GER member Daniel had the incredible opportunity to conduct an email interview with the one and only, Kyle Hebert (pronounced Ay-Bear). Hebert is an American voice actor and podcaster. He is best known as the voice of Gohan, and the Narrator in the Funimation dub of the Dragon Ball series. What helped him get his big start in this field was being a DJ/host for Radio Disney. Kyle states that he always wanted to get involved in voice acting ever since he was a kid. He credits Mel Blanc as one of his biggest influences, who voiced for many Hanna-Barbera shows. You can read more about our interview with him below.
Geek Elite Radio -1) To start things off, you have played a few versions of Gohan, from a high schooler to full on dad, husband, and striving scholar. Which one of these would you say was your favorite to play and why?
Kyle: My introduction as high school Gohan was my first big voice gig, first big character, first big show, and everything dominoed from there. I have fond memories of being the awkward high schooler who also hammed it up as The Great Saiyaman.
Geek Elite Radio -2) I know you have done both American and Japanese cartoons. Is the recording process different and if so, can you elaborate? Which one do you prefer to do the most and why?
Kyle: With cartoons, the voice recording is done before the animation. The cast tends to record all together, which is the most fun, doing scene-by-scene like a radio play. Each actor has a music stand for the script and mic. It’s wonderful to get to play off each other’s performance, watch others do their thing, etc. Only downside is you have to wait months to even years for the final animation to come out.
With anime, the animation is done and voice recording is done one actor at a time, due the technical restrictions of having to match lip flaps. We preview each line of dialog in the original language to watch for inflections, how loud or soft to make the delivery. It’s also cool to get to see the final product on the screen. Recording solo means you lack context and don’t get to see/hear the big picture as it comes together. It’s a bit of like being in a vacuum. It’s just you, the director, and the engineer. Once in a blue moon, the client might be present to help the director.
Geek Elite Radio -3) Your journey on the show started as The Ox King, and also the Narrator in Dragon Ball Z. Were you approached to voice for Gohan, or did you have to audition like everyone else? If you had to audition for the role, how did that process go?
Kyle: I auditioned in person (most auditions nowadays are done at home and emailed). I was told to pick as many roles as I wanted to read for out of a three-ring binder. I actually was a fan of DBZ already and immediately recognized Gohan amongst the audition scripts. Gohan was the first character I read for, alongside other smaller roles, of which I’ve long forgotten since this was back in summer of 2000. After that initial audition, I was brought in to record bit parts and a couple months later, the high school arc of Gohan began recording and I was told I landed the part. A few months after that, I took over as the Narrator. Once Dragonball began recording after Z’s success, I took over as Ox King. I had heard about open auditions through my radio station job where I was a DJ on-air (Radio Disney). My show partner, Kara Edwards, also auditioned and ended up landing the role of Videl and Goten.
Geek Elite Radio -4) How do you feel about the recent trend of having celebrities being hired to do voice over work instead of actual voice actors that are skilled in this specific field?
Kyle: It’s a definite sore spot. I get that studios count on a bankable name to get people to watch/go to the movies…but with animation, there are so many people already trained and experienced that could deliver the goods. And we are WAY cheaper! Do you think a kid cares that its Eddie Murphy as Donkey on Shrek? Several veteran voice talent have been hired by studios to coach the celebs to act like they do. Talk about a slap in the face. The on camera folks flourish on camera, and generally, I wish they would stay on that side of the playground. Disney/Pixar tends to get celebs who are such good actors their performances translate well into the voiceover world. Others are hired to just be themselves (and get paid millions).
Geek Elite Radio -5) One of the biggest issues that voice actors face is that they are severely underpaid compared to on screen actors. Do you see this changing in the near future?
Kyle: Unfortunately, no. While voiceover has gotten a lot more attention and accolades in recent years thanks to social media, I think the old Hollywood model of “stars”/”celebrities” won’t be going away.
Geek Elite Radio -6) I know that you have played both villains and heroes. Which type of character do you enjoy playing more and why?
Kyle: Actors relish the opportunity to play characters that aren’t them. The further opposite they are, the bigger the challenge and the more fun can be had. Of course, villains can have more scenery to chew, which is a blast. But heroes are inspirational and many fans have opened up to me about how positively their lives are affected, and that is the real icing on the cake. Getting to make a difference in someone’s life.
Geek Elite Radio -7) If you had the opportunity to voice for any character from Marvel or DC comics who would it be?
Kyle: Huge Batman fan, but it’s a double edge sword. I think Kevin Conroy defined that role, and I wouldn’t want to be compared. I also don’t think I could do a better job.
