Friday, May 30, 2008

News - 05/30/08...

MTV Almost Has a Head Trip

Last summer, MTV green-lit an animated interstitial series called Head Trip, which was produced in Flash. The project was headed to series, but it was then dropped. The team is actively hunting for a new home for this project, so it may get new wings down the road. Kevin Lofton directed, designed and drew layouts, while Lou Solis animated and Edmond Hawkins composited the animation in After Effects. Here’s an example episode featuring Juicy J.








‘Start Cleaning This Crap Up!!’ Another Glimpse Into THE VENTURE BROS.’ Third Season Launching This Weekend!!

The title of the first new "Venture Bros." since 2006 is "Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny."

To see a little of it, click here:



To see the whole episode:

6 p.m. Friday. AdultSwim.com.

11:30 p.m. Sunday. Cartoon Network.





Harvey Korman, "The Great Gazoo," dead at 81

Tall, skinny comedian Harvey Korman, who won four Emmys for his work on "The Carol Burnett Show" and had a continuing voice role on The Flintstones as spaceman The Great Gazoo, died Thursday at 81.

He died at UCLA Medical Center after suffering complications from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm four months ago, his family said. Korman had undergone several major operations.

"He fought until the very end. He didn't want to die. He fought for months and months," daughter Kate Korman said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

"He was a brilliant comedian and a brilliant father," she said. "He had a very good sense of humor in real life."

Carol Burnett was devastated to learn of Korman's death, her assistant, Angie Horejsi, said: "She loved Harvey very much."

Born Harvey Herschel Korman in Chicago on February 15, 2007, the 6'4" actor had numerous voice roles in cartoons. He was heard (if not seen) on 10 episodes of The Flintstones as the distinctively snooty voice of The Great Gazoo, a little helmeted spaceman from the future consigned to the Earth's past in punishment for his crimes.

The October 29, 1965 episode The Great Gazoo introduced the character. Besides the title role, Korman also voiced the Cop, the Maitre d' and Don.

The 1966 animated movie The Man Called Flintstone cast Korman not as Gazoo, but as Chief Mountmore, Green Goose and Triple X. He was also in the 1994 live-action movie version of The Flintstones as the voice of the Dictabird. However, he was the voice of Gazoo in the 2000 video game Flintstones Bedrock Bowling.

Korman was The Mad Hatter in the 1966 Rankin-Bass special Alice in Wonderland or What's a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?

Nelvana's infamous The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978), combining live action with animated sequences, had Korman as Krelman, Chef Gormaanda and the Amorphian Instructor. George Lucas disclaimed responsibility for the much-reviled TV show and will not allow its video release. 

Rat In A Hot Tin Can, a 1995 episode of What a Cartoon! Show, cast Korman as O. Ratz and a restaurant owner. MGM's 1998 direct-to-video sequel The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue gave him a voice role as Floyd.

In No Laughing Matter, a 1999 episode of The Wild Thornberrys, he was the voice of Earl. And he was Don Reynolds in the Hey Arnold! episodes Runaway Float/Partners (1997) and Dino Checks Out (1999).

In 2000, he was in Panic On Bathyos, an episode of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, as Gularis, a shark-esque big-wig native of Bathyos.

Korman's second-banana career started on The Danny Kaye Show in the show's second season in 1964, when he appeared in skits with the star. He stayed with the show until its cancellation in 1967, the year that he joined the cast of The Carol Burnett Show in its first season.

Burnett and Korman appeared in recurring skits on the series as married couple "Ed and Eunice," who were always arguing with the wife's mother (a gray-wigged Vickie Lawrence). "Old Folks at Home" had them as a bickering married pair with even more troubles in the person of Lawrence as Burnett's younger sister.

They also sent up such films as Gone With the Wind and soap operas as As the World Turns (their take on it was called "As the Stomach Turns").

"We were an ensemble, and Carol had the most incredible attitude," Korman said in a 2005 interview, explaining the variety show's success. "I've never worked with a star of that magnitude who was willing to give so much away."

Korman left Burnett's show after a decade in 1977 for his own series. But The Harvey Korman Show also failed, and so did two other series starring Korman, Leo & Liz in Beverly Hills and The Nut House.

Dick Van Dyke replaced him on The Carol Burnett Show, but the Van Dyke-Burnett pairing wasn't the same. The series was canceled two years later.

"It takes a certain type of person to be a television star," Korman said in the 2005 interview. "I didn't have whatever that is. I come across as kind of snobbish and maybe a little too bright.... Give me something bizarre to play or put me in a dress and I'm fine."

Korman appeared in several Mel Brooks movies, matching the director for outlandishness. He was best known in films as leering mayor Hedley Lamarr -- who couldn't stand people calling him Hedy -- in Brooks' 1974 Western spoof Blazing Saddles.

"A world without Harvey Korman -- it's a more serious world," Brooks told AP. "It was very dangerous for me to work with him, because if our eyes met we'd crash to floor in comic ecstasy. It was comedy heaven to make Harvey Korman laugh."

Other Brooks comedies included High Anxiety, The History of the World Part I and Dracula: Dead and Loving It. He also appeared in the "Pink Panther" movies Trail of the Pink Panther (1982) and Curse of the Pink Panther (1983).

As well, he was in the movies Gypsy, Huckleberry Finn (as the King) and Herbie Goes Bananas, and the TV-movie Bud and Lou (as Bud Abbott opposite Buddy Hackett's Lou Costello).

Korman guest-starred in dozens of TV series, including The Donna Reed Show, Dr. Kildare, Perry Mason, Burke's Law, The Wild Wild West, The Muppet Show, The Love Boat and The Roseanne Show.

Leaving college for service in the United States Navy, Korman later resumed his studies at the Goodman School of Drama at the Chicago Art Institute.

He decided to try New York after four years of study. "For the next 13 years I tried to get on Broadway, on off-Broadway, under or beside Broadway," he told a reporter in 1971.

The luckless Korman worked as a restaurant cashier. He and a friend finally formed a nightclub comedy act. "We were fired our first night in a club, between the first and second shows," he recalled.

Korman returned to Chicago and decided to give Hollywood a chance: "At least I'd feel warm and comfortable while I failed."

He sold cars and worked as a movie theater doorman for three years before getting his show-business break with Kaye.

Korman married Donna Elhart in 1960. They had two children, Maria and Christopher. They divorced in 1977.

He married Deborah Fritz in 1982. They had two more children, Katherine (Kate) and Laura.

