I mentioned in my last article that a girl drove all the way down from New Jersey to North Carolina to Ichibancon meet Vic Mignogna, the star of Fullmetal Alchemist (he voices the main character, Edward Elric). This time, Anthony Aycock and I went to New Jersey from North Carolina to meet Aaron Dismuke, where Vic was also present. Aaron voices Edward Elric’s iron giant little brother, Alphonse. Aaron doesn’t do many conventions–mainly due to not being invited, he said–so I thought I would see him while I had the chance.
It was called Anime Fan Fest. With both Vic and Aaron as guests, plus other actors from Fullmetal Alchemist, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh, I expected it to be pretty big. However, it never seemed terribly crowded, even on Saturday afternoon. Then one of the dealers told me that this was the convention’s first year. I was immediately impressed.
The convention was held in one massive room at the Garden State Exhibition Center. Dealers (about 30), artist alley (about 10), cosplay registration, autograph sessions, and panels all took place in that one room. This layout had pros and cons. Everything was easy to find, but not everything was easy to hear. During Aaron’s Q&A, noise from the dealer area kept hitting me like Izumi Curtis’s fists.
I did hear a couple of things, though. One was Aaron talking about how his voice cracked during filming of the movie Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa. He asked to do the scene again, but director Mike McFarland told him, “No, we’ll keep that one. It shows the emotion of the character”–probably while stifling a laugh. I also heard Aaron talk about being recognized in public. Once was by a cashier at Kroger, who took a selfie with Aaron and his groceries. Another was someone who kept calling for Aaron at his parents’ house (he says he now lives off the grid). Still another was the guy in college who waited at a men’s room for Aaron to emerge and shake his hand. “You know my hands are wet,” Aaron said he told the guy. “You watched me wash them.” (Not creepy at all.)
After the Q&A, we had the pleasure of getting an interview with Aaron..
I have heard Vic talk about you falling in the booth a few times during Fullmetal Alchemist. Can you tell the story in your perspective?
Yeah, sure. Okay I was eleven whenever I started and so I was very absent minded and kind of
ADD acting, like I actually had been diagnosed. So I would like move around a lot, I had a stool and so I’d be in the booth, leaning back and picking at the walls because there’s soft soundproofing material. I destroyed those walls honestly. Like who am I kidding? It was bad. I might have even written on them at one point.
“Aaron was here”?
Yeah, I think that’s exactly what I wrote, honestly! Anyway, so yeah I was a little turd. And so I was leaning back and what I got into was this mode where I’d be leaning back and I would hear the beeps. You have three beeps and on the fourth imaginary beep is when you’d start recording your line. I was leaning back, and Mike said [Mike McFarland, director of Fullmetal Alchemist], “Alright let’s do this line.” It would go beep beep beep, and I’d go up real fast and I’d be like “Brother.” ‘Kay. And so this time I was leaning back and beep beep and I tried to lean forward but the stool like gives out. It goes the wrong way. It goes forward instead of backwards and I go backwards and it pushes me against the wall and the stool props up in the front of the booth. And so like I just end up with my legs sandwiched against my chest. And the stool like pinning me there. And the only way for me to get out myself would have been to like twist out and fall straight to the ground. And so I didn’t want to do that but I also didn’t want to admit what had happened and they had heard the sound of the stool and all the crash. That’s recorded somewhere. And so there’s this pause where Mike says “Aaron?” He looks up trying to see me but he can’t because I’m too far down. And I was just like – all I could think of – I finally realized I was going to need help. So I asked for it. A little “Help me.” He had to pull me out.
And they’ve never let you live it down.
You have mentioned before that you got into voice acting because you were related to someone who was a voice actor. Could you talk a little bit more about that?
