Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Getting to Know: John Stocker, Voice Director of Sailor Moon Part 2

Please read Part 1 of the interview before reading Part 2

Life of a Voice Actor continuation

The work is completed and you get your paycheck. I understand that some actors get paid even after they have already portrayed their characters for a TV series or movie. For example they get money from a portion of a DVD sale or possibly webstreaming. Stocker told me that these are called “residuals” and it is something that actors love. He goes on to explain the process, “commercials or animation productions run in cycles. Some are weekly and some are yearly. When the cycles are completed, the producers must pay performers again for the production to continue running. The amount of the payment is usually based upon a unit value, which is determined by the potential market audience in that particular locale.”

Here’s an odd question, but figured I should ask. You guys heard of “unions” right? You probably learned about it in History class or through someone who is part of one. Now there are unions for voice actors, which is the same one for actors. “Each country has it’s own unions covering all performing disciplines. They’re basically unaffiliated, but they work closely together.” Some people might not like unions, while others agree wholeheartedly with them. However, regardless of someone’s opinion on them, there is an importance to them. “In theory, the union establishes wage and safety guidelines, collects owed monies, fines or blacklists offending production companies and provides a health and retirement plan for its members.”

Are you ready to be a voice actor? You probably could do a few good voices right? Personally, I can only impersonate, but if you want to go forth and voice, where should you begin? I asked Stocker if there are any dedicated schools. He told me that he is not aware of any formal training, but there are a “good number of qualified voice teachers.” He suggested doing some browsing and finding the one you are most comfortable with. However, he said to avoid what he likes to call the ‘factories.’ “Those are the places that tell everyone who walks through their doors that they have a bright future in the voice industry and will be making a fortune at it as soon as they do their demo and graduate.”

With his numerous years in the industry, the most important experience that has helped him with his career today was “the early days of Nelvana.” He had a large part in the creation of a voice and a personality for an animated character. “I still tap into that today. I find something in me that I can extrapolate and use in developing a new role.” With everything he went through and experienced, is there more to his voice acting career than just getting a salary?
“I believe actors use their voices, their bodies, their character portrayals as something to hide behind. You can get away with expressing or doing a lot of things as another persona that you couldn’t as yourself. I’m no different. It’s a great way to vent without people pointing a finger at you. You can always say “I didn’t say that. It was him!”.”
© 2014 Linda Thai

Photography by Linda Thai

Stay tune for Part 3 of the John Stocker interview

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