William Salyers talks about voicing Rigby in Cartoon Network's "Regular Show"

William Salyers is a stage actor that got thrown into the world of voice acting with his role in Adult Swim’s “Moral Orel”. He is currently the voice of Rigby in Cartoon Network’s “Regular Show”. The show, which won an Emmy last year, is continuing to grow as it enters its fifth season. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with William about his role in the show and about the fandom surrounding it.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us what made you want to get into voice acting?
William Salyers: I kind of slipped into it acually. I never really planned to be a voice actor. I have been a stage actor for most of my life. Over the years, I’d be doing regional theater and someone would ask me to local commercial or two. I would do it but never thought of it as a destination for me. Going on 10 years ago now, I was here in LA and a friend of mine Scott Adsit, who was one of the co-creators of “Moral Orel”, contacted me when they working on the first season. Scott called me up and said they had the first season in the can but they had a voice that they weren’t happy with. I had no voice career and I thought it was not worth my time. But I figured it was a friend trying to throw another friend a bone. So I remember during my read through with the show’s creator Dino Stamatopoulos, he told me not to worry since “You’ve done voice over before right?” and I said “No, not really”. [laughs] I knew it wasn’t going to go anywhere so I wasn’t trying to lie. So I was completely relaxed when I read for the part of Reverent Puddy. Scott called me a day or two later and said “Network loved you…you’re in!” So that was the beginning of it.

MG: Was that a challenge going from theater to voice acting?
WS: I am sure you can find people that disagree but I think that stage training is a challenge, especially if you are playing the lead. You have to pick up a show, put it on your shoulder and carry it for two hours. I think that is fantastic training for anything whether it is film, TV or even voice over because you have already learned how to create and span that character and then the rest of it is all technique. I certainly do enjoy it and consider it a natural extension of what I have been trying to do my whole life.

MG: How did it come about for you to voice Rigby on “Regular Show”?
WS: With “Regular Show”, I didn’t know anyone involved with the project. “Moral Orel” got me legitimized into the world of voice over and got an agent. So I got an audition one day from Cartoon Network for this pilot. I didn’t even understand what I was reading for at first. Besides that I knew the character was a raccoon. I remember one of the lines I had since I had no idea what it meant. It was “Chew ties you don’t know what I am going to throw next baby”. I thought what kind of ties are they talking about “neck ties, railroad ties…what are we talking about here”. Based on the way the dialogue was written, he seemed a little hyper active to me, so I delivered the line like this [speaking in Rigby’s voice] “Chew ties you don’t know what I am going to throw next baby”. From the audition, I booked the pilot.Actually, I had to audition again once the pilot got picked up. So I booked Rigby, not once but twice. The second time they called me to audition for the part, I got to do the hamboning bit which is probably one of my favorite bits of Rigby’s as we are going on five seasons now. I went to town with that. I knew it was a good sign when I saw J.G. (Quintel) laughing in the booth. So that is how that came about.

MG: Working with the show’s creator J.G. Quintel (who also voices Mordecai), do you find that you have a lot of creative freedom?
WS: Voice over really is a very precise art. You have people creating how you are going to look while you are deciding how you are going to sound. Within that though, I do feel like I have a lot of freedom. I am not just blowing smoke but I find that working with J.G. is really such a treat. It is remarkable to see a guy be so successful while also being so cool. If he loses it, I have never seen it. And you know he has tremendous pressure around him. Over the five seasons, we have developed a great rapport. We can usually knock out a scene in one or two takes since we have been working together so long.

