|Forum Home > Interviews With Cast & Crew > Will Wheaton - June 2005|
Below is an interview put together by Zonk at Slashdot in June 2005. I have pasted only the paragraph where Will Wheaton speaks about recording a Teen Titans episode. The full interview is much longer. Link to source is below.
Wil Wheaton played the role of Aqualad on Teen Titans.
Interview with Will Wheaton summary
by vjmurphy (190266)
Since you are doing the voice of Aqualad on Cartoon Network's Teen Titans, how different is that experience (voice acting) compared to in-the-flesh acting? Are all the other actors voicing their characters at the same time you are? Is there a lot of experimentation, ad-libbing?
And did you have a choice of characters to play? If so, Aqualad? I mean, come on, his power is to swim and talk to fish.
WW: I absolutely love being Aqualad. I think he looks cool, they always give him great things to do, and I've been able to give him a very distinct attitude and voice: he's a prince, you know, so he's sort of aristocratic when he deals with the other Titans, and he gets annoyed when anyone doesn't respect what he calls "My Ocean."
And I'm incredibly lucky that I have that job, because the voice over community is the hardest secret handshake to learn in the entire industry. As hard as it is to get hired for on-camera work in Hollywood, it's exponentially more difficult to get hired for voice work. It seems like it would be easy: You just walk into a booth, record your lines, and leave, right? Wrong. The great voice actors are not just doing silly or interesting voices: they're actually acting using only their voice. They can't use their eyes or their bodies to convey emotion or intention, so giving a subtle but powerful vocal performance (like Kevin Conroy on Batman, for instance) is much harder than . . . well, than it sounds. Once someone proves themself as a voice actor, they will work a lot, and there's very little turnover.
We record Titans in a pretty big studio at Warner Feature Animation. There are about a dozen chairs lining three of the four walls, with music stands (for scripts) and microphones in front of them. The fourth wall is a huge sound-proofed glass window that separates us from the room where the director, writers, producers and engineers sit. I usually sit between Scott Menville (Robin) and Greg Cipes (Beast Boy) . . . though when I work with John DiMaggio (who plays Brother Blood, but is best known as Bender from Futurama) I always get a little fanboy and try to sit next to him. I've noticed that many of us adopt certain postures when we do our character voices. Scott always stand up, and usually clenches one fist, Greg usually crosses one leg over the other and fiddles with a pencil, and I sit up straight, with my hands on my knees. I don't know why we do these things, but I know that I can't do Aqualad's voice unless I'm sitting in that posture.
We start out by reading the entire episode top to bottom, with the director reading the action. We get a few notes during this read-through, but mostly it's to help us track the entire episode and warm up our voices. When we're done, we take a quick break, and then we start the episode. We go scene-by-scene, occasionally stopping to re-do a line here or there. We are not given an opportunity to ad-lib very often, simply because the scripts are very tight, and have had to get approval from a lot of people before we finally sit down to voice them, though occasionally if a line isn't working for some reason, we'll get the nod to play around a little bit and find something that does.
A typical episode takes about two hours, and when we're done, the director and producers play back their "pick" takes from the session, in context, and usually bring a few of us back in to "pick up" a few lines here and there. They edit all the takes together, and send the final product to the animators. Several months later, we come back into the studio to clean up anything that may have made sense when we recorded it, but doesn't work in the context of the final animation. We also record all the "OOF!" and "URGH!" and "THWOCK!" sounds for our fights at this time, so we match the action on the screen.
A couple of weeks after this session, the episode usually hits your television.