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As promised, here is my summary of the events that happened over the recent Oz Comic Con weekend. It is 2:00am in the morning and I am just buzzing on Mother and god knows what else so no need to sleep for me just yet. I am currently “con fatigued” which is the feeling I get when I attempt to do a comic book convention in one weekend. For those who have read my previous blogs before, you know that I have attended Armageddon Expo for the last two years in which I go into the best detail as possible for all the voice actors I meet as well as some of the other celebrities I meet and the panels I attend. Here is my usual schedule for a convention as follows after having some experience attending conventions (because I can never do them in one day):
* Meet every voice actor I can and collect an autograph
* Get photographs (I find photographs to be expensive after a while and a hassle to organise but I made exceptions back in 2011 with Steven Blum, Kyle Hebert, Kevin Conroy and Highlander’s Adrian Paul).
* Attend all voice over related panels as best as possible
* Take a heap of cosplay photos
* Attend any additional panels I have time for
* Look at all the things I can never seem to afford on the day
So I arrived in Melbourne on Friday because I wanted to book a hotel that convineantly happened to be very close to the venue in Fitzroy and had a couple of days just to settle in and enjoy the convention on Saturday without having to carry around a lot of things and then have something to carry any additional items on Sunday and go home straight afterwards. Although, this took a different twist but more about that later. So I got up at about 7am and walked about 3-5 minutes to the Royal Exhibition Building. The line was disorganised and configured in a giant snake. Cold and bored of standing around, I perused the potential cosplay for the day. I have to say, I did find some impressive designs this year. After having to wait, we finally arrived inside the somewhat warm venue. Upon entering, I had a quick look around all the stands briefly to get a feel for where everything was. I went outside to Stage 1 at 9.30pm to catch a showing of the Robot Chicken DC Universe Special. I had planned on getting this on Blu-Ray later on and I have to say, I had a good laugh to kick off the morning. Straight after it was the first panel I wanted to attend for the day which always seems to be around 10am, the animation panel. This year was a great line up featuring Rob Paulsen (the summary of my entire childhood of watching cartoons in one man), Bill Farmer, Erin Fitzgerald, Debi Derryberry and Rodger Bumpass. Despite being somewhat tired and poor mixing at the sound desk (microphone feedback was quite a pain during the week), I managed to ask Rob Paulsen a question about whether he would sing “The Ballad of Magellan” next time he did a live music performance with Randy Rogel. Turns out the song was actually written by Paul Rugg but he thanked me for remembering the song. Each voice actor had unique ideas and stories about what they brought to the table as voice actors and as always, were always so kind and humble to their fans.
Afterwards, I was really impressed when Rob Paulsen before he signed any autographs went around to shake hands with his fans waiting in line including mine. This was certainly a class act. For the day because of some mix up in creating lines, I only managed to get Rob Paulsen’s and Bill Farmer’s autograph. I shook the hand of the man who pretty much made up my entire childhood cartoon viewing, Rob Paulsen (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pinky and the Brain, Animaniacs, Biker Mice from Mars, Mighty Max, The Mask and countless others). I thanked him from this and his response was truly thankful and humble. I talked to him about how he mentioned me on his podcast and how much it made me happy and again, he went on to say how satisfying it was to interact with his fans and do what he does best (since I am not always one to remember quotes). I started to talk to Bill Farmer afterwards and let him know I was looking to his masterclass panel with Rob Paulsen for Saturday. As the day progressed, I began to starve. The food queues were gigantic. I am a guy who generally likes to keep himself fit and am particular about my fitness due to my martial arts training so when I don’t get six small meals a day, it kind of drives me nuts. I had to improvise in this sense. I did get to eat in the end so all good.
While I had some spare time before the next panel, I went around taking amazing cosplay photos because this is probably one of the most interesting parts of the convention experience and I love to see how much detail some people take to get it just right. One of those cosplayers just happened to be someone I recognised from my Tumblr feed who was sporting an awesome April O’ Niel cosplay. I was actually surprised that there was a lack of Naruto cosplay this time around (I guess it isn’t the flavour of the con month like it used to be) but impressed with seeing more Game of Thrones cosplay among others (a lot of Khaleesi’s going around). Personally but this is just me, I’d like to see some tokusatsu cosplay only because it is imaginative, challenging and requires some great attention to detail due to the process of suitmation. If I had the body and the creative willpower, I’d make this come true.