Besides his daughter Kate, Harvey Korman is survived by his wife and the three other children.

Memorial services will be private.







A conversation with Kung Fu Panda character designer Nicolas Marlet

Variety posted a fascinating and rare portrait of Annie Award winner Nicolas Marlet, who DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg approved as the single designer to create all the characters’ looks in the upcoming Kung Fu Panda. Nicolas explains among other things that his biggest challenge on the movie was the character of Viper, voiced by Lucy Liu. “What am I going to do with a snake? A snake is just a tube. There was a photograph of this girl, and her back was entirely covered in tattoos.” So he applied the idea to Viper, devising an intricate pattern for her back. “I love Chinese writing, so I thought it would be nice to have the symbols tell a poem.” Although the concept provided a welcome alternative to costuming the unwieldy character, abstract symbols eventually replaced the runes on Viper’s back. “I did many pages with her, and on one of them people could read the poetry,” Nicolas says. The concept did survive with Mantis, however, whose markings reveal the familiar Chinese sign for good luck. For more on Kung Fu Panda visit the film’s official website.





Olivia TV series coming next year on Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon plans to bring to life the
Olivia books to life in a new computer-generated TV series set to debut in 2009. According to AWN, Olivia’s imagination leads the way in this new series which aims to foster the sense of make-believe and play that every preschooler has. The show will encourage children to be creative and to think beyond the scope of everyday parameters, instilling a sense that with a strong imagination, there are endless possibilities for any great idea.





Casting now complete on Shrek the Musical

As previously reported, Brian d’Arcy James, the singing actor who was recently seen in the Off-Broadway musical Next to Normal, will play the title role of the green ogre in DreamWorks’ first Broadway musical Shrek the Musical, with Cry-Baby’s Chester Gregory II as Donkey, Avenue Q Tony nominee John Tartaglia as Pinocchio, Tony winner Sutton Foster (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Young Frankenstein) as Princess Fiona, Christopher Sieber (Monty Python’s Spamalot) as Lord Farquaad and Kecia Lewis-Evans (The Drowsy Chaperone) as the dragon. The now-complete ensemble will comprise Haven Burton (Legally Blonde, Rent), Jennifer Cody (Urinetown, The Pajama Game), Ben Crawford (Les Misérables), Bobby Daye (The Color Purple, The Lion King), Ryan Duncan (Altar Boyz), Sarah Jane Everman (The Apple Tree, Wicked), Aymee Garcia (Avenue Q), Leah Greenhaus, Justin Greer (The Producers), Lisa Ho (A Chorus Line), Chris Hoch (Spamalot, Die Mommie Die!), Danette Holden (Jackie Mason’s Laughing Room Only), Jacob Ming-Trent (Epic Theatre Center’s Widowers’ Houses), Carolyn Ockert-Haythe (The Pajama Game, Wonderful Town), Marissa O’Donnell (Annie in 30th anniversary tour of Annie), Denny Paschall (Chicago, Beauty and the Beast), Greg Reuter (Spamalot), Adam Riegler (York Theatre Company’s I and Albert), Noah Rivera (Wicked), Heather Jane Rolff (Wanda’s World), Jennifer Simard (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Rachel Stern (High Fidelity, Tarzan), Dennis Stowe (The Apple Tree, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), David F.M. Vaughn (Doctor Doolittle national tour) and Keaton Whittaker. Shrek the Musical will bound its way into the Broadway Theatre November 8 with an official opening scheduled for Dec. 14. Tickets for the Broadway run will go on sale May 31 at 8 AM ET. A dedicated website is now live for Shrek the Musical.





Beowulf and Shrek the Third coming to Blu-ray this summer

DVD Active has full details on the Blu-ray releases of
Beowulf: Director’s Cut on July 29th and Shrek the Third on September 16th. The site also notes that Transformers will get the Blu-ray treatment on September 2nd while season 1 & 2 of Duckman will be released by Paramount on good old-fashioned DVD in the ogre’s shadow on September 16th.






Disney tidbits from Broadway

Check out the online scrapbook of The Little Mermaid on Broadway for photos of some of the most famous guests who recently attended the show. The official Disney on Broadway site also offers an interesting interview with Ashley Brown, Broadway’s super nanny Mary Poppins.





Sony Acquires Bashir for U.S.

Leave it to Sony Pictures Classics to bring poignant and award-winning foreign animated feature films to North American audiences. The label that recently brought us Satoshi Kon’s Paprika, Michael Arias’ Tekkonkinkreet and Marjane Satrapi’s and Vincent Paronnaud’s Persepolis has picked up Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman’s critically acclaimed animated documentary Waltz With Bashir at the Cannes Film Festival.

A Cannes Official Selection,
Waltz with Bashir documents Folman’s quest to recover memories and discover the truth about an Israeli army mission he participated in during the first Lebanon War of the early 1980s. Long-forgotten images begin to resurface as the director interviews old friends and comrades around the world regarding the events. The film was co-produced by Bridgit Folman Films Gang and ITVS.

Folman’s previous efforts include the graduate film
Comfortably Numb, the 1996 feature Saint Clara and the TV series Saturdays and Holidays, Chapter of the Week and In Therapy, the Israeli series that served as the model for HBO’s Gabriel Byrne vehicle in the U.S.





Voice Actor Bob Bergen in Live Radio Interview on May 30, 2008

Voice actor Bob Bergen, best known as the voice of
Porky Pig, will be interviewed on the New York area radio station WCBS at 8:00 AM (Eastern) on the Morning Show with Dan Taylor. Bergen will be on-air, live in the studio, discussing "all things animation" with the morning radio show host.

WCBS is at 101.1 FM on the radio dial in the New York tri-state area, and a live streaming audio feed is
available on their website.





From aintitcoolnews...

ScoreKeeper Says Goodbye To FORBIDDEN PLANET Co-Composer Bebe Barron...


ScoreKeeper here to honor the loss of one of the most imaginative musical minds the world of film music has ever known.

Bebe Barron was a music synthesis pioneer and a lightning bolt in the film music world. Her milestone score to the sci-fi classic
FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956), co-created with her engineer husband Louis, represents the pinnacle of both innovation and creativity in diegetic music. Credited as the first completely electronic film score in cinematic history, FORBIDDEN PLANET allowed Bebe to further her creative exploration of electronic mediums and apply them to film using narrative scoring techniques.

Bebe Barron passed away on April 20th, 2008, in Los Angeles, California.

