In 2014, I began my career at Convention Scene with an article about Ichibancon, the Concord, NC anime convention that is now a staple of my family schedule. “Ichiban” means “number 1” in Japanese, a fitting appellation for a convention held over New Year’s Eve weekend.
We have attended since 2012, when my daughter was fourteen and stayed up all night in her bedroom watching one anime after another. Now she is nineteen, and she stays up all night in her bedroom watching one anime after another. She does have a job as a Pizza Hut deliverer, which is why she couldn’t go to the convention. This year was her first time missing Ichibancon, and I hated that for her.
I wrote in 2014 that the convention had grown. After spending its first three years at the Blake Hotel in Charlotte—which, after pissing off more Democrats than Donald Trump, was split into two hotels in 2013—Ichibancon moved to the larger, family-friendlier Embassy Suites in nearby Concord. It needs to move again. Fridays are usually the slowest days at conventions, but by 5:00pm on that Friday, this is where people were parking.
I stuck my head into Vic Mignogna’s Q&A on Saturday, and it was less than standing-room only. A con staffer asked me to “choose another place to enjoy the presentation.” That sounds feng shui and all, but it was like telling a sardine, “You might be more comfortable at that end of the tin.” Managing growth is a problem all conventions face, and it is a good problem. Means you’re doing something right.
Ichibancon’s sister convention, Triad Anime Con, is moving this year from a hotel to the roomier Greensboro Coliseum. Ichibancon could step up to the Charlotte Convention Center, but that might be cost-prohibitive. Still, more space should be a priority in the next year or two.
Another consideration of managing growth is figuring out ways to smooth the experience for attendees. For that, Ichibancon developed its first mobile device app.
The app was great for updates. Throughout the weekend, I got announcements for session delays and cancellations, price changes, and other things. The app was also a repository for policies and maps, relieving attendees of having to carry a program. Here, for instance, is the autograph policy.
One criticism of the app is that I couldn’t find a master list of changes and updates. Once, I saw an update pop up, but it vanished before I could read it all, so I still didn’t know what was going on. This left me to dig through the calendar to find the change.
The best part of Ichibancon has always been its guests. We have seen Vic Mignogna there every year, and I still marvel at his star power. For a 5:00pm autograph session, his line started forming at 3:30. By 4:15, it stretched out of the room, around the corner, and down the hall. My colleague, Michaela McPherson, interviewed Vic last year, and I recommend the read.
I got a chance this year to talk to Quinton Flynn, a veteran of video game and anime voice work.
How did you get started doing voice acting?
Well, the long story short is, I got a voiceover agent in Los Angeles, and he started providing me with copy to audition. I started auditioning in a recording booth at their offices, or I would go to outside casting director offices to record me in a booth reading from copy, making it come alive on the page. Eventually, I started booking work for commercials on radio, some on TV, and then I started doing animation, where I voiced the Human Torch and Johnny in The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest. And then I replaced Nathan Lane in the role of Timon in The Adventures of Timon and Pumba.
The longer answer is that I started doing impressions as a little boy. All through school, I did theater. I was also into rock and roll, so I had rock bands, and in college, I studied radio, television, and film. Once I got out of the university, I took some local voiceover workshop classes in Cleveland. Eventually, I knew I had to bounce to one of the major cities. That city became L.A. I took some animation voiceover workshops, and in that process, made a proper demo to go around knocking on doors in Hollywood that eventually yielded me an agent who got me to that place where I started answering your question.
You also do video games. What are the differences in voicing for a video game as opposed to a TV show?
Well, in video games, it is nonlinear recording. You might show up to a session and be jumping around in the script to different time lines, and you have to kind of turn on a dime. It’s great if one has an improvisational background, which I do, and if one is easily flexible in terms of taking direction and interpretation and using their mind in the way we always did as children: pure imagination.
That is different from an animated series in that, more often than not, we record alone for a video game. It’s just me in the booth. On the other side of the glass is the engineer who is working the knobs and the buttons and the faders. There is a director and sometimes a writer and producer.
In an animated series, if it is an original one, like when I did Johnny Quest or Timon and Pumba, or when I guested on Scooby-Doo or Animaniacs, the whole cast would be in there, and we would start the script from beginning to end, so you’d have the whole story in linear fashion. We would often get the script beforehand, and we’d get to read it and know it, and we’d also have the opportunity to work off one another. So you’d have some fun organic things happening in the moment. Sometimes, we’d be allowed to improvise, and then you’d have some kind of camaraderie.