The next panel I attended was for an Australian sci-fi movie called “Crawlspace”. I went to this panel because I found out that one of the actor’s, Eddie Baroo, just happened to be there (he was my acting coach for a while but happens to be a very awesome guy to hang out with). It was directed by Justin Dix, a special effects artist who is influenced by 80s movies such as John Carpenter’s “The Thing” and finds a perfect balance between digital and practical special effects. I just happend to purchase an exclusive pass to a film premiere for Sunday at the Astor Theatre.
To finish off Saturday, I made it to Cary Elwes’ panel. He was very entertaining talking about Robin Hood: Men in Tights and The Princess Bride among his other works. I wanted to know if he sung the duet scene with Maid Marian and whether he would sing “The Night Is Young” live to the audience. This got a bit of a laugh but he said no to both of these things. Turns out he isn’t a very good singer but I’ll give him credit for his honesty after sort of putting him on the spot like that. Just before I left the convention, I got the chance to try the Oculus Rift developer kit since I happened to be a backer back when it was crowd sourcing funds. I have to say, after wearing it, it was everything I imagined this VR headset to be and all the amazing talk is true. It has accurate head tracking and truly immerses yourself with very low latency and clear visual detail. Though after about 10 minutes after having tried this new sensation of virtual reality, it gave me motion sickness. Exhausted, I returned to my hotel room afterwards to prepare for Day 2.
Once again, I woke up around 7am and arrived roughly the same time to the venue. The line was much smaller this time around and because I still had my wristband from yesterday, we were moved to the other side of the building which only acted as a wind block from the chilly winds. After going inside after about 7 minutes after we were supposed to go in, I got warmed up, returned to Stage 1 to await the arrival of actress Tia Carrere. As a total Wayne’s World fan, I asked her whether she had any stories to share about working with such amazing actors. Her insights about the writing process were intriguing since the show went through so many rewrites. The lack of Wayne’s World trivia made my head spin because I never knew how many fans there were for Relic Hunter but it was one of her major works. I guess I am just biased. She sung a beautiful rendition of a Hawaiin song she sang on Lilo and Stitch which got a really nice round of applause. This woman still looks amazing by the way.
Afterwards, my excellent sense of timing allowed me to collect my last remaining autographs from Debi Derryberry, Erin Fitzgerald and Rodger Bumpass. Got to hear Professor Membrane from Invader Zim from Rodger, Erin Fitzgerald let me know that Ranma 1/2 was her first Anime job and Debi Derryberry does get requests for Ryo-Ohki from Tenchi Muyo from time to time. All of them were as nice and humble as you are when you are a voice actor.
I wondered the convention for a bit looking for more cosplay photos to take to kill some time between not having any panels to go to. While waiting for the voice over masterclass, I sat in on an International Comic panel listening to an artist talking about the state of the comic book industry. There is a fair amount I don’t know about that industry that is for sure. The Masterclass filled the room and it turns out that it became part of Rob Paulsen’s podcast! Pity I didn’t have any questions to ask this time around but I guess after listening to so many podcasts, I ran out of things to ask because of how much information I have absorbed. Although, Bill Farmer made a great point about creating voices so while I was taking notes (that is how serious I am about voice over or any creative endeavour I take) “finding your muse” was one of the major points I wrote down. But this also allowed me to find out a little more about my potential competition if I ever made the move to LA to pursue voice over. Again, I am currently an Australian actor/VA.
