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Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Artists of Anime Los Angeles

     ALA was Lovely!  I got off the bus into the warm sun, looking at the tall Marriott building in the distance. I was a little unsure I going to find the right entrance,  but as I walked along I stumbled upon traces of petticoats, swords, and rainbow hair...I'm in the right place. 
     Walking up the valet cave, there were adventurers of all kinds!  Zabuza imploring Naruto to hold his sword while he searched for valet fare, a Loli clutching a giant octopus escorted by a photographer, Several Pokemon trainers enjoying sea-salt ice cream bars and Pocky as they waited for their car.....
     The volunteers were so helpful, buying my badge took me seconds!  There were wonderfully painted benches strewn through out the convention, ample water and trash oasis', and even a Visual-Kei cosplayer playing jams on his electric guitar ( He did this on his own free will).

Since cosplay chess didn't start until 4p, I headed to the autograph room visit some of my favorite types of artists: Voice Actors!
     I walked by the room, curious, and was beckoned in my Robert Axelrod, the voice of Zedd from the Power Rangers!  I met Christopher Smith (Code Geass, Robotech) and Laura Landa (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Monster) whom we chatted about everything from how to discipline your children to the shade of my glasses.  Due to conflicting volunteer hours and my desire to break in the voice acting business, Christopher wrote me a special pass to the voice acting panel.  So, without further ado, here is the inside scoop on:

Voice Actors: Out of Sight, Out of Mind

      If you ever wondered how to get your voice to come out of an anime character's mouth, this is IT! Some of the talent included, Julie Rei Goldstien, Kyle Herbert, Kaiji Tang, Christopher Smith, Spike Spencer, Lauren Landa, Stephen Weese, Jon Allen, Robert Axelrod and many more.
     One of the first things they spoke about was you must realize that all of your money will not come from anime.   Being an actor means having the ability to adapt and change.  A lot of the time, anime dose not pay well, so there are very few who make their living off of just this genre.  Many Voice Actors also work on video games, radio, and even national commericals! The best tip is not to limit yourself.
     Once in this frame of mind, get some training.  Voice acting is Acting, and the better you are at that, the better chance you have to get in the door.  I, personally, got my B.F.A. in Theratre Performance, while other actors went to conservatories,  local theater companies,  or industry acting classes. According to Christopher, A great place to get cold reading experience is the Brail Institute of Los Angeles.  Either way, your voice is your only instrument to convey emotion, so, get to learn your voice and all the power that it holds.
     So.Your voice is in shape. Now what? Creating your demo.  It should be 1 min with 5 or 6 characters, none which are a pre-set voices (such as Marge Simpson). When recording your demo, you can either pay someone lots, or do it yourself.  Your computer should have a good sound card and you'll need some software.   Programs such as Audacity, Adobe Audition (advanced), or Amadeus are great.  For mics, the actors recommend  a narrow pick up/ shot gun mic. Julie swears by snowball mics while Spike prefers the mic on his MacBook Pro. You are looking at $150 for the mic at most.  When recording (whether for a demo or an audition), you must create a sound proof space (booth). One easy way is to take a closet, part the clothing hanging, set up your mic and computer and place a blanket over your head, computer, and mic and close the door. You may also build your own booth like Julie, with pvc pipe and special heavy blankets.  The quick on-the-go Spike way would be to place your computer on top a few pillows and throw a blanket over yourself and your computer and, voila!  Instant studio in bed!
     One great way to find work is online,  Since many auditions are done outside the studio, it pairs perfectly.  Sites to visit everyday are Backstagewest, Voices123, Voice Over Resource Guide, and networking.
      Networking, the act of talking and making friends, will help you find out just about anything else you need to know about the business.  Where is the next audition? Who should i work with?  Who should I not work with? Where are the best agencies in town?Who can record my demo for cheap? The last day of the convention I got a chance to have a beer with a few of the voice actors, and I will tell you a secret...Don't talk about work ( voice acting)At this point, everyone is off the clock, and are trying to settle down and take a break. Yes, bring up business if it comes up in conversation, but now is a great time to just get to know these people, because if you are going to spend any amount of time with anyone, you want them to be fun to be around, Right?  No one wants to work with Crabbeapple McSadface.
    Spike Spencer's panel had lots of inside outs of the business as well.  When recording anime, know that is is the hardest voice acting to do and its the least paid.  You will walk in the booth, see the Japanese version once or MAYBE twice,  set the script, read through it, and record. No time ahead with the text, nor much of a character backstory, considering you may jump 100 episodes before your chracter comes back in, and that's same day shoot.  With Radio, Commercials, and sometimes you get the script a head of time so that when you get in you get out, they studio doesn't want to pay for too much of your time. Also know, that some mics can  'hear your thoughts' so staying still and being aware of how much sound your body makes is crucial. Lastly, always remember, that your work represents you. So, only put out good work, because it will come back to you.  Never forget that once you're in the room you are in the game, so yes, you may be standing in a booth at Funimation next to your all time favorite voice actor, but you're in that booth for a reason. Remind them.
  --    <3


