Dub of Summer Wars

10.20.2010

Funimation announced via their newsletter and blog that they have cast all the characters for their upcoming dub of Madhouse’s award-winning movie, Summer Wars. The cast includes Brina Palencia, J. Michael Tatum, and Maxey Whitehead, as well as over a dozen other main and supporting cast members. For full cast listing and story summary, check the official blog post at the link below:

http://blog.funimation.com/2010/09/summer-wars-has-people-talking/

– Mark Allen, Jr.
Contributor: Voice Actors in the News


Sesame Street’s Joey Mazzarino Creates an Anthem

10.19.2010

This article was originally published 10.19.2010 and has since been updated with new content. Please scroll down for the most recent additions.

ABC World News has a story on a Sesame Street video promoting self-esteem and self-acceptance which has gone viral since its October 4th release. The video features an unnamed “Anything Muppet” character singing “I Love My Hair,” which is being hailed as “an anthem for black women.”

Joey Mazzarino photo courtesy SesameStreet.org

Sesame Street head writer Joey Mazzarino (who also performs recurring characters Papa Bear, Murray Monster, Stinky the Stinkweed, and Elephant) says he was inspired by his adopted daughter Segi to write the song:

“She’s like my little muse,” Mazzarino said.

As Mazzarino and his wife watched their daughter grow, he noticed a change when she started playing with Barbies. Segi started saying negative things about herself and her own hair.

“She was going through this phase where she really wanted like the long, blonde hair. … She would look at Barbies and really want the hair.”

Mazzarino [who also helped to design the Muppet character] decided to help his daughter and other young girls appreciate their beauty.

“I just want kids to know their hair is beautiful,” Mazzarino said. “I just hope little kids, little girls see this and really feel positive and great about themselves.”

ABC’s video interview with Mazzarino also reveals that Kevin Clash — performer for Elmo as well as a writer and producer for the show — had a hand in crafting the performance:

Chauncey Johnson photo courtesy stagedoordesigns.com

The singing voice belongs to Broadway star Chantylla “Chauncey” Johnson (The Color Purple, The Lion King).

Mazzarino adds that he has been “amazed” and “overwhelmed” by the public response to the video. But the most important reaction came from his daughter, who was “jumping up and down and dancing” when she saw it. “She really loved it,” says Mazzarino, “And she loves her hair now.”

The full video is available on SesameStreet.org, or you can watch it below via Sesame Street’s official Youtube channel:

Update: 10.19.2010, 7:00 PMThe Huffington Post has a related interview with Mazzarino. Here’s an excerpt:

Q: Where did the concept of the “I Love My Hair” sketch come from?

Mazzarino: I have a five year old and she’s African American. My wife and I are both white. When she was four we were going through stuff with her hair where she wanted have hair that was straight. I tried to say to her, “Your hair’s great. It’s so beautiful and you can do so many things with it.” I thought it was a problem unique to us because we were white parents and she saw us everyday. Then Chris Rock’s movie Good Hair came out and I realized it’s not just about being raised by white parents. It’s an issue for a lot of little girls.

Q: Are your surprised by the reactions of this sketch on the internet?

Mazzarino: I got a call from a state senator’s office the other day and the woman I spoke to was one of his deputy’s secretaries. She said, “I’m an older African American woman and I started to cry when I saw it.” You know you write this stuff in a dark room by yourself. I just wrote it hoping my kid would be happy with who she was. The fact that it touched not only kids but adults makes me feel great.

Q: Do you think people will be surprised that you’re white and wrote this song?

Mazzarino: I hope not because I really want the song to be about the message and not me. If they do, I hope it doesn’t affect their feelings of the song because it really comes from a place of love for my daughter.

Update: 10.20.2010 — Via The Muppet Mindset, CNN.com has posted a video interview with Mazzarino.

Update: 10.22.2010New York Magazine’s Vulture blog has an interview with Mazzarino discussing the popularity of Sesame Street’s videos, his “I Love My Hair” song, and the controversy over Katy Perry’s duet with Elmo.

Elsewhere, Mazzarino discusses the song on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Mazzarino also tells The Associated Press (via USAToday.com), “I really want to sit down with the writers and figure out what we can do with [the ‘Anything Muppet’ character] and give her a name, and really expand her out.”

