That was how I felt about getting this interview with voice actor, Rob Paulsen. For those who don't know, Rob Paulsen is the creative voice behind popular cartoon characters such as Yakko and Dr. Scratchansniff from Animaniacs, Pinky from Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain, The Mask, Raphael from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, and many others.
Rob agreed to this email interview as a result of me asking for his help on my English 151 research paper that I did on voice acting called The Invisible Actors. Although he couldn't get back to me in time to use the interview for that paper, I DID use parts of in in my speech on voice acting that I did for my Public Speaking class on November 5 1998.
I sent out the list of questions on September 22, 1998 and Rob replied with these answers on Ocober 7, 1998.
Suzanne: I know that you are originally from Detroit. Was it your career that led you to California?
Rob: Yes, that and the weather.
Suzanne: What was it like getting into voice acting personally?
Rob: It's a long, sometimes frustrating process, but ultimately, it's been worth it, and I wouldn't change a thing. Plus, the people I work with are the most talented actors I've ever met.
Suzanne: Any memorable/amusing stories from your first expiences working as a voice actor?
Rob: The first time I worked with Jonathan Winters on Smurfs was very memorable for me, since he was one of my childhood heroes. That was back in 1986, and I had to take a break from working because he had me laughing so hard.
Suzanne: What would you say are some benefits of voice acting over other kinds of acting (other than the fact that you aren't recognized by your face as often)?
Rob: I'm not limited by phsical features - I'm only limited by my imagination. Plus, I get to come home at a decent hour and see my family - much more than folks who are regulars on a sitcom.
Suzanne: What do you think is perhaps the biggest piece of advice you have ever been given relating to working as a voice actor and who gave this advice to you?
Rob: Actually, the biggest piece of advice I've been given was given to me by Gordie Howe, a famous Hockey player. I was sitting next to him signing autographs at a sports memorabilia and a comic book show, and after two hours of signing, a young man asked Mr. Howe if his hand was tired from signing all those autographs, and Gordie replied "Son, I've worked too hard for this privelege." When I heard that, I vowed that I would never forget it is indeed a privelege for someone to ask you for your autograph.
Suzanne: Could you explain in some detail, for example, what a typical day of recording an episode of "Animaniacs" was like?
Rob: Actually, it's quite simple. We get to work, go over the script, rehearse it, make some changes, record it, and go back and re-record any mistakes, laugh a whole bunch, eat free food, and then go home. All this takes two to four hours.
Suzanne: I have my own "Save Animaniacs" web page as do many other loyal fans around the world including Louie Gonsalves's "Save Our Animaniacs Kampaign" (SOAK) and his successful online petition which I had originally suggested. What do you think about the fan's continuing devotion to "Animaniacs"?
Rob: I think it's tremendous; I'm actually flattered and a little overwhelmed that people would take time out of their busy schedules to help keep our show on the air. Please give them my deep appreciation and undying gratitude.
Suzanne: Do you think this is the end of "Animaniacs" or do you think it could make a come back after a year or two like Rugrats did?
Rob: I think it will always be around in some way - i.e. specials, new CDs, new videos, etc.
Suzanne: Do you know the latest news on the Animaniacs movie, "Wakko's Wakko Wish"? Is it supposed to be a direct to video, a theatrical release, or what?
Rob: I think it's going to be a direct-to-video released in the spring. I hear that it's excellent. Hope this helps you with your report - sorry for the delay, I've been a little nutty lately..