On the last day I had the wonderful opportunity to interview some of the local artists and dive into the worlds they have crated.  
 Minor All Stars: Chris and Grace

     Have you ever seen a cloud in disgust only to find a rabbit fart a rainbow? Chris, who got his start at UCSB by concentrating in Clinical Psychology, now get all his kawaii approval from Grace, his artist in crime.  Grace, draws all the dark pieces,  While Chris focuses on the bright and cute.
Did you see those Prices XD!!

They make graphics apparel as well as commissions from their industrial heat press at home.  Grace was above all helpful and informative to whats on sale, while Chris gave a little backstory. 
     Chris started doodling since the beginning of time.  He got into screen printing while helping his church out years ago and started going professional last summer.  Originally he planned to make money with his degree, though he always loved art, he just never thought he cold make any money off of of it.  Now, he enjoys printing for web comics and some of his favorite things to print are inside jokes and things that make HIM laugh (Sonic Boom Abortion was our personal favorites!)

 Their artwork is cute, bright, evil, and fantastic!  It is amazing watching artist turn their love into careers.  If you want an adorable blend of colors and hilarity, visit them on the web at:

You can catch Chris's other artwork at :

Darn Tootin' Its Rocky!

    Rocky, like many artists, knew she was going to be an artist at the bright age of conception.  She has always been doodling, sketching and creating until she stumbled upon her old gothic country band, Katie Rice (, and Cowboy Bebop...She was Inspired to write :

"Based off the Gothic Country music genre, this comic is about a skullcowboy guitarist, a singing saloon-cowgirl, and an Indian drummer. Together, they fail miserably, in hopes that one day they can ride into the sunset in a blaze of glory."

Updated every Darn Tootin' Tuesday, you can dive into the world of this artist.   Racquel "Rocky" has been professional for three years now and loves selling commissions, but not just for money,  Rocky loves the thrill of it all!  She says there is nothing like the rush of having to get something done by a time, it's different then a regular project because sometimes easy to loose track of time, but commissions are for someone else, so you must get them done.  Her enthusiasm pays off cause she sold six commissions already! You can order a commission or see her work at:
$10 Pencils
$20 Inked
$50 Digital Commission


Darn Tootin' its 47ness!  
    Also updating on Darn Tootin Tuesday is 47ness (Alejandro) with Sally Sprocket and Piston Pete; a reverse Pinocchio  story where Piston Pete brings Sally back to life by adding mechanical parts, and thus the adventure unfolds. 
      His artwork is Gorgeous! He has truly created his own world and I love it.

  He was inspired to create this world in art college when a professor in the industry told him to stick to more realistic drawings, in which he choose to follow his own path.  Since then he has paid internships, worked in studios in Hollywood and is transitioning into going professional. He inspires himself to never copy and to only create his own.  He offers print comics as well as hand done commissions. Though commissions at cons are not his favorite due to workspace and rush energy, but if you order online, the wait is worth it!  You can check out his work and order at: 

$10-5 Pencils
$20-5 Inked
$100 Full Stand
$8 Comics, 3 for $20

When asked what about webcomics, 47ness prefers his prints. He says there is just something about curling up with a book, you just can not do that online. As with his artwork, he loves anime with a strong narrative structure and was cosplaying from Haibane Renmei


     Good times had by all, Indeed.  Anime Los Angeles held some great artist this year and much more to come!  As I retrieve my old files from my long gone Lappy, the laptop, I shall post more pictures.
Next week is a dedicated to the amazing Cosplay of ALA!!!!
Until Next Time!

 Ashi   <3             

1 comment:

  1. 8'D I appreciate the thoughtful write up, Ashphord!!!! *highfive*

    I remember passing by that Visual Kei performer quite a bit of times during the con, but I never had time to listen to the music. I was so busy at the Artist Alley :( I think this was the first convention where I didn't check out the other spots in the convention!! I totally missed out. I'll just have to come back next year to enjoy it ;)

    Thanks again! :D I had fun too, and it was great meeting you!