Con-nichiwa 2012 After-Con Wrap-Up Exclusive: Voice Actor Sensation Kyle Hebert!!
Hello again readers!!
DocBBanner with the scoop on one of today’s best known voice actors and narrators in anime!! Kyle Hebert! Wrapping up at one of Arizona’s Premiere anime conventions, Con-nichiwa 2012, CBT decided to catch the renowned voice of Gohan and narrator of Dragonball Z and the voice of Kamina on Gurren Lagann on the off-time for an exclusive. Kyle talks on his career, career philosophy, and some of his awesome roles.
Here we go!!
DBB: How did you start out? When did you first get inspired to enter the arts in general and on into radio DJ-ing, announcing, and voice acting?
KH: The spark for me for getting behind the mic in general began in childhood, probably around age 8 or so. My dad told me that one guy, Mel Blanc, voiced all my favorite Looney Tunes. Plus I used to play radio with my turntable and cassette recorder, as a DJ, or making mock commercials, etc. The theater of the mind was always captivating to me, probably because I was always too shy to get up on stage and memorize lines in plays. I grew up in the 70s as a huge fan of radio and animation, and now that I’m 42, I’m happy to report I never quite “grew up”. ;D
DBB: What was your toughest challenge when you first started out voice acting?
KH: The biggest challenge no matter where one is in their career is consistency of work. When you first start out, you don’t make enough money to really matter. And even if you are established you can go through weeks or even months of slow-to-no activity. Luckily when I began my voice acting with DBZ, I was still employed full time in radio. But it became particularly scary when I left radio to pursue voice acting full time and move to Los Angeles. It’s been driven into my brain that not getting hired is never a personal matter. You either are or aren’t what the director is looking for, and it’s very competitive. Fortunately, there are hundreds more projects available to audition for in LA rather than Texas, particularly in character driven stuff such as video games and cartoons (my favorite). But there have been extremely stressful times where the phone doesn’t ring and you gotta stretch the budget out just to get by.
Son Gohan from Dragonball Z
DBB: Your first role was being Gohan and the narrator for DBZ, how did it go at first?
KH: I was a little nervous, but I was literally achieving a childhood dream and I felt like I was perfectly capable of doing the gig. I was actually a fan from years before. I would actually imitate Doc Harris’ narrator voice from the Ocean dub, back when DBZ would air once a week on TV once a week at 6am. It was probably the reason I able to figure out how to program a VCR at the time. Chris Sabat, who directed me on most of the show, told me that the general consensus was that I wouldn’t work out, based on their first impression of me at the audition. I wore a bootleg, off centered DBZ iron on shirt. They immediately wrote me off as a fanboy. Funimation and any company casting actors want actors, not fans, everyone, so take note. But they love what I brought to the audition, thankfully. I was pretty rusty at doing lip sync at first, but I think that’s always the case with folks starting out.
DBB: What do you consider your best method of prepping or psyching yourself up for a particular voice role?
KH: Ya know, I’m actually not method. I’m so used to being shown the uber-basics of a character: a picture, a brief bio, and the director filling me with a paragraph or so summary. We build our performances based on bullet points. Efficiency, being a good listener, consistency, improvisation, are all key elements in the booth. The director will work with the actor in an audition or session to fine tune a voice. I am just always super passionate about getting to do what I love for a living that my only feeling before a session is genuine excitement.
DBB: Are there any new Voice roles for you in the works? In regards to your other projects, do you have any others, anime, and non-anime related animation projects as well?
KH: A couple years ago I recorded for The Avengers cartoon on Disney XD. I have two episodes that will air this season, but I can’t say as who yet. Since moving to LA six years ago, I’ve been mostly recording on video games (which pay WAY more than anime). You’ll continue to hear me on Naruto, Bleach, and on the upcoming Guild Wars 2. I also got a brief stint on Hellsing Ultimate OVA as well.
Kamina from Gurren Lagann
DBB: Any particular words of wisdom for all the budding artists out there who wish to follow the same career goals like yours?
KH: Get experience and training when and wherever you can. Even in a podunk town in the middle of nowhere there are drama classes or plays going on. On camera, on stage, on the air, never turn your nose up at an opportunity to hone your craft. Read aloud 10 minutes a day, record your voice, get used to how you sound. Get involved in projects online. Depending on your goals, you’ll need to move where the work is. Radio/TV commercials are lucrative in most major cities, but animation and game work is most prevalent in Los Angeles. Nothing in this business happens quickly or cheaply. Be patient, take baby steps, and know that there are no guarantees. It’s all risk. And if it doesn’t pay off, at least you tried. Better than wondering “What if…?”.
DBB: Lastly: The Comic Book Therapy signature comment question.. What is your favorite all-time anime/manga/comic book/Sci-Fi character or hero/heroine?
KH: Aw man, hard to nail it down to just ONE
Anime = Spike Spiegel
Comic book = Sandman
Sci-Fi character = probably Captain Malcom Reynolds (Firefly/Serenity)
Hero = my parents. they have been nothing but supportive of my path to accomplishing my dreams.
DBB: Thank You so much for all your input on this exclusive and good luck with all your future endeavors!
KH: Thank You!
That is all for this feature, check out our next interview from guests at Con-Nichiwa 2012!!