Anime Central 2017: Crispin Freeman Q&A Part 2
For your enjoyment, here is the rest of the interview with the very talented Cripsin Freeman.
Q: So is auditioning for voice acting like that now across all the different types of voice acting out there.
A: It depends on the project and it depends on how much care the publishers want to put into it. So there are still times when I will go in and audition for a direct for a project or sometimes ill audition from home and I will get called back. But sometimes, I will just audition from home and then just out of the blue I will be called in to work on the project based on my home audition.
I think that it depends on the… in the world of animation, they need actors. In the world of commercials, they need attitude. It doesn’t mean that people who do commercials aren’t good actors. They can be very accomplished actors. But often all they need in a commercial is 30 seconds. And often times you’re dealing with people… the producers who may not speak actor. They just like the sound of somebodies voice and so they will cast somebody and they cannot tell whether that person has performance skills. But they don’t really care, because all they gotta do is squeeze 30 seconds out of them and they are out of the room. If you are expecting someone to play Batman for 26 episodes of an animated series, you better know that that person can do what they need to do. Warner Brothers is gonna be in big trouble if they just like the sound of a guy’s voice and he can’t carry that character through an entire series.
So things are still a little slower in character-based voice over work because they know you have to carry the story and the character, but in what I would call more narration-based work, like commercials and things, the speed is sometimes numbing. How fast they want things back... with a signed NDA.
I was out of town once, and they were like, “ We just got this audition, its 2 PM, you need to sign this NDA and give it back so we can have your audition that you record at home back to us in the next 3 hours.” And I’m alike “I’m at a wedding. Like you know, I’m sorry, but I don’t know if that’s possible. “So you know, I have to sign a document, somehow get it faxed back to my agent… that kind of… because you know all the best voice actors are just waiting around. Just waiting around to sign NDAs, so they can audition at home. Because what else do they have to do. So there are certain industry pressures that are unreasonable. I would think it doesn’t get them the best results. But I’m not a producer for their company. So I don’t know. So it is still a little slower with animation and video games. And yet I still get this “last minute, we have to get this character cast.” And it’s a video game that’s been in development for 3 years. And I go, “You didn’t know you needed this character cast last week?” You know, it’s sort of odd to me at times. But I don’t always know what’s going on behind the scenes. Maybe I don’t want to know how the sausages are made.
Q: So you were talking about how you do research prior to a role. Which I find very admirable. It’s comforting to know that. But I’m curios if you watch anything after or enjoy anything that you worked in. Some voice actors are really hesitant to go and view or play a game of something they are involved with.
A: Yea. I believe it was Michael Kane, who said, “Never look at your dailies. Because you will just hate yourself. You will just tear your acting apart and it will make you a very self-conscious performer.” I do my best to watch my work afterwards because I wanna see how it came out. You know, I wanna see if I can do better. Sometimes, it may take a while. Especially if I’m working on an American animated series, because it may take months before the episodes are released, never mind anime. But I do do my best to try to go back and watch things because I always want to be trying to improve my craft. And I’m the kind of actor that if I can go back and watch something, even something from a long time ago, and I can look at my performance back then and say, “ well I’m a better actor now and I can do that better. But I can listen to what I was doing and say, “You know that was the best I could do then”; and you know what people still come up to me and say they like that performance. So who am I to rain on their parade? If someone like that performance, great. And I can listen to, that’s, that’s, that’s the best I could do. I tried my best. That’s
Q: I know you played as Togusa in Ghost in the Shell and I don’t know how often you get this question; but how do you feel about the Hollywood adaptation of your character?
A: I have not seen it. I have not seen the movie yet. I have not been terribly inspired to see it. I like animation. I don’t like it when animation is made live action. It doesn’t matter. I realize there is a big controversy surrounding that movie in particular and yes, that movie has issues. But I don’t like any animated movie being made live action. It doesn’t improve it in my opinion.
Q: Is it because it doesn’t translate well into film?
A: Often it doesn’t translate well. It’s not that you can make a live action film based on drawn characters. I’m a big fan of V for Vendetta. I think it’s a fabulous adaptation of the comic book. But if it’s already animated, it’s sort of like taking the opera and making a musical. Why is that necessary? In my opinion, but that’s because I am always going to stand up for animation as an art form. Because it is often this sort of red-headed stepchild in America. And so anything I can do to further animation as a legitimate art form that can cover any type of storytelling… Too often animation in America is still limited to content for children. I find that ridiculous and so anytime that something amazing [animated] film is made and they say, “Oh that’s so good, we need to do live action.” For instance, umm many years ago, I had a guy come up to me and he said, “You know what I’ve got this great idea. I want to do all of Miyazaki’s films live action.” And I said to him, “That cute and all; but in Princess Mononoke when you have to do the God of the Forrest and these crazy, huge wolves, how are you gonna do that?” “Well do that CG animation.” “So let me get this straight. You think you can animate in CG better than Miyazaki can in 2D. Good luck with that.” I don’t see the point. It doesn’t… In my opinion, it doesn’t buy you anything.
