Thursday, December 16, 2010


People sometimes forget about voices in animation.

Voice acting is very important. Look at Futurama, Pinky and the Brain, The Simpsons as well as ALL anime.

In Japan, voice acting is serious business. One of the greats - Megumi Hayashibara - is a famous celebrity only due to her voice. I used to remember more, but after encountering the perfect anime - Cowboy Bebop - there is no reason to watch anime anymore. There's Koyasu Takehito, who did the voice of Hanagata in the Saber Marionette series who is quite good.

The West has Billy West, who does Fry, the Professor, Zoidberg, and a host of other characters. There's Dan Castellaneta who does Homer, Krusty and Grandpa, amongst other characters. My favourite voice is Maurice Lamarche's. He sounds like Orson Welles and voices Brain as well as Futurama's Kif Kroker.

If you grew up in the '80s, you may have listened to Betty Jean 'BJ' Ward who did Scarlett from GI Joe, Jana of the Jungle (I had wet dreams of Jana of the Jungle. I wanted to fuck her brains out), Wonder Woman in Superfriends and many more. She was the voice of my childhood, and I do remember her for it.

Over here in Malaysia, I have yet to see, or rather hear, unforgettable voices. Except maybe that kid who does Shin Chan. He managed to capture Shin Chan's essence perfectly.

I interviewed someone recently - somebody in the creative industry - who said that he is deeply interested in animation because it would influence all other aspects of production such as special effects and costumes, makeup, character design.

Animation also opens your mind and allows you to be more creative. It's a spillover effect of sorts.

For example, I imagine a lot of things as animation. One of the scenes I hope to do one day is one guy jumping up, using emo-fu (a supernatural martial arts where you become more powerful the more emotional you are) and just slices a giant armoured creature in half. The creature should be over 50 feet tall. The sound effects must incorporate a simulation of running a giant dull sword through rusted metal.

This is actually almost an anime staple, and that director Zack Snyder is already doing my wet dream scene - a girl in a Japanese school uniform wierlding a sword fighting a giant samurai robot. And dragons. I'll pay 10 bucks to see that. It's cliched in anime, but this is in live action.

Anyway, I believe that with voice acting, it can only get better if acting gets better. Though it is possible to do it the other way around.

Voice acting is hard because you need to create characters and worlds without using your facial expressions. This was described as like painting with only your forefinger and middle finger holding the brush.

You can do it, but you suck. Artist Michael Whelan broke his arm one day, and still managed to paint using airbrush, acryllic on canvas and that sort of stuff.

The real greats, they just do it.

I can't act for shit, and my voice acting is even worse.

I watch a lot of YouTube videos of people who THINK they can do it. But they can't. Cause most don't get it. It's not about making voices. It's about acting using only your voice.

One day, I want to do my own animation. When I do that, I'll make sure the voices are really, really great.