I had officially finished all of my business at Oz Comic Con and did not choose to buy any Blu-Rays or items since I did not want to carry too much with me. I made my way by tram to Southern Cross to book my train ticket home and then all the way by train to Windsor to kill time in Chapel Street. After 7pm, the audience was treated not only to the main movie Crawlspace but also a short film beforehand which had some grindhouse-esque visuals involving two gay men and werewolves of all things (well, just the one). My take on Crawlspace being shot at the Docklands and on a small indie budget still managed to impress me with its array of practical special effects as well as digital special effects. There were a few actors I was not familiar with in terms of their work but there are some incredible Australian actors in this film that I believe would go far (the female lead especially). After a long Q&A and catching up with some actor friends of mine from Mooregrace Acting Studios who also happened to come along to support our mentor and friend, Eddie Baroo, I made my way all the way back to Geelong to pretty much write this blog and attempt to get some sleep.
I hope that if you are reading this and also happened to be at Oz Comic Con, I hope your experience was just as memorable. Will I be at Armageddon Expo this year? I am actually not sure this year, usually I would be all over it but as far as the guests go who have been announced, I don’t seem highly interested as I have been in the last two years. If Oz Comic Con continues to improve, it may be my new convention going option. Although, I would have to at least attend one Supanova convention to get a fair comparison of the three cons that tend to run in this country. I know there are anime conventions and specialised mini-cons for Trekkies, Whovians and the sort but I am talking about the usual main conventions that we tend to have.
Until then, good morning? Well I’d say night but it is currently 3am or way past that now.
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I can’t believe how fast time just went by but this weekend is Oz Comic Con. I’ll do my usual con blog afterwards since I shall be attending the animation panel on Saturday and the Voice Over Masterclass workshop with Rob Paulsen and Bill Farmer on Sunday. So keep your eyes out on my feed for updates.
June already? Time is just going faster and faster the older I get. Not that I am particularly old but once I hit that good old 25 mark, that pretty much means I have at least a good few years left on me before I hit 30. I have been pretty quiet on the blog front since I have been undergoing many different projects and taking up a lot of different things that occupy my time. Let me run you down with some of the things I have been up to:
- Acting related work
- Studying American Accents
- An upcoming web project in the works
- Intensely training in Doce Pares Eskrima (I just received my Blue Belt a few days ago after much hard work and dedication). This also results me in having to train my body, lose heaps of weight and be prepared for just about anything
- Watching yet again more Tokusatsu shows (still watching Sun Vulcan which has become a Showa period favourite of mine so far)
- Attending live music gigs (Aerosmith and Tenacious D)
- Doing everything within this year to get my life on track and to make my dreams a reality.
Ok so my list may seem small and as with life, being preoccupied or just plain old procrastinating sometimes happens around this time too. I will be attending this year’s Oz Comic Con in Melbourne on both days which is the 6th and 7th of July because I am dying to meet some incredible voice actors, one of them making up the majority of my childhood cartoon viewing… Rob Paulsen!! (Pinky from Pinky and the Brain, Yakko from Animaniacs, Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles among many others). And with attending conventions comes a blog!
Not to mention that I am still in the works as I plan to attend this year’s Armageddon Expo once again. For the last two years, I have been incredibly overwhelmed with the voice actors I have met and the workshops I have attended to gain a little information here and there about the voice over industry each and every time.
Until next time becase I have a lot of work to do right now.
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As much as we all love being involved in the arts whether it be acting, voice over, theater, music and such, we all need to create a life outside of these things to do the following:
1) To avoid becoming what is known as “an acting robot”. An acting robot is a term that is sometimes used to describe someone who only lives for acting and that is it. This tends to create boring people with no interesting characteristics that they can bring to characters. I live by the Vincent Price quote “A man who limits his interests limits his life” for a reason.
2) Entertainment can be a lot of hard work that takes dedication, patience, persistence, practice and a damn good work ethic to keep seeking work or to be involved in projects opening your mind to new and amazing things.
What I am going to do is write from time to time things I like to do outside of voice over and why I do these things. Sometimes great things can come out of the little things I like to be involved in. It can give me inspiration, a new set of skills I would of never thought about having (which could lead to certain roles) and a sense of balance. Before I get into the first thing I like to be involved in, here is a little story to show why I need this particular hobby/way of life to keep myself balanced.
