Eric Bauza talks voicing Bugs Bunny on Looney Tunes Shorts & working on Ducktales & Muppet Babies

Eric Bauza is the current voice of Bugs Bunny in Looney Tunes Shorts. He also voices Daffy Duck / Marvin the Martian / Tweety Pie for the show.

Eric also voices Fozzie in Muppet Babies, Master Frown in Unikitty!, Splinter in “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and various voices in Ducktales.

Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Eric to discuss taking on these iconic roles and talking about voicing his dream role.

Bill Farmer talks about Disney+ series It’s A Dog’s Life, Voicing Goofy & the 25th anniversary of A Goofy Movie

Bill Farmer is a Disney Legend. He has voiced the role of Goofy since 1987 and the voice of Pluto since 1988. He currently has a new show on Disney+ called “It’s A Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer”. He also currently voices over 20 characters on Disney’s “Mickey Mouse Mixed-Up Adventures”.

Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Bill about his new show “It’s a Dogs Life”, voicing Goofy for all these years and reflecting on the 25th anniversary of “A Goofy Movie”.

Eric Bauza talks about voicing Puss in Boots in Netflix Animated Series “The Adventures of Puss in Boots”

Eric Bauza is one of the most talented voice actors in the business. He is wel known for voice characters like Tiger Claw in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” to Chet in “Turbo FAST”. His latest role is also one of his biggest in which he is starring as Puss in Boots in the new Netflix animated series “The Adventures of Puss in Boots” from DreamWorks Animation. The show premieres today, January 16, 2015, on Netflix. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Eric about this role and his voice work.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about what we can expect from the new Netflix animated series “The Adventures of Puss in Boots”?
Eric Bauza: Basically it is the same character that we have grown to love from the feature films and now he is getting his very own Netflix series, which is very exciting. The possibilities are endless here. They have him on the go again and he stumbles upon this town by accident and he was looking for – (in Puss’ voice) I was looking for treasure and as a humble gato, I was also looking for my next meal (end Puss’ voice). He finds this city and falls in love with the town and swears to protect it again outlanders. It is funny because even though he is a good guy, he always has that bit of mischief that follows behind him. He was basically after the town’s treasure but ends up becoming their protector since the town, of course, has orphans in it and he himself is an orphan.

MG: How does this show differ from the “Shrek” films and “Puss in Boots” spin-offs?
EB: I think we have a little more breathing room and knowing that the end of each episode is not the end of the show, since it is an ongoing series. So we have a lot time to explore. There is a lot of background explored as well as some great new characters. These are things that usually don’t have in a feature. As an actor, I think that is very comfortable to be in that situation.

MG: Is there any possibility of well-known characters from the series popping up in this show?
EB: I would love to have any of the flagship characters from the “Shrek” universe making an appearance. But we do have an abundance of new fairy tale creatures that we are bringing in. We also have a few great celebrity guest stars that we are bringing in like Danny Trejo, John Leguizamo and H. Jon Benjamin have done some characters for us. There are so many surprises that are coming up but I do not want to spoil them all, so tune in and find out for yourself.

MG: You have voiced numerous characters in your career; which have been your favorites?
EB: Puss in Boots is definitely up there for me and one of my favorites. Antonio Banderas is such a huge star and (in Puss’ voice) to do a part that was done by Antonio, as a voice over artist that is something else (end Puss’ voice). I have done Marvin the Martian for Warner Bros and to me Mel Blanc is the Godfather of voice over. So to know that I was able to do a Mel Blanc character is huge.

MG: Going from Puss in Boots to Tiger Claw in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” to Chet in “Turbo FAST”; what kind of characters are your favorite to play?
EB: That is the tricky about Puss in Boots because he always starts off as the rough around the edges – he is either an outlaw or a hero. I have done a vast amount of bad guys though. I voiced Destro from G.I. Joe. Marvin the Martian, like I said, he is a bad guy. I love being the bad guy every now and then. And I am a Canadian, so it is hard for me to be bad [laughs].

MG: Later this year you have “Transformers: Robots in Disguise”; what can you tell us about these projects?
EB: Yeah, “Transformers”, you are talking about an icon there. I got to work with Peter Cullen aka the voice of Optimus Prime. Khary Payton voices Grimlock and he also voiced Cyborg in “Teen Titans”. We all are like huge nerds already, so put us all in the same room and it’s a lot of fun.

Lucas Grabeel chats about voicing Deputy Peck in Disney Junior’s “Sheriff Callie’s Wild West”


Lucas Grabeel is known best for his role of Ryan Evans in the “High School Musical” series. Lucas is currently voicing the character Deputy Peck in Disney Junior’s newest series “Sheriff Callie’s Wild West”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Lucas about the new show and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: What do you enjoy most about being on a show like “Sheriff Callie’s Wild West”?
Lucas Grabeel: I have done a few voice-over guest spots here and there on other TV shows but this is my first series regular position on an animated series. I was a little nervous at first since I had never done something like this on a day-to-day basis. I had all this dialogue, singing and playing multiple characters. I was worried about it at first but I ended up working with Jessica DiCicco, who is a voice-over veteran and she taught me so much. She made me comfortable. Once we got in the studio, we were having fun and laughing. Due to that it was such a great experience and was so much fun. On the flip side, once it was all done and we started watching it, I was just blown away how quite the animation is, how clever the writing is and how everything just came together. It is not only a great show for kids; I sit down with my girlfriend as well and watch it. I am a little biased being in it but we laugh and have a good time.


MG: Where did you come up with the voice for Deputy Peck?
LG: They said in the audition that he was a Barney Fife kind of deputy. It is a country western. I am originally from Missouri. So I basically did an impersonation of my dad and I put it up a couple of octaves. This gave him that high energy frantic feel.

MG: There is tons of great music in the show, what has been your favorite song?
LG: I love getting to sing on the show. Jessica and I also get to do the prairie dog trio, which is kind of my favorite part of the whole job [laughs]. They are just so adorable and funny that I always laugh. We have been recording it for the last two years but the song always pops back into my head is [singing as Peck] “Those peppers, those peppers, those peppers can’t be beat!” I do not know why but it always comes back [laughs].