Yeah, okay. Justin Cook is currently a director of production at Funimation, but at the time he was acting and directing a bit and he basically got the impression that I was a good reader because I was reading Lord of the Rings. I wasn’t really understanding it all, but I was reading it. And you know, I was like in third grade, I was like nine. So I was a bit above my reading level, and as a result he decided, “Why don’t I try using an actual boy who I know who I have a rapport with so he won’t be nervous for this little part of a little boy instead of using a woman. It’ll sound more authentic.” And so he did, and it ended up turning out pretty good. I felt pretty good about it. And he felt pretty good about it and so he had me do a larger part from the same show and then ultimately I started auditioning for other stuff and Alphonse was the first or second character I landed actually. And I think part of the reason they gave me that part was because there were no flaps [mouth movements for animated characters] so I didn’t have to focus too much on the mouth movements and they were able to do what they needed to to adjust. So I just had to do the acting. And I think that’s a big part of what allowed me to do that at such a young age. It wasn’t as hard as what all the other actors were having to do. So it was nice. It was like having training wheels on for my first part.
What sort of shows do you like that aren’t anime?
I like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones. I read Game of Thrones before the series came out so I was super excited about it. I’m a big fan of Peaky Blinders, it’s a British crime show. It’s on Netflix right now. I also like westerns: Bonanza. I’m also a big fan of M*A*S*H which is so good. It has some of the best comedy ever. I have almost every episode memorized, I’ve watched it so many times. That’s what I grew up on.
Which actors would you actually ‘fangirl’ over?
Alan Alda. He plays Hawkeye [in M*A*S*H]. I forget her name, but I recently started watching Jessica Jones, and that actress is fantastic.
I love Jessica Jones. I’ve actually met David Tennant.
Oh cool, yeah! He plays Kilgrave [in Jessica Jones]. That guy’s awesome.
You said you did some directing for Funimation. What sort of skillset do you need to be a successful director?
I think that the acting and writing are both important because there comes a point where you have to know whether an actor could give you the read for a certain line or whether between the way the line was written and the flaps and their personal cadence, whether they’re capable of doing that line or whether or not it needs to be rewritten. And once you know it needs to be rewritten, it needs to be able to. So you need the writing skill to alter the line if need be. And you also need the acting experience and also the ability to describe how you need a certain read. So I found I was able to mostly harness my acting experience and be able to like use – and also my acting experience with like hearing the different directors and the way that they would direct me. So you can either give someone the read you want and see how they respond to that and you can say “No, say it like this” and then say it. Like I was a good parrot when I was an early actor. As Al I could easily say something back exactly how you had said it to me. That was a good training wheels thing. And then slowly I was able to predict what it was they were going to want and do it in the first round. Other than that, sometimes I use like little analogies. I’d say something like “Could you say that as more of a languid predator? You know, a leopard stalking its prey?” Or “Make it sound more like you dipped your hand in what you thought was a crate of berries, but instead it was acid.” Things like that. Colorful things. That sort of idea that they were pretending that happened and then get a little more of the nuance of what the line is than from just hearing where the character is coming from.
What do you do if the actor just can’t get the line right?
You either settle for what they can do or you say “Okay good, thanks,” and then you get someone else to do it. I have never had to do that. But I’ve also never had the authority to do that even on the show that I was directing. That was always Tyler’s call. He was my producer. He did the casting for me because it was my first show. So he took care of the hard parts.
How did you get started on doing conventions?
My first convention was before – okay so Anizona, which was a first year con, had me and the entire cast of – It was me, Laura Bailey, Travis Willingham, Vic Mignogna, I think Caitlin Glass – everybody was there. It was a tiny con, maybe like eight hundred people. That was my first real con. I don’t know if it’s even going anymore but I did it and I was super nervous and I was like “What am I supposed to say?” Because we were going through opening ceremonies and we were going through and everyone was like “Hey! I’m really glad to be here! My name is Travis Willingham and I play Roy Mustang.” And I didn’t even know what to say. They were all popping jokes and they were all like “What, you’re nervous?” And I was like “Yeah I’m nervous!” “Just tell them you’re nervous.” So I was like “Hey I’m Aaron, I play Al and I’m really nervous and there was a chorus of “Awwww” and uproarious applause. And I was like “That’s weird.”