Additional sources: Muppet Wiki; This Black Sistas Page; Stylist.com; StageDoorDesigns.com

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News


Exclusive: BlizzCon 2010 Voice Actor Guests

10.19.2010

Blizzard Entertainment has surprisingly not announced any of their voice actor guests scheduled to appear at BlizzCon 2010 on October 22-23 in Anaheim, CA.

Thankfully, an inside source has provided Voice Actors in the News with an exclusive, complete list of Blizzard’s voiceover talents appearing at this annual gaming event:

– From Diablo 3:
Michael Gough, voice of Deckard Cain

– From Starcraft 2:
Robert Clotworthy, voice of Jim Raynor
James Harper, Acrturus Mengsk
Neil Kaplan, Tychus Findlay
Josh Keaton, Valerian Mengsk
Dave Fennoy, Gabriel Tosh
Ali Hillis, Ariel Hanson
Julianne Buescher, Adjutant

– From World of WarCraft:
Michael McConnohie, voice of the Lich King
Patrick Seitz, Arthas
Dino Andrade, Mekkatorque
Carlos Larkin, Brann Bronzebeard
Ed Trotta, Malfurion Stormrage

We’ve also been informed that an autograph session will take place Saturday from 1-2pm.

The official BlizzCon 2010 schedule does include a “Blizzard Sound” panel on Saturday at 4:30pm, but no panelists are mentioned by name. Here’s the panel description:

It’s all ears on Blizzard Entertainment sound and music! Join us for a discussion on how topnotch voice acting, dramatic orchestral scores, and striking sound effects are used to make Blizzard’s games even more epic.

Jay Mohr (who has voiced characters for video games and animated productions) is serving as Master of Ceremonies, and rockers Tenacious D (Jack Black and Kyle Gass) will also be performing for BlizzCon’s closing ceremonies.

We hope to provide photos, video and fan reports following the event.

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News


‘Voice Actors in the News’ is Giving Away Free Stuff!

10.19.2010

To commemorate the 11th anniversary of Voice Actors in the News, we’re going to be doing weekly prize giveaways starting in November. But you must be following the blog on Facebook and/or Twitter to win:

http://www.facebook.com/voiceactorsnews

http://twitter.com/voiceactorsnews

http://twitter.com/voiceroy

We will also have several announcements regarding the blog in November — preparations are being made for them to go live starting on 11/11/10.

Update: 11.09.2010 — Due to some technical issues related to the big announcement we had planned for the blog starting 11.11.10, we’re having to delay the release date. We’re now targeting Thanksgiving weekend for the big news. The prize giveaways will begin immediately following the upcoming announcement.

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News


From Twitter 09-24-2010

09.25.2010

Tweets copied by twittinesis.com


Put A Little Looney In Your GPS

09.24.2010

This makes the fourth in our series covering official celebrity/character voices for TomTom navigational devices… Homer Simpson, Darth Vader, Yoda and now… Looney Tunes!

Joe Alaskey at the premiere of 'Looney Tunes: Back in Action' (11/09/2003). Photo credit: exposay.com / Lee Roth / RothStock

First offered are Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam, performed by Joe Alaskey (Tiny Toon Adventures, Duck Dodgers).

Here’s the official press release, courtesy of BusinessWire.com:

For Immediate Release

Warner Bros. Looney Tunes™ characters bring their animated antics to TomTom!

~ The classic voices of Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck, Sylvester and Pepé Le Pew star on TomTom devices ~

CONCORD, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–TomTom draws on the rich heritage of Looney Tunes’ animated superstars! In association with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and VoiceSkins.com, TomTom brings the classic Looney Tunes voices to TomTom navigation devices for the very first time.

“Say doc, after 600 yards stay in the right lane. What’s this rabbit’s foot doin’ in the glove box?”

Beginning today with Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam, the launch of Warner Bros.’ dazzling galaxy of classic cartoon greats will continue throughout the Autumn of 2010 – with Daffy Duck and Sylvester launching in October, and Pepé Le Pew coming to TomTom device screens in November.

