Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Getting to Know: John Stocker, Voice Director of Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon was anime that many of us from the 1990's generation probably watched. Whether you are an anime fan or not, I'm pretty sure many have at least heard of the title. So when Anime Boston announced that they were bringing guests from the series I was in hype mode!

Now one of the guests intrigued me. Why you ask? Because he has an EXTENSIVE resume in the industry. I wanted to get to know John Stocker, not just as the Director of Sailor Moon, but as the multi talented individual. I wanted him to share with you his knowledge and experience. He kindly agreed and without further ado, I present to you: John Stocker.

Life of a Voice Actor

As a voice actor (VA), Stocker has portrayed a variety of characters ranging from supportive to the lead, memorable to less recognizable. From looking at his IMBD profile, he had multiple roles at the same time. For example, in 1999 he had about 10 roles, while in 2010 he was in Rob the Robot, Dex Hamilton: Fire and Ice, Sidekick and The Dating Guy. Some of the roles in those years look like regular roles, while others were either a one-time thing or a few episodes.

Not sure how many VAs have that kind of an opportunity, but how common is it to have the ability to work in different roles at the same time? Stocker explained to me that it is part of the package of deliverables, meaning necessary criteria. “A competent ‘vocal acrobat’ should be able to flip-flop all over the place.” Let’s think about this: how else would you get hired? It’s better to have the ability to play different roles than limiting oneself to a select few. “And remember, the whole idea is to be busy.” So how does this help? “The more you work, the more fun you have and the more money you make.”

If you’re wondering about how to balance your time for multiple roles make sure you have a good agent, because “that’s what they’re paid for.” Speaking of scheduling, what is involved in the typical day of voice acting? For Stocker, he is always up early to do a final rehearsal. However, unlike some VA, he does not do any vocal exercises. What he does is try to have a solid grip on the voice that he would be using for a particular character, along with the context of the script. “I focus on having a wonderful day, I think positively and I smile.”

Ok, you have yourself an agent, you auditioned and won a few roles. Now, the practical question is: is the career financially stable? According to Stocker, “for a fortunate few… yes. For most… no. I’ve been blessed to have been in that first category.” You are probably wondering why would most of them have an unstable career. Are they being typed cast with limited opportunities? Not necessarily. “Being type cast isn’t always a difficulty.” Look at it this way; s/he becomes the ‘go-to’ person “for a particular style or delivery.” It shows that the VA is dependable on delivering “a particular read time and time again. Hey, all 'glamour' aside, it’s a job.” Now Stocker is not staying you should just stick to those voices. If you want to further develop your vocal abilities, then that is something you should pursue. “But don’t toss your stock and trade qualities aside. Work on a unique stable of voices.”

© 2014 Linda Thai
John Stocker Photo by Tara Stocker

Thank you John Stocker for letting me use the photo!

Stay tune for Part 2 of the John Stocker interview.

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