Okay, one last question. What was your first experience with fangirls?
I ran from the first girl that tried to glomp [to pounce on and hug aggressively, often with a running start] me. I actually ran. She was a titan. She was really tall and she was wearing a Sailor Moon costume and I wasn’t familiar with Sailor Moon. I was only thirteen probably. Fourteen? Her friends met me first, and Vic said, “Do you know who this is? This guy is going to play Al.” And this was before Anizona. I was going to this con to get adjusted to it. It was a con in Fort Worth, my hometown. So I just went there for kicks to check out the scene and Vic happened to be there as a guest and he happened to recognize me and he told some other fans who I was and they were like, “We have to call our friend.” They called their friend and it was the 6’7 Amazon woman in a Sailor Moon outfit. She was like [bellows like a screaming fangirl]. People are like spilling to either side and it was an anime moment. I ran to the bathroom and then I slowly came back and hugged her calmly.
After the interview, Anthony and I went around the dealer room one last time when I noticed something very familiar. I am a yaoi fangirl, so I would recognize fan art from a fandom I am deeply involved in–in this case, Durarara!! What I saw was a wall scroll depicting the show’s most popular characters, Shizuo Heiwajima and Izaya Orihara, as they appeared in high school. They were embracing aggressively. The image was a popular piece of fan art. Someone had ripped it off, altered it slightly, and stuck it on a wall scroll that was now for sale.
I spoke to a very close friend, Kawaiikisshu, who is also an artist. This particular image she had seen on Zerochan.net, and I found it in other places such as tumblr. She said there are a lot of these on eBay and it is sad that work gets robbed and turned into merchandise for money. I heard the same sentiment from Irene Y. Lee, who draws the Li’l Deadpool for Marvel Comics. We saw a picture at her booth of Li’l Deadpool looking through a box of comics, which I totally do not have a T-shirt of. No one obtained Irene’s permission to make the shirt, and she receives no payment from it. I wish now I had told some of the staff what I saw because I knew it was illegal. Artists deserve all the credit and the money their art is worth. I know how I would feel if someone copied and pasted this article into their own web site and pretended that they were me. If they were me, they can buy food for my eight cats. (Disclaimer: I am not a crazy cat lady.)
Aside from copyright infringement and the need for more than one room, Anime Fan Fest was a spectacular experience. It was organized, the guests were terrific, and the staff was superb. When I interviewed Vic at Ichibancon, the staff member who was supposed to handle his schedule told me to ask him myself. Aaron’s handler, however, worked with me to create a seamless interview process.
I guess the worst part about Anime Fan Fest was the drive. In North Carolina, it had already been raining for about a week, and it did not stop until we left New Jersey, which, by the way, is the capital of RUDE. In our 24 hours in the state, we were honked at fourteen times. I haven’t been honked at fourteen times in North Carolina in my nineteen years of living.
Just kidding. I HEART New Jersey.
A few years ago, when I was still in high school, a person who liked anime was made fun of for it. My school had a manga/book club, and the entire group was often ridiculed by jocks who wouldn’t know good writing if it were mixed in their protein shakes. Despite this, I grew to love the art form, and when I learned that there were whole conventions devoted to it, I begged my dad to take me to one. Surprisingly, he agreed.
Anime conventions were smaller then, including my first, Ichibancon 2012, which was held at a tiny hotel in Charlotte, NC. I originally went with two friends to meet none other than Vic Mignogna, who was–and remains to this day–my favorite voice actor. We stood in his autograph line for about 30 minutes, and when I finally got to his table, I said “Hi” in a talking-to-your-crush-for-the-first-time voice.