Geek Elite Radio -8) The DBZ anime is known to have some intense power up sequences that involve a lot of yelling and energy. What do you do in order to protect your voice and prep for these types of scenes? Do you have a vocal warmup routine, drink hot tea, etc?
Kyle: I don’t have any warm up routine. But screaming for any length of time can take its toll. The old remedyhas been hot tea with lots of honey…but in recent years I found a much more effective method, at least for me. Chinese cough syrup (Nin Jiom Pa Po Koa) either in liquid or lozenge form really do a nice job of protecting the vocal cords.
Geek Elite Radio -9) With Dragon Ball Super being the continuation of Z, what is the thing you’re most looking forward to in the new series, and how do you feel about all of the character development that Gohan will be getting?
Kyle: I was initially disappointed with Gohan being relegated to the side in the early arcs of Dragonball Super. But with the current storyline in Japan, Gohan is finally relevant again. I have a feeling Gohan will have his day and more than make up for the squandered potential from the Buu Saga.
Geek Elite Radio -10) If you weren’t a voice actor what kind of career do you think you’d have?
Kyle: I love playing drums, so maybe be in some sort of rock/metal band. Also a huge movie buff, so maybe special effects, audio or behind the camera kind of stuff.
Geek Elite Radio -11) Last but not least, what sort of advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue professional voice acting?
Kyle: Voice acting is more about acting than it is about voice. Take classes/workshops and get training/experience when/where you can. On camera, on stage, online. Don’t take shortcuts. This takes 110% commitment and doesn’t happen overnight. Anything that comes easily or cheap can’t be appreciated. Working for something you want bad enough to go through the blood, sweat, and tears pays off so much more in the end. Don’t get into this for fame or fortune. Find your passion and follow it, and if you can make a living doing what you love, it doesn’t get any better.
I had completely missed the boat when it originally debuted. I wasn’t even a gamer then, but having heard nothing but unanimous praise proclaiming “Bioshock” a masterpiece it was finally time to see what everyone kept talking about. The most impressive thing I noticed right away was how serious it took its portrayal of its belief system. Rapture is a city based on the Libertarian values of Ayn Rand, godless in its secular values & near limitless in the pursuit of industry. In hindsight it’s very obvious why it became an instant hit. The very idea that a game would tell a story about a serious attempt at a libertarian utopia is something radically different from near anything that had come before it. Its a level of pensive cinematic storytelling that would many didn’t believe games could be capable of. And this did it beautifully even if I didn’t think it quite lived up to its masterful reputation.
Though I didn’t think it was an “A+” level game it was still an unforgettable experience. The Art Deco world of the 50’s, the innocuous sounding radio ads, the quaint soundtrack of the era, & the voice work for the AI are the best features of this game. They are a mixture of the lucid, terrifying, & awe inspiring & they really make this amoral underwater come alive. It’s those secondary details like the bootleg bibles lying around & the names of the places of businesses like “Pharaohs Fortune Casino” what really make the world of Rapture come alive. Sure they are standard features in games today but the fact that Bioshock did it so well stands out. Rapture is a place where man attempted to build “heaven on earth” and it failed miserably. It’s inhabitants have lost their minds. When they aren’t attacking you they are mutter eerie rants to themselves about how they can still salvage some part of this lost lives. It”s not typical horror scary, its scary on an existential level.
I didn’t think this game was perfect however. I found annoying how low the ammo/funds are through the game. You really have to scavenge a lot & conserve resources to a point that it breaks the fun you are having & robs the story of its momentum. I also didn’t like the convoluted backstory told over cassette tape messages. It would’ve been better to have video cut scenes to tell its backstory. I also found the final boss was ridiculously easy to beat. I can’t deny however that Rapture is a world everyone should visit. It’ll stay with you. It has with me.
This is the second year that Palm Springs is putting on their very own Comic Con, and I have to say that I’m impressed with the guests that they are bringing. Not only are they bringing writers and movie/TV producers, but they’re also bringing TV and film actors. What really caught my attention is that they’re bringing some of the most influential voice actors in the industry. They are all well-known and appreciated for their talents across the nation, and they’re also loved and respected for all of their charity work. The guests featured below are attending Comic Con Palm Springs this year.
