Stage Fright

One would never guess it, but I actually suffer from stage fright. Any time I have to get up in front of a group of people for any reason, I panic. Over the years, I’ve become really skilled at hiding it, but the simple fact of the matter is I’m utterly terrified.

This is funny for a variety of reasons.

The first is that I am a teacher. Most of my teaching career has been spent in front of anywhere from three to over 100 people, talking about various topics. It kind of goes with the territory, and teaching is my passion. I just can’t be anything else. (A number of people will vouch for this.)

The second is that I’ve spent a lot of time in various performing arts. In fact, I’ve spent been a performing artist twice as long as I have been teaching. I’ve been everything from ensemble to soloist in different performing media, and I have monstrous stage fright. As an ensemble memeber, it wasn’t so bad. I was always either tall or average for my group, so I rarely had to be in front. I’ll never forget, though, being a character actor for Ballet Lubbock, and being informed that the first thing anyone would see on the stage would be me. It was the most terrifying thirty-two counts of my dancing career.

I hate being the center of attention. I really do. As a child, I used to seek out the spotlight. When I became older and earned a spot in it, it was the last thing I wanted. All those eyes on me. Really, it’s just a scary, scary feeling for me.

I’m much happier being a wallflower who escapes notice.

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Why Would You Remove Yourself From Fans Over Such an Odd Thing?

Over the weekend, I read somewhere that one of my favorite voice actors, who also happens to be one of my favorite singers, no longer attends conventions because he’s afraid he won’t be taken seriously as both a voice actor and a singer/songwriter. As far as I can tell, he hasn’t toured recently, either, so I’m wondering if perhaps I misread the statement, or perhaps there’s something more to the story.

I know I’ve gushed over the guy periodically (nowhere near as much as one of his contemporaries, who just amuses me no end), but I happen to think Eric Stuart is a brilliant performer. He’s a talented singer, a talented voice actor, and his lyrics are just fabulous. I’ll leave the voice directing out, given that I spent an entire season of Yu-Gi-Ohwith pillows stuffed in my ears over two characters and that I spent part of Saturday hiding under my bed watching Sigma Six.

Somehow, one wonders how Mr. Stuart came to this decision that he needs to hole up rather than be the gregarious person he’s often come across as. For someone so talented…it really does baffle. I guess there goes my hope of ever getting to meet him or see him in concert or anything. I’m not sure I’m okay with that, but in the end it really is his decision.

Mr. Stuart, wherever you are, please know there are people who think you are an asset to both the music community and the voice acting community…

Knowing Too Much is Sometimes a Bad Thing

I am an animation junkie. This much is already known.

I’ve become a 4Kids junkie. Again, no surprise there.

It probably comes as no surprise then that I tend to laugh a lot while watching any anime with 4Kids actors in it, even when the property in question isn’t a 4Kids piece. I’ve come to realize this is greatly because the 4Kids property I’ve spent the most time with is Yu-Gi-Oh. Honestly, once you’ve sat through a few Yu-Gi-Oh episodes, many anime just become funny.

I realized this last night as I sat here watching Yami no Matsuei. Any time I have to sit and listen to a certain actor play two characters who have to talk to each other, I die in a fit of giggles. Such is the case with One Piece. Such is the case with Yami no Matsuei. Heh.

Other gems have included watching most interactions between Michaelangelo, Raphael, and/or Donatello on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There are some scenes in Yami no Matsuei where Watari and Tsuzuki are far more entertaining than they would normally be. Brock and Max have also been a source of great amusement.

It’s not always an interaction thing, though. I actually started learning about torrents over this one! I even have two screencaps to demonstrate! I like Yu-Gi-Oh. My favorite character is Seto Kaiba. I love Sigma Six. I absolutely adore Hi-Tech. Due to really bad weather, I was actually home Saturday morning, so I got to see Sigma Six. The Joes were supposed to be on a night out, and they were all in civies. There was one I didn’t recognize out of his uniform. I blame the goggles and headset. It wasn’t until they showed him from head to toe that I realized I was staring at Hi-Tech…in a white suit with a light blue tie. He spoke a minute later, confirming my suspicions, but I was already in pain form laughing so hard. My question is: did that suit get recolored, because I’m more than willing to bet that when it was drawn, the artist didn’t know that the voice actor who handles the dub for Seto Kaiba would also be handling the dub for Hi-Tech. Kaiba sported a white suit with a light blue tie for much of Yu-Gi-Oh’s sixth season. The only difference in the suits is that Kaiba’s shirt is light blue, and Hi-Tech’s is white.