It’s quite possible that
FORBBIDEN PLANET could have been just another formulaic addition to the sci-fi pantheon of the 1950’s. Instead it stands apart from the pack as film rich in character, color and with a genuine sense of other-worldliness difficult to find in other films.

This is due in large part to Bebe and Louis Barron’s music.

In 2005, an intensive study and analysis of Bebe’s work on
FORBIDDEN PLANET was published as part of the Scarecrow Film Score Guide series. LOUIS AND BEBE BARRON’S FORBIDDEN PLANET was authored by James Wierzbicki and stands as one of the most extensive and authoritative analytical studies on this score to date.

There was never a score quite like
FORBIDDEN PLANET before it and there has never been a score quite like it since. For this the cinematic community will be eternally grateful.

On behalf of Ain’t It Cool News I’d like to extend our condolences to Barron’s family and remind them we are honored to have the music she left behind.

Thank you Bebe for taking us to
FORBIDDEN PLANET!





Exclusive Kung Fu Panda Clip!

DreamWorks Animation has provided ComingSoon.net with this first look at a new clip from Kung Fu Panda, featuring the voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan and Ian McShane.

Opening in conventional theaters and IMAX on June 6, the animated comedy stars Black as Po the Panda, a
lowly waiter in a noodle restaurant, who is a kung fu fanatic but whose shape doesn't exactly lend itself to kung fu fighting. In fact, Po's defining characteristic appears to be that he is the laziest of all the animals in ancient China. That's a problem because powerful enemies are at the gates, and all hopes have been pinned on a prophesy naming Po as the "Chosen One" to save the day. A group of martial arts masters are going to need a black belt in patience if they are going to turn this slacker panda into a kung fu fighter before it's too late.

Look for our exclusive interviews with co-director John Stevenson and the cast next week.

WATCH THE CLIP - 'TAI LUNG IS FREE'






New Incredible Hulk TV Spot!

The latest TV spot for Marvel Studios'
The Incredible Hulk, opening in theaters on June 13, is now online and you can watch it using the player below!







New images from Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Fans are eager to see more of the latest chapter in the
Star Wars saga - the upcoming animated feature Star Wars: The Clone Wars. LucasFilm and Warner Brothers have obliged, releasing several new images to Entertainment News International.

Click here to see more new shots from the CGI film!
















On the front lines of an intergalactic struggle between good and evil, fans young and old will join such favorite characters as Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Padme Amidala, along with brand-new heroes like Anakin's padawan learner, Ahsoka. Sinister villains - led by Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous - are poised to rule the galaxy. Stakes are high, and the fate of the Star Wars universe rests in the hands of the daring Jedi Knights. Their exploits lead to the action-packed battles and astonishing new revelations that fill Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The film makes its way to theatres August 15.





Buzz Lightyear to blast off aboard space shuttle Discovery

Buzz Lightyear finally found himself a ride into space -- aboard the NASA space shuttle Discovery, set to lift off Saturday. When the shuttle goes up, it'll be carrying a 12-inch-tall Buzz Lightyear doll to the International Space Station.

Buzz, one of the cartoon characters of the Pixar Studios
Toy Story animated movies, will demonstrate zero gravity to elementary-school-age children all summer and fall, then return to Earth on another shuttle flight in November.

For this cross-promotion, no money changes hands between the U.S. space agency and the Walt Disney Co. -- just opportunities. At NASA's request, Disney developed science and math lessons -- known as the
Space Ranger Education Series -- and interactive games to tie in with NASA's "Toys in Space" educational program. At Disney's request, Buzz Lightyear's space flight can be used to promote Saturday's grand opening of the Toy Story Midway Mania ride at Walt Disney World.





Are you sure Hank Hill is one of our customers?

A Northern California man was charged Wednesday on 13 counts of computer, mail and wire fraud after allegedly opening phony brokerage accounts under the names of
King of the Hill patriarch Hank Hill and other cartoon characters.

The Department of Justice said that Michael Largent of Plumas Lake, about 35 miles north of Sacramento, also used such names as Speed Apex, Johnny Blaze (of Marvel Comics'
Ghost Rider) and Rusty Shackelford -- the alias often used by paranoid exterminator Dale Gribble on King of the Hill.

Prosecutors allege that Largent, 22, stole over $50,000 since November. According to investigators, Largent defrauded E*Trade, Capital One, Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., Green Dot, Metabank, Skylight and other institutions by opening -- or trying to open -- over 58,000 online brokerage accounts without authorization, using an automated script.

Largent allegedly intended to steal
"micro-deposits," which are funds ranging from 1 cent to $2 and placed by companies into new accounts to verify account information. Investigators said that he transferred (or attempted to transfer) those funds into bank accounts he controlled or onto pre-paid debit cards without the companies' authorization or knowledge.

E*Trade and Charles Schwab & Co. notified law enforcement after spotting the ruse, the department said. The Patriot Act requires financial businesses to verify their customers' identities. Schwab found in January that over 5,000 accounts were tied to fake information.

The United States Secret Service was called and found at least 11,385 Schwab accounts registered to
"Speed Apex." These were accessed using one of five IP addresses that were all traced back to Largent's AT&T Internet account.

Largent faces up to 20 years in prison for the mail and wire fraud charges. In addition, he could face a maximum of five years in prison for computer fraud if convicted, as well as a fine and restitution, according to a news release by the office of U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott.

Largent is scheduled to appear in court again June 19. He's free on $25,000 bond in the meantime.

His attorney, federal defender Jeffrey Staniels, declined comment.





THIS MONDAY IN NYC: Hubleys at MoMA


If there’s one CAN’T MISS animation program in New York this summer, it’s the screening coming up this Monday, June 2, at MoMA:
“A Marriage Made in Heaven: Animated Jazz Shorts from The Hubley Studio.”

The screening has two of my favorite shorts directed by John Hubley and made in collaboration with his wife Faith: The Adventures of * (1957) and Tender Game (1958). Even better, these are both newly restored prints. Every print of Tender Game I’ve ever seen has been faded and muddy. The opportunity to see restored versions of these classic films on the bigscreen is truly something to be excited about and I can’t wait to check them out. The program is 100 minutes long so expect plenty of other shorts on the program as well. It’ll be introduced by the daughter of the Hubleys, filmmaker Emily Hubley, along with jazz scholar and author Ed Berger.