Interestingly enough, in the video game world, depending on the writers and producers and actors, but largely those in charge of the cutting and editing, they have to be very sharp and clear about the scenes they are recording separately, so that when they bring the characters together, such as Axel and Roxas in the Kingdom Hearts series, they actually sound like they are talking to one another in the same scene, and I can tell you that, listening to the playthrough on YouTube, I was even blown away. It sounded like Jesse McCartney [who voices Roxas] and I were in the same room.
But you weren’t? You recorded separately, perhaps not on the same day?
No, never. In fact, I met Jesse at a release party the first time we had done Kingdom Hearts. We had said hello in passing, but we didn’t really know who we were to each other in the game. I’ve never seen him since. And yet, the relationship and the end result is very heartwarming, and I love it.
When I was growing up, video games didn’t have voice actors, and I’m always surprised at the number of video game fans who show up at conventions.
Oh, it’s true. I’ve done a huge body of work in animation, and some like it. Then I’ve done anime, which I have a bigger fan base for. And then, as you said, I’ve done video games, and the fan base is crazy. The way these things are released nowadays, they’re making major motion picture money, topping some of the biggest films that are coming out.
I once heard that the video game industry is bigger than the motion picture industry and the music industry combined.
Yeah, they’re making money hand over fist.
When you are preparing to voice a character, how do you get into the role?
Usually, I’m given a breakdown of the character, which tells me where the character is from, the character’s age, the tone and register of the character’s voice, what his position or role is, or title, what his background is. Based on that information, I then create and develop one character for them that I believe they are asking for, and I give it my Quinton Flynn take or spin. And then I might provide them with an alternate second or third read, just to give them something different, maybe something they hadn’t thought of, something that I think does apply to the character. I might sound older or add a different dialect, just to think outside the box. It’s kind of like painting or drawing, except I do it with my voice.
How did you get started doing conventions?
About ten years ago, my friend Jeff Nimoy, who was directing me in a show called Digimon Data Squad, was invited to a convention, and I believe another actor bowed out. He and I had done lots of improv together, and we had a fantastic relationship. He asked if I’d like to go, and I said sure, I’d love to go. I didn’t know anything about these conventions, and I didn’t know if anyone was going to know me. We showed up, and the attention, the adoration, the appreciation, the gratitude, the love, the interest, and the knowledge of the fans was immense. I had no idea. So over the last ten years, I’ve gotten to go many places in the U.S., Canada, England, and Ireland, and I’ve met people from all over the world. Recently, when I was in New York City for the New York Comic Con, I met people from Egypt, Scotland, Bangkok, Dubai, and Paris. I’ve had fans from Belize and Italy contact me on the Internet. It’s mind-blowing.
Switching gears a little, I love impressionists, which I know you are. Your YouTube video in which you tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood using 30 different impressions is terrific.
How did you develop your skills as an impressionist?
That is something I started when I was a little kid. My boyhood pal Billy Russ and I used to do impressions of impressionists’ impressions. At the time on TV, we were watching Frank Gorshin, Fred Travalena, John Byner, and Rich Little. Those were the four biggies. We started doing impressions of their impressions, and I was obsessed with entertainment, so I watched the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and I would do Johnny. I also watched Dinah Shore, Merv Griffin, and Mike Douglas, who would provide us with hours of entertainment, impressionists, actors, and characters that I would kind of sponge off and recreate with my voice. Then in 1975, when Saturday Night Live hit, I watched it until the 90s solidly, and I did impressions of those characters. It’s just been a skill I’ve had and developed since I was a kid, and I have found a method by which I’ve been able to do it. Some things take work. Other things just kind of fall into place. As I tell people, the characters talk for me; I don’t talk for them.
I always wonder whether impressionists ever get feedback from the people they do. Has anyone ever commented on your impressions?
I haven’t met any face-to-face, but I once did an impression of Paul McCartney on a morning radio show, and someone close to the McCartney camp called the radio station and said, “How did you get Paul’s private number, and why did you wake him up on tour?” Then they had to tell the truth: that this was an impressionist. That did get back to Paul, and he was actually impressed.