It was around Year 12 and I seemed to have it all, a girlfriend, a job, a school band (nothing with brass instruments, rock stuff) in which we played some pretty awesome sets and also a proper originals band that I was working on putting together. My now ex-girlfriend used to be my drummer for this band (I guess I had a bit of a John and Yoko phase at this point when you are both musicians in a band together) and all of this stuff I mention is where it all began to fall apart. First off, I got frustrated working in a supermarket and just quit entirely so I could just get through Year 12. My girlfriend broke her arm just before my examination performances so I had to get one of the back up singer’s boyfriends to play drums for us and after it was all said and done, I went through a rough patch where my girlfriend and I weren’t communicating all that much so I decided to break it off. Oh I forgot to mention that I was in another band in which we played a lot of covers, trying to write originals but I was fired from said band because of “timing problems”. I lost the first band which I had founded with a few friends but they decided they did not want me (hell, they didn’t even tell me I had these problems which I could of been happy to fix). After I broke up with my now ex girlfriend, I almost destroyed my band entirely and disbanded the other members (well, they kind of went MIA for most of it and stopped rocking up to rehearsals). I had my studies as a sound engineer to look forward to at this point and my band was being revived by a close friend of mine who became my lead guitarist and the rest fell into place. I had a band once again which we started doing shows and it was an exciting time in my life. Towards the third year of my studies, I was given an ultimatum to either stay in the band or leave the band because of some record deal bullshit that fell through anyway and pretty much tried to destroy the bonds we had built.
A lot of things were not going right for me at this point, it left me with mixed feelings, most of them anger. Every time a band fell apart (and I tried to find new bands), it would just not work. I was starting to worry that a career in music was not going to work for me at all and I started having doubts about my life’s direction. It was not until halfway through my second or third year at JMC that after watching cartoons on Youtube, an idea sparked that I should pursue voice over because 1) I loved animation and 2) It was something to do with my voice. Hell, if singing in a band did not work out, surely being a voice actor would make me happy. I chose to go into business for myself, work my own hours. When I started to pursue acting, I landed a car commercial which I am still proud to have on my resume. I’m sorry if I seem to go off in all sorts of different directions but I assure you, I am getting to the main point of what this hobby/way of life was that has now kept me sane and balanced through the good times and the bad.
I admit it, I am terrible at sports. I even tried a few, Golf, Archery and there was always the sports in school and I know that I wasn’t the most athletic person. Being bad at sports kind of made me feel bad. When my brothers decided to play music, they chose the guitar. I chose piano which later lead to singing. When my brothers played football and basketball, I decided I wanted to try something physical that I would enjoy. There was no way I was going to be involved in any team sport and because I was that kid with the glasses and I was not going to wear contacts for any reason.
I looked in the Yellow Pages (you know, that big yellow book people used to find work in), and came across the martial arts section. Around this time, I was exposed to video games such as Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat and enjoyed this genre of games. Sure, I cannot shoot fireballs out of my hands or do anything supernatural but there was something about martial arts that had a certain appeal to my brain. I wanted self confidence and I wanted to feel strong. I had a lot of self esteem issues in the past so this was the turning point in which I would pursue the martial arts. It has been a fair journey but this is how it went all down.
The first style I took up was Tae Kwon Do. I tried out for some classes, wore the uniform and spent hours practicing my punches and kicks. My instructor was very old school, he used to discipline his students by hitting them with a table tennis racket (by the way, that is something you can’t really do in modern martial arts today) and then you had to go do 20 push ups. We had to do leap frog as an exercise and I remember going to leap over this one poor woman and as I executed the jump, my hands on her back forced her to go down which made me fall. I remember my kicks being able to go high, in a round house and in an axe kick. I am not that flexible any more. But there was something about this style that didn’t feel right and in the end before my first grading, I decided to quit.