As a bonus, in the theater lobby at MoMA there’s currently a mini-exhibit of John
Hubley’s artwork from Adventures of *. (Michael Sporn offers extensive photos from the exhibit posted on his blog). I’ve already had a peek at the exhibit which includes some of the most exquisite and visually striking pieces of art I’ve ever seen created for an animated film. What makes John Hubley among my favorite animation artists of all time is not simply that he created such amazing artwork, but that he figured out how to make it work in the context of movement. There is no shortage of pretty artwork in animation nowadays, but too often the artwork betrays the fundamental purpose of the art form—movement—and is created with slight consideration to its role within the continuity of a film. Hubley, on the other hand, created pieces of art that, while beautiful when viewed individually, are even more thrilling to view as a collective whole working in the service of his films. There’ll be no better opportunity to experience what I’m talking about than at MoMA this coming Monday.

(Thanks
cartoonbrew)





Uncanny Valley Explained

This clip from the TV series 30 Rock offers an entertaining explanation of the “Uncanny Valley” (aka “Robert Zemeckis-style animation”).



(Thanks cartoonbrew)






Filmation DC Super Heroes Cartoons Coming to DVD August 12, 2008

Warner Home Video has issued a press release with details on the DC Super Heroes: The Filmation Adventures 2-disc DVD set, scheduled for release on August 12, 2008. The set will contain 18 classic cartoons from the 1960's produced by Filmation Studios and starring the Justice League of America and the Teen Titans.

DC Super Heroes: The Filmation Adventures will include incredible DVD extras including a 45 minute in-depth documentary profile of Filmation Animation Studio and its legendary founder Lou Scheimer.

“Animation Maverick: The Lou Scheimer Story” – A documentary revealing the Filmation legacy, the formation of this iconic company and their unorthodox approach to creating animated shows while under the leadership of founder Lou Scheimer. The documentary will uncover the drive that made Scheimer one of America’s most successful animators and recognized talents in the industry.

Suggested retail price is $24.98 US.





Disney Channel Set Free in Spain

Kids throughout Spain will be able to watch the country’s most popular children’s programming outlet for free starting July 1, when Disney Channel Spain launches on Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT). The channel debuted as a pay TV offering in 1998 and will switch to an ad-supported model as Spanish broadcast systems begin to replace their analogue terrestrial digital signals with the (DTT) platform.

“This is not just important news for Disney Channel, but for the success of DTT in Spain,” says José Vila, VP and general manager of Disney Channel Spain. There is a big call for family-appropriate content and making Disney Channel available is an incredibly attractive incentive for families to make the switch over to DTT before the official [2010] date.”

Disney Channel Spain offers such hit kids and family programs as Phineas and Ferb, Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, High School Musical and the upcoming Disney Channel Original Movies Camp Rock and The Cheetah Girls One World. The 24-hour outlet is currently the top pay TV channel with kids 4-12, and its audience will grow significantly when the service becomes free offering.






Disney Mints Kingdom Comics

Disney is starting up Kingdom Comics, a new label that will develop graphic novels for eventual film adaptations, according to Daily Variety. The studio has tapped Ahmet Zappa, former 20th Century Fox Television president Harris Katleman and Silent Devil Christian Beranek to head up the unit, which will also make comics based on existing Mouse House film properties. Disney Publishing Worldwide has first-look distribution rights to all titles.

Zappa, son of altenative rock legend Frank Zappa, is the author of the young adult novel
The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless, which Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films acquired in 2006. He is also an exec producer on the Jim Henson Co.’s upcoming Fraggle Rock: The Movie, based on the 1980s' HBO kids’ puppet show.

As head of Fox Television, Katleman shepherded the development of The Tracey Ullman Show and its more famous FOX spin-off,
The Simpsons. Beranek founded publishing company Silent Devil in 1996 and put out a number of graphic novels including Dracula vs. King Arthur and Super Frat. He has also drafted as screenplay for a Dracula vs. King Arthur feature film.





Lionsgate Adopts MGA’s Little Tikes

Lionsgate has signed on as the North American home entertainment distributor for the Little Tikes brand from MGA Ent., the company behind the girls merchandising phenomenon Bratz. The multi-year deal covers both electronic sell-through and video-on-demand (VOD) for the United States and Canada under the new Animated Little Tikes Entertainment label. Little Tikes Land, the first of four initial CG-animated stories, is scheduled to hit retail this fall.

MGA and Lionsgate formed a partnership in 2006 when Lionsgate agreed to distribute the
Bratz animated home video productions and the live-action, theatrical feature film based on the popular fashion dolls. The deal was expanded in 2007 to all Bratz catalog features and extended Lionsgate's rights to include VOD and international distribution in the U.K.

Lionsgate’s catalog of animated properties includes Scholastic's
Clifford the Big Red Dog, American Greetings' The Care Bears, HIT Ent.'s Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder, Barney and Angelina Ballerina, Cookie Jar Ent.'s The Doodlebops, Nelvana's Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends and Speed Racerz, and the Marvel Animated series of direct-to-video features. The company recently became the exclusive distributor of HIT's catalog of children's non-theatrical product throughout North America, and signed a worldwide agreement with learning technology developer LeapFrog to develop, produce, and distribute original direct-to-video features.





Triggerfish Animates Studio 125’s Jessie D

Triggerfish Animation in Cape Town, South Africa has informed us that it has completed a 14-minute episode of
Me and Jessie D, a new children’s series from Alabama-based production company Studio 125. For “Fish Fry,” the second episode in the series, the African animation crew was tasked with capturing the flavor of America’s deep south as they brought to life of a group of animal friends living in the swamps. Triggerfish is expected to produce the majority of the series’ 26 installments.

According to Triggerfish execs, South Africa’s fledgling animation industry is coming of age and is becoming a popular outsourcing option for international producers due in part to the sliding value of the Rand and the lure of high production values a low costs.

Last year, Triggerfish produced 30-minutes of animation for The Rise and Fall of Tony the Frog, a direct-to-DVD movie etension the popular animated children's series Life at the Pond. The DVD has been widely seen in the U.S. and was responsible for getting Triggerfish hired on Me and Jessie D.

“Because we are the new kids on the block, we have a brand-new way of managing our production pipeline which is unencumbered by traditional, top-heavy production techniques,” says Stuart Forrest, a producer at Triggerfish. “We’ve been able to concentrate most of the funding on the actual animation, and have stripped away layers of management and committee decision-making. We’ve also developed our own in-house management software which is specifically tailored to our workflow, so approvals, revisions and renders are smoothly handled with maximum efficiency.”