There was another convention I was attending, and I had been on a panel doing impressions of Christopher Walken and Christopher Lloyd. I found myself on a break speaking with Christopher Lloyd. His handler had been at the panel, and he said to me, “God, I loved your panel and all your impressions. Which was your favorite?” My Christopher Lloyd/Doc Brown impression went over like gangbusters and was by far the most fun. But there I was, as close to Christopher Lloyd as I am to you, and I was thinking, Do I tell him he was my favorite? If I do, will he be honored? Or will he be upset? What if he asks me to do it? I didn’t know him well, and I was afraid he would think I was mocking him. So I didn’t tell him. But I promise you this: if I see Christopher Lloyd again, I’m gonna flat out tell him.
Okay, last question. What’s the next convention you’re going to, and acting-wise, what are you working on now?
I will be in London for their anime convention [London Anime and Gaming Convention, February 3-5]. That is my next convention. I am currently working on an animated series on the Internet called Cartoon Hook-ups, in which I voice the role of Deadpool.
I saw a picture of that series on your table, and I wasn’t familiar with it.
Right. Not a lot of people are. It is put together by a gentleman named Jared Winkler, who is a terrific writer, and he has a fantastic artist with him. These are adult-themed, sitcom-type animated episodes where different cartoon characters and sometimes video game or anime characters end up hooking up in hotel rooms. They are cliffhangers in a way because the question is, are they going to hook up? Will they be accepted, or will they be rejected? It’s a lot of fun, and I got to do Deadpool, which was a thrill for me.
Who does Deadpool hook up with?
The closest he came to hooking up was with Harley Quinn. It is one of the best, and the actress who plays Harley Quinn [Lauren Taler] is spot-on. I encourage anyone to look that up. You’ll get a big laugh.
What else are you working on?
I’m a character named Jhin on League of Legends, which is a platform game you can sign up for online. I’m also creating a show called The Snozzberries, which is about three brothers who have the same mother who was a groupie, so they all have different fathers. They were latchkey kids who ended up living in front of the TV set, and their whole life is seen through a veil or prism of popular culture. They do a musical thing that is akin to Spinal Tap meets Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It will be a combination of animation themes, sitcom themes, movie themes, and original songs along with comedy interspersed. We may start out in the clubs playing it as a show, or we may do it into a little theater venue that tours. We’re not sure yet, but we will start out shooting episodes to post online, so look out for The Snozzberries starring Quinton Flynn, Scott Vaughn, and a third brother as yet to be determined.
Another area of Ichibancon that has grown is artist alley. In a world that increasingly devalues the fine arts, a convention artist alley is still a place where painters, sculptors, jewelers, and other artisans can make a living. I remember when the Ichibancon artist alley had only three or four members. This year, over a dozen artists were there, offering something for everyone.
Ichibancon was one of my first conventions, and it remains one of my favorites. The venue is posh (if a little crowded), the staff is among the best I’ve worked with, and North Carolina in January is not the deep freeze that other parts of the country are. Check out Ichibancon next year. Maybe I’ll see you there!
Comments Off on Look Who’s Coming to MegaCon 2014…Comic Creators and Celebrities Announced
ORLANDO MEGACON – Look What’s Happening
MegaCon, the largest comic book, anime, gaming and multi media event in the southeastern U.S., begins announcing guests for the 2014 show. MegaCon will take place March 21 -23, 2014 at the Orange County Convention Center Hall SB in the North/South Building in Orlando, FL.