Jess Harnell, Troy Baker, Tom Kenny are all guests who recently all participated in a charity event called “Voice Actors Rock!”. This was an event put on by VH1 Save The Music Foundation. The goal for this benefit concert was to raise awareness and obtain funds to donate to music programs across the country. Since more and more music programs are being removed from public schools due to budget cuts, they got their band mates and instruments and took the stage at The World-Famous Whiskey A Go-Go! and rocked all night. If you were not able to attend the event you could still donate for the cause on the website. The best thing about it is that all net proceeds from the event went back to the community to help fund the program or buy new musical instruments. This campaign has been going strong for the past 20 years and has donated a total of $53 million dollars nationwide. This has impacted 2,024 public schools in 247 school districts, which means they have helped out over 3 million public school students.
D.C. Douglas is also a Voice Actor veteran who has many credits under his name, mostly famously known as Albert Wesker from the Resident Evil series. Majority of the time he may be playing the villain but he does have a soft spot. When he isn’t trying to accomplish global domination, he is out there raising political awareness and standing up for equal and civil rights You can find his political cartoons on his YouTube page. When he isn’t making cartoons, you’ll find him making Con appearances, raising awareness for animal rights, and donating to various charities. The top 5 charities he supports are: 1) Animal Welfare Institute- which focuses on alleviating the pain and suffering animals endure during animal testing, and also focus on helping those animals raised in animal factories that raise pigs, cows, chickens, who are set to be slaughtered later. 2) Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind- this organization raises money so they can provide guide dogs free of charge to blind people who seek enhanced mobility and independence. 3) Goodwill Industries- One of the biggest foundations out there who offers job training, employment placement, and other services to those who have disabilities, lack education, face employment challenges, or don’t have any prior job experience. 4) Sierra Club Foundation- Their focus is to educate, inspire, and empower humanity to preserve natural and human environments. 5) Michal J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research- This foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through funding, and ensuring the development of improved therapies.
Comic Con Palm Springs 2017
In only its second year, Comic Con Palm Springs has managed to amass a variety of talented individuals. From comic book creators like Rob Liefeld, artists including Skottie Young and J. Scott Campbell, and voice actors such as Tom Kenny, D.C. Douglas, and Veronica Taylor just to name a few. To round out the list of guests is the infamous Stan Lee.
Guests of the convention will be able to visit the Stan Lee museum which will be available for viewing during the event. This is the one and only opportunity to do so as it’s the only West coast appearance!
Tom Kenny and the Hi-Seas will be rocking out on Friday night to kick off the weekend, and Linda Carter will be stopping by during her “The Other Side of Trouble” tour to provide musical entertainment to those lucky enough to score tickets.
Have a great cosplay to show off? Anyone from kids to experiences adults can enter the Costume contest for a chance to score some great prizes. This event takes place on Sunday.
A popular comic con staple has become the Zombie Walk. Watch the undead parade around the convention center. Want more? Don’t forget to check out the Zombie Café, and Zombie Maze Room.
Those that are interested in movies will be happy to hear that Geekfest Film Fest will also be taking place, showing over 30 pictures varying from music videos, fan films, trailers, and more!
Whatever you’re into, it’s sure to be a fun-filled weekend! Comic Con Palm Springs takes place on August 25, 26, and 27 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.
BY ZOEY SMITH:
Alien: Covenant Review
Much like how Alien: Covenant’s shell-shocked interplanetary colonists stumble away from the traumatizing horrors of discovering the true nature of the Xenomorph menace, I too have walked away from Ridley Scott’s latest stab at making a decent Alien film in a daze of debilitating, numbing existential confusion, disillusioned with a truth that did not align with what I was expecting.
Disclaimer: I’m a huge Alien apologist; I’ll praise the glories of the first two films as shining examples of the glories of cinema, I’ll beg people to give the criminally un-loved Alien 3 a second chance, I’ll gladly play along with nonsensical theatrics of AVP films and Alien Resurrection; hell I’ll even try to convince people that Prometheus was good-ish (hint: deleted scenes). The Alien franchise has, over the course of 8 films, been subject to the artistic visions of their respective creators. Given that 5 directors have had their turn at creating Alien films, every film in the series bears the distinct style, substance, and tone often reflected of their directors. In a way, it can be said that the Alien universe has been a hotbed of cinematic expression and creation. It can also be said that Alien: Covenant brings its experimental A-game, but totally drops the ball by trying looking backwards far more than it should.
My expectations for this film, as incredibly low as they were, were entirely upended by this film’s gonzo left-field sensibilities and slick production. Sure, the unfortunate stench of nostalgia mining is as present as ever, but underneath that mass-market exterior is a profoundly strange film deeply concerned with the nature of creation, and the responsibilities creators bear. However, it is extremely debatable as to what the film is saying about this subject matter, if anything at all. Just slapping “heady” themes into your film doesn’t make it smart, and all the profound meditation in the world can’t save Alien: Covenant from its deeper sins of plain mediocrity: it’s a rather stunning accomplishment to make a film that is both unpredictably imaginative and tediously formulaic as this.