MG: Tell us about the recording sessions? Are the song recordings separate?
LG: I was always recording with Jessica. So we would come in and record a couple of episodes during each session, the prairie dog songs along with probably two or three songs as well. We would do the episode first then go through and do the music. It was tons of fun. Being with Jessica and the whole group in the booth, everyone was just so nice to calm me down and allow me to get into this comfortable place. We would just laugh and have so much fun the whole time. It is such a great job.


MG: What was your biggest challenge for this role?
LG: This is my most put-on voice that I have ever done. All of the other voices I have done were closer to my natural voice. Doing a voice with the dialogue is one thing but trying to figure out how to sing, laugh, run and yell all together is the part of voice over that I didn’t understand at first. But that is what this whole experience has taught me. It was cool to approach it like acting. You become the character and then think through and put your head into that space and see how it should come together.

MG: What can you tell us about the new single “135n8”?
LG: I just released the single “135n8” on New Year’s Day. It is currently available on iTunes. It is a loungey dance track that I have been working on for a while. The video just came out February 11th on Billboard and it is also available now on my new YouTube channel. I will also be releasing some cool behind-the-scenes videos and featurettes in the coming weeks as well. It was a really cool experience to make the video because I got together some “High School Musical” people including dancers, choreographers and crew. We just came together and I said “Let’s make something exciting and push each other”. I think we did it and I am really excited about the video and I hope that people like it also.

Disney Legend, Bill Farmer talks about voicing Goofy and new Disney Junior series “The 7D”

You may not know the name Bill Farmer but you will certainly know his voice. He has been voicing Goofy and Pluto for nearly 30 years and was named a Disney Legend in 2009. Bill also has voiced tons of other notable characters including Foghorn Leghorn, Sylvester the Cat and Yosemite Sam in the film “Space Jam”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Bill about his voice roles and what we can expect from the new Disney Junior series “The 7D”.

Mike Gencarelli: You’ve been voicing Goofy and Pluto for nearly 30 years; what is it like hold these reigns for so long?
Bill Farmer: I think for any voice actor you can consider it a great honor to get a long lasting character. It is very competitive out here. Especially to get one of the Disney characters, I think it is one of the highest honors you can get in animation. Goofy was also my favorite Disney character growing up as a kid, which only made it that much sweeter that I ended up voicing him all these years.

MG: Do you feel that voicing characters like Goofy have changed for you the years?
BF: Voicing Goofy has certain changed my LIFE for the better. I first came to California as a stand-up comic. I had no idea that I would be voicing a character like Goofy. The audition came to me and it was very out of left field. I got a tape of Pinto Colvig and practiced it over the weekend. Then I went in and laid it down at the agency and about a month later they told me that I was going to get to do a Goofy job. I didn’t know if it was going to be more than one but after 27 years they are still using me. So (in Goofy’s voice) “Gawrsh, I guess I got lucky”.

MG: You are named a “Disney Legend” five years ago; tell us about receiving this amazing achievement?
BF: This actually came out of left field also; I had no idea that I was even being considered for this. I got a letter from Bob Iger in the mail saying “Congratulations on being nominated for the 2009 Disney Legend Award”. It is the greatest honor you can get from Disney. The ceremony was the first one ever in front of the public at the 2009 D23 event in Anaheim, CA. There were over 500 people in the audience, so that was very exciting. I got to get the award alongside Tony Anselmo, the voice of Donald Duck; Betty White and Robin Williams. It was overwhelming but also very exciting. I guess if you wait around long enough good stuff happens [laughs].

MG: You announced that “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” was canceled on your Twitter page; why did the show end after seven years?
BF: The show isn’t canceled from being on the air but we have finally recorded the last episode. They will still be coming out for a while. I do not even think that they started releasing the fifth season yet. We did record a fifth season but it takes so long for them to animate it. The production has ceased but it will be quite a while before the show runs out of new episodes for TV. We have been on the air consistently since 2006 and we started recording in 2004. So there is always a long lead-in time between recording and seeing it on TV. So don’t worry more is still to come, we just are not making any more.

MG: Can you give us a sneak to what we can expect coming up?
BF: One of my favorites in the last season, we are looking for Goof Beard the Pirate, who is Goofy’s grandfather. He is voiced by Dick Van Dyke. So that is a very exciting episode. And there are plenty more to come.

MG: You are currently also voicing Goofy in “Mickey Mouse” shorts; how does that differ for you?
BF: They are really radical. They are totally going in a different character direction then some of the previous stuff that we’ve done. But they are very funny and it is refreshing as an actor to not have to do the same thing over and over. I find it a lot of fun to do and get to stretch the character to new places that he has never been before.

MG: What other characters do you voice that people may not realize?
BF: Well yes actually, in the movie “Space Jam”, I voiced Foghorn Leghorn, Sylvester the Cat and Yosemite Sam. In episodes of “Robot Chicken”, I did Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. We have a new series called “The 7D”, it is like a reinvention of the Seven Dwarfs and in that I voice Doc. With the traditional Seven Dwarfs, I voice Sleepy. Horace Horsecollar got his voice in “The Prince and the Pauper” and I have gotten to voice him ever since. So yeah, there are a lot of little voices that you may not know about that I get to do.

MG: You beat me to it but I was going to ask you about the upcoming Disney Junior show “The 7D”; can you give us a sneak preview?
BF: “The 7D” is directed by Kelly Ward, who directed all six/seven years of “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, so I know him very well. Tom Ruegger, who did “Animaniacs”, is the producer. It is kind of a prequel in the way to “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. So there is no Snow White. They look much different as well from what you would expect with the classic Dwarfs. They decided to reinvent them since the things that they do are in a more modern fairy tale land. So rather than have the traditional dwarfs change their characters, they started from the ground up and came up with a new incarnation of these dwarfs. They are very well written and we have an amazing cast. It is definitely the who’s who in the voice over world including Maurice LaMarche, Kevin Michael Richardson, Billy West, Scott Menville, Stephen Stanton, Dee Bradley Baker and many more. We just finished recording the first season of 20-30 episodes and it was such a blast. They are being animated as we speak and it should hit the air somewhere around June this year. So I get to voice Doc and also a new dog character named Sir Yips A-lot, which was cool since I go to do more dogs besides just Pluto.