Triggerfish currently has a feature film in script development, and one set to go into production later this year. The company’s long-term strategy is to create its own content and export South African animated features to the world. “We want to show the world a different side to South African filmmaking, one that is specifically child friendly and therefore has universal appeal,” Forrest adds.





VeggieTales Program Expands

Big Idea Inc., an Entertainment Rights group company, is celebrating the 15th anniversary of its animated
VeggieTales franchise this year by expanding its licensing and merchandising campaign. Launching at the upcoming Licensing Show in New York City, the program will be led by a commemorative DVD release of the seminal CG adventure Where’s God When I’m S-Scared?, new licensed product and an all-new VeggieTales live show that will hit stages this summer.

Big Idea and Genius Ent. will release the 15th Anniversary edition of Where’s God When I’m S-Scared? on Aug. 9. Available in time for Halloween, the first-ever VeggieTales animated video title will feature two stories that help kids learn valuable lessons about handling their fears. Kids will also be able to see their favorite garden-variety heroes in person as the
God Made You Special live tour travels to more than 40 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada during September and November of this year.

Other new initiatives include two new books from Random House:
LarryBoy and the Fib from Outer Space Little Golden Book and Lyle the Kindly Viking Little Golden Treasure; New VeggieTales toys, collectibles and puzzles from Blue Box, Pint Sized Prods. and Talicor; toddler- and youth-sized The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything and Christmas-themed t-shirts from Crossroads Apparel; and a line of themed ornaments and other holiday products from Dicksons. For more information on VeggieTales and other Big Idea properties, go to www.bigidea.com.





Wall•E, Kung Fu Panda videos

Two video featurettes for Wall•E and Kung Fu Panda have hit the the web. The first, titled “Wall•E: A Hero’s Journey”, can be viewed on Animation World Network TV. The Panda centered video, which provides a behind-the-scenes look at the animation process, is available on MovieWeb. Kung Fu Panda is set to hit theaters on June 6th, with Wall•E opening a few weeks later on June 27th.








The Dark Knight Score Coming July 15

"The Dark Knight Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" -- the haunting score to the hotly anticipated feature film The Dark Knight -- will be released by Warner Bros. Records on July 15, 2008, three days before the movie opens nationwide on July 18th.

Composers Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, who collaborated on the score for the 2005 blockbuster Batman Begins, were asked by director Christopher Nolan to work together again, scoring its follow-up, The Dark Knight. The duo recorded the orchestral soundtrack for the film in London this April.

Warner Bros. Records will release four different configurations of "The Dark Knight soundtrack: a standard jewel case CD, a 2 LP set of heavy-weight 180 gram vinyl version, a special edition digipack, and a collector's edition with special artwork to come after release.





McAvoy To Play Bilbo In "Hobbit"?

The Daily Express reports that Scottish hunk and acclaimed 29-year-old thespian James McAvoy ("Atonement," "The Last King of Scotland") is the favorite to play the lead role of Bilbo Baggins in Guillermo del Toro's "The Hobbit".

According to the dubious British tabloid, "A number of names have been doing the rounds, including Daniel Radcliffe and Jack Black, but James (McAvoy) is the one the film's bosses really want. They're expected to have talks soon so hopefully it could be confirmed in the not too distant future."

In a chat with
Empire earlier this week, director Guillermo del Toro said that he and producer Peter Jackson have a short list of names in regards to who they'd like to play Bilbo, and their first choice is someone both he and Jackson immediately agreed upon.

Speculation about the role will continue for a while though as del Toro has already warned that it'll be "at least a year before we announce any casting."

The 5'7 Glaswegian McAvoy will next be seen in this Summer's action vehicle
"Wanted".





Toon Zone News Interview Series: "A Life in Voice Acting" with Bob Bergen (Part 1)

"A Life in Voice Acting" will be a semi-regular interview series at Toon Zone News, digging into the lives and techniques of the actors who primarily make their living providing voices for our favorite animated cartoon characters.

As far back as he can remember, Bob Bergen wanted to be Porky Pig. However, rather than just entertaining his friends and family with impersonations, Bergen opted to go straight to the top authority on voicing the stuttering pig: Mel Blanc himself, who received a cold call from an audacious 14-year old Bergen. Today, Bergen has provided the voice of Porky Pig and Speedy Gonzales for the newest Looney Tunes movies and video games, and has worked on dozens of the top animated feature films and television shows from Disney, Pixar, Warner Brothers, and DreamWorks.


This interview was conducted over a few sessions with Bergen, in person when he was in New York City, and also over the phone.

TOON ZONE NEWS: In a lot of your interviews, you say that you wanted to be a voice actor since you were about 5.

BOB BERGEN:
Actually, I wanted to be Porky Pig.

TZN: You wanted to be Porky Pig specifically?

BERGEN:
I specifically wanted to be Porky Pig when I was 5 years old. My mom said, "You can't be Porky Pig. You're Jewish," and I didn't know what that meant. Because we weren't really Jewish, we were Jew-ish. But yeah.

TZN: Why Porky in particular?

BERGEN:
Because I could do it. I would watch the cartoons and I was able to crack the code of his stutter.

TZN: When did that dream of being Porky Pig translate to wanting to be a voice actor?

BERGEN:
Not until I moved to Los Angeles, and I had no choice. My dad took a job in L.A. when I was 14, and I thought, "OK, if I'm going to pursue this..." I didn't know the voice-over industry as an entity. I just knew I wanted to be Porky Pig, so I figure, "I'll just call Mel Blanc and say, 'Listen, I know you're of retirement age, and I'd be happy to help out.'" So, I started looking in the phone book under "Mel Blanc," and I couldn't find him because he wasn't listed in the phone book under "Mel Blanc," but I did find his number under his wife's first initial, "E. Blanc" in Pacific Palisades. So I called and I bugged the conversation. I have it on tape.

Throughout that conversation, I realized, "OK, this is an industry, this is something that you have to pursue as a whole, you can't just go after a character." And the odds were against me to go after one character, but my goal was to go after one character. So I wanted to get into the business.

TZN: You have the recording with Mel Blanc on your website, but the recording cuts off at the very end.