Now, five years later, I’m still going to that same convention. It was held this year over New Year’s Day weekend at Embassy Suites Hotel in Concord. Comparing this year’s Ichibancon to the one in 2012 is like comparing the inside of the TARDIS to the inside of my closet. Over 5,000 attendees pre-registered this year, which doesn’t include those who bought a badge on-site. I don’t think 5,000 people even knew about it in in 2012. The cosplayers were awesome. I saw anime, Marvel, and DC characters, plus assorted Pokemon and pop culture figures (the guy dressed as John Cena was meme-tastic). One group of cosplayers was from Undertale, a video game that just came out, which was impressive in its immediacy and quality. Dozens of panels were scheduled on just about any nerdy topic you could imagine, even for Homestuck, the webcomic created in 2009 by Andrew Hussie. The gamers had their own room: dozens of PlayStations and Nintendos (and I don’t mean Nintendogs) projected onto the walls. There was even a TARDIS bouncy house for all the children. I didn’t see the cosplay contest, but I’m sure it was fabulous, especially since, for the first year, a $500 prize was available for first place (this would probably cover the cost of half an automail leg).
Speaking of automail, I got a chance to talk to my five-years-ago idol, Vic Mignogna. Vic is the Johnny Depp of anime. Other voice actors were there, including several members of the cast of Durarara!! (Saki Mikajima, Kasuka Heiwajima, Seiji Yagiri, and Saburo Togusa), whom you don’t see often. But Vic was clearly the biggest draw: one girl came all the way from New Jersey to meet him.
After seeing him a dozen or more times over the years, I felt more relaxed than that initial time. Here is what we discussed.
Me: As Edward Elric, you’re very emotional and over the top. Then you recently switched to playing Kasuka on Durarara!! who is emotionless with a very emotional brother. What was that like?
Vic: You know, I have to tell you, I’m kind of naturally emotional and expressive with my voice. Then, when I was doing Durarara!!, started, and they asked me, can you take the emotion out of it? Can you make it flatter? I’m thinking, it’s pretty flat already. So, yeah, that was a big change.
Me: How long have you been doing conventions?
Vic: Wow. Honestly, maybe a total of thirteen years.
Me: How did you get started?
Vic: Well, I got started in voice acting sixteen or seventeen years ago, and I didn’t know anything about conventions. In fact, there weren’t any at the time. Then, a few years into my career, I saw Monica Rial, and she said to me, “Hey, do you want to go to an anime convention?” I was like, “A what? They have conventions?” I went to Star Trek conventions when I was a little boy, but I had never been to an anime convention. So I went as a guest to one in Ohio, in Columbus, and I was just blown away. I couldn’t believe that there were these wall scrolls with my characters on it and pencil boards and plushies. I had no idea this stuff existed. That was the first one I went to, and of course it ramped up since then.
Me: I’ve also seen you at conventions like DragonCon that are not strictly anime conventions. Talk about the difference between those.
Vic: Anime conventions are very special in and of themselves. There is a real strong sense of community because everybody is there because they love this one specific genre of entertainment. Multicultural, pop culture conventions are more of something for everyone. It’s nice to have an anime presence there, but they don’t typically have the same feeling, a sense of family that you get at an anime convention. I suppose it would probably be the same for any convention that pertains to one thing. If you went to a Supernatural convention, it’s a little more focused. But I enjoy pop culture conventions, mostly because I’m a big sci-fi fan myself, so it’s a real pleasure to get to meet other sci-fi actors that I’m a fan of.
Me: Who is your favorite celebrity you’ve ever met?
Vic: Oh, Bill Shatner, of course. I’ve loved Captain Kirk since I was a little boy. [Want to see Vic as a little boy? Click here.] And you know, when I was young, I used to go to Star Trek conventions, and he is the only one of the original cast I never got to meet. Now, to literally be represented by the same manager who represents Bill, we get booked into conventions together, and we’ve gotten to have dinner together and travel a little bit and hang out, so it’s a real privilege.
Me: Have you had to suppress the urge to squeal like a fangirl?
Vic: All the time. All the time. [Laughs.] I want to respect him and not turn into one of those fanboys he’s dealt with for forty years.
Me: I read on your Wikipedia page that you were once a law enforcement officer.