Confirmed comic book guests include:
J. Scott Campbell, Frank Brunner, Neal Adams, Bill Sienkiewicz, Mark Waid, Ron Marz, Greg Land, Michael Golden, Dennis Calero, George Pérez, Brandon Peterson, Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Cully Hamner, Karl Story, Renee Witterstaetter, Billy Tucci (20th anniversary of Shi) and Brian Pulido (15th anniversary of Lady Death), Nick Bradshaw, Adam Kubert, Dan Jurgens, Mike Miller, Joshua Ortega, Digger, Bart Sears, Ethan Van Sciver, Mike McKone, Frank Tieri, Mike Mayhew, Chuck Dixon, Skottie Young
Confirmed media guests include:
Walking Dead – Lauren Cohan, Steven Yeun, David Morrissey, Beth Kinney, Sonequa Martin-Green
Torchwood – John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Burn Gorman, Gareth David-Lloyd
Torchwood animated series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse – Eliza Dushku
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Torchwood – James Marsters
Smallville – Michael Rosenbaum, Allison Mack, John Glover, Laura Vandervoort, Aaron Ashmore
Napolean Dynamite – John Heder
Battlestar Galactica – Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict, Herbert Jefferson, Anne Lockhart
Star Wars – Peter Mayhew, Tom Kane
Comic Book Men – Mike Zapcic, Ming Chen, Bryan Johnson
Star Trek, Big Bang Theory – Wil Wheaton;
Rob Paulsen, Jim Cummings, Quinton Flynn, Phil LaMarr, Rich Horvitz, Vic Mignogna, Jennifer Hale
You won’t want to miss Comos
First time ever official MegaCon Friday evening Dance for 18+ only
Costume Contest – Drinks – Dancing
Spectacular Laser show & visuals by Empire Visuals
Nelson Flux – Evolv 3
Hosted by Nick Wolfe
$10 – Friday evening from 9pm – 11:30pm
Introducing: The Ghost of the Robot Band with James Marsters – Saturday evening performance $20 in advance $25 at the door.
Other events include: MegaCon video gaming and the Supercon 2K series provided by National Video Gaming Association and Vibras Five.One, RPG, LARP, card and miniature gaming events, children events provided by the Skiffytown Heroes, Speed Dating, anime events, belly dancing, Indy Film Festival, movie trailers screening room, Saturday evening dance, late night adult only dance, and professional panel room.
Thanks to our sponsors: 101.1 WJRR, The am 740 Game, 104.1 Real Radio, Certified Guaranty Company, Central Florida Mensa, Students of the Unusual
The MegaCon guest list is constantly growing. Check www.MegaConvention.com frequently for more updates.
Orange County Convention Center
March 21st – 23rd
Contact Info: email@example.com or www.megaconvention.com
Comments Off on GraniteCon Hosts Avengers Reading with Voiceover Stars
GraniteCon hosts an event unlike any other on the evening of Saturday September 28th at 7:00 pm! We’ll be assembling our voice acting guests Grey DeLisle, Quinton Flynn, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Jim Cummings, and Richard Horvitz to read selections from Marvel’s The Avengers in their character voices! Yakko & Wakko Warner as Thor & Loki? Winnie the Pooh as Tony Stark? You never know what’s going to happen! Please be advised this is a ticketed event! Tickets can be purchased at the door. VIP passes include entry into the script read!
PLUS the voice actors’ panel schedule:
20 Years of Animaniacs: Come celebrate 20 years of the hit show
“Animaniacs” with members of the cast itself. Join Rob Paulsen (Yakko, Pinky and more), Jess Harnell (Wakko) and Jim Cummings (Narrator and more) as they talk the impact of Animaniacs all these years later! Who knows? Maybe you’ll also hear a song or two! Ballroom A at 11:00 am Saturday.
Finding the Right Voice: Join Richard Horvitz (Invader Zim), Grey DeLisle (Scooby Doo) and Quinton Flynn (Final Fantasy VII) as they discuss the characters they’ve portrayed, how they got into voice acting and more! Ballroom B-D at 2:00 pm Saturday.
Saturday Night Voice Actor Script to “The Avengers”: Join our cast of voice actors as they read the script to “The Avengers” in the voices of characters they have brought to life in game, TV and movies! Could we see Yakko and Wakko as Thor and Loki? How about Tigger as The Hulk? Or maybe even Invader Zim as Nick Fury! Guaranteed to make you laugh and be a once in a lifetime event! This is a ticketed event. Ballroom A-D at 7:00 pm Saturday.
Voicing in Video Games: Join Quinton Flynn (Axel on Kingdom Hearts, Raiden on Metal Gear), Rob Paulsen (Gray Fox on Metal Gear) and Jess Harnell (Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon) as they discuss what it takes to voice in the gaming industry! Ballroom A at 11:00am Sunday.
Characters You Grew Up With, Past and Present: Join Jim Cummings (Darkwing Duck, Winnie the Pooh), Grey Delisle (Daphne on Scooby Doo, Azula on Avatar) and Richard Horvitz (Invader Zim, Alpha 5 on Power Rangers) as they talk about the various roles they portrayed for some of your favorite characters you grew up with! Ballroom B-D at 3:00pm Sunday.