MG: Tell us about your involvement with the documentary “I Know That Voice”?
BF: John DiMaggio put this thing together, who voices Bender on “Futurama” and many other shows like “Adventure Time”. He put this documentary together and asked me if I would be in it. So they came over to the house and filmed for about an hour. They also filmed about another 100 voice over actors. The documentary is wonderful and is really the who’s who in voice over world. So if you ever want to know anything about voice over actors, you can go on iTunes and a few other places and download this documentary since it is really worth seeing.

Kelly Hu talks about voicing Karai on Nick’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

Kelly Hu is best known for her roles in films like “The Scorpion King” and “X2: X-Men United” and is currently guest starring on The CW’s “Arrow” and Syfy’s “Warehouse 13”. She also has done quite a bit of voice over work ranging from Stacy Hirano on “Phineas and Ferb” to Karai on Nick’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Kelly about her role on “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and what we can expect from Karai.

Mike Gencarelli: Your character on Nick’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, Karai, has been around since the 1992 comics. How did you prepare for playing such a well-known character?
Kelly Hu: Fans are going to hate me when they find out that I was not familiar with the character when I auditioned [laughs]. I did do a lot of research online though. There are a bunch of great fan sites for her and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. From what I understand this Karai is written slightly different than past Karai’s have, which is great so then it is not so predictable and audiences  who grew up with her can still enjoy it.

MG: When you signed on to the role where you aware that you would be revealed as Shredder’s daughter?
KH: I had no idea what was going to happen [laughs]. All I knew was that she was going to beat up a lot on the Turtles and other boys and I was going to get to do a lot of punching and kicking noises [laughs]. I spend so much of my time in the recording booth just grunting, hitting and making all these effort sounds.

MG: I guess you didn’t know that you would also get a chance to get some workout during recording?
KH: I know right! I think it is so funny that since I do martial arts, I am constantly getting type-cast as a fighter or a tough girl. I don’t mind at all since I really love doing it. But I think it is funny that even in my voice over work I am a martial artist [laughs].

MG: I love your character design in this show and she has changed quite a bit from her first appearance. Did you see her design prior to finding her voice?
KH: I love the way she looks. I do not recall if I had a picture before I started. You know, it is really just my own voice though. I try pitching it up a bit to sound younger like more around 20. I think the reason why I got this role comes down to me doing all the grunt sounds [laughs]. I think that is the only reason why I got this job [laughs]. But I really do love it.

MG: I know you got a little something going on with Leonardo but if you had to choose what would be your favorite turtle?
KH: I like Mikey a lot. I love the way he sounds, it is so cute. When Greg (Cipes) does his voice, I just melt. You just want to pick him up and hug him. Greg really brings his inner child out. I don’t know if he will be embarrassed that I shared this secret – I don’t think so – but the first day we were all together in the booth, Greg proceeded to pull down this pants and show up his “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” underwear and then danced around a bit [laughs]. Greg really is a child trapped in a man’s body and he is great in the role.

MG: Are you always with the rest of the cast when recording?
KH: Sometimes we are. Lately, I have been alone since I have been traveling quite a bit. I was recently in Vancouver shooting a pilot (“The Hundred” for The CW). So the last two  sessions, I have been by myself. I really enjoy it much more when everyone is in the same room. The guys are just so much fun and we have a great time together.

MG: Tell us about your upcoming episode “Karai’s Vendetta” on April 27th?
KH: I am really looking forward to this episode. This one is going to be really action packed with a lot of twists and turns. Karai is at this point where she making a change in her life. She wants to join up with the guys and do good. I love that she is not just a bad girl. She wrestles with being good and being truthful. So she really has some great and fun layers to her.

MG: You are probably known best in the voice over world for your work playing Stacy Hirano on “Phineas and Ferb”. How does that role compare?
KH: I love doing “Phineas and Ferb”. I think they are a lot alike. Stacy doesn’t do martial arts but she is kind of sassy and fun. She is Candace’s sort of voice of reason, who is completely out there and crazy. Stacy is the one who gets to bring her back down to earth every once in a while. Stacy is also a little bit quirky and social out there sometimes [laughs].

MG: What else do you have in the cards?
KH: I am still waiting to hear about this pilot, so we have our fingers crossed for that. I am still reoccurring on The CW’s “Arrow”, they haven’t killed me off yet. So hopefully I will be back next season. I also have had a reoccurring on “Warehouse 13” and should have some new episodes coming up soon as well.

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.

Hynden Walch talks about voicing Princess Bubblegum in "Adventure Time" & Starfire/Blackfire in "Teen Titans"

Hynden Walch is know best for her voice work including Princess Bubblegum in “Adventure Time” & Starfire/Blackfire in “Teen Titans”. She also voiced Penny Sanchez on the Nickelodeon show “ChalkZone” and Elsie on the Disney Channel show “Stanley”. Hynden took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about the fandom craze behind “Adventure Time” and her return of Starfire in “Teen Titans Go!”.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with doing voice work?
Hynden Walch: I always knew I was going to be an actress my whole life. I have been doing professional theater since I was 11. So the natural progression to that was to go on and do film and television, which I did. But I always loved the idea of doing voice over for animation, a lot! But I was never in the right city for it. I lived in Chicago and there is no animation work there at all. Then I lived in New York, there was a tiny bit of work but I think I got my first animation job in that city the day I was moving to Los Angeles. So I didn’t end up doing. So finally, I ended up in LA and I had built up my resume and told my agent and manager out here that I wanted to do animation voice over. They said I would be perfect for it but it would be very hard to get into. They were not kidding about that. I got an voice over agent quickly but then came the very slow process of auditioning for roles. Literally it took years. It is such a tight knit group of people that do every voice. After a while, I felt like my auditions were going into a black hole. So I went out for the weirdest role I could and I ended up getting it. This was Penny for “ChalkZone”. The craziest voice ever came out of me when I went to the call back at Nickelodeon. I also started getting cast at the same time for the animated movies at MGM like “The Secret of NIMH 2” and “Tom Sawyer”. So that was how it all started.

MG: What do you enjoy most about voicing Princess Bubblegum in “Adventure Time”?
HW: This came about the same way. It is nice when you get offered roles but almost always for new series they want to have you audition. So I went to Cartoon Network for a call-back and I really wanted this role. I knew “Adventure Time” from the YoutTube shorts and though it was BRILLANT! I loved the whole idea of the show. It was dangerous since I went it really wanting to get the role. I tried to give them the most put together yet out there princess that would fit into their world. So I am very happy that I got the role and I love playing her.