Vic: I was. Right after college, my mom, who lives on the eastern shore of Maryland, was very good friends with the chief of police in the city where she lived. She always used to brag to him about her son who was a moral, ethical, upstanding member of the community. And so he said, well, I’d like to have someone like that on the police force. I didn’t have any plans right after college, so I went back there and went through the police training and became a cop for two years. It was never a career move. I enjoyed it a lot, but it isn’t something I want to do forever.
Me: It takes a special person to do that job.
Vic: It does. And to deal with the darker side of humanity so much of your life, always having to enforce the laws and deal with people breaking the rules can make a person very cynical and depressed.
Me: I have a copy of your Gospel of John CD. What was the genesis [see what I did there?] of that project?
Vic: Actually, it’s kind of interesting. I was at a convention, and a mother came up to me and said, “My daughter loves your work. She could sit and listen to you for hours. She loves your voice. You could read the phone book and she would listen to it.” I thought, what a nice thing to say. Then I thought, maybe not the phone book, but what if I were to record something of more importance and give it away. So I went home and recorded the Gospel of John and used a contemporary translation and played the piano underneath it to make it easy to listen to. I put a lot of money into it myself to get all the discs pressed, and now I give it away at conventions because what better thing to give to fans of my work than something that is very precious to me?
Me: Do you have plans to do more books?
Vic: I would love to, but it takes a lot of time, and to be honest, I don’t know what book I would do. There aren’t a lot of books of the Bible that stand by themselves, that tell the whole story. If you’re gonna get one chance to tell someone the story of Jesus, why he came, what he did, his ministry, his rising again, all of that, it’s all pretty self-contained in the Gospel of John. So I don’t know what book I would do, and it’s very time-consuming. I don’t have a lot of time, especially now with the Star Trek series I’m doing.
Me: So the Star Trek series is still going well?
Vic: Oh yeah. Bigger than ever. We just finished shooting episode six. Popularity is growing, and viewership is growing. At the risk of sounding partial, it’s fantastic. It looks and feels and sounds exactly like the original series. We have managed to continue the original series in every way, so you feel like you’re watching episodes that were never broadcast.
Me: But they’re all original stories.
Vic: Oh yes. From the recreation of the sets to the lighting, costumes, make-up, story, music, editing, characters—everything. No amount of description can prepare you for the quality. And it’s free. Just go to startrekcontinues.com. The first episode is wonderful, and the second is better than the first, and the third is better than the second. They just get better and better
Me: Last question. What is it like dealing with all the fangirls who are much younger than you?
Vic: Well, it’s kind of funny because, if I were half my age, I would be flattered. But I really look at it more like a father looking at younger people and going, Man, if I can give some joy to this person, if I can make them feel special about themselves, because so many of these kids are struggling with who they are and their place in the world and their security and self-esteem. I feel as if I have been given an opportunity to be an encouragement, somebody that they look up to and notices them and compliments them and puts his arms around them and gives them a big hug and engages with them. I think that’s very important. I didn’t used to realize how important that is, and over the years, with all the emails and letters I’ve gotten and interactions I’ve had at conventions, I’ve come to realize that God has put me here for a very specific purpose, and that is to bring encouragement and love and kindness and support to a lot of people who are at a very sensitive crossroads in their lives.
Of course, everyone has their criticisms no matter how much they enjoy something, and Ichibancon was not without flaws. For one thing, it needs a larger venue. There were lines to get into the dealer room and artist alley, and some of the panels were standing room only. Parking was ridiculous. I squeezed my car in next to a dumpster, and I saw people walking over from car dealerships and other hotels. According to one staff member, however, the only place large enough to expand to is the Charlotte Convention Center, whose surrounding hotels are much more expensive–$240 a night or more. Anime conventions are largely attended by teenagers, who don’t have much money (and spend what they do have on Call of Duty).
