Complete List of Dragon*Con Voice Actor Events

09.03.2010

I’ve been asked by several individuals attending Dragon*Con if I would list all of the voice actor panels I’m involved with along with other related panels of note. As you will see below, there are so many related events that this was a rather daunting task. I hope my efforts will be useful as a guide to those attending the con.

Please note that the schedule and guests listed below are subject to change. Check The Daily Dragon regularly for up-to-the-minute schedule and guest updates.

Locations for each panel/event are not listed due to the possibility of changes. For those attending Dragon*Con please check your Pocket Program Guide, and every morning when you arrive at the con be sure to pick up a copy of The Daily Dragon from the local D*Con Info booth which contains all updates and changes.

FRIDAY

– 10:00 AM – Snydecast & FRED Entertainment
Featuring Dana Snyder.

– 11:30 AM – Aqua Teen Hunger Force/Squidbillies Panel
Featuring live script reads with a full cast: Jim Fortier, Dave Willis, Carey Means, Daniel Baker (Unknown Hinson), Daniel McDevitt, Dana Snyder, Bobby Ellerbee, Mary Kraft, and Scott Hilley. Autograph session to follow.

– 1:00 PM – Bill Corbett (Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Rifftrax)

– 2:30 PM – Trace Beaulieu (MST3K, Cinematic Titanic)

– 2:30 PM – Meet the Stars of Star Wars
Featuring Clone Wars cast members Ashley Eckstein, Phil LaMarr and Daniel Logan.

– 2:30 PM – Voice Acting for Podcasters
Panel description: “Learn the finer points of voice acting and voice overs to enhance your podcast.” [No industry guests listed for this event.]

– 4:00 PM – Darkstar: The Interactive Movie
Featuring MST3K’s Trace Beaulieu

– 4:00 PM – Voice Actors
Panel moderated by Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton, featuring panelists C. Martin Croker, George Lowe, Billy West, Dana Snyder, and John DiMaggio. (Additional guests possible for this panel.)

– 5:30 PM – The Animation Fan Fun Panel
Hosted by yours truly, Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton, with special industry guests (TBA). Light on commentary and packed with voice actor improv, a wild Old Time Radio script read, and trivia contest with prizes. Sponsored by toonzone.net and Voice Actors in the News.

– 5:30 PM – Akira: The Great Dub Debate – Streamline or Pioneer?
Fan panel discussing the two dubs of the classic anime film.

– 7:00 PM – Atlanta Radio Theatre Company
Live performance by local audio drama troupe.

– 7:00 PM – [adult swim] Comedy
Fan panel with industry guests TBA.

– 8:30 PM – Aqua Teen Hunger Force Fan Panel
Industry guests also possible for this panel.

– 8:30 PM – MST3K and Cinematic Titanic
Historic live performance featuring Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl, Bill Corbett, and J. Weinstein. [This is nearly a 6-hour event.]

– 1:30 AM – WEEP
Live concert featuring Venture Bros‘ Doc Hammer on lead vocals and guitar.

SATURDAY

– 11:30 AM – Voice Actors
Panel moderated by Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton, featuring panelists C. Martin Croker, George Lowe, Billy West, Dana Snyder, John DiMaggio, and Tom Kenny. (Additional guests possible for this panel.)

– 11:30 AM – MST3K
Panel presentation featuring Kevin Murphy, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl, Bill Corbett, and J. Weinstein.

– 1:00 PM – Venture Bros. Guests
Featuring Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick. Autograph session to follow.

– 1:00 PM – FUNimation Entertainment Industry Panel and Q&A
Possible industry guests in attendance.

– 1:00 PM – Star Wars Costume Contest
Emceed by Ashley Eckstein.

– 4:00 PM – Bizarro Saturday Morning
Adult Swim voice actor/animator/artist C. Martin Croker hosts this vintage film showcase. Here’s Clay’s description of the show:
“Bizarro Saturday Morning” is a film series (all 16mm from my own collection) that I’ve shown around the South – but primarily at [Atlanta’s] Historic Plaza Theater – of vintage, rarely seen and usually offbeat cartoons from the 1930s through the 1980s intercut with vintage Toy and TV spots mostly from the 1960s and 70s.”

– 4:00 PM – Meet the Stars of Star Wars
Featuring Phil LaMarr and Daniel Logan.

– 8:30 PM – Quantum Quest
Animated feature film screening with guest Tom Kenny.

– 8:30 PM – FUNimation presents: Anime’s Greatest Hits – The Best Scenes
Possible industry guests in attendance.