But then again, I have an enormous fascination with animation and it’s taken me 20 or 30 years why I like animation so much more than live action. But for me it’s because the storytelling tells to deal more in pure archetypes. It’s the reason why I like looking at storybooks sometimes. Or I like to be looking even at the storyboards of a film and then when I see it actually filmed, I go “Oh, that’s not as pretty as the storyboard. I’m going to read the storyboards.” Because I like the pureness of the… it’s sort of the like platonic ideal of the character. When the character shows up, its Keanu Reeves, I go, “It’s alright, but maybe it would have been better in its pure, platonic form. And animation for me tends to achieve that platonic ideal of the character more purely than often a live actor does because then I get caught in the actor. And it’s hard for me to get past the actor to the character behind it sometimes. That’s just me. Other people, if they don’t have the verisimilitude of a live actor, they can’t engage. They are like, “oh it’s just a drawing. It doesn’t mean anything to me.” Fine. Different strokes for different folks. I just don’t know many live action films where people are eager to adapt them into animation. I’m having a hard time thinking of one. That seems biased.
Q: Now my question was, have you ever had a moment where you got a role, but didn’t have any time to research or figure out what this character is like.
A: Sure. Winston. It is easiest for me to do research on anime because it is almost often released in Japan before it is released in America. So ideally I can get my hands on the episode. Right, because that usually possible. Even if I can’t, there are websites. There are plenty of fans who have given me breakdowns of the characters and the plotline. So I can have a sense of what’s going on before I dive into the audition of the character. With a character like Winston in Overwatch, that was not the case. Blizzard was being very secretive about the project and rightly so. They were very nervous. They had done this project called Titan that had not gone well and Overwatch had to succeed. And they had poured a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this project. And they just wanted everything to be as good as possible. And so they were very tight-lipped about the content for fear something might leak and ruin their chances. I totally get that. But that means that when I came into work on Winston, I was dealing with a real information deficit. And so when that happens. When I’m looking at characters, I’m dealing with a deficit of information, I then rely on my experience in other storytelling with other character types and say, “what could be similar about this character from other ones in the past.” One of the things they said about Winston in Overwatch is that they didn’t just want a big guy with a scary voice. But the original drawing they submitted during the audition process. He looked pretty grim, right, he looked very serious. It’s this classic picture of him with his cannon * makes grunting noise* and he is sort of grouchy.
But then they started describing him in the sides, you know Blizzard gives very detailed sides and they try to give as much background as possible, you know without giving you the script. Which is tough cuz as an actor I like to read the script, but they are not going to give me that. So they give descriptions about the character and some of his background and some of his lines; and as I was looking through this I said, “Oh, I get it. He’s probably a lot like Hank McCoy, Beast in X-Men. He’s a scientist, he wears glasses, his blue.”
You know, this all seemed to line up. I think I get this archetype; and so that’s what I did. I did this sort of big lovable, lunk of an intelligent scientist. Which fortunately what they were looking for. Now I did that based on my previous knowledge of other storytelling because it turns out this stuff iterates from project to project; and when you know certain tent pole titles, those characters end up showing up repeatedly in different content. So once you understand the Lord of the Rings that is basically the template for all modern fantasy and everything whether it’s Harry Potter, Game of Thornes or anything else is an iteration of Lord of the Rings. George R.R. Martin has said you’re walking in the footsteps of Bilbo Baggins. Now in Science Fiction, there isn’t one big granddaddy, like Tolkien has in Fantasy. You have a couple different continents. You have Space Opera, which Start wars. You have Utopian Sci-Fi, which is Star Trek. You have Dystopian Apocalyptic Sci-Fi, which is Mad Max. You have Military Sci-Fi, which is Battlestar Galactica and Aliens. But when you look at something like the second Aliens Film with Sigourney Weaver, which Jams Cameron did, and you see a Latina girl who’s tough and is a marine.
Then you see why Michelle Rodriguez is in Avatar. Because that same archetype shows up again. Or why there are flamethrowers in StarCraft. Because StarCraft takes place in the vacuum of space. Why are there flamethrowers? Why is there a fire battalion in StarCraft? Well because if you go back to 1986 with that second Aliens film, Sigourney Weaver is running around with a Flamethrower, killing Zerg, I mean Aliens. And so, those tropes iterate though different stories. And once you’ve been exposed to enough of these, you start to see the Matrix. You go, “Blond, Brunette, red-head.” Right, you just see what the pattern is and you can start to autocorrect. You can start to fill in the gaps. Until they say, “Yeah, yeah. I see what you’re doing. But actually this is the twist we’re putting on this character.” You go, “OH. That’s interesting.” Right, that will happen from time to time. But often that’s what I have to rely on when I don’t get enough content. We all have to, voice actors have to be acting paleontologist. We get one little tooth and they expect us to recreate the entire T-Rex from that one tooth. Is it fair? No. But those of us who can do it, we tend to be employed from time to time.
|Posted 3 June, 2017 - 17:46 by SentaiSeiya||