The second form I took up was Australian Form Fighting. It combined Karate with Wrestling, Boxing and a few other different styles. This was my first entry into very physically intense martial arts training. I had done a couple of classes to see whether I would enjoy it and thought I would give it a go. It got crazy, I was about 12-15 years old at the time and I remember having to wrestle a 19 year old student who lived down the road from me (and at the rank of Brown Belt). I couldn’t budge him, not even once. Also, I started getting the biggest sweat rash from my armpit all the way down the side of my body. I thought this was incredibly stupid and pointless, my impatience striked again and I chose to leave. My Mum was not happy about this and it makes me feel bad when at the time, she was helping pay for my classes and my uniform.
The third style was Kyokushin Karate. If you know me, I love anything Japanese, but a Japanese martial arts style is ancient and there is so much tradition involved. They don’t like to change up their style much and you needed to memorise all these different moves. I started doing this style with a couple of friends and this was a style my Dad and my older brother once took up for a while. Honestly, it felt like Tae Kwon Do again though I remember seeing a tournament (full contact) and I thought it looked impressive. Again, white belt all over again and I chose to leave this one too and so did my friends. I stopped going to martial arts classes altogether because I didn’t really want to make my Mum angry to put me through another class.
Present day, or well starting around October 2010. I was a young adult at this time and frustrated with the previous events mentioned of my band dying off and I had just finished my studies at JMC and wanted to pursue voice over. I had to make a long, hard decision about my choice of martial arts style if I was going to take it up again and promised myself (even though I was an adult anyway) that I would pay for my own classes and take the time to learn a style all the way. I flipped through the phone book again and came across an ad which talked about Filopino Stick Fighting. Ooh, a weapon based style, now this got my attention. I looked through the little ad in the phone book and it also mentioned sticks, staves, knives and street fighting. It also sounds practical, not as strict as some of my other previous styles. I looked up some videos on Youtube and right there and then, I decided to make the move. The style is called Doce Pares Eskrima or Filopino Stick Fighting. Doce Pare is Spanish for 12 pairs and Eskrima means fencing. I rang up by going through the website and talked to this instructor. The instructor (Glen Eden) told me that if I was to pursue this style, that I would need to learn something from each class or else it would be a waste of time. Wow, this guy was serious, I could not argue with that. I went in for my first class on October 2010 and holy crap, this style was intense. I watched as other students were spinning their sticks in the air with such ferocity and grace and executing moves that made my jaw drop. I was a bit on the unfit side and this first class took it right out of me. The next day, I felt every part of my body ache. This went on for a couple of weeks but I was persistence and took the time to learn the style. This persistence paid off as I wanted to be the best that I could be. Glen only made students go up a belt when they were ready and not by the curriculum whilst Josh (my current instructor) followed the curriculum but being an instructor black belt had to make the call when to push up the ranks. The gym moved to Breakwater and I moved to live in a suburb called Highton (only 10 minutes away, convineant). In 2011, I worked day and night, getting fit and perfecting my craft. I was only a white belt but had no belt to show for it. Belts started to get brought back in to make the system in Geelong more unified. I went for my first belt which was Yellow and was very excited to move up in rank. I worked on my techniques and for some reason, decided to drink Jameson all night. I went the next morning for my grading, slightly sluggish but still able to fight. I was hitting the pads in the street fighting part of it like no tomorrow and demonstrating my form work. My instructor was impressed that I put in the hard yards and thus, I became a yellow belt. Many months later, I was suprised to learn that I was ready to go up another rank, Orange belt. I had to demonstrate my kicks, punches and form work with the sticks once again. Hard into the training, I wanted to push myself physically so I was able to earn this belt. In just one year, I went up two belt ranks. I also participated in my first stick fighting tournament in which I was overwhelmed instantly. I lost my first two matches in single and double stick. Due to numbers, I managed to rank third place in double stick.
