Trust me when I tell you, voice-actors are always a hoot to interview.
Fans of the cartoon GI Joe will know my next interviewee quite well.
Neil Ross provided the voice for Shipwreck in GI Joe. He has also provided a lot of other voices along the way.
This makes for a fun interview.
1. How do you prepare before taking on a new voice-over acting role?
I did a lot of the preparation when I was a kid compulsively listening to albums by Peter Sellers, Peter Ustinov, Jonathan Winters and others over and over again not even knowing why. After that, whenever I needed a voice or an accent to pay off a joke in the lunch court at school it would come to me. I started out ripping off those folks and gradually developed some of my own stuff. When you audition for a game or animation project you don’t get a lot of time to prepare. You have to think fast and improvise. There’s no ‘secret’ to what I do. I look at the visuals of the character and read the character description and if all goes well, I start hearing a voice in my head which I try to reproduce and I hope the powers that be like it.
2. You’ve worked on some iconic shows in the past. Do you have a personal favourite?
Some shows I remember fondly because they were great fun to do. Sometimes you get a really great group of people to work with but unfortunately the results aren’t what you’d hoped for. But in the end I guess I’d say my favourites are the ones that were successful and are remembered. Transformers, G.I. Joe and Spiderman come to mind. I also recall Voltron with great fondness. It was the first really big project I ever got to work on.
3. Do you have a favourite character you have provided the voice for?
Again, a lot of folks remember Shipwreck in G.I. Joe and he was a fun character to play so he would be a favourite. The Norman Osborne/Green Goblin combo in Spiderman was an interesting challenge. I also had a lot of fun playing the pompous newscaster Whitley White in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. I was usually trying not to crack up as I performed his lines. Then there was Honest John in the feature film An American Tail. What a thrill to work in a Steven Spielberg project.
4. How does it feel knowing you’ve worked on some of the 80’s and 90’s iconic cartoon characters, beloved to this day?
I started out in radio and there were two sayings about that business: ‘You’re only as good as your last show.’ And: ‘All we’re doing here is writing on water.’ So many of my old radio buddies have been forgotten and it’s a shame. Some of the cartoon shows and characters I played have given me a bit of a legacy and that’s very gratifying.
5. Have you ever attended a convention to meet the fans of your work?
I’ve appeared at ComiCon in San Diego two or three times on Mark Evanier’s Animation Voice-over panel. I haven’t done any specific show conventions.
6. What’s coming up next for you?
I’m booked to be the announcer on the AFI Tribute to Mike Nichols which airs in late June. I’ve been working on a game titled Rage which comes out in 2011.
Thanks for the interview Neil!
I hope you guys dug that. It was a hoot to conduct, let me tell you!
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