Far, far too amusing!

I know…I need a life…Heh.

He’s Not Allowed to Be Charming…

I’m sitting here listening to a podcast panel interview with Dan Green. (This interview can now be found here.) This may have been a mistake.

He’s utterly charming, and isn’t afraid to make corny statements and to say, “Uh…,” every third word.

Absolutely adorable. Completely gracious.

Still can’t decide whether I prefer Green or Stuart. I’m actually starting to take a look at Wayne Grayson and Marc Thompson, just to get out of trying to make that decision. (I swear, I’m not anti the female cast of 4Kids. None of them really grab my attention and hold it like so many of the guys do. At the moment, I think it’d be safe to say the only actresses I completely enjoy are Liza Jacqueline and Priscilla Everett. I’d love to add Rachael Lillis to that list, but I have a very limited experience with her work.)

The questions are hilarious, and Green was an absolute riot answering them. Very personable, even when faced with questions on Yu-Gi-Oh slash. Something tells me a conversation with this guy would leave one in gales of laughter and feeling very relaxed.

I’d also like to point out that Green’s views on Seto Kaiba are similar to mine. It’s not just me!

Listening to this makes me wonder. I’ve heard rumors that Green works to make himself accessible to fans. I’m starting to wonder if that isn’t actually the truth. Kind of cool, at any rate.

Podcast over now. Link to the November post containing the podcast.

Living Out a Kind of Daydream

Today, I kind of got to enjoy a fantasy. I got to work on a storyboard, be an ADR director, be an ADR voice actress, and be a foley artist. I like storyboarding. It’s fun! I totally aced the ADR director station! I totally screwed up the ADR voice work because I read half the lines at a normal pacing, when the scene called for a funky pacing. I should have re-tried it, but it was still fun! Then, I learned what a foley artist is. A foley artist is the person (normally a voice actor) who controls the sound effects. So, I got to do the sound effects for a scene. Definitely need some serious work in that department!

Where did I get to live out this little dream? The Oregon Museum of Science and Industryhas a temporary exhibition on animation sponsored by Cartoon Network. If you are anywhere near the Portland area, I highly recommend the exhibition. It was a blast!

Of course, I come home and pop in my newly recorded Yu-Gi-Oh GX and Descendants of Darkness episodes to watch!

Oh, My…I Actually Can Sing!

I’ve spent the better part of the afternoon making voice files. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do since I started that series on why voice actors amuse me. Originally, I had intended to include some voice files in one of those posts to make my point about the talent these people must possess (even if I now know that my favorite production house does not, in fact, have their actors read in isolation. Good thing, too. I’d have thrown a fit if anyone but Wayne Grayson played Michaelangelo in the new TMNT show!) This turns out to be a blessing in disguise as it turns out that my free, but barely used microphone is dying. I’ll need to find a new one if I intend to make any more voice files.

What actually led to today’s impromptu recording session was a friend’s posting of this cartoon. I read it out loud repeatedly with no troubles. The more I read it, the more I thought I wanted it laid down because it is just a fun and chalenging line to say. So, I dragged out my microphone and my headphones and recorded it. That’s when I discovered the microphone was scratchy. It’s all right. I’m not doing anything professional, semi-professional, or pseudo-professional, so I don’t necessarily have to care.

This afternoon, I tried reading a couple of passages a couple of times for comparison. One of the most important things I learned is that I release a lot of air when saying “thuh”, “puh”, and “wuh”. I’ll have to work on those. I also tried a few songs, a couple of them singing along with the song in question (by my favorite voice actor no less). I’ve never really thought much of my singing, despite my middle/high school choir teacher, despite being put in the adult choir at church when I was twelve, despite getting some really fabulous scores on my singing in various competitions. Today, I was listening to myself, something I wouldn’t do normally, but I wanted to see how bad the scratching was. It turns out that when I’m not giggling, even if my throat is full of phlegm, I sing fairly well. I was surprised. (I could hardly recognize my voice, but that’s pretty standard when my voice gets recorded.)

I have considered a time or two since moving to Seattle going to audition for a local choir. I miss performing. I’d rather dance than sing, but my ankle pretty much says I have to sing if I want to perform.

Why Watching Spin-Offs is Fun!

I’d heard a vague rumor last night about a duelist in Yu-Gi-Oh GX named “Wheeler”.

What my sources failed to mention is the Wheeler is a cybernetic duelist monkey…and Lisa Ortiz’s character is standing right there.