To not be overly lengthy on the last paragraph, today was an amazing day. The second tournament, my goal, to win a match and have fun. I had been training for months on end and I wanted to at least have something to show for it. If you have ever seen stick fighting, we wear suits of armour with a helmet (similar to that of a fencing mask or Kendo mask but more cage like), lots of protective gear for elbows, arms, legs and boxes (for your crotch hahaha). Stick Fighting is more like a game but sometimes when those strikes hit, you can sometimes feel them if you are not careful. Hard and fast the sticks come at you and you have to demonstrate that you can get in many hits, defend and move around to please the judges. You are scored on how many hits you make, your movements, defense and get awarded points for disarms. Three disarms means you win regardless of how many rounds you have. Each round is one minute with a thirty second break in between. Three rounds, a fourth elimination round if the two of you break even. My opponent was a tall, slightly large fellow by the name of Kyle. I think he may of been new but he seemed to know what he was doing. As I geared up and ready to go, I made sure to get many strikes in as possible. I managed to move very quickly due to my fitness which began to slow my opponent down as he started to burn out over time. In the second round, I scored a disarm without even knowing it (this happens a lot more than you think, to disarm, you must do so in one swift movement). By the third round, I was mixing up my strikes (you cannot perform the same strikes over and over, they must be in combinations). The timer went off and the three rounds ended. I stood there, hot in my suit of armour waiting for the announcement. And then, a smile came across my face when I heard “By unnanimous decision, the winner, Kyle” and my hand was lifted as you would for a boxing or MMA match. It was a proud moment because for the first time ever, I WON! I won a match! This was a confidence booster. The second match I lost but I was proud to face off against an opponent with a little more challenge. He was quick on his feet and had excellent timing. He went on to place first. But that did not shatter my dreams because I knew I burnt out towards the end even though I scored even with him in the first half of the match.
To sum up my current martial arts history from this time on:
- I have gone up two belts in a year. White to Yellow and Yellow to Orange
- I won my first match in a tournament after having lost twice the previous year proving that I can compete on the same level as these different age groups
You see, martial arts gives me a balance in life. It keeps me physically fit, it doesn’t allow me to gain unneccessary weight, it gives me self confidence, strength, quick reflexes and the ability to detect certain danger. It also controls my anger, yeah I used to be very angry. I know this sounds comic book corny but with great power comes great responsibility. When you are given the tools and techniques to defend yourself, if danger ever occurs, you just need to be ready to face the challenge. I am not a thug by any means, I don’t like people who go around looking for fights. If I want to fight, I’ll do it in a controlled full contact environment. I actually tried some full contact fighting in MMA gear, my jaw was swollen for three days. I had never been in a fight before at this point (yeah I would fight with my brothers but not in the sense that it feels like a simulation of what could happen in a real street fight).
The point I am trying to get across is that I chose to take up martial arts again is because it used to be a big part of my life. It kept me balanced. I have regained that balance and the self confidence I had always strived for. This style could translate to movie roles and I include it as a skill on my resume. And I would say the same to you, do something that doesn’t relate to acting that you enjoy. Why? Because it makes you a more interesting person and gives you something to work with in future acting careers.
So tell me, what do you enjoy doing besides acting? I am still looking at trying new things but apart from acting, music and movies, martial arts is what really gets me ready to rock.
Now if you will excuse me, I wouldn’t mind trying to find where I can practice some Kendo or Fencing in Australia. Or something other than martial arts.
It has been a while since I have written one of these blogs but I have been making sure to get prepared for the new year (well the not so new year now after being a couple of weeks) to get everything moving forward. I find that procastinating and distracting yourself from your real work is counter-productive so I made myself a small new year’s resolution to make sure I do at least one or more productive tasks a day. This mindset has actually kept my focus sharp and I seem to be on track with everything at the moment which is good to know. The downtime between acting auditions and finding voice over work is used for practice, research and listening exercises. The other day, due to the counter-productive laziness, I managed to listen to nine hours worth of Talkin’ Toons podcast material. Before I begin this next section of this blog series, let me fill you in on what I have managed to do to get my voice over work on track:
- Booked some American dialect coaching (you must learn an American accent to do any dubbing work in the US or original animation work)
- Booked in for a new demo recording (a short targeted demo is in the works)
- I bought a digital radio/alarm clock/iPod dock so I can listen to radio stations to research voice over trends
- I have organised my workspace to well… be more of a workspace.
