Recently I had a chance to conduct an interview with Voice Actor, Brian Beacock, best known for being the voice of Takato Matsuki in Digimon Tamers and Yamato Delgado in Battle B-Damian via email. Below is the transcript from our correspondence.
Can you give a small introduction of who you are for our readers?
I’m Brian Beacock, an actor here in Los Angeles. I’ve been doing voice acting since about 1999 and have also done television, film and stage work.
What are some of your hobbies?
I love to run. I’ve actually run 4 marathons and 4 half marathons and few triathlons. I also like bike riding and hiking. I sing and play piano and drums. I’ve also been working a lot writing and producing tv and webseries.
Do you have any pets?
No I had a dog for about 15 years when I was little. Her name was Cleo and she was awesome. After she died I decided I’d never get another pet and so far, I haven’t.
What would be your dream vacation if you could go anywhere and do anything?
Well I’ve traveled so many places I’m hard pressed to say. I’ve gone to New Zealand twice for comicons, the last time I brought my Mom with me that was a blast. I’ve been to Europe several times so I’m not sure. Maybe Australia? And actually I’ve never been anywhere tropical where all I did was sit on a beach with a drink in my hand. That would be fun. Haha.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
Well currently I live in Los Angeles and don’t really like it. I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area which is great but the work isn’t there. I’m a HUGE fan of New York so I hope to live there someday, if only for a while.
Are you a fan of anime?
I am! I didn’t know that much about it until I started doing it in 1999 with Digimon. Now I watch a lot of it.
If so what are some of your favorite animes?
I really like the show I did last year or the year before “Durarara.” The story was fun but what really got me was the music, it was a lot of jazz and complicated melodies. I loved that.
Do you like any of the animes you’ve voiced in?
Do you play any video games? If so what are some of your favorites, and which consoles?
You know, it’s so funny but I’ve never owned a game system and I’ve never played video games! I’ve seen tons of them, maybe played them at my friends house, etc but it’s just never been something that I had in my life. At this point, I don’t want to do it, cause I watch SO much TV as it is, I’m afraid of how much time I’ll spend in front of the TV playing games as well! Haha.
What inspired you to pursue a career in voice acting?
I was doing a play where I played 32 different characters, with no costume changes or anything, just facial expressions and voice changes, and my friend Mary Elizabeth McGlynn who was directing Digimon at the time saw the show, and suggested I come in to read for a role in the new season. A young boy named Takato.
What was your first audition for a role, and how did it go
That was my first audition, for Takato in Digimon, and I got the part so it went really well! J
What was your first role you got accepted for?
What are some projects you are currently working on, or recently finished?
I am pitching a webseries I created with a writing partner of mine, John Yelvingtong called “McCracken Live!” We’re in the process of putting together our team to take it to networks and hopefully get it on television. I’m also working on producing a feature horror film I wrote with John.
What sort of roles would you like to play in the future?
I’ve always played the comedy role, and I would love to do something darker, deeper and more serious. For onscreen roles. I have played a few mean, dark characters in the voice over world, and I really like that. There’s so much more to them.
What is your typical day like when you are voice acting?
Well it depends on how many hours you’re booked for. Typically only 2 hours, sometimes 4. So I’ll go for a run maybe in the morning before the session. Record the show, and then maybe go to a movie, or run again, do some writing, etc. If the show has a lot of screaming and stuff I usually won’t see people cause I won’t want to talk.
Do you have any other jobs outside of acting?
Well, I’m currently writing and directing a bunch of travel videos for a travel agency organization here in Los Angeles. And I’m working on my feature film and my television projects. I’ve also got about 20 reality show ideas I’m trying to pitch.
Are there any role models you have that you look up to in the voice acting world?
Years ago I did an animated movie with two old pros named Sid Cesear and Carl Reiner. You should look them up if you don’t know them. I know Carl is still alive but Sid may be gone by now. I was so nervous to be sitting in between them recording our scene. It was so great. The people now? Well obviously Seth MacFarlane, he’s just the best.
How easy is it in your opinion to break into the voice acting world?
Very hard question. My “in” was different than most people’s. And that happens a lot. Not everyone just makes a demo and starts sending it out. A lot of it has to do with who you know and what you have to offer, and if that’s what people are looking for at that time. I was very lucky. And each segment of the industry has it’s own small group of working actors. Anime, commercial, original animation, etc.
All of the above. Do you know the right people, do you have what people are looking for. Are you strong enough to take all the “no”s you’re going to get?
What advice can you offer to prospective voice actors looking to try their hand at being a professional actor?
Practice your craft. Develop a very strong arsenal of interesting voices. Practice mimicking actors, doing “sound-a’likes” of famous people. Work on your delivery, your honesty, your humor. Be an actor. Being a voice actor is so much harder than an actor on camera because you only have your voice to convey your emotion and intention. Get a good demo, get it out there, use social media like facebook and twitter to meet people, take classes.
Of all the characters you have voiced, which was the most fun to do?