MG: Can you reflect on the popularity of your character and the show with fans?
HW: I am not surprised honestly. When we first started recorded, I knew it was going to be HUGE! As it was! So I am not surprised at all. I think “Adventure Time” is written in such a new, visionary and incredible way. Not to mention that the artwork is just gorgeous. The colors and the design are amazing. Pen (Ward) is such a creative guy. I am so excited to be able to work with him on his vision. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. It is rare that you get a project when you just feel so damn proud to be apart of it. If I wasn’t I would be a huge fan of it anyway. So to get to get add my own imprint to it is really fun. With animation the characters do become us.

MG: How does “Adventure Time” compare to your other roles like Starfire/Blackfire in “Teen Titans”?
HW: “Teen Titans” that was a show of love. It was a real joining of people that really loved each other. It was such a great show. So with “Teen Titans” and “Adventure Time”, I feel that the key for their success is that the appeal crosses every age. You don’t have to be a 9 year old boy to love this. You can be a 37 year old woman [laughs].
MG: Or a 30 year old man, hint hint.
HW: Totally! Both shows have really massive appeal. “Teen Titans” was very dramatic. I got to really feel like an actor. All of the other Titans are such great actors and we got to play off each other. There is also “Teen Titans Go!” that is coming out.

MG: I was going to ask you, what can we expect for the new reboot “Teen Titans Go!”?
HW: It is broad comedy. It is hilarious I worry a little bit about the hardcore fan base from the first show. But here is the think, they are going to be very angry for one week and then they are going to love it beyond all reason. That is what happened to me. The shows are so well-written and hilarious They also give us a lot of room for improvisation So we, who know the characters like our ownself are really contribution to the content of the show. It will be the same characters that everyone knows and loves from the first series but being very funny and on their day off. We are not fighting villains, we are fighting about laundry or stuff like that. Some of the episodes have been so outrageous, so I can’t wait.


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Niki Yang talks about voicing Beemo and Lady Rainicorn on "Adventure Time"

Niki Yang is known for your work voicing the characters Beemo and Lady Rainicorn on “Adventure Time”. Niki has also work as a writer and storyboard artist on the show. She also works as a storyboard artists and voices Candy Chiu on “Gravity Falls”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat Niki about her voice work and the fandom behind “Adventure Time”.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you end up voicing Beemo and Lady Rainicorn on “Adventure Time”?
Niki Yang: I went to school with Pen Ward (the creator of the show) and we got closer when we were doing shorts with Frederator/Nickelodeon. Frederator is the one who made this short program possible (“Random Cartoons”). He was right next to my office and we got to hang out and stuff. Later on, he asked me if I wanted to do storyboards for him. At the same time, they were looking for a Korean speaking girl for one of the roles, which I happen to speak. So he asked me to voice Lady Rainicorn first. They also had some problems finding a voice actor for Beemo after auditioning professional actors but Pen really didn’t like them. So he asked me again to also do the voice of Beemo [laughs]. So that is what happened.

MG: Was is it about this show that draws its audience in?
NY: It is great. Not just visually, the story appeals to a wide range of people from young kids to adults. You are just able to connect with its so easily. There are stories about friendship. I love the animation style as well. It is so different and unique. Pen actually went out and found artists after reading their comics. He asked them to come on the show and that is very unusual in this industry.

MG: How can you reflect on the show’s success and popularity of your characters?
NY: Whenever I watch the show, I feel like my voice and acting pops out maybe since it is so unprofessional [laughs]. But people seem to like it, so I am flattered and happy about it. Especially a lot of Korean American kids write me a lot about it and that is really cool to me.

MG: I don’t know a thing that Lady Rainicorn is saying but I still love her [laughs].
[laughs] It is so amazing.  You still just hear her dialogue and it is so charming. I think a lot of fans of the show though are translating what she is saying and putting it on the web [laughs].

MG: Besides voicing the characters tell us about your role as storyboard artist and writer?
NY: Some people have natural talent to tell jokes while writing the story. I grew up in Korea and came to the U.S. to go to school. So I didn’t grow up with the same culture. So it was harder for me writing jokes due to the cultural differences. But I still really enjoyed it. “Adventure Time”, especially, it was my first writing gig. I have been doing storyboards prior but it was the first time writing. It was challenging but at the same time very fun. After that I got another gig to write and I have since gotten used to it.

MG: How does this show compare to your work on “Gravity Falls”? Oh [laughs], that is a bit different. NY: Cartoon Network is a pretty casual company compared to Disney. I like to work for both though but they are different. With Disney the executives are very hands on. It is a little more straight. I love Alex Hirsch’s show and the writing is just amazing. The art is also extraordinary. I really enjoy it. “‘Gravity Falls”‘ is a script driven show. My job is following the script and help the story telling with visual components. No writing involved. Although, Alex always encourage us to add any writings or gags, if we want to.  I have learned a lot from “Gravity Falls” like doing different shots and it has made me more crafty. Compared to “Adventure Time” which is more free which allows us to write. The technical side of the boards is the second concerns. The priority of the writing driven shows (such as “Adventure Time”) is writing. So they are both different but also both fun.

MG: Being an animator, what is the most challenging aspect of working on television?
NY: For me it is time consuming. Production companies are asking more and more these days of artists. So we are doing many peoples jobs all at the same time. The schedules are pretty tight and if I would want to play around with the writing and different shots but we usually don’t have the time. So, that is my biggest challenge working on TV.

Jessica DiCicco talks about voicing Flame Princess on "Adventure Time" and directing Kovas' music video for "Ice Cream"

Jessica DiCicco is a voice actress best for voicing Flame Princess on “Adventure Time”.  She also various characters like Patches on “Pound Puppies”. She recently stepped behind the character directing Kovas’ latest music video for his song “Ice Cream”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jessica to chat about her voice work, her love for directing and her plans for visiting fan conventions.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you ended up voicing Flame Princess on “Adventure Time”?
Jessica DiCicco: It happened like they all do, which is through auditioning. It’s a way of life in this business, you try out for different projects everyday. The funny is that I had a feeling about the Flame Princess audition right away when I first got the email. I had heard of “Adventure Time” but I didn’t know what it was really about. So I did a little research and I watched some YouTube clips. Immediately, I knew this was a show I wanted to be on. I sent the audition and I was very happy when I found out I had booked the role. From the very first script that came in, I thought the show was just so amazing and well written. I knew that I was in for something great.