– 10:00 PM – Nuts on the Road: The Quiz Show
Improvised game show with contestants Dana Snyder, Doc Hammer, Jackson Publick, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl, Adam Savage, J. Weinstein and Kevin Murphy.

SUNDAY

– 10:00 AM – Tom Servo vs Tom Servo
MST3K event featuring Kevin Murphy vs J. Elvis Weinstein.

– 11:30 AM – Squidbillies Fan Panel
Possible industry guests in attendance.

– 11:30 AM – Gargoyles: The Animated Series
Featuring cast members Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis.

– 1:00 PM – Stories with Uncle George
George Lowe’s popular one-man panel show.

– 1:00 PM – Meet the Stars of Star Wars
Featuring Daniel Logan and Ashley Eckstein.

– 2:30 PM – Voice Acting Workshop
Featuring voice-over professional September Day and anime/video game voice actor Bob Carter.
Panel description: “Ever wanted to break into the voice over industry but just didn’t know where to start? Don’t have thousands to spend flying out to Los Angeles or New York for weekend-long workshops? How about coming to a workshop to learn what it REALLY takes to get started in this awesome industry right here in Atlanta? You don’t need a ton of money to launch your voice over career!”

– 2:30 PM – MST3K: Meet the Mads
Panel featuring Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Mary Jo Pehl, J. Weinstein, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy.

– 4:00 PM – Futurama Cast Panel
Featuring Billy West, John DiMaggio and Phil LaMarr. (Maurice LaMarche unfortunately had to cancel his appearance at the convention.)

– 4:00 PM – Master Shake Tells it Like it Is
Featuring Dana Snyder.

– 5:30 – FUNimation Anime Sneak Peaks and Prizes
Possible industry guests in attendance.

– 5:30 – Meet Chad Vader!
Featuring the star of popular YouTube adventures of Darth Vader’s less fortunate brother, Chad Vader, who has also voiced Vader for LucasArts video games.

– 5:30 PM – Rifftrax Live…sort of
Featuring Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy.

– 7:00 PM – What’s on Dana Snyder’s iPod
Featuring Dana Snyder.

– 7:00 PM – Atlanta Radio Theatre Company
Live peformance.

– 8:30 PM – David Bowie: Loving the Alien
Featuring Doc Hammer.


MONDAY

– 10:00 AM – Clone Wars & Star Wars Cartoons
Featuring Phil LaMarr and Ashley Eckstein.

Other celebrity guests will be in attendance who have voiced characters for animated productions. Please check the Pocket Program Guide for the panels and autograph sessions they are participating in.

Thanks to all the following sites for providing detailed schedules for Dragon*Con:

Anime-Manga Track (by Jake)
http://anime.dragoncon.org/2010/08/22/anime-manga-track-schedule-subject-to-change/

Animation Track (by Jess)
http://dragontoon.moonfruit.com/#/schedule-2009/4534639034

Star Wars Track
http://www.swatdc.com/

MST3KInfo
http://www.mst3kinfo.com/?p=7080

Venture Bros Blog
http://venturebrosblog.com/dragon-con/

[adult swim] Central (by John)
http://www.adultswimcentral.com/dc10.html

[adult swim] Official
http://www.adultswim.com/presents/dragon-con/index.html


NY Daily News Interviews ‘Clone Wars’ Cast

10.09.2009

The New York Daily News has an interview (and photos) with the cast of Cartoon Network’s hit series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, including James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan), Tom Kane (Yoda, Narrator), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka) and Dee Bradley Baker (Clone Troopers).

Elsewhere, The Sacramento Bee has an interview with Anthony Daniels, who continues his legacy as the voice of C3PO for the TV series. Daniels discusses his involvement with Star Wars in Concert which is currently on a nationwide U.S. tour through December 2009.

[Thanks to Kyle Hebert for the heads-up on The Clone Wars interview.]


‘Clone Wars’ Cast Guests @ Walt Disney World

04.16.2009

Between May 22 and June 14, 2009, voice cast members from Star Wars: The Clone Wars will be appearing during “Star Wars Weekends” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios) theme park in Florida.

Special guests include:

James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi)
Matthew Wood (General Grievous, Battle Droids)
Matt Lanter (Anakin Skywalker)
Dave Filoni, Voice Director
Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka), who will be hosting all the “Behind The Force” events featuring the Clone Wars cast and other Star Wars-related personalities.

Visit StarWars.com for more specific details on these events, and Disney’s official Star Wars Weekends website for more general info.