MG: Are you surprised with the success and fan base surrounding this show?
WS: Oh my God! Yes, absolutely. I continue to be and remain surprised. I knew it was hilarious when I started working it. But there is a larger question though of if the show is going to tap into a specific demographic, let alone multiple demographics like this show has. You have dads in their 30’s laughing at this show with their kids. J.G. has achieved that. I remember last year when we went to San Diego Comic Con, the entire Cartoon Network booth was “Regular Show” themed. So they had a giant blow up parade float version of Mordecai and Rigby in the golf cart. You could see it across the whole convention center. So that was overwhelming. I have had to get used to that sort of thing. I am not what you would call an extrovert. I am more of an introvert. It is still kind of stunning for me to be ousted as the voice of Rigby and see all of these people lining up to meet me and wanting autographs. The fans are really great though. It has just been mind-numbing.

MG: After 120 episodes, what keeps it fresh for you?
WS: So far there hasn’t been an episode that my character hasn’t been in. Even if he might spend most of it in a coma…he is there [laughs]. I will tell you honestly Mike; the key is that when I get a storyboard, which is weekly, I am laughing out loud. Our writers are phenomenal and that is what does it for me.

MG: After winning an Emmy last year, what can we expect from the show next?
WS: I can’t speak in specifics but in round terms, I can say that J.G. and the staff are looking for more opportunities to writing extended shows. Half hour shows. He is interested in exploring how the characters are maturing including some major life changes and what that would do to the show. We also continue to have amazing guest stars. As the show gets more and more popular it just keeps growing.  We continue to get some fantastic people who want to be interested in working on our show. I think it is going to be bigger and better.

Jillycakes’ Jillian Hopke talks about winning Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”

Jillian Hopke is the owner of the Orlando, FL based Jillycakes. She also was the winner of Season 6, Episode 12 of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jillian about her road to victory and how she got started in the business.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how Jillycakes came about?
Jillian Hopke: About 5 years ago I started baking for several of my coworkers, various birthdays and celebrations and each time people were blown away by the cakes and cupcakes. AT that point I was fortunate enough to have a captive audience and I started experimenting with flavors and bringing them to work. While everyone was just happy to have free cake I was able to get them hooked on my product and solicit some free market research in the meantime. When we first started baking for hire many of our clients were, and still are, friends of ours. Up until the moment we were on the show our advertising had been 100% word of mouth. It speaks volumes for your product when you can become so successful just by friends telling friends.

MG: Have you always want to work in this field?
JH: Baking has always been a hobby and a passion for me I never expected or planned to have things get to this magnitude. Growing up we were taught if you do something you should strive to be the best at it. I’m completely self-taught and have been blessed with a natural artistic skill. I can’t express how fortunate I feel that something I love doing has become such a prominent part of my life!

MG: How did you get chosen to compete on “Cupcake Wars”?
JH: I was sent the link to the online casting call by a very good friend of mine Blake. At first I didn’t take him very seriously but, knowing of our years of experience performing for local theme parks, he said “c’mon….we already know you make the best cupcakes PLUS you would make great television”. So I took his advice and wrote from the heart… .I never dreamed they would actually choose us! The very first part of the process was just an essay to submit our application and plead our case. The video audition tape that was requested by our casting agent didn’t come till many months later. All in all it was a casting process spanning nearly two years.

MG: How has winning “Cupcake Wars” affected your company?
JH: Our business has tripled over night. It seems like everywhere we go someone has heard of us so we are now finally becoming a household name. Some clients ordered a cake and brought it out to a local restaurant and their server went nuts when they saw our logo on the box. We also have had to pad our delivery times with a few extra min to accommodate the interviews and photo shoots that happen when we show up to people’s houses…..it’s amazing how many people don’t expect us to show up in person.

MG: How does it feel to be given a chance to come back as an all-star for “Cupcake Wars”?
JH: The response from our fans has been overwhelming. We have fans contacting us from across almost all 50 states as well as 20 countries worldwide. Because Orlando is the tourist capitol of the world we have been able to reach a much broader spectrum of people. We can’t wait to get back on and make our fans proud. Besides….there can’t possibly be a harder secret ingredient than seafood right??!!

