After booking his first major anime role in 2014 as Tuxedo Mask, in “Sailor Moon,” Robbie has had the opportunity to act in several other anime series including, One Punch Man, Seven Deadly Sins, Naruto Shippuden, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Durararax2 and much more. With many more series being released you can look forward to hearing his voice all over. I’m personally looking forward to his voice in the upcoming Final Fantasy game Final Fantasy XV.
Here’s my interview with him from Anime Weekend Atlanta 2016.
What do you nerd out about?
“I’m kind of an undercover nerd. I like video games and comics, depending on the comics, but I love movies.”
What’s your favorite movie?
I wouldn’t picture Braveheart as your favorite movie.
“(laughs). A close second is Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai; that’s a classic. Then The Godfather, Goodfellas, and Indiana Jones. I have a top 100 list somewhere; I could do this all day.”
I talked to Ray Chase earlier today, and he told me that this was his third time coming to a convention. You were really a part of helping him come out and join the conventions.
“Yeah, Ray’s a great guy. We became friends during the recording of Final Fantasy XV, and I knew that role for him would be something that he would want to get into the convention market with, along with his anime roles. I’m glad to send him on his way. He’s a totally great on his own. He’s a smart guy with good business sense. He’s excellent with the fans.”
Have you had any memorable fan moments?
“I love the shakers. Mostly girls, a couple of guys, and they come in for their hug or photo, and they’re just vibrating. (laughs). It’s the cutest thing ever. I had one girl go full on face down butt up. Her legs locked up, and she just passed out in front of the table. The fans are super-nice, super-friendly nobody’s really gotten weird. I love meeting the fans; it’s my favorite part of the job.”
You’re not really at the weird convention. That’s Dragon Con.
“That one get’s weird?”
Yeah, that one gets weird.
You’ve been voicing characters for a while now, but how did you get immersed into voice acting?
“I went to school for theater, undergraduate and graduate. But I was always a fan of cartoons, video games and anime. When it came time to graduate and grow up and get a job, I knew that I wanted to pursue acting. It only took me a few months in LA to know the on-camera scene wasn’t for me. Even before I left college I had a VO cut, so I knew about cartoons, and I had a base knowledge. I just really went after it on a grind.”
How does the audition process differ for on-screen and voice over?
“A lot of the time you’ll have the text in front of you when you’re being filmed. For theater, you memorize when you go in for your monolog, and sometimes you’ll do a cold read or a chemistry read with someone else. For voice over, I do it from home. I have a great agency in Los Angeles; they’re one of the top five companies for voiceover. They send me the breakdowns and the auditions. If I have a question, I can write them back. I self-direct, and record takes straight from home. Sometimes I’ll book right off of that, and sometimes I’ll have a call back at a studio.”
I know some projects are kept in the dark for auditions. Do you know the projects you audition for?
“Video games are always codenamed, almost always. I know for Final Fantasy it was “Black.” We just didn’t know; then we found out why all the guys are dressed in black. You don’t always know, but I did see the art and character breakdowns, so I knew then that it was Final Fantasy. You don’t always know, but sometimes you do.”
Have you had any ad-libs that you voiced get through to the final product?
“I’m sure there are some out there. I can’t tell you what the game is, but it’s like a big budget, western, third person shooter game, and I play one of the main bad guys. He’s such a little scumbag; I love him to death. (laughs). He’s just jerky, kind of pervert. I got to throw in my own little bits in that one.”
Do you find it hard to connect to a character?
“It depends on the character. Some characters are really easy to step in their shoes. Other characters take some time to develop and figure out what their motivations are, what their feelings are, how they handle situations, what their voice does in different scenarios, and that’s a big part of the job. My level of preparation depends on the project I’m working on.”
Do you have a dream role or a voice you’d like to recreate?
“I’m kind of doing that with Tuxedo Mask already. But I don’t really want to take anyone’s jobs. I’ve got an answer. I’d like to do Link from the Legend of Zelda games. I don’t know if they’ll keep the Japanese voice, but I’d like to try for Link.”
What was the audition process like for Tuxedo Mask?
“The studio owner, who also does a lot of their casting at Studiopolis, Inc., sent it to me. I expressed to him, that even though I’ve been doing voiceover for a few years now, I hadn’t done any anime. I told him that I would like to read for something, even if he thought I might not be right for it. He was kind enough to send me the audition for Sailor Moon. I read for Tuxedo Mask, a couple of the bad guys, and straight from my audition, no callbacks. And that started my anime journey.”
What else can we look forward to that you’re working on?
“As far as releases, Final Fantasy will be out in November. The best thing to do is to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve got new shows coming out on Disney, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network, but I can’t say what any of them are yet. (laughs). The second season of Seven Deadly Sins is coming up. More Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Crystal. At the convention scene, Max, Ray, and I are doing a live variety show called Loud Annoying, and Very Annoying. The audience gets to pick who is what, so I’m really trying to go for very annoying. I approached them, and we started working on it a few months ago. We want to do it for all the conventions we go to and make it a ticketed event, but for now it’s free, and hopefully we can get the conventions on board and people like it enough to spend twenty bucks, that’ll be fun.”
Do you have any message for aspiring voice actors?
“The first thing I always say is you got to go with what the name of it is, and that’s voice acting. The acting part has to be first. The voice part can’t come first. You have to first make sure you love acting and that you want to pursue it for fun and as a profession. It’s a really hard job to get into, and no one’s going to give you the opportunity, you have to make it for yourself. The first thing you need is to ensure you have the skills as an actor and once you feel comfortable that you can make a living or do it comfortably, then the next step is developing skills to be a voice actor, like microphone control, working on voices. All too often I hear people who have a natural ability or can do an impression, and they want you to hear their voice, and I’ll say, “that’s good, but can you act as that voice.” You have to be able to act as that part. That’s the biggest mistake I see with novices. They work on the voice before the acting. I would suggest that they go to the local community theater or the local acting teacher, study in school and then come back to voice acting.”
Featured Image Photo Credit: Brett Erickson