|Posted by Joe on April 10, 2011 at 3:33 PM|
Here is the interview that I did with Neil Ross, on 05/04/2011. I hope you all like the interview and the answers he gave. I learned a lot about him and was very excited to do the interview with him. Want to thank Neil Ross for doing the interview and I hope that we can stay in touch.
1.When you were younger, was voice acting what you wanted to do, or was there something else you wanted to do?
My first career choice was radio. I got interested in being a DJ at about the age of fifteen. I was a radio DJ\ Production guy for 22 years. I started getting into voice acting at about the fifteen year mark. The two things overlapped for about seven years.
2.Had you taken any voice acting classes, when you were younger?
I started going to voice-over workshops when I got to Los Angeles in 1978. I was in my mid thirties at that point.
3.Did you always wanted to do voices?
I’ve been fooling around with voices and accents for as long as I can remember. Imitating things I heard on radio in movies and on television. It was just something I did for fun. Not with any idea of turning into a way of making a living.
4. What would you say was the biggest influence on your decision to become a voice actor?
When I found out the business existed. This was back in 1969. The business just wasn’t publicized back then the way it has been in the last twenty years. I had always assumed that the people I heard doing that work were moonlighting on-camera actors and that there was no way for someone like me to break in. Then, in 1969, I was having a conversation with a record promoter from Los Angeles and he used the term voice-overs. I’d never heard the term before. He went on to tell me that it was a separate business and that it could be very lucrative. It struck me that it was the perfect gig for someone with my rather eclectic bag of tricks. It took me another ten years to do something about it but that’s when the seed was sown.
5.When doing the voices of your characters is there any preparation?
Sometimes, if I haven’t done the character in a while, I’ll need to hear a recording of me doing the character. We call that a ref – short for reference. Once I hear it I can usually remember how to do it. Other than that – no.
6. What was it like to do Voltron: Defender of the Universe in 1984 and play Commander Keith?
That was the first time I had a lead role in a big series, so it was very exciting.
7. How had you ended up getting the role of Commander Keith in Voltron? Had the voice director come and ask you to do the role or was there a audition?
I was called in to audition at a voice casting place, cleverly named ‘The Voicecaster.’ A week or so later my agent called and said I got the part. I didn’t meet the director until I showed up for the first session.
8. What was it like to work on voltron: the third dimension? How did you end up getting the role?
When they brought the show back they decided to use the original voice actors so that meant I got to reprise my role.
8. You also did the voice of Shipwreck and many others in G.I Joe? What was it like to voice him and the others?
G.I. Joe had a great cast and crew. A lot of fun to work on that show. Shipwreck was a wonderful character to play. One of my favorites.
Now I'll begin asking my transformers questions...
1. How had you landed the roles in transformers? was it the voice director who had know what your capabilites were or was there a audition?
Every part I played in Transformers I auditioned for. The only exception would be the occasional incidental non-recurring character I would be assigned at the session.
2. What was it like to Work on transformers?
Very similar to G.I. Joe. Same voice director (Wally Burr) same studio and a lot of the same actors.
3. Out of all the Transformers you have played for the series, (Bonecrusher, Hook, Slag, and Springer) did he have a particular favorite? If so, why?
Probably Springer. He was a fun character and easy on the vocal chords. Bonecrusher, Hook and Slag were all what we call ‘throat rippers.’
4 How did you land the role of Hook and Bonecrusher, as well as the Autobot Slag? What lead them to cast you in the role of the heroic and gruff Springer?
I auditioned for each of those characters. I was never told specifically why the producers chose me.
5. What are your feelings on how Springer and many of the other characters from Transformers personality was done? Would you have liked to play the character any different?
The job is to give the director what he or she wants and that’s what I’ve always tried to do. Once in blue moon and only if I have a very strong feeling about it, I might politely suggest an alternate approach. But that’s rare. I don’t ever recall having any great desire to deviate from what Wally asked for.
6. Were there any disappointments found along the way, in the series or the characters?
Only that the show didn’t last longer.
7. If you could have voiced any other character who would it have been and why?
Do you know how many voice actors it takes to change a light bulb? Ten. One to change the bulb and the other nine to stand around asking “Why’d they pick him – I could have done that!” (Just a little voice-over joke.) Seriously, I thought the show as very well cast and was just happy to be a part of it. I didn’t covet anyone else’s part.
8. What were your favorite parts of recording the Transformers cartoon? Do you any fond memories that you'd like to sharing?
As I said earlier, it was a great group of people to work with. Folks who had acted on stage, television and the big screen. Also writers and standup comedians. Even a few old broken down ex disc-jockeys like myself. A bunch of interesting people who were also amazing raconteurs. Much hilarity between takes. But it was all ‘you had to be there’ type humor. Any attempt to reproduce it just falls flat.
9. Did you have a favorite line in the series?
Springer had a line in the animated Transformers movie that went something like “Let’s get movin’ – I didn’t come here today to die.” I saw/heard that moment in a crowded theater and the audience erupted in cheers and applause. It felt pretty good.
10. Have they approached you for any of the new series (transformers,G.I. Joe, Voltron.)? If so, would he like to reprise his characters, take on the challenge of voicing brand-new ones, or, both?
Haven’t been approached. Would be up for the challenge.
11. Have you watched yourself on any of the series you have done?
I don’t watch a lot. The fun for me is the work. I usually watch a couple of episodes of anything I’m in just to get a feeling for the overall look and tone of the show – but that’s about it.
12. Do you happen to own any merchandise from Voltron, G.I.Joe or Transformers?
I have a large Voltron poster which I got framed. Other than that – no.
13. Are there any upcoming projects he's working on that he'd like us to know about?
I’m in a number of games that are either out or about to be out including Rage, Mass Effect 2 and Monkey Island 2 (Special Edition – LeChuck’s Revenge)