Autograph Cost: First FAN provided item (DVDs, posters, comics, etc) they will sign FOR FREE! Each additional autograph, as well as photos, phone calls, video and voice recording will be $20!
10:00-11:00 – Quinton Flynn, Grey DeLisle, Richard Horvitz, Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell
11:00-11:30 – Grey DeLisle, Richard Horvitz, Quinton Flynn
12:00-1:30 – Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell
3:00-4:30 – Quinton Flynn, Grey DeLisle, Richard Horvitz, Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell
10:00-11:00 – Quinton Flynn, Grey DeLisle, Richard Horvitz, Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell
11:00-11:30 – Grey DeLisle, Richard Horvitz, Jim Cummings
12:00-1:30 Quinton Flynn, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell
1:30-3:00 – Jim Cummings, Grey DeLisle, Richard Horvitz
3:30-5:00 – Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Quinton Flynn
4:00-5:00 – Jim Cummings, Grey DeLisle, Richard Horvitz
More information at the website: granitecon.com
ABOUT THE GUESTS:
Grey DeLisle is a Grammy and Emmy Award winning and Annie nominated veteran voice actress who got her start doing the role of Reptar on Rugrats in 1994. Since then she has starred in hundreds of popular cartoons including The Fairly Odd Parents (Vicky), Avatar: The Last Airbender (Azula), Clone Wars (Asajj Ventress / Amidala), Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy (Mandy), Danny Phantom (Sam), Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends (Frankie), Batman (Black Canary), Green Lantern (Aya), Wow Wow Wubbzy (Wubbzy), Clifford the Big Red Dog (Emily Elizabeth), and most notably the voice of “Daphne” on Scooby-Doo since 1997.
Gamers may recognize her voice from such titles as Doom, Mass Effect, Star Wars Old Republic, and Monkey Island. She also played “Nova” in Starcraft, the “Female Wizard” in Diablo 3, and “Vicky Vale”/”Catwoman” in this year’s hugely popular Arkham City.
Quinton’s voice has been burning up the voice over industry since he first arrived in Los Angeles from his native Cleveland, Ohio. He is an A-list voice actor, having played such famous animated characters as: Jonny Quest, Speed Racer, The Human Torch, Elmer Fudd, Timon & Snowbell, just to name a few. His animated television appearances include: Robot Chicken, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Animaniacs, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, My Life as a Teenage Robot, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, The Avengers and many more.
His best known roles in Video Game franchises have been his work providing the English voices of Raiden (Metal Gear Series), Axel (Kingdom Hearts Series), Kolyat Krios (Mass Effect), Henry (No More Heroes), Arlon & Rexus Ragespear (Guild Wars 2) and Reno in (Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children) the motion picture.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg in the Video Game world in which Quinton’s also portrayed: SPIDERMAN, VENOM, BANSHEE, ABYSS, MERRY, GOLLUM, CROIX & ORPHEN.
If you’re hip to the Anime scene you’ll know him as: Kon in Bleach, Iruka-sensei and Deidara in Naruto, Marcus Damon in Digimon Data Squad, Carl/Phantom in Blood+, Shingo Shouji in Initial D, Dr. Riddles & Victoreem in Zach Bell to name a few.
He is well known in the industry for his skills as an impressionist and improvisationalist, having played the role of Paul McCartney and tested for NBC’s Saturday Night Live and Comedy Network’s The Daily Show. Quinton is always happy to do the animated and anime characters he is known for when he performs “Live” and rolls out his favorite impressions and yours!
The goal of bringing absolute believability to a fictional character, live-action or animated, is what every actor strives for. Those committed to their craft that 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 apart 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 got me in trouble in the 7th grade,” jests Rob Paulsen, who is one of the most popular voices in animation and won a Daytime Emmy in 1999 as “Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program” for Pinky and the Brain (WB). Though nominated twice previously, the victory was especially sweet due to the most formidable competition ever – fellow nominees Louis Anderson, Ernest Borgnine, Dom DeLuise, and Jeffrey 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 admits. Interestingly, in those twenty five years, Rob now has the unique opportunity to have gone full circle with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series; having voiced Raphael in the original show, he is now voicing Donatello in Nickelodeon’s latest version of TMNT.
Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Rob “loved cartoons like most kids ” and aspired to be a professional hockey player. “Fortunately, I learned pretty quickly that I had neither the talent, temperament nor dental insurance to pursue a career as a pro hockey player”. Ironically, acting was something to “fall back on” and Rob has voiced beloved characters in several iconic animated series: Yakko Warner in Animaniacs and Carl Wheezer in Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, but may be best known to animation fans the world over as the voice of the boisterous and energetic laboratory mouse Pinky in two hit series Steven Spielberg Presents Pinky and The Brain and Pinky, Elmyra, and The Brain for Warner Brothers.
“It’s a treat to portray a complex character,” Rob explains about Pinky, a gangling 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?” With over 2,000 half-hours of animation to his credit, Rob’s versatility shines in his starring roles as the voices of Yakko, Dr. Scratch’N’Sniff and Pinky in the Peabody and the two-time Emmy award-winning series, Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs also for Warner Brothers. Currently, he can be heard as Peck in Back at the Barnyard, Birdbrain in T.U.F.F. Puppy, Jack Fenton in Danny Phantom and various characters, including Mark Chang in Fairly Odd Parents, all on Nickelodeon, as well as a number of Disney projects including The Little Mermaid III; Ariel’s Beginning, Jacques and the Grand Duke in Cinderella and the role of Bobble in the Tinkerbell DVD series. For young fans of Play House Disney, Rob provides the voices of Al in Can you teach my Alligator Manners? and Ze Fronk in Tasty Time with Ze Fronk and Toodles in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
Paulsen’s extensive credits include on-camera roles in numerous motion pictures including Body Double, Stewardess School, Eyes of Fire, The Perfect Match, and Warlock. 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 of them including the voice of Mr. Opportunity on behalf of Honda automobiles from 2004 thru 2010. Rob is also the host of a successful podcast, Talkin’ Toons, available at www.robpaulsenlive.com and iTunes.
Realizing how fortunate he is and passionate about giving back, Rob supports various charitable organizations, particularly Operation Smile, The Wounded Warriors Project and cancer and Muscular Dystrophy research.
A certified “gearhead”, Rob is also passionate about sports cars and motorcycles in addition to being an avid golfer. He also still laces up the ole skates every now and then to scratch that hockey itch. Rob spends the majority of his free time with his wife, Parrish, son Ash and two Yorkshire terriers, Pooshie and Tala.
Peabody Award Winner and Emmy Award Nominee Jess Harnell has been named by Variety Magazine as one of the top ten voice actors in the world. With literally hundreds of roles in feature films such as all three “Transformers” films, all three “Toy Story” films and “Up”, animated series from “Steven Spielberg’s Animaniacs” to “Spongebob Squarepants” to “The Simpsons” and The Cleveland Show, thousands of promos and commercials and even announcing “America’s Funniest Home Videos” for the last fifteen years, Jess has done it all. His celebrity impersonations have led to him being featured on Entertainment Tonight no less than four times as the top voice match in the business. With a rock star look and huge vocal range to match, Jess had a stint singing lead with mega band Journey and now fronts the world’s first live metal/pop mash up band “Rock Sugar”, sharing stages with bands from Aerosmith to AC/DC to Kiss and logging millions of hits on youtube. And with seven new animated series currently in production and a worldwide summer tour with Rock Sugar, for Jess Harnell the best is yet to come.
“Tell the kid he’s got it,” said the legendary Mel Blanc with a smile, after listening to a young man’s first demo tape of cartoon character voices. The year was 1984, “the kid,” was Jim Cummings. Since then, the kid has gone on to give life and voice to some of America’s most beloved animal Characters, even a few of the late Mel Blanc’s, and he was even nominated for an Emmy Award for his work as the lovable Tigger on Disney Channel’s “My Friends Tigger and Pooh,” in which he also voices everyone’s favorite bear, Winnie the Pooh.
Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Cummings spent Saturday mornings riveted to the TV screen as he mimicked the characters in his favorite cartoons, all the while dreaming that one day he would voice them himself. At age 19, he moved to New Orleans, where he performed as a drummer, a singer, a deck hand on riverboats, and even designed and created Mardi Gras floats, all the while absorbing the rich characters and accents that would someday find expression in animation.