Well I’ll always love Takato, and I loved Dengaku Man from Bobobo-Bo-Bo-bobo. (crazy title) Yumichika from Bleach was great cause he was so into himself and egotistical and ridiculous!
What are some warm up exercises you do to get into character, and get ready to perform in general?
I actually don’t really do any unless the role is particularly high or screamy. But I do the typical singing exercises, scales, sing a bit, make sure my voice is warm. And if it’s an early session, I’ll get up pretty early in the morning so I don’t have “morning voice”.
Where does your inspiration come from for voices?
Hmmmm that’s a hard question. I get a lot from looking at the drawing of the character. Most of the time in anime the show already exists and we’re just dubbing the English language so you can watch how the character is drawn, etc. So I get a lot from body language, their age, are they thin, large, strong, etc. From there you can begin to develop how you think they’ll sound. It’s also smart to create a voice you’re able to sustain for a long time if it’s a long running series and you’re playing a leading role.
Sometimes yes. I just finished Blue Exorcist and was SO sad to see it end. Only 26 episodes. This character, Shima, was SO cool and funny and I loved playing him. The show is well written and looks great. So I was sad when that ended.
Do you ever get casted in roles you don’t like?
Not typically. I try to find something I like about any role I play. However, there are roles that have been hard to do simply because they’re hard on your voice. That happens mainly for me in video games where there’s lots of battles and screaming and death efforts.
If so, how do you deal with performing the task?
Well if it’s a video game, you just soldier through and pray you make it til the end. Haha. If it’s a series, I just make sure my voice is always ready for the session and again…pray I make it to the end.
Have you ever taken a role that makes you feel awkward?
I’m an actor. Everything makes me feel awkward.
What is your worst experience while voice acting?
Many times when I’m screaming doing video games I get the hiccups. Or I feel like I’m going to throw up. Haha! Luckily it’s never happened….yet.
Are there any roles you regret taking on?
No, every role pays my mortgage.
Are there any roles you are extremely proud of?
Digimon, Bleach, Blue Exorcist and a fun little character named Razzle in Gormiti.
If you could change how you played any of your roles thus far, which character would it be and why?
I don’t think I would change anything. Except maybe some of them wouldn’t die. I had one character that was shot up into the sky and then a firework was shot into his face. I knew then I wouldn’t be coming back for another episode. Haha!
How different is it voicing for an American Animation, versus an anime from Japan?
Well if by American you mean “original” it means the animation (sometimes) isn’t drawn yet so you’re basically just acting from a script and they animate to you. That’s lot of fun and sometimes more freeing because you’re not restricted to the existing mouth movements of the already made Japanese animation. When we do those, we have to make sure our acting fits the mouth movements of the characters. Totally different skill. But each are fun.
How different is it voice acting in an anime versus for a video game?
Well as I said before, a video games involves (lots of time) a lot of fighting and dying. J Screaming and yelling and ugh’s and aughs! I prefer storytelling anime to games. But games do pay well and you can develop a fan base from those as well.
How different is voice acting from acting in general?
It’s more restrictive, you can’t use you’re whole body to get your emotion across so it’s fairly difficult. I enjoy it but sometimes it’s also nice to take time away and be on-camera and be able to use your body and your eyes.
How was it for you to play the role of a non human character like Agumon in Digimon Savers?
I loved that! You can absolutely go crazy with the kind of voice you use cause it’s not supposed to be “normal”! That was a blast.
Now as you might have heard, the Digimon franchise in Japan has recently concluded a new season of the Digimon anime, Digimon Xros Wars (Digimon Fusion in English), which features the return of two major characters you’ve voiced, Takato from Digimon Tamers, and Agumon from Digimon Savers. If given the chance, would you return to voice either or both characters?
I would love to. However I think as I’m typing this it’s already been cast and it’s not me! Haha! But I remember when I came in to do Agumon, I took over for someone who had done it before so now it’s happening with me. It’s just the nature of the business. Move on to other things.
How does it feel when you go to a convention, and you are greeted by your fans, being asked for autographs, photos, ect?
It’s so fun! I’ve actually only done one here in Los Angeles, but I’ve done one in London and two in New Zealand. They’re so much fun, I love the panels, and autograph signing and meeting the fans. They dress in crazy costumes they’ve made, and they’re so talented and creative. And very appreciative and devoted fans to the series. It’s awesome.
What is the weirdest experience you have had with a fan of your work?
I did have a girl in New Zealand who wanted to lick my hand. I don’t….know….why. Needless to say it didn’t happen. Haha.
Are there any projects coming up for you in the future we should be on the lookout for?
Hopefully you’ll be seeing my TV show on some network soon “McCracken Live!” is the title for now but could change. And fingers crossed you’ll see my feature “Rewrite” in theaters, and not just in video stores or on Netflix. Haha.
Is there anything you would like to say to your fans and our readers in closing?
I appreciate your loyalty to the genre, to me, and the shows. I appreciate you more than you can imagine and if this livelihood is something that you have a passion for, get out there and make it happen. No one is like you, no one sounds like you, so make your voice be heard. –Thanks! -Brian Beacock