Friday, December 23, 2011

Rob Paulsen on Fear, Crying, Acting

Q: Hey, Rob. What was the scariest moment in your voice over career when you might have thought "I'm not going to make it," or where there any moments in particular where you almost cried due to the emotional nature of the copy or someone's performance?

A: I can't even tell ya, folks, how many times I said, "What the hell am I doing here? Who am I kidding? This is crazy." I walk into a room to do a commercial audition, everybody in the room, there might be thirty of them, they're all stunning. Girls completely, y'know, just way out of my league - my wife took pity on me and, well, she's still out of my league - and the guys are all incredibly handsome. And I'm like, "What am I doing here?"

Those situations are basically, y'know, do you look right and will you work with the people they choose to put with you and all that stuff, but, man, I can't even tell you how many times I thought, "Well, I guess I gotta do this." It's human nature, when you're confronted with what appear to be overwhelming odds - you run into that, and that's where the perseverance comes in. When the going gets tough, et cetera et cetera, you suck it up and say, "Okay, I gotta do this."

Again, mind you, when you're 22 years old, it's a little scary, but it's more of a big journey and you're kind of a cock-eyed optimist - and I was too stupid to be too afraid. It was not really frightening. It was kind of overwhelming, but exciting at the same time. So I learned to use the nervous energy I got from whether or not I could make it to better my performances. And everybody finds their own way.

But there wasn't a scariest moment. 'Cause it's not really scary. Scary is cancer. Scary is getting struck by a car. Scary is having somebody shoot at you. Being nervous about whether or not you're going to make a living in show business seems like the biggest thing in the world at the time - and I guess it is for me, because if I don't act, my family doesn't eat.

If you can keep things in perspective and understand that all you can do is your best, all you can do is compete at the highest level at which you're able to compete, continue to get your chops good, and keep studying, and working hard, and banging at the door, banging at the door, banging at the door...

You know what? Some people make it and some people don't. I know that's easy for me to say, 'cause I'm here having some people say, "You made it," but I'm always swinging for the fences. I always want to get better. I always wanna do more. That's why I take these questions about Broadway shows, and live action, and oh my god, I just want to do more and more and more, and keep learning and learning till they put me in a box.

But scary for me takes on a completely different connotation, especially when you get older and you have kids and you have a family. There are real scary things that come up in life that are certainly more important than which audition you do or don't get, but I certainly understand the spirit in which you ask the question. I just didn't have one particular moment which was scary. I had many times where I had days thinking, "I didn't get this, I didn't get that, I was really close," and five call backs and didn't get it. But I was never scared. I was nervous that I wouldn't make money, of course, because I had to pay rent... But not a particular moment.

However, in respect to the second part of your question about the emotional nature of a copy or someone's performance that got to me - you know what? Many, of course, and most of it is happiness because I hear somebody and I'm just overwhelmed by their talent. I was talking to Billy West today which just reminded me, not only how much I love Billy as a friend, but goodness gracious he' just so talented--

But you know one that really got to me was the Pinky and the Brain Christmas special. I know I got a little choked up when Pinky hands Brain this little keychain with the world on it...

Talkin' Toons

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