Years later, Cummings relocated to Southern California and managed a video store as he pursued his childhood dream. He gave his first demo to a customer who was also a movie producer, and the rest, as they say, is history. In 1984, Cummings landed his first role as Lionel the lion, in Disney Channel’s “Dumbo Circus.” During his illustrious career, he has worked extensively for the Walt Disney Studios voicing classic characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, King Louis, Kaa the Snake, Pete (formerly peg legged Pete), and more. His many other credits include Darkwing Duck, Bonkers, Fat Cat, and Monterey Jack on “Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers,” Don Kamage on “Tailspin,” and too many others to mention here.
Cummings has done scores of voices for Warner Bros, as well, including Taz the Tazmanian Devil himself, Steven Spielberg’s “Animaniacs,” “Tiny Toon Adventures,” “Batman,” “Pinky and the Brain,” “Tazmania,” “Duck Dodgers,” and more. Other credits include “King of the Hill,” “Bump in the Night,” “Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius,” “The Replacments,” “The Addams Family,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Star Wars Clone Wars,” “The Simpsons,” “Barnyard,” and “Catdog.”
Not Limited to the small screen, Cummings has acted in several blockbuster feature films for Dreamworks including “Shrek,” “Antz,” “Kung Fu Panda’s Furious 5,” “Hook,” “The Bee Movie,” “Balto,” and more. His credits read like a top-list of animated and live-action films. Credits include “Who framed Roger Rabbit,” “The Little Mermaid,” ‘Aladdin,” “Tarzan,” “Pocahontas,” “The Lion King,” “Babe: Pig in the City,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Brother Bear 2,” “The Princess and The Frog” to name a few.
Cummings’ uncanny ability to sing in character and voice match for stars who are, in his words, “great actors, just not great singers,” has led to many platinum and gold records for soundtracks like “Anastasia,” “The Lion King,” “Fox and the Hound,” “Pocahontas,” “Hercules,” and more. He was also AC, the lead singer of the famed California Raisins.
As of late, Jim is enjoying being the only American performer in the primary cast of “Gnomeo and Juliet,” where he plays the amorous garden flamingo, Featherstone. He is excited for the release on July 15th of the sequel to the animated Disney Classic, “Winnie the Pooh” in which he plays both Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, too! He will also be playing an evil African Warlord, Budzo, in the upcoming feature film, “Zambezia,” which is being released later this year.
Cummings’ work in voice over includes hundreds of television and radio commercials, movie trailers, promos, and videogames. “Pretty much anything involving microphones, music, noise in general, and padded walls,” jokes the affable actor, and “remember, only you can prevent forest fires,” so says Smokey the Bear, aka Jim Cummings. No matter how busy Cummings, schedule may be, it all stops when Famous Fone Friends of Make a Wish Foundation call on behalf of a very ill child and distraught family in need of a phone call from their favorite cartoon character. “Just bringing a respite, however brief, and perhaps a smile and giggle or two, means so much to the child and their family. I consider it a true blessing to be able to do that.”
Cummings is a proud father of four and resides somewhere in California with his beautiful two younger daughters Grace and Lulu Rose… and their critters.
Fans of animation will recognize Richard Horvitz as the voice of many iconic characters, including INVADER ZIM, Billy from THE GRIM ADVENTURES OF BILLY AND MANDY, Daggett from THE ANGRY BEAVERS and Alpha 5 from the original MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS. In addition to Richard’s animation work, gamers will recognize him from his many video game roles in such classics as PSYCHONAUTS (RAZ), RATCHET AND CLANK series (Zoni, Pollyx, Zurgo) DESTROY ALL HUMANS (Orthopox) and SKYLANDERS (Kaos) to name a few. Richard began his acting career on camera and many may recall his role as Alan Eakian in Paramount Pictures 1980’s cult classic SUMMER SCHOOL. www.richardhorvitz.com
All Hail! All Hale! Disney’s Cinderella to have a “mass effect” in the Emerald City! Video game hero Raiden to get into “gear” for Seattle!
Disney princess and video game king to reign in the Northwest at ECCC 2013!
Seattle, WA – Prolific film, television and video game voice actors Jennifer Hale (the voice of Disney’s “Cinderella”) and Quinton Flynn are the seventh and eighth (and final) voice actor guests to be announced for the upcoming Emerald City Comicon taking place on March 1st – 3rd, 2013 at the Washington State Convention Center. They will be appearing all three days!