MG: What do you enjoy most about voicing that character?
JD: I love that she has such a range of emotion. She can go from super sweet to insane and crazy at the drop of a dime. It is so fun to play a character like that.

MG: Can you reflect on the fandom surrounding your character and the show itself?
JD: I have never been a part of such a big show. It has been such an amazing experience. It is very reminiscent for me of “Simpsons Mania”. I remember when “The Simpsons” had just come out, there was so much energy surrounding the show, it truly struck a cord with its audience. I was a huge fan of “The Simpsons” when I was a kid, I would wear my Simpson’s denim jacket, talk on my Bart phone, then go to sleep draped in my Simpson’s bed sheets. The insanity and excitement surrounding “Adventure Time” is reminiscent of that. I was actually at the Annie Awards this year and was presenting with Lucas Grabeel, and Matt Groening also was there. I got the chance to talk to him and it turns out his son is a big fan of “Adventure Time” and even was an intern on the show. I ran my theory by him about how “Adventure Time Mania” is reminiscent of “Simpsons Mania” and he said that he couldn’t agree more. Right from the creator’s mouth! So glad that I ran that by him, it was a very cool moment for me.

MG: How does your work on “Adventure Time” differ from Patches on “Pound Puppies”?
JD: I feel lucky that I get to voice so many different types of characters. It satisfies my desire to act and be creative. Patches is so much fun, he is so cute, fun and playful- he’s a puppy! I love dogs, so I put my love for my own dog, Kody, into that character. The head writer is Bart (Jennett) and he is incredibly talented. The episodes of “Pound Puppies” are so well written, they have so many layers, twists and turns throughout. It is always very fun to work on this show.

MG: How did you get involved directing Kovas’ music video for his song “Ice Cream”?
JD: Directing the video for “Ice Cream” was blast and easily one of my favorite experiences to date. I met Kovas, he is an incredibly talented music producer and also has a solo artist career, and we became quick friends. I listened to his mix tape while it was in the works and that song just inspired me. I am also friends with Jessie Heiman, the “nerd” from the GoDaddy Super Bowl XLVII commercial, he’s the one who made out with Bar Rafaeli [laughs]. We have been friends and have always wanted to work together. I thought it would be so funny to have Jesse be the main thug in a rap video [laughs]. That is what actually inspired the entire “Ice Cream” concept.

MG: What was your biggest challenge directing your first music video?
JD: I am very hard on myself and I like everything to be as good as it can possibly be. Even with my voice-overs, I really try to focus on my characters and have a deep connection with them. So I wanted to apply this to directing. I wanted the characters to be very solid and consistent throughout the entire video. One of the most fun parts of this video was casting it. As soon as it was cast with these incredibly talented people, a lot of it was setting up the scenes and it was such a joy to watch it all unfold. I was also fortunate to work with the best editor of all time, Steve Forner. It was such a great experience. I didn’t realize how truly happy directing makes me and I can’t wait to try this again.

MG: Do you see yourself pursuing more directing gigs in the near future? Film or TV?
JD: I’m actually directing another music video next week! I was actually offered this next video based on my work from “Ice Cream,” which I did just for fun! I’m excited to let this new-found love for directing unfold organically. I am going project by project. But I would like to challenge myself and try and tackle a short film in the near future. So that would happen within the next year hopefully. At this point, it is just a matter of finding an incredible script that inspires me.

MG: Tell us about “Sheriff Callie’s Wild West” coming out on Disney Junior starring Mandy Moore, Lucas Grabeel and yourself?
JD: I am very excited about this show. It’s the first Western musical for preschoolers, and it has been fantastic working with Mandy Moore and Lucas Grabeel. I play a 7-year-old boy cactus named Toby. The songs we sing get stuck in our heads for days, hopefully the kids love it, that way I don’t feel silly for liking it so much [laughs]. It has such a stellar cast in addition to Mandy and Lucas. It also includes Kevin Michael Richardson, Mo Williams, Cree Summer, Carlos Alazraqui, and Gary Anthony Williams.

MG: I know you can’t talk about it but you also have a few video game roles in the works also right?
JD: I wish I could tell you about them at this very moment! I’m so excited about these new roles. Voicing characters in a video game satisfies a whole other part of my creativity. It is very natural acting, very cinematic. So it challenges me in a very different way which is very fun for me.

Fan art by rorpie

MG: Tell us about how you got started with your girl DJ duo called Kittypillaz?
JD: I just started making appearances at conventions and anime cons. I didn’t realize how much fun they were. I went recently with a fellow voice actress, and we decided to also DJ at the con. She is big in the anime world. The first one we just did was Ichibancon, this past January in Charlotte, NC. We just figured to get out there play some good music and have fun with our fans. It was such an amazing experience, I look forward to doing it again!

MG: What else do you have going on that you would like to talk about?
JD: Fans can reach out to me on Facebook and Twitter. Also I love friendship bracelets. So when I make appearances at conventions, I am offering exclusive friendship bracelets for each con, that will only be available at that specific con. Also I am going to have a contest on deviantART for artists to submit the best Flame Princess fan art for the postcard my next exclusive friendship bracelet will come with. I am a huge fan of art and I love all the fan art that people do for “Adventure Time” and any of my characters. I am very excited to incorporate fan art into this project.

Greg Cipes talks about voicing Michaelangelo in Nick’s reboot of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

Greg Cipes is a voice actor that is known best for his role of Beast Boy in the “Teen Titans” franchise. He is currently voicing Michaelangelo in Nick’s reboot of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. Media Mikes has a chance to chat with Greg about his role on the show and also his other voice work.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with voicing Michaelangelo in the new reboot of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”?
Greg Cipes: I have a friend who is an executive producer on the new series. He and Nickelodeon brought me in as they thought I was perfect for the character. I brought what I thought Mikey was to the table. For me it was pretty natural and easy. The original cartoon was my favorite growing up. I learned how to meditate and got in to surfing and skateboarding because of that show. The turtles really helped shape who I am today. It was a role I could easily step into and they felt I was the guy.