Just doing these little things can make a difference to your working life. It is good to have some down time in between but keeping focused on the tasks at hand makes the journey even more sweeter and the rewards more fulfilling once things begin to happen. And now, the segway into a time in high school when this sort of work ethic had to be done to make a movie in my media class in high school.
Year 12 Media at North Geelong Secondary College, 2007. We were given the biggest assignment for the year, to make a short film with all the trimmings. Various editing techniques, camera techniques etc had to be incorporated to make the best short film we could possibly make. I found out that we had a camera specifically designed for stop motion animation. This let my ideas begin to swell within my brain and I was keen to get something like this happening after previously watching Wallace and Gromit and some other little stop motion films beforehand. Before we could begin any sort of filming, we had to write essentially a whole manual that included the film’s script, storyboards, plot/synopsis, equipment needed and compile it into a typed written assignment. I had to come up with an idea which I didn’t have at first but mucked around with.
Originally, I wanted to make a complete plasticine stop motion film involing a lonely ronin who would walk around temple grounds practicing his sword skills. My teacher however thought it would be too technical and the moment I mentioned “sword”, he instantly thought violence (which he dissaproved of with his strong Christian morals). I had to think a little harder on the idea but then it came to me, I happened to be in possession of some Lego. Suddenly my mind began to come up with this minimalistic, philisophical idea of where the film could go. This movie would be called “Der Plastik Indre” which is translated from Danish as “The Plastic Mind”. It turned out to be a slightly avant-garde piece in which I narrated the entire project with my own voice over (this was before I had even considered voice over as a career). The story was about a small lego man who did not understand his existance. I was inspired by this thought process after watching Neon Genesis: Evangelion which took a similar path when discussing religion and the meaning of life. I created a small diorama that was painted entirely pitch black and then had several more made that included a colourful felt blanket and a pitch white background afterwards.
I sat in front of the stop motion camera, inching every little bit of movement that I could on the little Lego man in front of me. I added a Lego door in which he would travel in between the depths of his mind. It was coming along nicely until my media teacher thought that no one would take the Lego man seriously in this way. I disagreed and continued to film my project (after all, it had been approved) and I was way ahead of my fellow students who were still writing out their scripts and storyboards. I spent a few lunch breaks working on my masterpiece. Being a bit shy and not wanting to make a lot of noise, I had to record my voice over in an open classroom environment and thought people would look at me weird if I was talking to myself. The other problem I encountered during this process was building a soundtrack. Now here is where my sound engineering skills were not completely developed. I played a random melody that consisted of choir voices on my Casio digital piano and put a microphone over my piano to record the sound (by the way, this comes out awful). For the ending music credits, I remember I used one of the demo samples and just let it record. I am not sure if it was copyrighted (because we had to use all original music) but I let it slide.
Finally, after working on my little animation and doing the final process of editing through Final Cut Pro, it was finished! I previewed it several times to many different potential media students for the new year. Some people thought I was on drugs when I made this but I just had a vivid imagination. I still have a copy of this film lying around on a disk but have had trouble converting it to Youtube in the past. If I do manage to uncover it all over again, I may share it with you all :)
This was my first time I had done some voice over work (besides a little thing I did for a radio station for my event organisation group) and really got into the nuts and bolts of stop motion animation. Stay tuned for more as I talk about the cartoons of SBS (the multicultural channel) which I generally watched from my teens till today whenever I get a chance.
Make sure to stay tuned next week as I will continue my blog about VO/Animation Memories and also a special blog dedicated to the art of dialect coaching. I am learning a general American accent next week as you will need this highly for US based acting/voice over work.
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Taking an entire day of vocal rest is probably one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. I am hoping this gets my voice back to normal.