Jennifer Hale is regarded as royalty just as much in the video game world as she is for her work with Disney. She holds the distinction of providing the voice for not just one Disney princess, “Cinderella” from Cinderella 2: Dreams Come True and Cinderella 3: A Twist in Time as well as “Princess Aurora” from Sleeping Beauty fame in House of Mouse.
One of the busiest voices in video games, Hale has worked on such player favorites as “Commander Shepard” in the Mass Effect trilogy, Diablo 3, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Halo 4, Guild Wars 2, “Naomi Hunter” from Metal Gear Solid and as “Silver Sable” in various Spider-Man games.
Hale also has an impressive television voice over resume, including “Princess Morbucks” on The Powerpuff Girls, both “Sam” and “Mandy’ on Totally Spies!, “Ms. Marvel” on The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, “Aayla Secura” on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, “Jun” on Avatar: The Last Airbender, and “Carol Ferris” on Green Lantern: The Animated Series.
Born in Canada and raised in the United States, Hale has been doing voices for video games, animation, commercials, radio promotions, anime and movies since 1993. She is currently prepping her first solo CD.
Quinton Flynn’s television credits include the voice of “Timon” on Disney’s Timon & Pumbaa, “Johnny Storm / Human Torch on Fantastic Four, “Johnny Quest” on The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest and currently heard as “Elmer Fudd” on Robot Chicken. Also a busy performer in the world of Anime, his roles include “Iruka” on Naruto: Shippûden, “Kon” on Bleach and “Marcus Damon” on Digimon Data Squad.
Flynn is perhaps best known for his voice over work on some of the most popular video games around, including “Raiden” in the Metal Gear series, “Reno” in multiple installments of Final Fantasy, “Axel” in the Kingdom Hearts games, as well as Mass Effect 2 &3, Guild Wars 2 and Crash Bandicoot.
Flynn also has acted on camera as Sir Paul McCartney in such productions as the Hendrix themed biopic My Dinner with Jimi as well as The Beatles parody A Hard Day’s Day.
Hale and Flynn join previously announced voice actors Jim Cummings (Winnie the Pooh, The Lion King), Phil LeMarr (Futurama, MADtv), Grey DeLisle (“Daphne” from Scooby-Doo), Kevin Michael Richardson (“Cleveland Brown, Jr.” from The Cleveland Show), Richard Horvitz and Rikki Simons, both from Nickelodeon’s Invader Zim.
ECCC’s celebrity guest roster includes Sir Patrick Stewart (“Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek The Next Generation, “Dr. Charles Xavier” from the X-Men films), Billy Dee Williams (“Lando Calrissian” from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), Walter Koenig (“Chekov” from classic Star Trek), Natalia Tena (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones), Paul McGillion (Stargate Atlantis), Michael Shanks (Saving Hope, Stargate SG-1), Kristin Bauer (“Pam” from HBO’s True Blood), Gillian Anderson (“Agent Scully” from The X-Files), Chandler Riggs (“Carl Grimes” on AMC’s The Walking Dead), Adam West (TV’s classic Batman), Dirk Benedict (“Faceman” from The A-Team, Battlestar Galactica) and Danai Gurira (“Michonne” on AMC’s The Walking Dead). More fantastic celebrity guests yet to be announced!
Tickets for Emerald City Comicon 2013 are ON SALE NOW by visiting www.emeraldcitycomicon.com or any number of local comic book stores, also listed on the website!
ECCC 2013 will feature its most expansive variety of film/television stars, voice actors, comic guests, vendors, merchandise, gaming, contests, artists, speakers and pop culture yet!
With record-breaking attendance of over 53,000 attendees in 2012, Emerald City Comicon has established itself as one of North America’s largest and most respected shows of its kind anywhere in the world and has become the premier event of its kind in the Northwest. Founded in 2003 by Jim Demonakos, Geekwire’s “Geek of the Year” Award winner and owner of KING 5’s “Best of the Northwest” The Comic Stop chain of stores, ECCC has become highly regarded in both national and international circles as one of the most fan- and family-friendly shows in existence.
Look for regular press releases containing all of the latest news leading up to the show in March 2013. For more information, please visit ECCC’s website at www.emeraldcitycomicon.com