• Bronycon Panel Writeup: Voice Actors Part 2

    The Bronycon coverage continues! I’m Pegasus Rescue Brigade of the pre-readers joining in on the reporting scene this time around.

    All the VA’s from yesterday’s panel returned today for another hour of Q&A. As yesterday, the panel included Lee Tockar, Michelle Creber, Maddy Peters, Nicole Oliver, Brenda Crichlow, and Cathy Weseluck.

    Find all the questions asked at the panel and their answers below the break!

    Lee started off the panel by declaring that the answer to the first question was 42, before any questions were asked.

    Q: How did you feel when you found out you were going to voice your character?
    • Lee: “42”.
    • Lee was excited for the show and even more so when he found out about bronies.
    • Cathy added that they are still happy to see all the dedicated fans at these conventions.
    Q: Do the VA’s have OCs?
    • Nicole says her OC was designed by someone else, and its name is Voxy.
    • Maddy said her OC on her twitter.

    Q: Can you walk us through a typical recording session?
    • Cathy said sessions are recorded scene by scene in a group with Director and Producer.  They are four hour sessions, and all the voice actors for the scene are present, with the exception of Tara, who records from LA.

    Q: Was Equestria girls a similar recording experience?
    • Michelle didn’t even know Equestria Girls was going to be a movie until she saw it on IMDB, but she does remember being surprised when she found out the ponies were becoming humans.

    Q: When did the process of creating Equestria Girls begin?
    • February, 2012.
    Q: Snips had a lot of lines in EqG.  Since Snips has an unusual voice, was it difficult recording so much of him?
    • Lee: (In Snips voice) “No way, my voice is like this all the time.”
    • Lee then said he usually does alright during recording, even when playing Snips.  He does vocal warm-ups and drinks lots of water.

    Q: What’s the most challenging part of the voice acting career?
    • Lee: “The audition.”
    • Michelle: “The ups and downs.  There are disappointments, but you learn to overcome it and keep your confidence up until you get a role.”
    • Lee: “I expect nothing in life, so anything else is a delightful surprise.”

    Q: How did you feel the first time you VA’d?
    • Nicole claims it’s as fun as it seems, and she doesn’t take it for granted.
    • Brenda finds the VA scene interesting in that it’s so different than acting on a set or a stage.
    • Cathy was nervous.  At her first voice acting role, she had to sound like a goose, and was always worried she wouldn’t be able to pull off the constant voice cracks needed for the role.
    • Maddy did her first voice acting on her dad’s cartoon, and had fun with that role.
    • Michelle did her first voice acting at 7, and says she still loves it just as much as her first role years ago.
    • Lee described his first role as “terrible.”  He was an injured soldier that needed to cry out “I’m blind!” The line required a number of retakes until someone pointed out that Lee is actually legally blind and was probably uncomfortable with the role.  His second voice acting role was as Ripster in Street Sharks, which he loved.

    Q: Is the end of gen. 4 near? And is gen. 5 coming?
    • Brenda: “Look, there’s a moose!”  (We all remember this joke, right?)
    • Nicole: “We’re hoping MLP has a gen. 30 someday.”
    • Lee: “Or at least a Steven Magnet Spinoff.”

    Q: Cathy, you play Dennis in “Kid vs. Kat”.  Why does Dennis have the same voice as Spike?
    • Cathy pointed out that the voices aren’t identical, but they start with a similar base placement needed for boys’ voices.

    Q: What made you decide to audition for a role in MLP?
    • Lee: “Mortgage.”
    • Nicole explained that agents are told what roles are available, and the agents send their voice actors in to try out for the roles.  Sometimes you find out you have a part within ten minutes, other times it takes months.Voice acting is in addition thing to TV, onstage performance, and/or hosting for most of them.
    Lee: “I can do interpretive dance, too.”
    • Michelle: Wait, you can?
    • (At this point, Michelle got the crowd to chant Lee’s name until he got up and performed a particularly entertaining attempt at interpretive dance.)

    Q: What’s your favorite aspect of your character’s personality?
    • Nicole: Celestia’s sense of humor and calm demeanor.
    • Brenda: Zecora’s ability to impart wisdom to ponies she meets.
    • Cathy: Spike’s nobility and spontaneity.
    • Maddy: How Scootaloo’s up for anything.
    • Michelle: Applebloom’s passion.  She can be annoying and impatient, but she has dedication that shows her maturity.
    • Lee: Snips is silly and fun for him to play. 

    Q: What kind of hobbies do you have?
    • Michelle dances a lot, but that’s more of a profession than a hobby. She also likes to skate.
    • Cathy plays ping pong.  She used to win tournaments, and suggested that they get a ping pong table at the next con she attends so she can challenge the bronies.
    • Brenda loves windsurfing and downhill skiing.
    • Lee enjoys art.  Illustration, painting, sculpting, etc.
    • Maddy also loves art, especially drawing.

    Q: Do you ever stay in character off set?
    • Brenda admitted to participating in “Talk like Zecora Day”.