My favorite bit about Yu-Gi-Oh’s Enter the Shadow Realm season was Tristan Taylor as a monkey, especially if Serenity Wheeler (played by Lisa Ortiz) was carrying him! Of course, Enter the Shadow Realm was also when Joey Wheeler (Serenity’s big brother) really kind of stepped up his own dueling game.

I nearly dropped my laptop as I saw the monkey.

This comes right on the heels of running into the Paradox Brothers not five hours after telling one of my students how I had blogged on their appearance in Yu-Gi-Oh. Self-referencing much?

I’ve never wanted the Yu-Gi-Oh GX cast list as much as I want it right now!

All Right, I May Just Have to Be a 4Kids Fan Girl

I’ve been trying to find out who the new person handling the role of Mokuba Kaiba on Yu-Gi-Oh, and found some names on the list I don’t recognize. One of these was Ed Paul (who has actually been in the list for a while. I just failed to notice him.).

Today, I was trying to figure out a voice on Pokemon (I thought it was Marc Thompson, but I’m really not sure.) Combing through the list of frequent guest actors, I found Ted Lewis (among other things, Bakura from Yu-Gi-Oh. In his blurb, it said he also runs around as Ed Paul. Having seen an episode of Enter the Shadow Realm since learning of Mr. Paul’s existence, I know that Lewis and Paul were both running around Yu-Gi-Oh at the same time.

Good thing I have a good sense of humor, eh?

I swear, I’m trying to reduce the whole voice actor thing from “obsession” to “interest” at the moment. It’ll be easier as we draw closer to NaNoWriMo, when I can obsess over other fun things!.

Why Watching Anime Can Be Fun

I’m sitting here watching Descendants of Darkness. It’s really darker than what I’d normally watch, but it was there.

One of the voices sounded familiar. I pulled up the IMDB page for it. About two seconds later as my eyes landed on the English cast list, I knew I was in trouble. The first name in the list is David Brimmer, who has done work with 4Kids. I held my breath as I discovered that the overly familiar voice that I was enjoying belonged to Dan Green.

For as much as I seem to enjoy discovering the man’s talented range, I think I could without constantly having this feeling I’ve heard a voice before, only to discover it’s somehow attached to Mr. Green.

(Apparently, Eric Stuart is also somewhere in this show. I’m seriously considering watching the next episode to see if I can find him.)

Yes, one could at this point fairly accuse me of being a fan of Dan Green. Possibly even a bit obsessed, but it’s really too early to tell…

Why Voice Actors Are Just Plain Neat

I keep saying I’m going to explain my respect for voice actors, and I keep dodging it. I figure that I really ought to just get it over with.

For background: Why I still watch cartoons

Part of why I held off so long on this was that I wanted to try to incorporate some examples, but have finally decided that I hate the sound of my own voice too much. You’ll just have to visualize or choose a specific voice actor and watch several samples of their work to see what I mean at that point.

Anyway…I’m stalling again. Voice actors!

Voice actors deserve some serious respect because they’re often working to create a brilliant performance in the dark. They often work by themselves, with no way to hear the work done by their fellow cast members, and sometimes with very little visual cluing.

They go into a sound booth and record their lines. The voice director can help them out, but really it’s entirely up to the actor himself (or herself) to convey their character’s personality and emotions. (And isn’t it fortunate for a certain cartoon that their current voice director is a long-standing member of the cast himself?) The voice actor has no gestures or facial expressions to help get their character across.

Similarly, the voice actor may or may not have others to play off of, a strength of stage and screen acting. Where the cast of a television show or movie can bring a scene to life through their deliberate interactions, a voice cast isn’t nearly so lucky. They have to rely on each other to play their roles consistently. (If you ever want a good example of a voice cast with a good feel for each other’s abilities, I highly suggest finding something with a decent chunk of the 4kids core group in it. I’ve apparently enjoyed their interplay for longer than I ever thought!)

Stage and screen actors can also see what’s going on in front of them and react appropriately. Voice actors can only hope they’ll be able to watch the animation as they record their lines. For those dubbing anime, it’s much morely that they’ll have the animation. For those part of an original production, they might have full animation. Disney has been famous in the past for giving their voice actors nothing or bare bones sketches, incorporating the actors’ facial expressions and actions while reading into the character himself. (Disney has also had a bad habit of having their voice actors do many of their character’s stunts just so the animators would have something to work from. Memories of pictures of Kathryn Beaumont and Sherie Lynn Stoner come to mind.)

When you work in that kind of a somewhat unpredictable vacuum, it really is amazing when you get a great cartoon or animated movie!