Additionally, Ashley Eckstein and Matt Lanter are interviewed in the April print edition of Star Wars Insider (issue #108). StarWars.com has a preview with the actors discussing the series.

Previous news: 4.15.2009 — ‘Clone Wars’ Ashley Eckstein Interviewed
3.16.2009 — Star Wars: The Clone Wars Cast Interview Round-Up


‘Clone Wars’ Ashley Eckstein Interviewed

04.15.2009

Ashley Eckstein (voice of Star Wars: The Clone Wars Jedi-in-training Ahsoka Tano) discusses with Newsarama.com’s Steve Fritz her love of baseball, details on her ‘Star Wars’ character, working with the voice cast, and what fans can look forward to in Season 2. Here’s an excerpt:

“I’m working with Matt Lanter and James Arnold Taylor. You add in Corey Burton, Dee Bradley [Baker], Tom Kane and some of the others I work with, it’s like taking a master class in voiceover. I’m still striving to have a career like them. I’m very fortunate that in one of my first projects I get to work directly with so many of them. So when I’m with James, I just try to suck in as much knowledge as I can. Then I can use that knowledge to build a career like theirs.

“What you guys don’t get to see is what these guys get to do when they’re not recording. All the voices they do are unbelievable. It’s so much fun. I pinch myself when I think this is my job.”

Continue reading: Clone Wars Weekly – Ahsoka, Ashley … Ashley, Ahsoka.

Additionally, Ashley and Matt Lanter (voice of Anakin Skywalker) are interviewed in the April print edition of Star Wars Insider (issue #108). StarWars.com has a preview with the actors discussing the series.


Updated: ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ Cast Interview Round-Up

03.16.2009

As a prelude to the Friday, March 20th season finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, StarWars.com has posted recent interviews with Terrence “TC” Carson (Mace Windu) and Matthew Wood (General Grievous, Wat Tambor, Battle Droids). Several other cast members have been interviewed this past season at StarWars.com, including cartoon voice actor fan favorites Jim Cummings, Corey Burton, and Phil LaMarr. I’ve included only interview highlights in the block quotes below, so please click on any of the links to read the complete interviews.

+ Terrence Carson on Voicing Mace Windu:

Q: How has working on The Clone Wars been a different experience than some of your other voice over work?

A: When I tape most voice-over it’s usually just me in the booth working one on one with the director, however when we tape for Clone Wars usually we’re all in the room together which makes for a different read. You get to play off and with the other actors in real time which makes the dialogue much more authentic. Plus you get the chance to be in the room with some of the most accomplished and talented voices in the industry, so I always learn something new during the session.

Q: What are some of the benefits of voice acting as opposed to on-camera acting?

A: No wardrobe, no makeup, no sitting for hours while they get the lights right, no repeating a scene for the two-shot or 20th close up! We come in, joke around a little, do the scene and go home. Cha-ching!

+ Say Wat? Matthew Wood Talks Tambor:

Q: How do you prepare yourself to voice Wat Tambor? What’s the biggest challenge doing his voice?

A: I put a garbage can over my head and harass our sound designer, David Acord. The biggest challenge with doing Wat’s voice is trying not to have the vocal process spin out of control and having to grab the dial to rein it in. Ben Burtt and I named it the “Stallone Generator” — Eh Ah Oh Uh! Poor Wat can’t quite keep it together.

+ Jim Cummings: Voicing A Space Pirate:

Q: As a voice actor, what are the specific challenges that differ from being an on-camera actor?

A: It’s great when truly gifted animators appreciate the voice actors, and the voice actors appreciate the animators. I do very little on-camera acting, so within a phrase as a voice actor you have to know how to convey when someone is 95 years old or 19 years old. Are they tired? Are they dying of thirst? All that has to be in your voice. When I was the lead singer of the California Raisins commercials there was a traditional actor there as well and he would do all these body movements without saying anything because he was “acting.” And the only acting the microphone picked up on was silence.

+ C-3PO [Anthony Daniels] Plays A Pivotal Role in ‘Trespass’:

“I’ve never left the character or, rather, he’s never left me,” says Daniels. “I put him in the cupboard for a while, but people call and I take him out again. There was a time many years ago when I thought I should move on to other things, but then I thought that was stupid. I’m very fond of Threepio.”

Daniels says the voiceover performance of Threepio is a welcome respite from the rigors of bringing Threepio to the screen in live-action productions. He finds the animation process offers “quite a lot of freedom.”

