Monday, September 28, 2009

The 'Vipo' Experience: You Are Cast!

In the hilarious movie spoof "Tropic Thunder", one of the characters (a 5-time Oscar winning Australian who portrays an African-American) gives a strange, but spot on lecture about character research and development. He goes on and on using references to other movies and actors to bear himself out. Beyond this character-in-a-character performance, the point is well made that research is the backbone of any performance. You absolutely have to know something about your character, your co-characters and even the project as a whole. It just simply makes for a more well-rounded, 'informed' portrayal. Improv and imagination also come heavily into play when you are "creating" a character from it's inception.
In my case, I had to learn to think and then 'speak' like a half-man, half-iguana who was a mean, sneaky classic villian.
Now, I already know how mean and villainous some people could be, but I knew absolutely NOTHING about iguanas and so...a google or two later I find out that not only is my character sneaky and hot-tempered (his people skills) but he is also aggressive and territorial--an exfoliating ne'er-do-well who does double duty as a thief AND a king. HOOO-BOY!
I now have a great, well-rounded description of Loverboy but picture. No artist rendering, no stick figure sketch, nada. Remember earlier when I said imagination would come into play? After having seen more than my share of 'gill-men' and other cinematic horrors over the years, a visual image wasn't too hard to mentally construct. That wasn't my gig, anyway. What would he SOUND like? He had to be: articulate yet evil, emperious yet sneaky, regal and possesive yet mad and territorial all at once!
Even though I had one primary voice that came to mind I'd already learned from a Pat Fraley podcast that 2 different reads on the same character provide producer/directors with a choice...and a different view. I did just that! I wrote a 30 second monologue (he IS a villian!) incorporating all of his better qualities and social mores--in two distinctly different voices.
With prayer and baited breath I sent the audition to the casting director. She e-mailed me back with some "More of this and less of that" suggestions which were immediately incorporated into the second take amd resubmitted.
In late November 2008, I received this e-mail..."Dear Herb, Congratulations! You have been cast as the Iguana Summer King..."

Next: So You Thought Voicing Was Easy...?

Friday, September 18, 2009

The 'Vipo' Experience or Hey, Mom...I'm A Cartoon Character!

Hey, all you ProTalkers...

The next few blogs will center around my wondrous, "Gee Whiz" experience with the "Vipo, The Flying Dog" series.

A little background...The 'Vipo' series is an animation and marketing phenomenom that is just reaching American television. Based on the adventures of a dog whose ears enable him to fly, "Vipo"--pronounced Vee-po (and his many friends) is now in over 30 countries around the world including Indonesia, Israel, Turkey, Brazil and now the U.S.

The animation is high quality 3-D and very easy on young eyes. Episodes from the first season of "Vipo" can be seen on YouTube!

Of course, early on I didn't know ANY of those facts about the production. When I responded to the audition lead that came through my e-mail I was just answering what I thought would be a good job and a great opportunity--maybe even the fulfillment of a dream. Somewhere in your life there has to be room for dreams. Without dreams, we aspire to nothing. Dreams and aspirations shape our future--and sometimes the future of others!

I received an e-mail in return from Elizabeth that stated..."we do have one role we are still is the Summer King who is half man/half iguana..."


She goes on to describe the characters most endearing traits (sneaky, hot-tempered, classic villian) and since there is no script--"you will have to improv the audition".

HOOO-HAAA! Let the games begin...

God Bless & Happy Voicing!

Next: "You Are Cast"

Saturday, September 12, 2009

He's Baaa-aaack!

Hello, all you happy people (done in my best 'Droopy' drawl)!
Sorry about that looong pause between entries. I'd like to say that the reason for the delay is because of an excessive work load of voice over projects and production commitments that are worth thousands of dollars in revenue...but,alas, not this time.
Actually , there was some rewarding and exciting voice over related items that demanded some time (we'll be talking about those later), but there were also family issues that had to be addressed and work (day job) to be done.
That being said, look for new blogs in the near future dealing with new projects, new friends, new lessons learned and my new jeans!
Thank you to those who attempt to keep up with these rants on a regular basis...your patience will be rewarded soon with more useless trivia and personal ruminations in the coming week.

In the meantime--go hug somebody!

God Bless and Happy Voicing