Hey everyone, back for another addition of VO/Animation Standouts and Memories. Today I talk about a little TV show that ran for many years on Channel 10 starting at around 7pm every school morning called “Cheez TV”. Cheez TV ran between 1995-2005 so not only did it take up my entire years of Primary School but it ran over into high school as well. Ryan Lappin and Jade Gatt were the hosts of the show who would present cartoon after cartoon. For years, this is the show where a majority of my television viewing as a child would come from (especially in animation). I had to look up the Wikipedia page for all the shows I have watched. I shall list the ones I remember below and talk about them briefly. The aim of Cheez TV was to run against Agro’s Cartoon Connection on Channel 7. Cheez TV had a more broad audience and quickly ran Agro’s Cartoon Connection off the air as Channel 7 decided to opt for an adult morning breakfast show instead. So without further delay, here is what I watched on my television screen every morning over the years (that I can remember):
- The Marvel Action Hour (usually Iron Man and The Fantastic Four)
- The Incredible Hulk
- Spiderman: The Animated Series
- Street Sharks
- Extreme Dinosaurs
- Biker Mice From Mars
- Earthworm Jim
- The Tick
- Zoids: Chaotic Century
- Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog (also seen previously on VHS at one time)
- Dragonball Z
- Sonic X
- Men In Black: The Animated Series
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 Version)
- Dog City (a forgotten gem until I just remembered it then)
- Butt Ugly Martians From Mars
- Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation (live action though voiced over)
- Count Duckula
- Inspector Gadget
Some other cartoons were mentioned in the list but I did not put them down because I probably did not watch them. Getting up to school every morning as much of a chore as it was at the time, I could never forget about watching Marvel cartoons during the mid 90s or watching glimpses of Anime such as Teknoman, Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z. Pokemon is memorable because it taught me a lot about popularity and how crazy it can get (even though before it was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). I guess my growing mind saw how much I got into a show collecting trading cards, Game Boy games and even stuff for the Nintendo 64. Dragon Ball Z was shown a lot between 2001 and so on to get my action fix. Although some mornings were a little slow because they could just stand there and talk for an entire half hour and not even fight once. The theme songs from some of these cartoons are incredible, lots of rock and metal stuff with soaring vocals. There was always the one or two odd shows such as Butt Ugly Martians or Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation. It was weird to me because having seen the previous incarnations of live action Ninja Turtles, having a female Turtle turned that show up on its head. A short lived series that ran between 1997-1998 from Saban. I used to have action figures from Street Sharks, Extreme Dinosaurs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the first cartoon series), Biker Mice From Mars and Transformers. Some shows were previously shown on Channel 2 such as Rugrats and Count Duckula. Dog City was a show that caught my attention because it was an animated series from the Jim Henson universe. It started out as puppets but became a cartoon series. A very good one at that.
The thing about cartoons from this era was that it was still in the hand drawn territory, full of action, excitement and imagination. Animation has changed over the years and some shows for me are a little hit and miss. What it really comes down to is capturing the imagination. I guess when I looked back on a whole heap of those retro shows on Youtube to relive some childhood, it gave me the spark and the voice (pun intended) to pursue a career in voice over. Plus I was a singer, I used my voice a lot. My music wasn’t doing too well in my late teens to early twenties and my first chosen path (audio engineering) started to make me become unhappy. Although it did give me some great benefits asrecording knowledge has become very important for the self made voice actor.
Many awesome cartoons that filled the Monday to Friday gap of my youth. I hope you have enjoyed tonight’s blog and stay tuned next week as I go deeper into Channel 7 weekend cartoons on a show called Saturday Disney. I talk about shows I used to watch such as Aladdin, Gargoyles and The Mighty Ducks. A future episode down the track to come (or it may be added to the next) is what I call the Channel 2 Toons in which I cover shows such as Bangers and Mash, Banana Man and Daria.
As a reminder, if you wish to discuss or share some shows that you used to watch or can recommend, please feel free to post in the questions box that you can usually find on Tumblr.
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James Arnold Taylor (Obi Wan Kenobi, Johnny Test, Waldorf Sockbat) talking about making a transformation in your life. I’ve always liked his work because he is not only one versatile, talented guy but because he survived years of having mould in his system which almost killed off his voice. An incredible feat for someone who changed his ways by knowing his “kryptonite” and finding his strengths. It has actually gotten me off my butt to write down a list of goals and make some more major changes in my life.
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