Bugs Bunny, the most popular cartoon character ever, guides you in his trademark laconic way with wise-cracks aplenty. Just make sure you’ve got enough carrots to keep your hungry co-pilot focused on the navigation! As well as the sounds of much carrot munching, the Bugs Bunny voice also features the iconic Looney Tunes theme, entertaining sound effects and original incidental music overlaid on the navigation commands to provide that iconic Looney Tunes shorts feel. Bugs makes driving more fun with lines such as, “Say doc, after 600 yards stay in the right lane. What’s this rabbit’s foot doin’ in the glove box?”

[Video demo of TomTom Bugs Bunny in action]

Yosemite Sam, the greatest, the toughest, rip-roarin’-est, hombre that ever packed a six-shooter and a map navigates with characteristic growls and threats like: “Sharp left, ya humpbacked muley. Then go straight on. This ve-hicle ain’t big enough for the two of us!”

“We are excited to launch these Looney Tunes voices exclusively for TomTom devices. By offering these fun personalities, our drivers will not only enjoy the best directions, but they will also have fun along the way,” said Tom Murray, senior vice president market development at TomTom, Inc. “We hope that drivers and passengers of all ages can enjoy the rich heritage of these classic voices during their everyday journeys.”

“TomTom is a global leader in personal navigation and what better way to travel than with a little help from some of the world’s most beloved characters,” said Karen McTier, executive vice president, domestic licensing and worldwide marketing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “The Looney Tunes will make any journey more entertaining with their irreverence and fun-loving nature.”

TomTom customers will also be able to download free of charge various official warning alert sounds voiced by Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam, along with free start up screen wallpapers.

To celebrate the release of the voices, TomTom is launching a hilarious viral video treat featuring the Looney Tunes classic characters, and their agent, “negotiating” a deal to bring their voices to TomTom.

All Looney Tunes voices will be available in English. The Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam voices are available for download immediately for $12.95.

To hear clips of the voices – and to find out more about them – visit www.tomtom.com/looneytunes

All Looney Tunes voices are performed by Emmy award-winning voice actor, Joe Alaskey.

About Warner Bros. Consumer Products

Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.

About TomTom N.V.

TomTom N.V. (AEX: TOM2) is the world’s leading provider of location and navigation solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands it employs over 3000 employees worldwide. More than 40 million people daily use its solutions, be it in the form of dedicated portable navigation devices (PNDs), in- dash car systems or tracking and tracing solutions for fleet management. In addition, hundreds of millions of people use TomTom’s digital maps on the internet or mobile phone.

In 2009, TomTom reported €1.5 billion in revenues and a €340 million net cash flow from operating activities. More information about TomTom can be found on www.TomTom.com.

About VoiceSkins.com & Locutio Voice Technologies

Founded in 2004, Locutio Voice Technologies is the world’s foremost developer of real celebrity and premium branded voice content for in-car GPS. Working with vocal greats like Lucas Film/Star Wars, Fox/Simpsons, Warner Bros./Looney Tunes and Snoop Dogg, Locutio’s VoiceSkins make every journey a truly fun event, delivering real in-car infotainment!

VoiceSkins.com currently offers the original Homer Simpson voice for sale, recorded by Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Snoop Dogg, the official Star Wars voices and now the classic Looney Tunes characters. More high-profile branded celebrity voice content is set to be launched throughout Q4 2010. See www.VoiceSkins.com (and their official YouTube Channel) and www.Locutio.co.uk for further details.

LOONEY TUNES and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

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And here are some bonus videos to showcase Joe Alaskey’s tremendous talent as an impressionist:

– Joe Alaskey on The David Letterman Show, circa 1987 (this video currently has over 908 thousand views on YouTube):

– Joe Alaskey performing a series of impressions on Comedy Tonight (circa 1985-ish):

– Local FOX affiliate interviews Joe in a promo for the very short-lived Tiny Toons spinoff The Plucky Duck Show (circa 1992):

– Joe Alaskey performs as Daffy, Marvin, Yosemite Sam and Bugs with the West Coast Symphony in Santa Barbara, CA (Feb 2004):

– Joe Alaskey interview and street chat with fans (Oct. 2008):.

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News