Anime Central 2017: Crispin Freeman Q&A Part 1
At Anime Central, members of the press are invited to attend intimate Q&A sessions with the guests. Below is part one of the session with Crispin Freeman, who has voice many inconic chracters such as Alucard from Hellsing, Zelgadis in Slayers and Togusa in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. The questions were asked by the various members of the press.
Intro statement: Greetings everyone. My name is Crispin Freeman. I’m a voice actor and I also am a voice over coach, and a mythology scholar. I’ve been voice acting in anime, animation and video games since about 1997. The very first convention I ever went to was Anime Central, back in 1999. So this is 18 years now since that date. I initially worked in New York City, where I was doing theater and animation… yea, mostly anime, in New York City. Then in 2001 I move to Los Angeles and I’ve been a Los Angeles based voice actor ever since.
Q: Voice coaching. So tell me about what its learning voice coaching from Crisping Freeman.
A: Well it’s very easy. What you do is you head to VoiceActingMastery.com, where I have a podcast that I have been running since June/July of 2011. So I have over 125 episodes of my podcast; plus now I have been running a sister podcast for about a year called the Voice Acting Mastery Field Report, where I have three lovely correspondents who are at an earlier point of their professional voice over careers and they also do reporting and interviews about what it’s like to get into the voice over world right now. So I try to share as much of my information as possible through the podcast. I also offer classes online and in Los Angeles on voice acting in a variety of different topics.
Q: Do you do workshops?
A: I do. Workshops, classes. So I have a series of workshops and classes in Los Angeles on anime, character development, improve, audition analysis and then I offer an online class as well that I do via webinar.
Q: How different would you say voice acting is for animation versus a video game?
A: I think one of the main differences in voice acting… well, one of the primary differences is that video games tend to be much more vocally demanding. I mean it does depend on the game. But chances are if you are playing a video game, characters are gonna die in horrible ways over and over and over again. If my character dies in an animated series, it’s usually just once. So video games can be far more vocally demanding. They can be very intense recording sessions. Also, I am often going into a video game with almost no context. I rarely get the script ahead of time. Video game companies are incredibly secretive about their projects. They often won’t even share the name of the title with us. Which is very frustrating. So you are going in as a voice actor for video games often quite blind. Not knowing what you are going to be working on. Whereas in animation, they almost always…yea, always, they have given us the script ahead of time. American animation…when working on an American animation series, they usually submit us the script at least the night before, if not more than 24 hours before. So we can read the script before we go into the recording session. Video games, we are often recording alone. One actor at a time. Animation, American animation, we do our best to record as an ensemble with as many people in the room as possible. Sometimes it’s a challenge. Especially on a show like let’s say Young Justice, which I work on, where I play Red Arrow. There is a lot of actors in that show. There is a lot of characters in that show and sometimes it’s difficult to get absolutely everybody in the room at the same time to do something. But you know, if I have an episode as Red Arrow and I have a lot of scenes with another actor, they will do their best to get that actor in the room with me, so that we can interact with each other.
Q: So what made you decide to start working on the podcast, the two podcasts that you are working on?
A: I started the podcast because the most common question I would get at a convention would be, “how do I become a voice actor?” And it’s a very simple question; but it’s got a very difficult answer because everybody is in a different place, they have a different level of skill, a different level of artistry. And so there is nothing I could say at a convention panel, in a couple of minutes, that will actually be terribly helpful. What tends to come out are pithy, oracle Adelphi statements like, “know thyself.” Which, while true, is not terribly actionable. Right, you are not going to go home and go, “I know myself, I know myself. Now I am a better actor. You know, it’s not terribly useful. So when people ask me those questions, I wanted to give them a more useful; and I knew I needed more time and space to do that. And a podcast seemed a natural fit. I have a recording studio at home. It’s a very nice one. It thought, “If there is anything I know how to do its record myself talking.” So why don’t I try putting together a podcast and see how it goes. It sort of took off like gangbusters. I have over… I think I have a million and a half downloads of the podcast right now. And so that also expanded into classes that I was offering in LA; but my podcast audience was international, so I started offering classes to students all over the US and all over the world, from New Zealand, Australia, Japan, UK, France. So it’s obviously resonating with people, so I will continue to do it as long as I am able.
Q: Going back to the previous question, because of the challenges that are associated with doing video games over anime. Do you prefer doing animated over video games? Or do you enjoy that challenge?
A: For me, my preference when it comes to voice acting has less to do with the process and more to do with the content. So, and I’m probably not like most voice actors or actors in general. Often times actors can just be fascinated by a character. And that character in isolation can be so interesting to them that they don’t care about anything else. I’m a little different. I’ve got a little too much director in me. I like to look at the story as a whole and I would much rather play a smaller part in a really good story than play the lead in a story that is lackluster. So for me, it’s about the story of the project. If the story is compelling, then I want to work on it. One of the most compelling stories I have worked on in recent years is Overwatch. From the moment they started releasing the content and I got to see the whole world of Overwatch, I felt so honored to be a part of it. I find it incredibly idealistic, aspirational, heroic, diverse, and so I get very excited about that. Winston is not an easy voice for me to do. I don’t care. I admire the story and world so much that I will do whatever it takes to play Winston to the best of my ability. So is has far less to do with the medium and more with the content.
Q: What can you tell me about recoding stuff for animation in the 90s versus now? Is there things that were easier back then that are difficult now or has there been much change?
A: Well, it’s funny, certain aspects of the recording technology have stayed the same… But we basically use the same microphones designed in the 1960s. The Neumann u 87 microphone is sort of the standard industry microphone for voiceover and I don’t think it’s going to change because the laws of physics aren’t going to change anytime soon. But the devices that we use to record have changed. So like when I when I first worked on my very first anime series, Slayers, they had just started using non-linear editing programs, like ProTools that could record to the computer. The video, however, was still on a Beta tape. So they had to lock the Beta tape to the ProTools rig. So they would put in a time code and the Beta tape would have to race to that time code. While it was doing that, you would watch the video go fast, by you at high speed; and so even if I wasn’t in say 10 minutes of the episode I could sort of follow what was going on cuz it was going by my at high speed. A couple years later, they got rid of the Beta and everything was digital. And suddenly we would be doing one scene and they just cut to the next scene and I wouldn’t get to see all that stuff in between. I’d go, “guys, I don’t know what I’m doing.” They sort of took that away from me. So then I learned I had to learn about the show before I went in if I was going to make sure I had context. I think the biggest disruptive element in the voice over world is that fact that voice-over technology has gotten to cheap. That is has gotten so that everyone expects voice actors to have home recording studios. That was not necessarily the case in the 90s. I was precocious and had one. Not many people did. Also, with the expansion of the internet and ubiquitousness of broadband internet and MP3s, we are now expected to get our auditions backs within sometimes overnight, sometimes the same day. That kind of speed of deliver can only happen when somebody has a home studio and the ability to email large MP3 files without a lot of resistance. It’s stressful, I think it actually hurts the industry because that means that voice actors are often isolated at home auditioning by themselves, not getting any feedback from a director or a creator of any sort. So it also reduces the community aspect of things, where we would often learn from each other. I learned so much from being next to my fellow voice actors and [being in a] recording environment. It’s a shame we don’t have that anymore. It used to be you’d go to your agent and everyone is at the agent, auditioned at the agency or at a casting director’s office. That’s sort of gone now. So that’s, I think the speed at which they expect things to be done is not helping the art.
|Posted 2 June, 2017 - 14:14 by SentaiSeiya|