MG: How was it working with Rob Paulsen who worked on the original “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” series?
GC: Rob is such a pleasure to work with. I grew up listening to him on the show and to be able to work with him now is very surreal.

MG: What is it like playing such an iconic character?
GC: It is the greatest gift I have ever received. It’s a great responsibility being a turtle and there is nothing else I would rather be doing.

MG: Can you tell us about the recording sessions?
GC: 99 percent of the time we record the shows together as a group. We all feed off each other and we are like a big family. Basically, we are getting paid to have fun.

MG: What do you enjoy most about playing Iron Fist in “Ultimate Spider-Man!”?
GC: That was another role where they came to me and said I was perfect for that role. Disney thought I was very much like him and asked what I had. I brought this very gem like aspect to the character which is similar to how I am in my real life. I would say Iron Fist is a part of my personality as is Mikey. That’s usually why I book roles. The studios will see aspects of their characters in me and then ask me to come in. You would think in the voice over world it would matter what you look like or what your personality is like but, I have been cast in all of my cartoons more by how I look and by my personality. My visual and internal characteristics seem to be a big thing which is very cool. These characters are really who I am.

MG: Having voiced so many great characters, how do you differentiate your voices for each show?
GC: Each character has its own world. I will react differently in each of those worlds. It’s almost like I am an avatar. I get to go into those worlds and live it through the character. Those characters are me in different bodies and under different circumstances. Naturally I would be acting differently in different situations. Each world and character has so much richness to draw from to make it real that things come natural. My voice just changes on its own.

MG: With “Teen Titans Go!” coming in 2013, tell us about about reprising Beast Boy?
GC: That is really exciting. I love what Warner Brothers is doing with the show. The show is just so, so funny and it is going to be a great surprise for everyone. Sam Register from Warner Brothers is the one really behind making the show what it is and for bringing it back. I have been asking him for the past 7 years to bring the show back. He would just keep telling me one day we will. Finally I got the call to come in to work on the new show. Sam is the guy behind everything. That character Beast Boy kicked off my career as a voice actor.

MG: You work again with Sean Astin in “And They’re Off”, tell us about that?
GC: Before I started working with Sean Astin on “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” I got to meet him and work with him on this project. The film is a comedic film that was really fun to work on. The cast was just so great. The film wasn’t a major release or anything but a year later I am working with Sean again. He is a really great guy that I get to work with every week.

Rob Paulsen talks about voicing Donatello in Nick’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” reboot

Rob Paulsen is a well known voice actor. If you don’t know his face, then you definitely known his voice. He is the man behind Yakko on “Animaniacs”, as well as Pinky (which he won an Emmy for) and hundreds of others as well. He is also the voice of Raphael in the original 1987 “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” series. This year Rob is stepping in the role of a Turtles again in Nick’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” reboot but this time voicing Donatello. Media Mikes had a chance to chat about the new show and how it was returning to the series.

Mike Gencarelli: After playing Raphael in the original 1987 series, how was it switching characters to Donatello in the 2012 reboot?
Rob Paulsen: As you can imagine, it has been an incredible thrill to get another bite of this “Turtle” apple. None of us at the beginning, now 25 years ago – a quarter century, nobody knew that this was going to be ending up being such an iconic show. It is crazy. The biggest difference is that I am involved for the launch of a new show that is already a worldwide international icon. Everybody, everywhere virtually knows about Ninja Turtles. It is an amazing experience to start a show with all that already in place, so to speak. In terms of my participation, I voiced an iconic character 25 years ago and now I am taking over another iconic character. Barry Gordon will always be the original Donatello. There is no downside man, it is all up! It has been such a huge thrill! People also really seem to be really getting behind this new show.

MG: How did it actually come about you playing Donatello this time around? Was it your choice?
RP: No, the only choice I had in the matter was whether or not I wanted to audition. Of course, I am not going to say no. When the folks at Nick invited me to audition, they asked me to specifically read for Donatello. I remember telling my agent “Do they know who I am?”. It was not out of arrogance but, as you know, there have been several adaptations of “Turtles” that had nothing to do with the original cast. I wanted to make sure that they knew I have been down this “Turtle” path before. They knew my work that I had done with Nickelodeon like, “The Fairly Odd Parents”, “Back at the Barnyard”, “Cat Scratch”, “Jimmy Neutron” and “Danny Phantom”. So the folks at Nick were aware of the fact that I did a lot of work with them. They said “We know exactly who Rob is and we are a fan of his work here, as well as “Animaniacs”, “Pinky and the Brain”, “The Tick”, “The Mask” and of course the original “Turtles”. But we think that Rob and his sensibilities would be interesting for ‘our’ vision of Donatello”. So here we are many years later and we get to talk about this great series again.

MG: Can you reflect on the fan’s responses to this new series?
RP: To the credit of Nickelodeon, I owe them a lot. I have been working with them for over 10 years. Just my work at Nickelodeon alone is what some actors would be lucky enough to call a career. I am incredible grateful to them. The fact that they included me on this show is great but even better is that they are playing up the fact that I was involved with the original. I think it is very interesting Mike, there are a lot of people that really dig the connection. I think it was a sort of happy accident. I don’t think I was hired on purpose as a nostalgic connection to the original show but it has become a cool thing for the show. The other actors even get a kick out of it since they are younger and used to watch the show growing up, especially (Greg) Cipes. I think the fans are also really digging it, especially the inter-species romance between Donatello and April. The secret is that (Executive Producer) Ciro (Nieli) and his team simply get it. They are fans of the franchise and it is very rare to have a fan of a show who is also making a show for the fans.

MG: After voicing like a million characters, you ever find it hard to come up with new voices?
RP: Hard is a relative term. What is hard? Hard is pulling hot tar on the freeway in August. That is hard. My job is pure joy. The most difficult part of my job is getting more work. In terms of coming up with new characters, I think it is a little bit tricky since I have been to that well so many times. But that is my job. My job is to take things I have done and tweak them. If you listen to Mel Blanc talk about his characters years ago, he said that he would take Daffy, add an affectation to it and soon he would have a new character. That is my challenge. I don’t want to stop working until they put me in the ground. I just love coming up with new characters.