    Q: If someone is trying to voice a character, what advice do you have?
    • It’s a competition, so you have to practice and never give up.

    Q: I’ve noticed both Zecora and Celestia often act as mentors to Twilight.  Do you think their characters should ever meet/interact?
    • Nicole would love to see Celestia interact with Zecora.  She’d like to see it as a flashback.
    • Brenda, agreed, stating Zecora needs some more background anyway.

    Q: How was it working with Rebecca Shoichet on Equestria Girls?
    • Nicole: “She’s wonderful to work with.  She did the main theme for FiM, and she’s a great actor and gorgeous singer.”

    Q: In regards to Spike and Steven Magnet: Do you think Spike might be part sea dragon, since he has no wings and loves mustaches?
    • Lee: (As Steven Magnet) “I’m gonna go ahead and say yes.”
    • Cathy: (As Spike) “Dude, that’s creepy.”

    Q: Do you even want to play a different character?
    • Brenda admitted the VA’s try reading each other’s lines but all like our own characters the best.
    • (Cathy then decided to test out what Spike would sound like if he spoke with Applejack’s accent.)

    Q: What do you believe is the exchange rate between USD and Equestrian bits?
    • “We don’t know, we’re all Canadians.”  (The audience got a good laugh out of this one.)

    At this point, Nicole, Brenda, Lee, and Cathy had to leave to go to an autograph session.  Before leaving, Nicole mentioned that she made a bet with Bronycon, regarding the baseball series currently going on between the Seattle Mariners and the Baltimore Orioles.  If the Mariners, win the series, Bronycon will give Nicole 500 dollars to give to a charity in seattle.  If Bronycon wins, Nicole will give them 500 dollars for a Baltimore charity.  Nicole also mentioned an item in the upcoming charity auction related to the Orioles: A drawing by Andy Price from the official MLP comics of Celestia in an Orioles uniforn.

    Afterwards, Maddy and Michelle continued to answer questions.

    Q: Do you have a favorite moment or episode?
    • Michelle liked the Cutie Pox the best.  She mentioned that there were a few deleted scenes in that episode of Apple Bloom displaying more Cutie Mark talens, including a “scootering” talent, much to Scootaloo’s outrage.
    • Maddy’s favorite episode, unsurprisingly, is Sleepless in Ponyville.

    Q: What’s your favorite song in the show?
    • Maddy and Michelle broke into the chorus of the CMC theme song at this point.

    Q: What’s the most interesting or funny thing that happened during recording?
    • Michelle: “Tabitha is hilarious.  She never totally sticks to the script, and adds all sorts of amazing stuff. “
    • Maddy claims if you give Claire (voice of Sweetie Belle) a cookie, she gets very loud and hyper.

    Q: Do you guys know any of the fanmade songs on youtube?
    • Michelle: “Yes!  There’s so much great fan content.  The bronies are really great at expressing really themselves.  Look at this room!  It’s colorful, and there are interesting hats and wings and fluffy ponies everywhere.”

    Q: What do you think your Cutie Marks would be?  (As in Michelle and Maddy, not Applebloom and Scootaloo.)
    • Michelle thinks hers would probably involve musical notes and a microphone.
    • Maddy expects hers would have a paintbrush or pencils on it.
    • Michelle then added that she hopes, if the CMC ever get their Cutie Marks, the three of them share a connecting feature of some sort, which she feels would be a good representation of their friendship and how they have always supported one another during their crusades.

    Q: Let’s say the CMC’s find a mountain of bits and have 24 hours to spend it before a spell makes it vanish.  What do they do?
    • Michelle: “Go on the ultimate Cutie Mark crusade.  They’d have a massive obstacle course across all of Ponyville that allows them to quickly try many different ways to get their Cutie Marks.”
    • Maddy: “They’ll build the ultimate crusader-mobile and use it to get to all the places they want to go to try to earn their Cutie Marks.”

    Q: Do you think there are lines in S4 that fans will immediately latch onto? (such as “Buy some apples.”)
    • Michelle says the writers are fantastic, so she wouldn’t be surprised.
    • Maddy claims she finds everything funny, so it’s hard to tell.

    Q: Any tips for someone who has a casting call coming up?  How do you make a character sound believable?
    • Michelle stressed practicing with the script before the audition in order to become familiar with your own representation of the character.
    • Maddy said to find something special your character has, and to dig into that aspect and try to make it come through in the acting.

    Q: Do you find certain kinds of lines fun or challenging?
    • Michelle: “Sometimes there’s that one line you just can’t get out.  And it seems like the more you do it, the more it doesn’t work.  Andrea has to whip through Pinkie’s lines very quickly sometimes, and it’s complicated but funny.”

    Q: In Sleepless in Ponyville, how did it feel to be the center of the episode for once?
    • Maddy thought it was really cool to see Scootaloo had some story and character development.

    That concluded the second of two voice acting panels at this con.  All the voice actors seem pretty excited for Season 4.  Only a few more months until we get to see what all the hype is about!

    See you all later for more Bronycon coverage!