Phillip "Phil" LaMarr is an American actor, voice actor, comedian and impressionist. He was one of the original cast members on the sketch comedy series Mad TV and has had an extensive voice acting career, with major roles spanning animated series Justice League/Justice League Unlimited, Futurama, Samurai Jack, Static Shock and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
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Hey Reddit! We are Phil LaMarr (Samurai Jack, Futurama), Matt Yang King (WoW, GI:Joe), Tarol Hunt and Danielle Stephens (Goblins Comic). We've created the GOBLINS ANIMATED cartoon and we're Kickstartering it!
Like D and D? Like Futurama? Like Samurai Jack? Overwatch?
Cowboy Bebop? Winnie the Pooh? Well, we have the amazing vocal talents of Billy West, Maurice LaMarche, Matthew Mercer, Steve Blum and Jim Cummings! You've heard them in everything and now we have them pretending to be Goblins in a D and D world! Ask us Anything!
Note: We're in Los Angeles and Canada so we have to respond through multiple reddit accounts: @maddking, @Thunt_Goblins, @phillamarrVO, @hyperhalfling
I am curious about what the process of voice acting is like - are you generally alone in a studio just voicing your parts, or are there times when everyone from a scene is there to record a scene together? If/when recording by yourself, how does that impact how you act in response to characters whose actors are not there?
Depends. GI Joe was always in a room with everyone. And until you've heard Kevin Michael Richardson go full improv you haven't lived. But Transformers for me has always been solo. Likewise video games operate in the clear a lot. And it can be weird because they are so vast. I had no idea what I was doing in Fallout 4 till I actually played the game.
Who would you say is your most iconic character you voiced? Like which one is most associated with you or you would most associate with yourself?
The one that I've already done is Tunnel Rat in GI:Joe Renegades. A Jewish Asian badass with a thing for explosives. HOWEVER, I just did one last Tuesday that'll come out in about a year and that is my fav of all time so far. So, let's circle back in 2018.
How much do you get into character, when you are voice acting vs. when you are writing character details down for your cartoon?
That's the funny thing that you don't realize. When you get into the booth to do a character, we start to become the character. Watching Steve Blum do Wolverine is truly intimidating. Watching Billy or Maurice or Jim or Phil do their iconic characters is truly a thing to behold.
Will you tell me the things you're not allowed to talk about if I promise not to read it?
How do you keep from sounding like you are reciting/narrating and actually deliver a natural performance? Is 'natural' the right word to use there, or do you aim for something heightened in animation?
You're ALWAYS ACTING. You put on a mask for your parents that is different than the mask that you put on for your friends or your SO. Figure out what mask is close to what is going on in the scene and put it on. With animation you have to create EVERYTHING through the voice. So you really have to disembody.
I have a question for Matt, Phil and Danielle... what's it like working with Tarol Hunt? I hear that he's so talented and handsome!
He's the most Canadian Canadian I have ever met.
How do you guys get over the self loathing of your own voice? It is a issue for me.
Generally, you are the last person that hears your own voice. And you are getting the vibrations and bass from your voice passing through your body, so you have more bass in your ear than in a recording. The more you record yourself, the more you will pitch yourself to what you want to sound like than what you happen to sound like. Just as the more you work out the more you can target what you want to look like. So go get on a mic!
hi all! Congratuwelldone on Goblins! May I ask, how did Goblins go being from a comic to an animated project?
I don't stop asking till people say yes. That's why I have 3 kids.
Will the Kickstarter have a stretch goal where Tarol waxes his arms live on stream?
... also, a slightly more serious question for the whole team: who's your favorite [edit:] GOBLINS [/edit] character (so far)?
He's still crying about the last time.
How will the series be released when it's finished? Will it be broadcast on TV or streamed on a website? On Netflix? A DVD in Best Buy?
It really depends on how deeply we get funded. We have a distribution channel set up if we go to a full series, but if we only get a pilot then we are still in the game of distributing locally on our website through the members only access. Fingers crossed for full series!!!
Thank you for doing this AMA. I'm super excited for the series. I have questions for each of you as listed below:
@Tarol Hunt: What is your most memorable chapter/scene you've written so far for Goblins?
@Phil LaMarr: Which role taught you the most in terms of personal growth as a Voice actor?
@Matt Yang King: What was your reaction when you were asked to do the voices for World of Warcraft?
@Danielle Stephens: Which is your favorite card in G:AR?