MG: How can people get a taste of your work?
JH: Orders can be placed online through our website or by emailing us at orders@jillycakeorlando.com. All orders include free delivery and come conveniently to you whether you live here or are just visiting one of our many resorts and hotels. Due to our current volume of orders a 5 day minimum lead time is advised to be sure we can accommodate the request.

MG: Do you only deliver in Orlando FL?
JH: Right now everything is local delivery but we have been experimenting successfully with some shipping options for our products so you may see Jillycakes available all across America sometime soon. We also can travel to other central Florida locations upon special request.

MG: What does Jillycakes have planned next?
JH: We would like to start by increasing our community outreach and are working on concepts and plans for a retail location to open next year. We also have plans to offer a new type of in home party for all ages with cupcake baking demos and decorating tips. The main goal right now is just continuing to change the way people think about cake to make memorable experiences for them rather than ho hum forgettable celebrations.


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Justin Willman talks magic and working on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”

Justin Willman is the host of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”.  His first passion is magic and currently has a web-series on The Nerdist Channel called “Magic Meltdown” and also has an on-going “Tricked Out Tour”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Justin about working on “Cupcake Wars” and get some cool behind-the-scenes stories.

Mike Gencarelli: What do you enjoy most about hosting “Cupcake Wars”?
Justin Willman: I love being a part of the show since it has such a wide fan base. Of course there are the adults that love watching “Cupcake Wars”. It is one of those few shows that has a broad family appeal that parents can watch with their kids since it has a little something for everybody. I really like broad appeal and being able to expand my own fanbase to a really wide one.

MG: How did this opportunity come up for you work on this show?
JW: I was a correspondent on “The Rachel Ray Show” for a couple of years, which was my first regular hosting gig. Through that I was exposed the culinary world. I would cover different food events for her. I never had any connection between the food world before and between you and me…I can’t cook [laughs]. Through that I was able to get into the world and when this audition came along, I was in the right place at the right time.

MG: You seem to have a lot of fun on the show; any cool behind-the-scenes stories?
JW: Let me think here. The show is very dramatic but you can see at times we are having a lot of fun and we really do. I get to hang out with Florian and Candace all day. They are sitting all day, actually they sit and I am standing while they bake. We got to become really close friends and have a lot of fun. I think the one behind-the-scenes nugget that I can give you is that Florian is not intimidating in person as he is on the show. He takes cupcakes very seriously but he is just a big teddy bear.

MG: Did you wear the kilt the whole episode during the Disney/Pixar “Brave” episode?
JW: The whole time! It was one of the most comfortable outfits. I was able to move around very freely. The kilt had a little built in pocket in the front, which was perfect for my phone. When we weren’t rolling I was able to catch up on emails and Angry Birds.

MG: You get to eat any of the cupcakes?
JW: One of my most commonly asked questions is “Do I get to eat the cupcakes”. I don’t on camera. But Candace will rarely finish her own cupcake. usually I get to eat whatever she doesn’t eat. If it is a great cupcake, I have to try it but if it is horrible sometimes I have to try that also just to see.

MG: When can we expect some new episodes of “Cupcake Wars”?
JW: We should be airing news episodes currently every Sunday. Then are shooting now for our seventh season with 13 more episodes coming this Fall!

MG: Tell us about your new series “Magic Meltdown”?
JW: Obviously I have been doing magic since I was 12. It is my first passion and it is what I love doing most. The Nerdist channel, which hosts “Magic Meltdown”, gave me this chance to do this street magic series with a comedic edge to it. It was a chance to finally put out my own brand of comedy magic. It has been great. We have done 6 episodes so far out of 15. New episodes air every Friday.

MG: Tell us about your on-going “Tricked Out Tour”?
JW: Honestly, there is nothing that makes me happier than performing on stage for a live audience. This Fall, I have a couple of tour stops. Next year, I am putting together a whole theater tour, hopefully all over the country. Coming to a theater near you! I hope all the “Cupcake Wars” fans come out and get a chance to meet me in person.