MG: So you mentioned at NYCC 2012 that Pinky is your favorite character, how can you possible choose just one?
RP: That is exactly right Mike, it is impossible to choose. I think I prefaced it with the fact that when I get asked my favorite character, I say “The next one”. That means I am working and that is the main thing when you are an actor. It is virtually impossible to choose but I suppose if I would have to I would have to say Pinky only because 20 years later, people still love “Pinky and The Brain” and “Animaniacs”. Of course, I also won an Emmy for Pinky. I suppose if I had to make a choice, it would be him. But let me tell you Donatello is quickly becoming a favorite. After only a few weeks on the air people all over the world are freaking out in a very positive way about the Turtles. I read a lot of reviews and honestly about 85% has been really positive. You have to ask me again in another two years because Donatello might be the answer then.

Check a voice clip of Rob plugging (in several different character voices):

Matt Lanter chats about voicing Anakin Skywalker in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”

Matt Lanter is currently the voice of Anakin Skywalker in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”. The show is entering its fifth season starting on September 29, 2012. He also co-stars as Liam on The CW’s “90210”. Media Mikes had a chance to meet up with Matt during the recent Star Wars Celebration VI and got to chat “Star Wars” with him.

Mike Gencarelli: When you are preparing to voice Anakin, what do you use as your inspiration to get into character?
Matt Lanter: Well we’ve been doing it for seven years now. We have been living with the character for a lot of time. So there is no ritual that I do to actually get into character. When I read the script, I just let my imagination take off into that world. The movies and the prior episodes are always in my head. When we go to record an episode, Dave (Filoni) is also there to give me notes. With Anakin, we always have an on-going discussing of where is he at right now. Has he changed as far as his awareness to manipulation. Is he losing patience for Obi-Wan or the counsel? Also how much do we want to show of them each season? There is a lot of that kind of prep prior to recording.

MG: Any new characters that you will be voicing this season?
ML: In the premiere episode this season, I get to also voice Hondo’s right hand man, a pirate called Jiro. He actually has a substantial role in the episode. He speaks with this Australian accent. I also have done a bunch of other stuff but you probably can’t tell since I really try to change it up. You just know Anakin’s voice so well. Dave is really letting me get in there and do more and more, which I love. It is great to be one of the James Arnold Taylor’s or Dee Bradley Baker’s on the show.

MG: Did you realize you had such range when voicing other characters?
ML: I think I learned more with going to different places and being around these guys. They talk about being elevate due to the acting part of it. But I am really elevated by them with the range of voicing that they can do. Like how to place with a pitch or tone for a voice, I have really learned a lot from them. I think if you look back through the series, I think you will be surprised that I have played numerous characters throughout. Bounty Hunters, Pirates and all sorts of cool things.

MG: You said you’ve watched the Star Wars Saga, Have you ever met Hayden Christiansen?
ML: No I have never met Hayden, no. He is about the only one I have met.

MG: Do you have a favorite character and can’t say Anakin?
ML: [Laughs] I love Han Solo. He is the man. He get’s the girl. He is witty. Han Solo has a big influence voicing Anakin for me. So I’ll go with Han Solo…and R2-D2.

MG: Do you feel that as Anakin gets closer to his role in “Revenge of the Sith” that it is becoming more challenging for you?
ML: Yeah, it will be a challenge. It is always a challenge though, but a fun challenge to accept to take him to that place. What is going to be challenging is how to show that in a natural way and not just go all the way out. we need to find the moments to show that stuff. Cause even in “Revenge of the Sith”, he is not a monster or anything. So we have to naturally segue that in. But with Dave and the great writing team with have, they have it under control.

MG: With fellow “Clone Wars”, Catherine Taber, Dee Bradley Baker and Anthony Daniels having voice roles in “Star Wars: Detours”, any chance you’ll appear as well?
ML: I would love to. I saw some of the stuff from the trailer and it looks like they are really having a blast with it. I am not sure what they would use me for but I would definitely love to.

MG: Do you own any of your own merchandise?
ML: Yeah, I do actually. I own a bit of Anakin stuff. I try not to get crazy with it. I got some really cool figurines form Gentle Giant. After a few seasons with the show, they gave us all a “Clone Wars” head thanking us for three years of service. That was really cool, especially since that was a cast/crew only thing.

MG: How is it for you going from such an intense role in “Star Wars The Clone Wars” to “90210”?
ML: Like I said, I have been doing both for a while now. It is just a different head space, when I am driving to work to “Clone Wars”, I am usually thinking about something that happened on a previous episode or a cool image or just being in a “Star Wars” state-of-mind. With “90210”, I have a long drive to that show. So I have a lot of time to think about that show and my character.

MG: If Liam from “90210” and Anakin from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” met, what would they talk about?
ML: [laughs] Probably about fixing a car or a speed-bike. Cause that is Anakin and Liam in the first season was all about his car. So I think they would find some common ground there [laughs].


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Erik Bauersfeld talks about voicing Admiral Akbar and Bib Fortuna in “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi”

Erik Bauersfeld is the voice behind great characters like Admiral Akbar and Bib Fortuna in “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi”. He is uncredited in the film and his iconic roles took only around an hour to record. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Erik about his roles and reflects on their longevity with fans.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you end up providing the voices of Admiral Akbar and Bib Fortuna in “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi”?
Erik Bauersfeld: It was chance…almost a mistake. I worked with Randy Thom at LucasFilm. We have worked together for many, many years now doing radio drama. We were at the Ranch working, when I was simply asked if I wanted to do some voices for “Star Wars”. Now, I knew nothing about “Star Wars” and wasn’t that interested.But I went in to do it anyway and it was just Ben Burtt and some sound people in the room. They asked me to do a voice for Admiral Akbar. I asked for a picture and I said “Well, he’s a fish?” [laughs]. I gave his voice a sound like he has a little bit of water in his mouth. Only took a few minutes really. Then they asked me to do another one for a character named Bib Fortuna, which was in Huttese, which was a completely made up language. I asked for picture again. I gave them a voice and then simply went back to work. About an hour later, they came to me and said George (Lucas) liked both of them and they wanted to use me. I also was asked to do a voice for Yoda. I gave them a voice, George liked it but it went back and forth for months. Frank Oz had ended up doing the part, obviously, so I guess they got what they wanted. So that is the whole story.

