Interview with Veronica Taylor – MCM Comicon Glasgow – September 2017
By Filip Djordjevic and Neil Dutton
Filip: “Can you tell us apart from Ash, what is the most favourite role?”
Veronica Taylor : “Definitely Ash is my favourite, especially in 1998 there weren’t that many girl roles, so to be able to play a boy and bring my own sensibility to it , it was life changing. So many girls said they were so excited to find out I was Ash, rather than being disappointed that they had a crush on me.
To find out that girls can do anything kind of thing, and that’s been a really exciting aspect of it, to be able to be somewhat influential, and it was a great job. But other than that, I love to play characters that don’t sound like me, again Ash is one of the furthest characters from my voice. I’ve done a lot of anime slayers, I was Amelia, and she’s very magical and her voice is very high and airy.
She was a great character to play because she is so bold, she was really tiny but she could do so much. I do like shows for kids, and I also work on a lot of learning and educational games for kids. Things like that, I like to work on something that has a deeper message. I work on a million things, not even half of which I think people have heard of, ultimately I just like to work so that’s really the answer – any other thing I have been cast in. “
Filip: “Did I also see you were the voice of April O’Neal from TMNT?”
Veronica Taylor : “Yes, I should have mentioned that second! WE all know Ninja Turtles, and to be cast in that version of it was really a dream come true. I wish she had a little more action in the how, but she’s so smart and she certainly rivals Donatello in what she can do for the group. That was just an amazing thing to be a part of.”
Filip: “How long did you do that role for?”
Veronica Taylor : “I think it was like three years, 2003 to 2007 almost, se three to four years ultimately.”
Filip: “How did you get into voice acting originally?”
Veronica Taylor : “So I started acting when I was five, and I have always done sports, theatre and dance all along, and I went to college and grad school for acting. I toured the US with an acting company for a few years. I got my first voice acting job in the batman stunt show, I was in the stunt show and then I got to be the voiceover that was used in the show. So that was kind of my first paying gig for that.
And then I was working with an acting coach and I was recommended for an anime, and I booked that. And then they said can you audition for this and that, and that just led to me doing more and more animations. So basically, you pack your bag full of all your talent and then you just wait for the door to open. You know, you’re constantly looking, I was just lucky to be recommended for something kind of out of the blue.
Filip: “I always wondered how people end up in voice acting, is it just someone saying you have a great voice?”
Veronica Taylor : “So many people have great voices, but it’s kind of what’s behind the voice and what can you do with it. Because everyone can do kooky voices, we all do that at home, but can you sustain and create a whole character. And make it someone who is believable, emotional, and can have those highs and lows. “
Filip: “Is it true then what they say that voice acting is harder acting on stag?”
Veronica Taylor : “It’s incredibly difficult, it is the worst job you can have, no one should do it. But seriously, the thing about is when you are on stage, you have your whole body which can express emotion for you. When you are in film, you can express something with just one eyebrow. When you are in a cartoon, you have to get all of that just through your voice. So in a away it is more taxing, you have to find a way to sound normal or bigger than normal, you have to really finesse it. It is acting distilled down all the way to its purest.
Neil: “If you are doing audio books, how do you find the switching between the characters, do you do a lot of takes?”
Veronica Taylor : “No takes. It’s like I am sitting in your bedroom reading you a story. Before I start, I have an idea much fully fleshed out about what each character looks like, and then I just kind of fill it. You really don’t stop and start along the way. “
Filip: “How do you prepare for a new role? For example, when you got the role of Ash, what kind of process did you go through to try and prepare yourself?”
Veronica Taylor : “For that specifically they wanted us to match what the original Japanese character sounded like. So we saw a small clip from the show and then we just popped in the booth and read lines and tried get as close as you could to that. There was no listening overnight and practising, just sit there in the studio and listen and get in the booth.
And then once I was cast as Ash, then I could figure out a more fully formed way of who he was, where the sound was placed, how I can get back to it every day. When I get an audition, usually you get a couple of lines of description who the character is. Sometimes they give you a picture., sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they give you a reference like wanting to sound like Michelle Pfeifer.
Well who knows, she sounds so different to everyone so you kind of have to guess what they want and put your own thing into it and then you compile for yourself. It is all in your imagination, you figure out who they can be and where their energy comes from.
Filip: “Do you get a relative degree of creativity that you put in?”
Veronica Taylor : “Yeah and it depends if you audition at home and you are by yourself and you are doing three takes of something. If you are with a casting director, you start off with something and they say can you go a little higher or less energy, then they can kind of sculpt it and you can fill in, which is the best way to do it. The challenge is to suit the moment, to suit the character, that’s what I like the most – this is my main idea, and then where should we take it, and then be able to morph it around.
Filip: “Are there any new projects that you are taking on?”
Veronica Taylor : “I am doing Welcome to the Wayne which is a new Ni ckelodeon show. It’s really fun, there’s a lot of things hidden in the show, so the more you watch the episodes, you find clues. It just started, five episodes I think, and the new ones come out next week, five more. It’s pretty innovative. I work on a show called Ollie and Moon which is for little kids.
These two cats travel all over the world, I play all the female characters, not Ollie and Moon, but the other ones. That’s amazing and it gives kids the chance to travel around the world and meet new cultures in a fun way. I’m on Sailor Moon, now I play Sailor Pluto, that’s kind of a known property, which is exciting.
Neil: “How did it feel when you were doing the last scene for Ash?”
Veronica Taylor : “Horrible! Working on a show for eight years and then knowing that it was going to go on without you is really sad, I’m still sad, I can’t really watch the show now. I’m not mature enough to see that familiar face with a difference voice coming out, even after all this time. It was really heart breaking. Even knowing that we were replaced and finishing that season was really hard.
But of course, the great thing about that cast and the people that worked on it and wrote show is that we all really put our hearts into the show. We pushed to the end a 100%. It’s a testament to all of us about how no matter what you do life, you never know how far your actions will reach. I mean just one job I’ve had, a drop in a pond, and look how far reaching it’s been . It’s a great reminder we all have to give a 100% all the time because you just don’t know where that influence will land.
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