Animated Shorts - Voice Actors Share Tricks of the Trade

Animated Shorts: Voice Acting Secrets

As if the voice acting couple of Yuri Lowenthal

The happy couple (Tara Platt, left, and Yuri Lowenthal, right)

and Tara Platt aren’t busy enough, now they’ve gone and published a book.

Entitled Voice Over Voice Actor: What It’s Like Behind The Mic, the book is an easy-to-read, step-by-step primer on the profession that Lowenthal and Platt have established themselves in quite successfully.

“I think the one thing we want the fans to get out of it is to get more information about the career of voice acting,” Platt explains. “What it’s really all about.

“We get asked the same questions so often by fans and fellow actors about it; how to get into voice acting, what’s a good career path, how to do it. So what we’re trying to do with this book is to offer a glimpse into the world of voice over as we know it. We’re giving them a personal reference of what the career is like and some of the things we’ve learned that can help them.”

“We also tell them to try to have fun while doing it,” adds Lowenthal. “We do.”

The tips include the highly logical. Such advice as the importance of a good agent/manager (and tips on what distinguishes a pro from a fraud), keeping the vocal chords healthy and ready to go, and just what a casting director, engineer and a number of others do in the job. It also distinguishes the requirements of animation, doing game work, commercial voice work, even book narratives. From there, it can get into some rarified areas such as the importance of green apples and avoiding cigarettes and dairy products; even some solid tips on setting up a home studio.

“I think it’s pretty comprehensive,” says Lowenthal. “I’m sure there’s some area we could have done more on. That’s what the second edition will be for.”

“I think it’s a good starting point,” adds Platt. “It is very comprehensive. It covers all the various categories of voice over work — how you get started, where you can find it, how to promote yourself — but we also talked to other pros in the various fields, even people like agents and engineers. So you are getting more than just our perspective.”

Lowenthal and Platt also recognize they aren’t the first providing such how-to advice for young VA’s. That didn’t stop them though.

“I know people have said there are other people who have done books or some other thing,” says Lowenthal. “For us, it was really more constantly getting all these emails and letters from fans asking how they could do it as well as from people that we knew. We would always do our best to answer them. In a while, we saw we couldn’t keep answering the same questions all the time. Maybe we should write a book.”

That’s when the duo discovered one honest truth; wanting to write a book and actually doing it are two very different things.

“It was kind of hard,” Platt acknowledges “When it’s your first, you don’t know what kind of mountains you’re going to be climbing. So it was a learning experience.

“At the same time, it was fairly easy because we have our own production company. We’ve done a lot of things on our own including movies. Having done a lot of self-generated projects, this became just another one. It would end up us learning such things like an ISBN number, contacting the Library of Congress, every other piece of information that we needed. In that sense, it was definitely a task, but none of it was insurmountable.”

“Luckily, there are resources out there,” adds Lowenthal. “We also had friends we could go to ask questions. Even some of those people who gave us the anecdotes for the book, like Wil Wheaton and Dallas Travers, were absolute founts of knowledge. The resources are definitely out there.”

“Currently it’s available at the publisher’s website, www.bugbotpress.com,” says Platt. “It will be up on Amazon in another month after it finishes printing which will be another month. We’re also talking about having it up on Kindle so it will be downloadable.”

As for the actors themselves, they are keeping themselves in front of the public eye. Lowenthal will be recapping his roll of Ben Tennyson in this upcoming weekend’s Cartoon Network special, “Ben 10: The Vengeance of Vilgax.” He’s also hard at work on the next “Ben 10” series.

“We’re recording right now, and it’s been a blast, as usual,” says Lowenthal. “It’s the same cast of fun characters, and more. I love going to the recording sessions just to see who’s going to show up each time and what cool guest star they have that day. We’re still working with Glen Murakami and Dwayne McDuffie along with a crew of talented writers under him. It’s just so much fun. I can’t say enough good things about it.”

Both have been working hard on a number of video games, but are currently sworn to secrecy about the projects. They are also in the upcoming American dubbed version of “Naruto: Shippuden,” Platt again playing Temari while Lowenthal returns as Sosuske. Word from Viz, the American producer, on that release is apparently forthcoming.

If that isn’t enough, they also are in the process of releasing their second live action film, “Tumbling After,” which Lowenthal wrote the screenplay for and Platt produced. Both have key rolls in the film, too.

“It’s currently being submitted to film festivals,” says Platt. “We hope to be hearing soon where it will be accepted. We’ve submitted to a lot of the horror-genre film festivals and we’re very excited about its possibilities.”

“In the meantime we’re exploring several other different avenues, including some people who might be interested in distributing it,” says Lowenthal.

Fans will also soon be able to see Platt in another live action film, which starts shooting this September.

“I’ve just passed the audition for a live action feature film that I’m very excited about,” she said. “It’s called ‘A Girl, A Guy and A Space Helmet.’ I start shooting that next month. I play the sister of the lead actor.”

No doubt their fans will be hearing and seeing a lot more from them in the immediate future. In the meantime, they have Voice Over Voice Actor to keep them occupied.

ADV DISMANTLED

It appears that ADV, once one of the largest distributors of anime in the U.S. as well as the founder of the Anime Channel, is no more.

In a series of press releases, the company announced it’s been sold off to various groups, or as it prefers to call them, “asset transactions.” Contacts inside ADV have either refused comment or not responded, period. According to the releases, here’s what’s going where:

•    Aesir Holdings, LLC acquired a subordinated interest in selected programming from ADV’s film library together with other intellectual property subject. The transaction requires Aesir to assume specific obligations and scheduled liabilities of the Company under legacy license agreements associated with the acquired programming.

•    SXION 23, LLC, doing business as Section23 Films, assumes account servicing and distribution operations in connection with the library acquired by Aesir, subject to all liens and security interest of the Company's senior secured lender.

•    Valkyrie Media Partners, LLC acquired a 100% equity position in Anime Network, Inc., formerly ADV’s television unit, pursuant to a stock purchase agreement between ADV and Valkyrie. That transaction includes an assumption by Valkyrie of specific liens and security interests of the Company's senior secured lender.

•    Seraphim Studios, LLC acquired Amusement Park Media, the production unit of A.D. Vision, Inc.

“We believe the actions we initiated and completed provided the same or more value to the Company’s secured lender and its programming licensors,” said ADV founder, CEO and President John Ledford, “while giving other key stakeholders such as employees and customers some potential value or the reasonable probability of realizing value.”

Section 23 didn’t waste time regarding this release either. It announced that it will distribute a series of new titles starting this November. Among the anime titles announced are: “Blue Drop, Polyphonica, Special A, Tears to Tiara, You’re Under Arrest Season 2” and the second collection of the anime series “Little Snow Fairy Sugar.” There will also be two live action films, “Ki-Gai” and “Nu-Meri—Book of the New Spawn.”

NEXT COLUMN: We celebrate the 600th Animated Shorts with an interview with the legendary Frank Welker as he recalls his work as Megatron.

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