MG: How did you come up with the voice Akbar?
EB: I have a simple answer. I have been in radio for over 25 years and I do voices every day. I look at a picture of a character or read a story and I can easily tell what the character is like. It just came to me and that is all.

MG: How was it speaking in Hutt language for Fortuna?
EB: I don’t remember it being difficult. I didn’t really have much to say. I think Ben Burtt said the lines and I just repeated them with my interpretations. I had no idea what that big thing on his neck was though. Someone asked me about that and when I looked at the picture, I said “I think there is an elephant standing behind him”. Of course he has other reasons obviously, but I always found that answer funny.

MG: Can you reflect on the following that Admiral Akbar has acquired with his line “It’s a Trap”?
EB: I am surprised. It is a real surprise to me. They give me so much credit that I feel that I don’t deserve. They even have toys now that you push the plush doll and it comes out with “It’s a Trap”, which is my voice. Of course I never see any money from those.

MG: Overall, how long did it take to record the roles?
EB: It took probably about a half an hour the first time. Then I went back and did a few more takes. So it didn’t come to much more than an hour or an hour and a half at most.

MG: Why did you end up getting uncredited for the roles?
EB: When I did the voices or the recordings, the screen credits has already been  made and designed. So I never got any screen credit for voicing Akbar and Fortuna. I didn’t care at the time. I was busy working other projects. What ended up happening was that a whole new generation of fans started collecting autographs for the cast members of “Star Wars”. I got requests for autographs from fathers that were children at the time when they saw it. Now they are sending pictures asking for autographs for their own children. So all these fans found out they didn’t have a character’s voice for “Star Wars” and that was Admiral Akbar, since it wasn’t voiced by Tim Rose. The requests began to reach me and I got flooded with mail asking for my autograph. Now I am working with Coolwater Productions to assist in handling all these requests.

MG: When was the last time you have seen “Return of the Jedi”?
EB: I think the last time I saw it was in theaters. My parents were always suspicious of what I was doing in California, since they were in New York. When they opened “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” in Forest Hills, Queens, I told them I would take them to the movies to see what I have been doing. Before the movie started, I told them I would nudge them when I came on the screen. So, when Akbar came on the screen, I whispered “Mom, that’s me”. She turned back at me and said back “Shhhhhhhhh”. So that was the ultimate acclaim that I got for doing “Star Wars” [laughs]. But at least they loved the picture. That was probably the last time I saw it. In fact, I don’t even think I have seen all the others ones as well. I was working a lot on my radio drama, which has keep me extremely busy over the years.

Janet Varney talks about voicing Korra on Nickelodeon’s “The Legend of Korra”

Janet Varney is known best for voicing Korra on Nickelodeon’s “The Legend of Korra”.  She also appeared in the first season of Syfy’s “Insane or Inspired?”.  Currently she is working on HuffPost Live, a live streaming network. Janet took some time to chat about voicing Korra and what we can expect from season two of the show.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you end up landing the leading role of Korra on Nickelodeon’s “The Legend of Korra”?
Janet Varney: Well I have wanted to do voice over for a while but didn’t have a lot of experience in it. I was something that was a dream of mine. I was working well on-camera but like every good dissatisfied artist, what I really wanted to do was something that I wasn’t getting successful in [laughs]. Mostly because the little kid in me was completely fascinated by being a part of cartoons. I met with a few voice over agents and then asked me “What do you like most about voice work? Promos? Commercials?”. I told them basically I just want to do cartoons and they appreciated my honesty. When I got the audition of Korra, it was basically just a normal process for any on-camera role. We even got put together with the other proposed cast to see how the chemistry was, so I got to read with David Faustino and P.J. Byrne. When I found out I got the role, I was in a Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts in the Valley, getting crafts supplies. My agent called and told me the news and I ended up screaming and jumping up and down all by myself in an aisle of this fabric store. It has turned out to be one of the best jobs, I have ever had. It is an absolute dream.

MG: Did you look back to “Avatar: The Last Airbender” series” at all?
JV: I was a fan of the original series. I think because of the original legacy of the show and how beloved the series was, I think we all felt like we had a responsibility to the fans to do something that would live up to the original. I so felt pressure that the fans were ok with what I was doing with the character and fulfilling their expectations.

MG: Tell us about your podcast “The J.V. Club”?
JV: The timing on that was really great. I decided to focus on, before Korra took off, a way do a podcast with a unique point-of-view and voice. Fan of Korra are even crossing over to the podcast now as we discuss the challenges of being a young person and then how those challenge present themselves as an adult.

MG: I am a big “Jaws” fan myself, tell us about working with Rifftrax to spoof “Jaws 3”?
JV: Oh yeah, “Jaws 3”. I used to love that movie. What is so great about some of the spoofs we get to do is that when you are younger you don’t necessarily know how bad something is that you like. But you still always seem to love it growing up even though it doesn’t hold up and was terrible to begin with. I still love that movie…sort of…even though it is terrible. It was the perfect movie to riff on. We just recorded “Flatliners” as well, so that will be coming out very soon.

MG: Speaking of spoofing, how did you get involved with Syfy’s “Insane or Inspired?”
JV: It was a super fun show. I had done some “Chelsea Lately” episodes and a few other panel TV shows, so it seemed like such a good fit. It has really been a real hoot some of the things we get to view, which are pretty hilarious. I also love the other people on it like Owen Benjamin and Ben Gleib. We don’t always get to see each out since we are recording at different times but it is still fun.

MG: You must own a lot of the same clothes, since you didn’t change your clothes each episode?
JV: [laughs] The bad thing is that I never realized that they were going to be combining clips over the series of episodes. The second time I showed up, I was wearing something completely different. They said “No, no, no, no…you need to wear the same clothes”. I got real familiar with that outfit and will probably never wear it again [laughs].

MG: When can we expect the second season of “The Legend of Korra”?
JV: We already recorded all of the episodes for the second season. Now, they are just being animated. It takes a long time to create that beautiful animated world. I am not even sure if Nickelodeon is 100% sure when we will be airing it, but I am sure sometime in 2013. I can tell you having recorded the scripts, it is just phenomenal. It is beautiful, interesting and strange. We get to meet some new characters and visit some new places. I am really excited and I think fans are going to love it.


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