“When you’re reading lines by yourself, it’s not always as easy to ad-lib,” Daniels says. “But what Dave (Filoni) and I do is to go over my lines before we start because, sadly, I am the world’s greatest expert. And I say that with a kind of wry fun, because Threepio is kind of like my best friend, and you know your best friend better than anyone.”

+ George Takei: Trekking onto Clone Wars:

Q: It must have been a fun experience as well to meet the rest of the cast and interact with them as they do all the different voices.

A: They’re wonderfully talented people. When you talk to them aside from the recording, you get an idea of the quality of their personalities and their voices. Then when they get behind the mic they’re magically transformed into the characters they’re playing. So you really get into the fun and joy of acting and working with other actors.

Q: Do you feel like you have more freedom voice acting than you do with on-camera acting?

A: Each medium has its own disciplines. I do theater as well and in theater acting you use your voice and your body in a totally different way from motion picture acting where the camera comes up close and you can act more subtlety. With animated voice acting you have a whole different style of approaching that. You amplify and magnify your character a little bit more than you would in a feature film. That’s where the fun of acting comes in.

Q: Is there an acting medium you prefer over the other?

A: I’m an actor and an actor enjoys performing in every medium. Animation allows you to create a character with your voice. On the stage you’re using your body, your voice and your imagination to create a character. With movies you have to work closer to the truth of the emotion. You don’t use the grand gestures or vocal projections. I enjoy each of the disciplines.

+ Phil LaMarr: The Voice of Kit Fisto:

Q: Your work history reads like a who’s-who of geek-culture icons. From Hermes in Futurama, to characters in Metal Gear Solid and The Animatrix, you seem to be involved in every corner of the sci-fi and videogame world. What keeps you coming back?

A: As a performer, there’s never a better time than when you’re working on something you’d want to watch or listen to. I’ve been a comic book, sci-fi, videogame fan since I was a kid. And I’ve been fortunate enough to be acting at a time when all those genres have moved into the mainstream of American entertainment. It’s possible I do a higher percentage of “genre”-oriented voice work than some other V/O people. If so, it might be because I watch all this stuff, and when you “get it” it not only makes it more fun, it makes it easier to do.

Q: What are some challenges that voice actors face that the viewer — who only sees the end product — would never know about?

A: One thing that is a huge difference between videogames and any other kind of performance is the sheer volume of work required. In a TV series, and even feature films, you’re voicing, at most, two hours of entertainment. And that is if you are the lead character and speak in every scene. But a videogame encompasses so many hours of gameplay, some of which the player may never get to. You have to voice all the scenes they might play as well as all of the ways they might kill even the most minor character.

+ Matthew Wood Gives Evil a Voice in The Clone Wars:

“I like playing a villain because it’s just no-holds-barred,” Wood says. “Villains don’t have an inner critic; they just speak their mind and make demands, come hell or high water, with no ramifications.

Wood says he combines a low-pitched, deep voice, lots of yelling and a Bela Lugosi-influenced eastern European flair in his intonations of Grievous. When the voice is filtered through the computer, it is combined with the general’s trademark cough to signify his biomechanical nature. The bottom line for Wood is to capture the core of villainy within Grievous.

Wood also provides the voices of the battle droids in the series, which allow him to explore another end of the villain spectrum; as cannon fodder for the Separatists, the battle droids are used primarily as comic relief.

“I love playing both — and it’s especially fun when they’re together because I get to play that juxtaposition,” Wood says. “Grievous is so exasperated at the thought that he’s stuck with these idiotic, low-rent droids that can just be bowled over by Jedi, no problem.

“On the other hand,” he says, “the battle droids have this weird kind of desperation to them. They really want to succeed, but they just know that it’s not within their programming to do a good job. So there’s this weird, funny kind of sadness to them. It’s great to do both the villainy and the comedy.”

+ Dee Bradley Baker: The Voice of “Rookies”:

For Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Bradley finds himself performing an altogether new concept of “range” — voicing all of the clones and imbuing them with unique identities and slight variations. Bradley says the not-so-simple trick is to make all of the clones sound the same … but different.

“We start with a basic core voice like Rex, then we take into account the personality traits that are built into that character,” Baker says. “Some are younger and rougher around the edges, or older and more cynical. So we attach an adjective or two to each one, then we record each one separately, giving each character a different feel.”

“As you go through the recording sessions, you become familiar with the different feel of each character, so they really become individuals and it’s surprisingly easy to recreate each one once you’ve done it for a while,” Baker says. “When you paint a picture or write a book, each character you create becomes this little polished thing, so when you come back to it there’s this immediate familiarity. To that end, voicing all the clones is not as difficult as it seems.”

