Psst…wanna be a cartoon voiceover actor? Hit Dee Bradley Baker’s IWantToBeAVoiceActor.com and get ready for a lot of work. If you want a shortcut, the best route now is to visit Nickelodeon’s voiceover booth at New York Comic Con 2014, where you can provide the voice for some of your favorite cartoon characters and get a video of your performance afterwards.
I met up with the awesome folks at Nickelodeon PR on Friday morning for a session with the inimitable Rob Paulsen, to play Michelangelo to his Donatello in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. No pressure or anything. However, Rob and the staff stationed in the booth were tremendously friendly and put me at ease really quickly. You’ll get to pick a video clip and watch the original version before you enter the booth. The experience is like “voiceover karaoke,” where the voice of one character has been removed and words flash on screen for you to sync up with. This makes it more like recording anime or ADR than the traditional pre-lay work that Nickelodeon does. It definitely has the benefit of not needing script pages or copy stands or anything else that can overwhelm someone new to a voiceover booth (or, in the case of script pages, make noise that will screw up the recording). It was a lot of fun playing Mikey for a few minutes, although I definitely don’t think Greg Cipes has anything to worry about.
They have a variety of different clips to play around with (I remember seeing Breadwinners, Sanjay and Craig, and SpongeBob SquarePants in addition to the Turtles, although I admit I may be mis-remembering). They did offer me a scene to play April O’Neil, too, so it’s definitely an equal-opportunity voiceover experience (and, in hindsight, maybe I should have done it as a challenge).
Besides, if anybody asks you, “Hey, you want to spend some time in a voiceover booth with Rob Paulsen or Greg Cipes?” the correct answer is, “YES!” Just bring your energy and make sure you’re not wearing noisy clothing.
The Nickelodeon voiceover booth will be at New York Comic Con 2014 on Saturday and Sunday, just inside the southern-most entrance to the con floor near the 34th St. entrance to the Javits Center. Click the image below to enlarge the schedule for times.
Super special thanks to Nickelodeon PR for setting up the opportunity for this, and Rob Paulsen for acting with me.