Saturday, August 10, 2013

I Know That Voice

John DiMaggio (Bender, Jake the dog, and many other voices) created a fun romp into the looking glass of animation with the informative documentary, “I Know That Voice."  Recently when John was a guest in Rob Paulsen’s (aka Pinky, aka Yakko) podcast, Rob Paulsen Live, John told how 'I Know That Voice' started.  Like all good projects by 'I Know That Voice' was created by accident.  'I Know That Voice' was first conceptualized when John went to a concert in Amsterdam.  Two German fans identified him. Not by his face, but rather his voice.  With that chance encounter led to the creation of 'I Know That Voice' .

'I Know That Voice'  is whose who of veteran voice artists. From June Foray (Rocky the flying squirrel) and Gary Owens (Rodger Ram Jet) to the newest voice artists, such as Josh Keaton (Ryu Hayabusa, Ninja Gaiden Video Game Series) and John himself.  John has worked with his director (Lawrence Shapiro) to create a labor of love.  He has encountered many missteps that prevail to all artists, such as finding the right distributors.  As he said during the podcast, fans will flock regardless of the media.  This was most evident at the San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) 'I Know That Voice' panel.  There was an excess of 3000 fans filled at one of the larger ballrooms at the San Diego Convention Center.  The whole ballroom was sold out. The people behind 'I Know That Voice' are well known to the animation community.  They are still unknown to the general public.  There are people who helped with the unraveling of the curtain has helped the general public most particularly, Rob Paulsen, has opened the curtain slightly. 'I Know That Voice' might do the same. Maybe more. 

When I asked John about a sequel with Japanese Voice Artists (Seiyuu).   John joked that they didn’t start showing the first film.   John would love to interview Seiyuu for the next documentary.  Obviously cost is the issue, but there is always a possibility. Anime conventions in the US such as, Katsucon, Anime Expo, Otakon, and many others, could help.  There are even conventions in Japan that cater to the animation industry, such as Tokyo International Anime Fair (TAF) and Comike (Comic Market).

The animation industry is expanding at an alarming rate.  Many modernizations in the past 10 yrs are simply mind blowing.  These include: high-speed Internet connection, digital distribution (Amazon, Netflix), and mobile devices (Android and Apple).  Now I think there is a need a film where the industry began can showcasing the veterans of the animation industry.  At the same time this could be a helpful education tool for students who want to be involved with communication (STEM). The documentary could assist people who have a yearning for be apart of animation industry, but don’t know where to start. 

John has a deep understanding with people who could be considered as odd by the general public.  His mom was a SPED teacher.  John learned at a young age to help those people who are the most vulnerable.  Without knowing it, John is helping educate the general public about what their favorite characters look like in real life.  

We are stewards of techniques that not only make people laugh, but allow them to understand the social situation in that particular era in history.  As the great Rob Paulsen would say, "Laughter is the best medicine, you can’t OD and the refills are free."