For those not up to speed, Alien: Covenant takes place sometime after the events of Prometheus, where a ship over 2000 space colonists, on route to start a life on an Earth-like homeworld, choose to investigate a cryptic message being transmitted from a mysterious, undiscovered planet. Once on planet’s surface, the colonist stumble across the Engineer cruiser that Dr. Shaw and David hijacked from Prometheus, only to later have several crew members infected with by a surprise reappearance of Black Goo (remember that?). After the infection, the new Neomorphs emerge (omfg am I the only one that yearns for the days when monsters were just referred to as ‘the monsters’) and totally wreck the shit out of the remaining colonist. Before everyone is killed, the group is rescued by David (played by the film’s best asset, Micheal Fassbender), who then takes them to seek shelter in an alien city littered with thousands dead Engineers. It is here that the group discovers the truth: that David and Dr. Shaw arrived to this planet, an engineer homeworld, and unleashed the black goo upon their civilization! And that David has a god complex which drives him to experiment with the black goo! And that David created a strain of goo that closely resembles that of the Xenomorph we all know and love! And that David killed Dr. Shaw to create the first Xenomorph!
Yeeeeaaaaaaa it’s a bit of a letdown, made even more vexing by the fact that NOBODY ASKED FOR THIS. NOBODY WANTED A XENOMORPH ORIGIN STORY. Well, maybe a group of uncritical diehard fans were clamoring for this, but that hardly represents what most moviegoers care about.
It’s never fun to witness genuine artistry to be utterly betrayed by staid tropes and genre conventions, even if said tropes are ripped straight from legitimately interesting sources. While Alien: Covenant doubles down on the deeply existential musings Prometheus, the film also liberally remixes both the first film’s cold, bleak aesthetic along with a more raw, gory take on James Cameron-esque action sensibilities established in Aliens. Perhaps the perfect recipe for an Alien film, but all the parts work to frustrate more than enthrall. The encounters with the new Neomorph threat come across as predictable and limp, only made watchable by Scott’s tight pacing, energetic execution, and handsome style. The unsettling, grotesque presence of the Alien is diminished thanks partly to shoddy CG work, and more so to years of exposure in popular culture. Tension is implied to exist in this film, but the mechanisms responsible for creating this response fail to do so.
Sandwiched between the action bits are the parts of the film I should theoretically love: probing, exploratory science fiction with ‘big questions’ questions on its mind. Character-focused world building. Stunning cinematography that doesn’t flash by faster than my brain has time to process. A creepy, ethereal soundtrack that samples the best motifs from past films. Scenes where people sit in a room and talk a lot and not much happens. Space ships and people doing space stuff in spacesuits in space. Oh, and this film gets weird.
Really, really weird. I mean, when your film opens with a 5+ minute scene of guy lecturing his android creation on the reason for his existence, you’ve gone down a path of weird you cannot pull back from. We are treated to many levels of weird; uncomfortably close and personal alien encounters, strangely theatric Xeno infections/births, bizarre character moments (there’s a bit where the David teaches another android how to play the flute!), and tonally misplaced, over-the-top set pieces. While all of this strangeness HAS been present in previous Alien films, Covenant’s deathly serious tone mixed with its more nonsensical elements puts it in the same league as the bizarrely hyperactive Alien Resurrection. Hell, A:C may even be a legitimate contender with Resurrection for the title of Weirdest Alien Film (but, it is a tough call; Scott’s cool, measured affect is in a completely different league than Resurrection’s adolescent, feverishly bonkers style). I’m sure a part of me would totally be down to watch this again, provided plenty of booze/hard drugs is on hand.
I still cannot confidently say whether I liked this film or not. I think, under repeated viewings, I might come to appreciate how ‘out-there’ this film gets with themes and plot, even though the overly familiar elements failed to excite. I’m normally extremely hugely accepting towards films whose ideas outshine their execution, but Alien: Covenant challenges my tolerance far beyond what I comfortable with swallowing. There’s a lot of neat stuff, weird stuff to mull over here, but unfortunately there’s also a lot of endure. Perhaps, maybe, too much.
(HEY, maybe the fucking DELETED SCENES will clear some of this up? Sweet Jesus, have you SEEN the digital short clips that were apart of Covenant’s marketing? There were some legit character bits in there that ARE NOT IN THE MOVIE. Ugghghghghghhghghghghghghghghh I thought Scott was trying to learn from his mistakes on Prometheus)