It was clear from artist alley and the dealer room that neither of them was “juried.” Some conventions judge vendors’ merchandise ahead of time and then make decisions on who gets a slot. This is done to make sure there is enough variety and quality in the room. Ichibancon, it seems, didn’t do this because there was a lot of repetition in both areas. Merchandise was mostly plushies, posters, and wall scrolls. There was no manga, and I saw only one dealer selling comic-related stuff (usually, there are more).
Even with all these negative things going on in the convention, that is no reason for the muggles to boycott this convention (I saw a picketer in the parking lot). In fact, I believe that this convention is the perfect one for any anime convention newbies.
Boston Comic Con is happy to welcome actor Vic Mignogna, best known for his voice acting work on the anime Fullmetal Alchemist, to the media guest lineup this year as part of our Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration! Vic plays Captain Kirk in the webseries Star Trek Continues, which is a direct continuation of the Enterprise’s five-year mission. He joins a guest list that includes Karl Urban, Dr. McCoy in the new series of Star Trek films including this summer’s Star Trek Beyond, and the original Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner! Check out the full list of celebrity guests at the link!
Victor Mignogna is an American actor known for his prolific voice-over work in the English dubs of Japanese anime shows and for his role as Captain Kirk in the immensely popular fan-created sci fi series Star Trek Continues. Vic’s most notable voice role is that of Edward Elric for the Fullmetal Alchemist series, for which he earned the American Anime Award for Best Actor in 2007. Other notable roles in anime include his work in the Dragon Ball Z films, Ouran High School Host Club, Tubas: Reservoir Chronicle, D.N. Angel, and Vampire Knight. His video game credits include Sonic the Hedgehog series and Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3.
Victor will be appearing all three days of the event.
About Boston Comic Con:
The Boston Comic Con is a 100% independently run comic book show committed to bringing the biggest and best comic creators to New England. Run by fans for fans, Boston Comic Con is not affiliated with any other convention tour or corporate interests. Hosting over 120,000 square feet of vendors selling comic books, toys, posters, trading cards, and other pop culture memorabilia, this is a destination event for geeks of any stripe. This year’s convention will be held Friday August 12th, Saturday August 13th, and Sunday August 14th at the Seaport World Trade Center, 200 Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA 02210. For more information please go to our website at www.bostoncomiccon.com and follow us on Twitter (@BostonComicCon) and Facebook!
Anime Boston, the largest anime convention in New England, announced its first guest of honor today. Voice actors Greg Ayres, Todd Haberkorn, and Monica Rial will appear at Anime Boston at the Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Mass. on March 25 through March 27, 2016.
Greg Ayres has spent the last fourteen years working in an industry he had admired for years as a fan. With over 200 credits to his name, this fan-boy has managed to get to play a variety of characters that are almost as colorful as his hair. He’s thrilled to splash his way into 2015 in the role of Nagisa Haruki in Free Eternal Summer, and equally as excited to “kill” as MonoKuma in Danganronpa, and Doug in Gangsta.
Todd Haberkorn has been on stage, on set, and behind a mic for many years. Not only is Todd an actor in LA, he works as a producer, writer, and director as well.
In the world of anime, Todd got his first major start in Suzuka as Yamato Akitski. From there, he went on to voice roles such as Jadeite from Sailor Moon, Natsu from Fairy Tail, Italy from Hetalia, Ling Yao from Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Cheren from Pokemon, Allen Walker from D. Gray Man, Hikaru Hitachin from Ouran High School Host Club, Death The Kid from Soul Eater, Bataar Jr. from The Legend of Korra, and many others.
Monica Rial has been working in the anime voice over industry for 16 years and is currently listed as the most prolific anime voice actor in the USA. She has lent her voice to over 400 anime including: Assassination Classroom (Kaede), Baccano! (Chane), Black Butler (Mei Rin), Certain Magical Index (Index), Deadman Wonderland (Shiro), Fairy Tail (Mirajane), FMA (Lyra/Dante, May Chang), Hetalia (Belarus), Michiko & Hatchin (Michiko), One Piece (Tashigi/Carue/Kuina), Ouran Host Club (Renge), Panty and Stocking (Stocking), Soul Eater (Tsubaki), Tokyo Ghoul (Rize), Tsubasa (Sakura), Watamote (Tomoko), Yona of the Dawn (Yona), and many more.
