• Equestria Daily Interview Series: 10 Minutes with Cathy Weseluck

    So the weird wonderful thing about wearing a media badge at EFNW is that you got the chance to sit with a guest of honor in private and stare across a table at each other until time's up. Wiser people brought along microphones, cameras, and a few questions to get a conversation going.

    At EqD, we did things the old fashioned way: voice recorder, pen and paper, and two parts old-fashioned moxie.

    With Spike placing second in a recent poll of ours asking for whom the fandom would like to see as an alternate focus character next season, it made sense to ask his voice actor about how he's come along in her eyes. Hit the break for ten minutes' worth of Cathy Weseluck sharing some of her thoughts on Equestria's number-one assistant. They're pretty nifty.

    Since that Pony Feud panel proved that the fandom isn’t so much heartwarming as it is an ever-descending spiral into darkness, what are the things Spike is good at? [Ed. Because 22 "bronies" answered NOTHING, you schmoes!] Spike’s a fantastic assistant! He’s still a number one assistant. He’s great at baking — there’s the jewel cakes! Let’s not forget that, hey? Yeah! Oh, he’s great at sleeping. Yeah, he’s great at napping. And Spike is great at finding the honest answer, or solving the issues when he’s not even consciously trying. He’s a smart dragon. So when everypony tried to fool him [in Spike at Your Service], he was scared and all when it really happened, but he saves the day quite a bit. He’s got an inherent intelligence — a little bit of a Pinkie Sense going on in a different kind of way. A child’s way. Yeah! Guy’s noble. C’mon, he’s noble. He’s committed and noble, so there you go. But I did laugh my head off when I heard the answers to that question. It was crazy. I feel like that entire hour was everyone beating on your character. I didn’t take it personally at all! The truth is, I honestly can’t wait until I see the next script because as an actor you get a chance to really go for it! Depending on what he’s getting into — I’m dying to see what’s next for him. You’ve been with the show since its very first episode. So even though Spike’s a baby dragon and he’s got a long way to go, he’s evolved over the seasons, and I wanted your take on that — where he came from and where he’s at. In the show, or how I’ve seen him evolve? Your perspective. When I first started to record and voice him, I saw him as quite a little baby. So that always takes time, in a show, for the clients and the actors to jive together and even for them to know where they want to go. It always takes time. So I played him a little more innocent and a little more baby-like than I certainly would now. He’s evolved and grown up intellectually since that time. He’s getting put into different predicaments and he’s getting a little teed off at things, but at the same time he’s starting to realize his manners. So he doesn’t fly off the handle necessarily, anymore — well, he still does, but he’s starting to make realizations that he didn’t make before. He’s saving the day a lot more. He’s also serving to be the relatable character to us because we all have fears, we all have failures. Spike is the perfect person — he’s a little boy. He forgets the next day, probably, right? *laughs* So all those things I see him having evolved from day one. So you took him in that direction on purpose. Do you think it worked in the end? In some ways, it has! It’s really expanded his personality and has given me an opportunity to really perform! We just follow what we’re given, so whatever the writing is, is what we need to make come alive. Kudos to the writers. I know a lot of people think he’s beaten up, but he himself doesn’t see it or care about it that much. It’s a fandom reaction anyhow. He’s really in the moment. Do you think there was a tipping point in how you read the character between when you started voicing him to how you voice him today? Yes and no. I think it depends again on the writing and his ageing and the more experiences he gets into. But I think the naivete is always going to be there because of who he is. He’s also a dragon, so he’s kind of a different culture. All of that kinda plays into it. We’ll see how it goes, but I think his innocence and naivete will always be there, but he’s not afraid of just being blunt. You know, [as Spike] Rude much? You know, I’ll always remember that line. I love it. Okay, rude much? It’s awesome, right? I’ve always loved how you answer as a character at every single voice panel I’ve seen you at. [as Spike] Yeah, totally, man. I’m here for ya! ‘Cause you’re my bros, right? And, sisters, I guess, out there. Wanna say pegasisters, ‘cause they’re bros too, right? Bronies? Anyway… *laughs* I wanted to discuss some of the season four episodes, but the one that hit closest to home for me was Equestria Games. Yes! Can you share what it was like working on that episode? It was fantastic. It was so much fun. Equestria Games was like omigosh, right? How many people don’t get stage fright in certain situations? He was so proud, so proud to go and do this because he’s noble, so he’s going to follow through and do a chore. But when they’re calling him the Great and Honorable Spike, the Brave and Glorious, he’s like [as Spike] I kinda like that. Getting off on that! So they’re playing with kids and what kids do. He’s just being a kid. To actually have to sing that anthem was really fun. People asked me what happened there. The tune was played for me a couple of times — not too much so I could still be fresh with it, real with it, and we talked briefly about what I might say or not say, those kinds of things. And we did it in pieces so I wouldn’t have to think about it. The rest was kind of ad-libbed! It was really fun, though. Anything you would say to people who might find themselves in Spike’s situation there? You know what? We all get stuck in those situations, so don’t take it personally. Know that you’ve done your best, and that you can only do what you can do, so there’s no point in judging it. Every person’s gone through it at some point or another, so don’t get down on yourself for it and let it go. Stay in the moment and realize you’re not alone: go towards the people who do support you and stick with them. Points for the Frozen reference. Spike has always seen himself as Twilight’s #1 assistant and a good friend, stuff like that. How do you see him defining himself in the future? That’s a good question — I’d kind of just have to be speculating for that kind of thing. That’s what I want! Yeah! I hope he might get to go on more adventures. And maybe get to do more for the ponies that requires more bravery or more risk. Because he’s tiny, he won’t be able to do that per se. Go on more adventures with them and become one of the Mane 7 — if they need a little boy, a little guy there. Not that Rainbow Dash isn’t doing that for them already! *laughs* Or Applejack, or even Pinkie when she’s being awesome. So maybe he’ll become someone they can look to when they don’t have an answer. Maybe when he grows up, he’ll be able to help out more, doing more than he can do as a little guy right now. But for now, he’s so blunt and funny and he’s his own person, quite independent. But he still has the heart. He’ll come around and say [as Spike] Oh, I’m sorry. He’s always gonna be a kid in my mind, a kid with heart. Just like me. Yeah, whatever. Never getting his cutie mark, like the CMCs. *groans* Outside of Twilight and Rarity, can you think of a character with whom he can have fun interactions with? Bounce off of? I’ve said this before — in his kinder, softer, more reflective moments, I think he’d be a great little brother for Fluttershy. With the two of them, she’s soft and he could be brave for her. He could be noble for her, and she’d appreciate it. Then he’d feel a connection, almost like a family thing. For gosh’s sakes, he talks to Gummy all the time, right? *laughs* So the next step up in an energy sense is Fluttershy! No, but in a sweet way. A non-intimidating way. I’d say her as one of the ponies go. But Spike’s his own guy. He’s like a mystery. I think if he got the chance to wander off, he’d meet new animals in the forest. Dragon Quest was a bit like that for him. There’s no doubt in my mind he’d want to go out and do something like that again. Totally. But he’s still so noble that he’d be very loyal to his friends forever. And I think he holds that loyalty in there, sometimes more than the others. That’s his mission. He’s their ground. [Ed. Here I'm quietly losing my bits.] We’re almost out of time. Any last words for the Spike detractors out there? Spike detractors?! *laughs* [as Spike] Yeah, whatever. You know what? Everypony’s got somethin’ to say, and that’s awesome. I’ve got my stuff too.