BERGEN:
Well, the tape broke. I listened to it every single day and the tape broke. It wasn't just "break," it was like, "machine-eating ripping and pulling and stretching," and I threw it away. But my mom retrieved it, and put it in her dresser drawer. In fact, 4 years ago, she called me up and said, "I'm cleaning out my drawer and I found this tape. It says, "Conversation with Mel Blanc." Do you know what it is?" Oh, my God (laughs) of COURSE I know what it is!

TZN: (Laughing) It's a conversation with Mel Blanc!

BERGEN:
Oh, yeah. I took it to a friend who worked at ABC Radio, and he was able to splice it back together and digitally enhance it, but a chunk of the conversation is missing because it broke. But what's left is pretty cool.

TZN: What was in that chunk of the recording that's missing?

BERGEN:
In that chunk that's missing was when I said to him, "Are you still doing voices for Warner Brothers?" and he said to me that the animation department shut down in the 60's. I said, "Well, what are you doing these days?" and he said, "Well, we do the occasional commercial, toys, and this week, we're finishing up the recording sessions for an Ice Capades show with the Looney Tunes." And I said, "Oh, you're recording that this week?" and he said, "Yeah."

I said, "At Warner Brothers?" and he said, "Well, actually, it's a place called Hollywood Recording," and I said, "Oh. All right." So I called Hollywood Recording and I got the receptionist and I said, "Hi, I'm calling to confirm Mel Blanc's appointment for this week ...uh...Thursday at 9." And she said, "Well, we actually have him on the books for Wednesday at 11, do we have a mistake?" and I said, "No, no, it's my mistake. I'm looking at the wrong book, thank you."

So I told my mom, "He's going to be at THIS STUDIO Wednesday. I'm skipping school, we're going to go," and she said, "OK." So I went and watched him work. I told the receptionist that we were friends of Mel Blanc, and I told his producer that we were friends with the receptionist, and got to sit in and watch him work.

TZN: Were those the only two times you got to interact with Mel Blanc?

BERGEN:
I met him one more time about 6 months before he passed away. He was signing his autobiography.

TZN: Were you Porky Pig by then?

BERGEN:
No, he passed away in 1989, and I got my first gig in 1990, which was Tiny Toons.

TZN: So you weren't ever able to talk to him about the job.

BERGEN:
No, because Mel's dying wish was that his son take over, and his son was with him at this autograph signing. And as far as I knew, his son would take over because they wanted a huge PR campaign that, "Mel Blanc's son will take over."

TZN: I think I even remember that.

BERGEN:
Yeah, in fact to this day, people say to me, "Didn't Mel Blanc's son take over? Isn't he doing his voices?" And, you know, there's a handful of us that share the characters. There's not one official voice thereof, we all take over toon duties.

After that, I started studying with anybody who offered a workshop. Primarily Daws Butler for animation.

TZN: Was Daws just offering lessons?

BERGEN:
Daws had a weekly workshop that was 10 bucks or a handshake, whatever you had, and over the years, his clas had people like Nancy Cartwright, Corey Burton, Mona Marshall, and Brian Cummings. Lucille Bliss, of all people, would come and work out with us. Daws lived in Beverly Hills, he had a guest house in the back and it looked like Hanna and Barbera had vomited in there. (laughter) It was just tons of stuffed animals and animation cels and the original Beany puppets and he had a big long table and a file cabinet of copy. He wrote all the scripts. And his whole thing was all about the acting.

TZN: What would you say are the most valuable things you learned from Daws Butler?

BERGEN:
That it's all about acting. It's about character and acting. It just happens to be on a cartoon. This is my #1 mantra that I teach my students. It came from Daws, which is that if you physically play the characters, the voice will follow. Watching Daws do Yogi Bear, he became Yogi Bear. Watching Daws do Snagglepuss, he became Snagglepuss. From head to toe, his face, everything. He physically became the characters.

TZN: Did you have any other formal training as an actor beyond the discussions you had with Mel Blanc and the workshops you did with Daws Butler?

BERGEN:
Yes, but not then. Afterwards. I studied voice-over work for about two, two-and-a-half years, and then I realized "OK, I'm spinning my wheels, I need to study acting." So then I studied acting and improvisation and movement -- everything that goes with a good solid acting foundation.

TZN: How old were you at this point? Because you started in the business when you were 18, right?

BERGEN:
Well, I got my first agent and gig at 18, but I was studying acting consistently from age 17 to...about 25, I guess. I didn't stop taking voice-over classes, though. Daws's classes were on Wednesday nights.

TZN: So what did formal training as an actor entail for you?

BERGEN:
For me, it meant finding a teacher with the technique that I connected with. For me, that was the Meisner technique, and I studied pretty intensively over two years. As well as,...I was also studying with the Groundlings Improv. But it was pretty intensive, twice a week for 2 years acting technique.

I'm right now in the process of writing a book on voice-over agents, and I'm interviewing every voice-over agent in the country. The biggest problem they have with the demos that people send is that everybody's trying to be a voice-over person and very few people are actors. You really need to be a solid actor before you ever step into a voice-over class.

TZN: I'm not too familiar with the Meisner technique. How would you describe it?

BERGEN:
Sandy Meisner, Lee Strasberg, and Stella Adler basically all were the top acting teachers of modern acting. Meisner's technique in acting could be summed up in one sentence, which is "Being truthful under imaginary circumstances." So his goal was to teach you to be as believable an actor as you possibly can be.

TZN: And that's your underlying philosophy to the acting, then?

BERGEN:
That's pretty much it. Whether you're playing Hamlet or a cartoon character, the audience has to believe you.

TZN: Your biography also says that you used to be a tour guide at Universal Studios?

BERGEN:
Yes.

TZN: Was this while you were taking classes with Daws Butler?

BERGEN:
No, I was a tour guide from ages 18 to 23. I got my first agent about the same time I got the job at Universal, but it took me about 5 years before I was able to work as a full-time actor. I wasn't making the kind of money where I could quit my day job, so Universal was my day job.

TZN: Pixar's John Lasseter has said he learned a lot about comic timing from when he was a guide at the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. Did you pick up anything from your time at Universal that has colored the way you act?

BERGEN:
Probably nothing on the job. I think the fact that I had been studying voice-over and acting for several years before I got the job made me a better tour guide. It made me a better storyteller, and that's what being a tour guide is: drawing the audience in, telling stories as seen from the back lot.

That said, what I got out of being a tour guide as a career was that on my days off, I would go on the front lot and I would watch movies being made and I would knock on casting director's doors because I had access to the lot. I was able to get a lot of acting work doing that. The actual hands-on job itself didn't really contribute to my skills or my acting skills. I had that going in.