About Anime Boston:
Anime Boston is an annual three-day Japanese animation convention held in Boston, Mass. Anime Boston 2016 is scheduled for Friday, March 25 through Sunday, March 27 at the Hynes Convention Center and Sheraton Boston Hotel. More information about Anime Boston can be found at www.animeboston.com.
About New England Anime Society:
The New England Anime Society was founded in 2001. Based in Massachusetts, The New England Anime Society, Inc. is parent organization of Anime Boston and is dedicated to furthering public education and understanding of the Japanese language and culture through visual and written media. More information about The New England Anime Society is available at www.neanime.org.
Rob Paulsen welcomes anime voice actors Steve Blum, Kari Wahlgren, Sean Schemmel, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, and Todd Haberkorn to Talkin’ Toons LIVE on Tuesday July 28, 2015 at 8:00 PM at the Hollywood Improv! A signing will follow the show.
The world-famous Hollywood Improv is proud to invite you to join Emmy and Annie award winner Rob Paulsen as he talks about his experiences in voice acting!
About Rob Paulsen:
Born in Detroit, Rob Paulsen spent his childhood in Livonia and Rochester, attending Junior and Senior high school in Grand Blanc, Michigan. Rob loved cartoons like most kids but aspired to be a professional hockey player. “Fortunately, thanks to some big, strong, kid from Winnipeg who drilled me so hard my ears are still ringing, I learned around age 18 I had neither the talent nor the temperament to make a living playing hockey. So, I turned to my other passions: singing and acting.”
The goal of bringing absolute believability to a fictional character, live-action or animated, is what every actor strives for. Those who are committed to their career and who combine experience, passion and skill are likely to succeed.
Those gifted with exceptional talent who focus on maximizing their potential by finding their own niche, quickly break away from the pack. After years of honing their craft and consistently delivering memorable performances in which the character impacts an indelible image on the viewer, the public and the industry take notice, singling out the best.
“I’m getting paid to do what I got in trouble for in the 7th grade,” jests Rob, who won a Daytime Emmy in 1999 as “Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program” for Pinky and The Brain (Warner Bros.) Though nominated twice previously, the victory was especially sweet due to some formidable competition – fellow nominees Louie Anderson, Ernest Borgnine, Dennis Franz and Jeffery Tambor. In addition to his Emmy, Rob won back-to-back Annie Awards in 1997 and 1998. “I absolutely love what I do and thank my lucky stars for twenty-five years of full-time employment in this business,” he says.
“It’s a treat to portray a complex character,” Rob explains about Pinky, a goof-ball mouse with funny teeth, a head filled with clouds and an inane imagination that is punctuated with a staccato laugh. “Besides … where else could I find a job where emotional outbursts and odd exclamations like ‘Egad!,’ ‘Narf!,’ ‘Poit!,’ ‘Splonk!,’ and ‘Zort!’ are allowed and in fact, encouraged?” With over 2,000 half-hours of animation to his credit, Rob’s versatility shines in his starring roles as the voices of Yakko, Pinky and Dr. Scratch ‘n’ Sniff in the Peabody and two-time Emmy award-winning series “Animaniacs.”
Some of Rob’s other well-known animated characters include Raphael of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” Arthur in “The Tick,” the title role in “The Mask” (for a WHOLE lot less dough than Mr. Carrey, thank you), the title role in “Mighty Max,” Carl Wheezer in “Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius,” Jack Fenton in “Danny Phantom,” Bobble in the “Tinkerbell” series of DVDs and hopefully more to come.
