Sunday, January 9, 2011

An Evening With Billy West

Spent Friday evening down in Sausalito enjoying an interview with Billy West, who was in town at an "Inside the Voice Actor's Studio" event put on by Voicetrax. For the non-voiceover-centric among you, Billy West has voiced a chunk of memorable characters - (references here and here to get you started) such as Ren & Stimpy, several members of the Futurama cast, and currently the Red M&M on their television commercials.

Giving voice to cartoon and animated characters is a big chunk of the siren song which has drawn me to this line of work. The characters of Daws Butler, Mel Blanc and June Foray fired my imagination and became real to me because the actors behind the animation brought such depth to the characters (and the writing and situations were such inventive roller coasters of storytelling).

Billy has continued to bring the commitment to craft forward. It was a rare treat to listen to his rapid patter of reminisces and views. Character work is a tricky combination of physicality, mechanics, commitment and above all - acting. To pull all those things together is a bit of a magician's trick. To consistently do that over a period of time is significant work.

There were a myriad of ideas sown which I'm still considering this morning, inspiration which hopefully will carry my own energy forward a bit, and substantial laughter and love for the craft.

Big thanks to Voicetrax for pulling this together!