I was the original Illidan and Blizzard wasn't Union when the job came around again and so I had to turn it down. I was really upset bc I love that character so much. So when I got the chance to do a ton of Pandaran material bc Blizzard had gone union I jumped at the chance. Plus I used to play WoW WAAAAAY too much.
To the actors: What is the best thing a director can do for you?
Be clear and specific and open to what the actor is thinking. Directors who think of actors as furniture always drive me nuts. When I've directed I like having a fluid sense of the scene and I love rehearsing to get a sense of what the actors are going to bring to it. The more room you give us the better. Watch Elia Kazan talking about working with Brando.
Mr. King, what was it like working on Frasier? :~)
STORY TIMEEEEEE! Okay, so I had a ball on Frazier. David Hyde Pierce and I got along like gangbusters. I always bring my violin to set to stay creative but not overly dwell on my lines. David heard me playing and he's a crazy good pianist. I said, "Why don't we play a duet." and the net day he brought in a stack of Violin/piano duets that was 2 feet high. He made my day.
Mr. King, what was it like working on The West Wing, how was it working with Aaron Sorkin's dialogue? :~)
One, I got to work with James Hong, who's a legend. Two, I had done Romeo and Juliet at the Ahmanson here in town and was working with Sir Peter Hall (RSC) a few months before. Peter put me through the grinder and I remember kicking a bathroom stall when I couldn't nail down the material. I hear, "HEY! HEY!" and it was John Spencer in the next stall. I told him why, and apologized. He said "Hey, sometimes you can't bludgeon a real moment out of me with a bat." When I talked to him on WW he remembered and became a mentor to me. So I am hugely indebted to that show. WW was also my third audition in LA.
What drew you to the idea of Goblins Animated?
I read the comic. It's amazing. Their work is nutty good. THEY MADE ME WEEP WARPED! THEY MADE ME WEEP!
Who is the Brando/Deniro/Streep of voice over actors?
I'll go Billy West/Phil LaMarr/Jennifer Hale
What's a good microphone and sound set up for VO on a budget?
Just get a Blue Yeti and put a towel over your head. Set it for monodirectional and set the gain low. Put a pencil perpendicular over your lips if you have a lot of plosives in the copy.
Assuming people will be smarter than the smarties and Goblins Animated will get the bajillion seasons it should have,how will you deal with the loss in viewership once we start dying from dehydration, because we'll cry for three weeks straight whem he have to actually hear Fumbles and Chief being tortured or Minmax repeatedly asking "did you tell her I'm sorry?"
We want to have this problem.
Would the Fantastic Mr. Fox approach to recording VO (acting in out in locations) be better than recording in a studio? Can you hear the difference?
Hell no. That's only if you have Wes Anderson's budget.
Do you ever have to provide the voice to the animation after it is done? What challenges does that present? Does the quality of the performance ever match when you are more of the starting point?
Yup. Especially when you are redubbing anything Japanese. Working on Miyazaki and Takahata stuff is super hard because the line has to match the lip flaps and you have to do some serious hoop jumping to make it make sense.
Why do so many video game performances sound like they are talking to a mic, whereas pros like yourselves sound like you are talking to (and as) a character?
Matthew Mercer is pretty insane at turning in great VG performances.
@Tarol: considering your notes on the storyline, how far would you say has the comic progressed right now?
@Matt and Phil: how hard is it to get the voice for a character right,so it sounds like you imagined it? I mean, I always sound stupid when I'm trying to make voices,but I have literally no training on the matter.
@Danielle: is there any chance you'll do a voice cameo at one point?
It's hard. But you just keep hammering at it trying to avoid your habits. I also use the IDEA archive to get as many English dialects as I can in my ear.
How do you approach a scene as a voice actor differently compared to a live film/tv?
With Voice Acting I can go completely into a character I would normally not be "allowed" to do. Playing a crazy Russian Mobster for Alpha Protocol was a dream. With on camera I am constrained by the limits that Hollywood puts on being an actor of a certain race, which can be ridiculous at times.
What's the plan?
Get funded. Make a show. Get stuff. Send it to you guys. Release the show.
Of the four of you, who would win in a battle royale? Also, super excited about the Kickstarter.
Dani. Hands down.
How far into the story would season 1 get? Entering Brassmoon or Book 1 range?
Depends on the funding. If we get funded we can just keep going and going. But animation is SUPER expensive so we have to make all of our goals because we are seriously budgeted out.