Paulsen’s extensive credits include on-camera roles in numerous motion pictures including Body Double, Stewardess School, Eyes of Fire, The Perfect Match, and Warlocked. His television acting credits include guest-starring roles on MacGyver and St. Elsewhere. Additionally, he is one of the most sought-after voice actors in the commercial arena, performing in over 1000 commercial spots.
As passionate about “paying it forward” as he is about his lucrative career, Rob supports various charitable organizations, particularly those benefiting children and military veterans. Rob’s volunteer work with GOALmodels has been particularly rewarding. GOALmodels, a high school program in Reseda, California, is designed to inspire 9th graders to set goals and overcome obstacles in life. Blending his life experiences with passion for his work, his presentations are informative, entertaining and inspiring. In his leisure time, Rob enjoys golf, riding his motorcycle and occasionally lacing up his skates for another chance to relive his past glory on the rink. He spends the majority of his free time with his wife, Parrish, and their two Yorkshire terriers, Pooshie and Tala.
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When the man-eating giants called Titans first appeared, humans retreated behind massive walls. After a hundred years of safety, a colossal-sized Titan smashes through the defenses, unleashing a flood of giants and carnage in the streets. Eren Jaeger watches helplessly as one of the creatures devours his mother.
He vows to kill every Titan walking the earth. Eren and his surviving friends enlist to fight against the insatiable monsters. The future looks bleak, but there’s more to Eren than meets the eye: he may be humanity’s last hope against extinction.
From the director of Death Note and High School of the Dead comes the series Anime News Network calls “an intense, visceral, and graphic thrill ride.”
About Mike McFarland:
Mike McFarland got his start in anime as one of the first voice actors in Texas to be hired by FUNimation Entertainment, and has since moved on to become a Director, Script Writer, and Line Producer for numerous anime series. Notable roles include Master Roshi and Yajirobe in Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, Baby and Baby-Vegeta in Dragon Ball GT, Goemon in Lupin The Third (Movie Specials), Ritsu Sohma in Fruits Basket, Lt. Jean Havoc in Fullmetal Alchemist, Cain in Trinity Blood, Buggy the Clown in One Piece, “Ranka” Fujioka in Ouran High School Host Club, Tybalt in Romeo x Juliet, Leo in Burst Angel, Estonia in Hetalia, as well as various roles in Yu Yu Hakusho, Nerima Daikon Brothers, Kodocha, Desert Punk, Black Cat, Kiddy Grade, Shin Chan, The Galaxy Railways, and many others.
As an ADR/Voice Director, Mike has worked on such series and films as Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Dragon Ball Z, Vexille, Wolf Children, Summer Wars, Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino, Yu Yu Hakusho, Mushi-Shi, Case Closed, Dragon Ball, Eden of the East, Trinity Blood, Evangelion: 1.11, 2.22, and 3.33, One Piece, currently airing on Toonami. His latest project is Attack on Titan. ADR Scriptwriting credits include Fullmetal Alchemist, Kodocha, Trinity Blood, Solty Rei, Mushi-Shi, One Piece, and the uncut versions of Dragon Ball Z.
Video Game credits include work on Borderlands 2, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, Halo Wars, Stuntman: Ignition, Aeon Flux, Bloodrayne 2, Roadkill, Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley, numerous Dragon Ball Z titles, as well as the role of Paul Phoenix in Street Fighter X Tekken.
Mike is also an accomplished improv comedian, musician, and has appeared in numerous commercials and independent films, including The Rage Within, House Of The Generals, Placebo, and the award-winning Shtickmen.
About Anime Boston:
Anime Boston is an annual three-day Japanese animation convention held in Boston, Mass. Anime Boston 2014 is scheduled for Friday, March 21 through Sunday, March 23 at the Hynes Convention Center and Sheraton Boston Hotel. More information about Anime Boston can be found at www.animeboston.com.
About New England Anime Society:
The New England Anime Society was founded in 2001. Based in Massachusetts, The New England Anime Society, Inc. is an organization dedicated to furthering public education and understanding of the Japanese language and culture through visual and written media. More information about The New England Anime Society is available at www.neanime.org.