TZN: If anything it sounds like it was going in the other direction, where you brought your acting to the day job.

BERGEN:
Exactly. Exactly, and it was a very fun job. I mean, I'm a fan of movies, I'm a fan of Hollywood history, so to be able to share that with an audience four or five times a day was terrific. It was a lot of fun. After five years, it got tedious, but it's a nice gig for people who are interested in being in show business, whether it's a summer job or a seasonal job or a full-time job.

TZN: You also spent some time at the Hollywood Christmas Parade as an interviewer and as the master of ceremonies.

BERGEN:
Right. I would interview the celebrities as they went down the parade route for the people in the grandstand.

TZN: Sort of the same question -- did that color your acting skills?

BERGEN:
There was no script. I would say to my producer, "Who's coming next?" and they would say, "Sammy Davis, Jr." or "James Stewart" or "Arnold Schwarzenegger." So I would have to go up and interview them, and you can't just say to each person coming by, "Merry Christmas, what are you doing for the holidays?" You had to have conversation, so, it's sort of like doing a little mini-Johnny Carson or Jay Leno interview, but the car's moving. (laughs) There were many times where the car's moving and I've got to continue talking and I'm losing my mike cord -- nothing was wireless those days -- so we had lots of, uh...FUN mishaps. But that's where the improvisational skills come in handy. You just have to go with whatever flow's happening.

TZN: What kind of prep work do you do to prepare for a role?

BERGEN:
None. You don't have any time to. You talking about in voice-over?

TZN: Yes.

BERGEN: You get the script, and five minutes later, you're recording. There is no prep work. Voice-over actors are the best cold-readers in the world because there is no prep work. When you get an on-camera part, in a movie or a TV show, you're going to have the full script before you ever screen test for it. You're only going to shoot about one or two pages a day at the most, and you've got the luxury of all day there, with your acting coach in your trailer, to prepare yourself for this one scene. In voice-over, you get the script for five minutes, you have to make a choice, and you just do it. So, there is no preparation other than being as sharp and as quick of an actor as you possibly can be. This is why acting classes and technique are so important.

TZN: Is that why you mentioned improv training as an important skill to be a voice-over actor?

BERGEN:
Well, improv, I think, is the best training no matter what kind of acting you want to do, because what improv does is teach you how to make decisions immediately. And the only rule, the major role of improv, is you can't deny.

TZN: You mean the "Yes, and..." trick, where you can't say "No" to anything in an improv sketch.

BERGEN:
Exactly. So with improv training, you're taught to think on your feet and just go for it, as opposed to being in your head and trying to decide what is the right choice. Just making the choice and going with it.

TZN: Since voice-over acting doesn't have to worry about sets and lighting and the set-up that on-camera work needs, do you get more opportunity to play around with different readings? Does that become the prep work for you?

BERGEN:
It depends. I mean, in Los Angeles, 99% of your auditions are in your agent's office. Every voice-over agent has a booth and they call you in to read, and they decide what you're right for. I myself have a home studio, so most of my reads are done at home. So the luxury of reading at home is that I CAN take more time with it. If you go to your agent's office, you're one of maybe 40 people waiting in the lobby to go in and read, so you don't have as much time. That said, if you overwork the script too much, then it's going to become stale and stiff, so you really want to be as extemporaneous and as spontaneous with the words as possible. The goal of any performance, whether it's voice-over or on-camera, is that when the audience hears it or sees it, they feel these words have never been spoken before. They're fresh. They're brand new. Even if you've prepared, they have to sound like they've never been said and they're extemporaneous. That's the hard part.

TZN: Now, one of the big things from the Mel Blanc tape was a comment that it's really important to have distinct personalities in all your roles.

BERGEN:
Correct.

TZN: If you're getting the script five minutes before you have to record, what sorts of things do you do to get into character?

BERGEN:
Well, I've got the script. The script has a picture of the character, a description of the character, and the dialogue. I take all that information and I process it in my head, and every voice actor has a Rolodex of characters that they've done in the past, so the first thing I do is I think, "OK, what character have I done vocally that fits this character?" And I think of a voice for the character, but then I have to adapt the personality for what they're asking for in this new script. If it's an elf, I can take my little elf voice that I can use for any film or commercial and adapt it for what they're asking for in this particular script. Based on all the information, you process it and come up with what you hope is something that is unique and memorable, and something that they're looking for.

TZN: And as you're going, you're trying to do a mix and match on the spot to come up with something different, or new from something you've already got?

BERGEN:
Well, see, that's where it's all in the acting. In the big picture, the voice is important, but it's secondary to the acting choices and to the personality. For instance, Nancy Cartwright, who does Bart Simpson...that's her standard little boy voice, that had she done for cartoons and commercials for years. But then you add the personality and the script for The Simpsons and what the producers' intent is for this character. Put that all together, add that layer to her standard little boy voice and you've got Bart Simpson, whose personality is unique and specific to that character. The voice, she can still use, to this day, for dozens and dozens of other projects, but no other character will be Bart Simpson because of the acting.

Mel Blanc was not the man of a thousand voices, as people have nicknamed him. I like to call him the man of a thousand characters, because his acting changed. But in his vocals, most of the characters were in his nose. (imitates) Bugs Bunny's in his nose, Tweety's in his nose, Speedy Gonzales's in his nose. It's all the same sound, it's in the same placement, but the acting...the accent might change. The acting completely changes.

TZN: Do you study the voices of other voice actors in your down time?

BERGEN:
When I was a kid, I did. When I was studying growing up, I would study everybody, including June Foray. June was over at my house about two weeks ago, and I said to her, you know, I studied you, and she said, "Why would you study me?" I said, "Because, put gender aside, your acting and your character choices, and the uniqueness of your characters helped me in pursuing my career as a kid." And being able to maniplate my voice.

Today? I don't study other actors, because my goal is not to imitate. My goal is to be as creative and...I guess, give it my stamp rather than their stamp.

TZN: You don't usually voice female characters, do you?

BERGEN:
I'll play a witch. Or I'll do an old lady, but that's about it. I do babies of all shapes and sizes, and that mixes sexes and whatevers, because when you're doing a baby crying, you can't tell what it is. But, no, vocally, I can't do "female" believably.

TZN: Do you think that there's much difference between the regular voice-over acting we think of, like being Porky Pig, versus, doing overdubbing or ADR (automated dialogue replacement or additional dialogue recording) for anime or for airline or broadcast movie retakes?