“It’s a great acting challenge to give these guys an individual sense of humanity,” Baker says. “One of the outstanding things about this series is that we’re giving the clones a sense of identity that they never had before. I think humanizing the mass of soldiers is really interesting and a wonderful addition to the storytelling.”

+ Jaime King Catches the Fan Spirit:

Q: What do you think of the new Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series?

A: I did a voice for one of the characters coming up in Season 2. In fact, Dave Filoni just texted me a little while ago to see if I’m available to do some more voiceover work. I kept harassing him to let me do some voices. I love the new TV show. The imagery is so beautiful!

Q: Do you like the freedom of voiceover acting as opposed to tradition acting where you constantly have to think about lighting and how you look and standing on the right marks?

A: Absolutely! It’s fun to be in the room with everybody. I’d love to do more voiceover work. I’ve always been doing films so I never realized how much I loved voiceover work until I started doing The Clone Wars. I have a lot of experience doing ADR (additional dialogue recording) which is kind of like voiceover work, but different.

+ Tom Kane: Mastering Yoda:

Q: The announcer voice which opens each episode feels very affected in a 1940s movie serial kind of way. Was this a request of the production or did you come up with that yourself?

A: This came straight from George. That’s the genesis of Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark and was what he grew up on. The western serials and the radio dramas and TV shows that impressed him as a young man is what he wanted to bring to the movies. It’s a voice that I’ve done and do quite often for commercials and stuff — we call it the “March of Time” voice. I think it will work far better in a television series than it may have in the movie — I think people were expecting the standard crawl after the “A long time ago…” and may not have known what to make of it. I think it will be much more accepted as a vehicle for television.

+ James Arnold Taylor: Voicing Jedi Masters

Q: As a voice actor do you feel like you have more freedom with a character than you would if you were on camera?

A: There is more freedom in voiceover work, especially for someone who’s 5’4 and 110 pounds and doesn’t look the part that I’m doing most of the time. Like being the voice of Fred Flintstone, for example, for the first session the director refused to buy that I was the person doing the voice. I have that happen quite a bit where people who haven’t heard me yet think I can’t possibly do the voice, just based on my appearance. But if I do my job right, people won’t hear my voice and think James Arnold Taylor, they’ll think of the character. I love the people I get to work with when I’m voice acting. As opposed to a wretched hive of scum and villainy, you’ll never find a more generous group of humble people. [laughs]

Q: Considering that Ewan McGregor studied the voice patterns and inflections of Sir Alec Guinness in the original film trilogy, how did you prepare to voice a beloved character like Obi-Wan Kenobi?

A: I went back to the roots of the character Obi-Wan as voiced by Sir Alec Guinness and thought to myself, “What would he sound like younger?” Ewan and I have similar tones, so I tried it first as a young man in that voice. There’s a lot that goes on in my head when I match people, which is one of my specialties. I picture the person in my head, I feel my throat change, and go through all of that. So I really kind of pictured this young Obi-Wan and match that with what Ewan was doing for the films. In my iPod I have every line he’s ever said as Obi-Wan. And I keep all of those as my background template. I mainly studied their voice patterns and acting styles, and how they came together and find a happy medium of all three of us. Basically, I’m doing Ewan McGregor doing Alec Guinness doing Obi-Wan Kenobi.

+ Matt Lanter: The Chosen One:

Q: As a voice actor do you feel like you have more freedom than you do with on-camera acting, or is it like comparing oranges and apples?

A: Voice acting still has the core of acting to it. You are still becoming a character, even if you’re not on camera. You have to understand the motivation for saying certain lines and where the character is coming from at that point emotionally. At the same time, it is kind of like apples and oranges. When you do voice-over work, you don’t have the pressure about landing on your mark or having your hair fixed or worry about how your body looks at a certain angle. However, sometimes what’s nice with on-camera acting is that you have your body to work with. Your body language and facial expressions can help express a character’s emotional state. And you don’t have that in voice-over acting, so these things have to come through in your voice.

+ Corey Burton: Voicing Villains

+ Nika Futterman: Voicing Ventress

+ Ashley Eckstein Talks Ahsoka

+ Olivia d’Abo: Voicing Luminara

+ James Marsters Talks Clone Wars

+ Jennifer Hale: Twi’lek Time

+ Chairman Cho [Brian George]: A Very Bad Man

+ Catherine Taber: Voicing Padmé

+ When Ashley Exkstein Met Ahsoka