BERGEN:
Well, acting is acting. It still has to be believable. The technique is different. With anime, with dubbing, you have to do several things at once. You have to read the line, match the sync, and act all at the same time. And quite often, the restrictions in anime that you have to fit the sync basically takes the acting freedom away from you. You have to act under their parameters.

TZN: How do those demands affect your performance?

BERGEN:
The restrictions of staying in sync from somebody else's performance do hinder your creativity. You're not able to give the performance of what YOU would do, because you're limited to the parameters of matching sync. That said, you have to be a superb actor to be able to do that because you're not able to be as creatively free as you would in, say, an American animation. And I think anime actors are some of the best voice over actors out there because of this. The sad thing is that they're not paid for their expertise. They should be paid, I think, double what American animation pays because of all the restrictions and all the technical nuances that you have to perfect.

TZN: Do you ever catch yourself repeating an older character when you're recording?

BERGEN:
All the time. All the time, but see, that's not a bad thing because if it's working for this project, it's working for this project. It can't be as specific as Porky Pig. I can't go to Disney and start stuttering. But I can take the genesis of his voice, take the stutter out, add the personality that they're looking for in the script, and create a completely different character, borrowing from a voice I've done in the past. Again, that's what Mel Blanc did. That's what Daws did. That's what June did. Everyody does. But again, it's the acting choices, it's the personality that really makes it original for the project that you're doing right now.

TZN: Even though technically, if you sat down and looked hard at it, it's really the same voice.

BERGEN:
Sure. I mean, if you listen to the ladies that do the Rugrats, and watch all the other shows that they've done, playing little kids, you're going to go, "That's the same voice they did on Rugrats!" But what's the personality like? Well, the personality is totally different. And that's the nice thing about this business. Once you do a voice, you're not banned from ever doing that voice again. You can't copyright a voice. It's impossible, because every voice has a different voice print. Actually, Mel Blanc tried to copyright his voices, but it was thrown out of court because even if you sound exactly like Mel Blanc, you're going to have a different voice print.

TZN: One of the other things I think Mel Blanc said to you was that it was important to have a distinctive laugh for each character.

BERGEN:
Yeah, I tell my students at an audition, whether it's in the script or not, add a laugh, because it adds vulnerability to a character. It shows that you're thinking. You know, the script is a skeleton. Your job as an actor is to give it a body, and adding a laugh or adding something other than what's written on the page to bring that character to life is what's going to make you memorable. A signature laugh, a distinct laugh...it doesn't have to be a knee-slapping, "Oh, you just told the funniest joke on the planet" laugh, it just has to be something that is owned by that character.

TZN: Also because laughs and what makes you laugh are such personal things.

BERGEN:
That's what I mean by "vulnerable." It makes the character, if you'll pardon the expression, human.

TZN: What sorts of things do you think of when you're trying to come up with a distinct laugh for a character?

BERGEN:
It's making it as organic as possible without sounding forced. And laughing for the sake of laughing, it's going to sound wrong, so it's gotta be unique. It's gotta be organic to the personality. And honestly, I don't think that much. I read the script, I read out loud, and I let the creativity flow. If you overthink it, it's going to sound stiff.

TZN: How often do you get to work with other actors in the studio?

BERGEN:
If it's a television series, pretty much every episode. If it's an animated feature, rarely. The animated features have to work around so many schedules and it takes so long to record the entire soundtrack that quite often, you just do your lines wild and they edit the whole thing together and create conversations. If it's a series, they try to get as many of the cast members together as possible into the room, so you can work off each other.

TZN: When you're doing the features, how do you compensate for the lack of other actors?

BERGEN:
Well, again, this is why the voice actors are really good actors, because they have to be. They have no choice but to be able to compensate for that. I saw Tom Hanks on an interview saying that Toy Story was the hardest acting job he'd ever done because he didn't realize how much, as an actor, he relied on a look or a gesture or a glance, which has to be vocalized in a cartoon. Everything on-screen has to be animated, so he had to learn how to vocalize that performance rather than physicalize that performance.

It also depends on the director. When you're dealing with people like John Lasseter and the people at Pixar, they have ideas about the characters, but they're also very open to yours. It's a playground, so there's no limits to what you can do with these characters and with these lines. You never know what they're going to use in the finished product, but they're available to whatever you have to offer. Not every director or studio is like that.

TZN: Do you think there's such a thing as voice actor typecasting?

BERGEN:
Sure! There's also studio typecasting. "He does a lot of work for Disney. Well, we don't want him over at Hanna-Barbera." "Well, he does a lot of work for anime. We don't want him for animation...for American animation." Because people think, "Oh, this is what you do, and this is what you do well, so therefore you probably shouldn't or couldn't do anything else." This is also why a lot of anime actors have a difficult time breaking into American animation. Because the American animation people are saying, "Oh, we don't want that 'anime' sound." These people don't realize that anime recording is so specific, unique, and difficult to do that if you put a script in front of those actors, they can still act without having to dub.

But it's difficult. Once you get established in a certain area, it's very difficult to break out. It's like a soap opera actor. A guy in a soap opera who'd love to do a sitcom. "I'm sorry, but you're just a soap actor." Person on a sitcom trying to do a feature, "Well you're just a television actor." It's easier nowadays for TV actors to do movies, but you still get typecast. It's not just in voiceover, it's everywhere.

TZN: Has typecasting ever damaged your career, or prevented you from getting roles?

BERGEN:
I would say it's not damaged it, but like everybody else, it's been an obstacle. You know, I've had people say, "Well, we don't want Bob because he does Porky Pig. We don't want our character to sound like Porky Pig." And I'll say, "I swear to God I won't make your character stutter." But, you know, a producer's job is to get the best possible people for their project, and it's easier to go for who you think would be right rather than who you think can adapt to make it right. Whether they're right or wrong, that's their job. Now, it's not hurt me financially and it's not hurt me as an overall career. I've been able to work steadily, and do quite well. I also don't dwell on what I'm not doing. I don't care. But, absolutely it's an obstacle.

Make sure to come back on Monday for Part 2 of "A Life in Voice Acting" with Bob Bergen, where he talks about being Porky Pig and Luke Skywalker, what really happened at the Space Jam premiere, and how he got to host a kids' version of Jeopardy! Also, make sure to check out Bergen's home page for his teenage questioning of Mel Blanc, his full resume and demo reels, and more.






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