So I worked on Naruto today. I don't think I can say what character I voiced, or what the story was about, but I'm going to be in more than one episode, and it'll start in about a month. I'm recording again on Friday, and I'll ask then if I'm allowed to give up any details.
I had to get up much earlier than usual to make it to the studio on time this morning, and my brain, as it so often does, decided that the best way to ensure I got a good night's sleep was to sing songs, make me too hot then too cold then too hot then too cold all fucking night long. I think I slept for 3 hours, and I've felt
a little blurry all day.
Naruto is originally in Japanese, so I was dubbing this character for the English broadcast. It was really different from working on Legion or Ben 10, and was more like looping live action. It was a lot of fun, though, and the episodes I saw while I worked today were much darker than the stuff I've seen Nolan watch. I think the damn kids today will dig the story arc that I'm part of, but when I tried to tell Nolan what the story was about while I drove him home from school today, he was adamant that I not give him any spoilers, so my one opportunity to actually check in with a reliable representative of the damn kids today was cut off.
I had a lot of fun, though, and it was really satisfying to work in a genre that I've wanted to be a part of for a long time. If you count Macross, Robotech, and Battle of the Planets, I've been watching Anime since I was a little kid. If you're more of a purist, I've been watching since I got Akira on a fifth-generation VHS bootleg at a con when I was 14. (Funny-but-true story: my friends and I watched that tape over and over again, but since the original Japanese dialog wasn't subtitled, we had no idea what the story was. We built one of our own that we thought was pretty good, but turns out was completely wrong.)
I'm not super hardcore or anything, but I enjoy anime and manga, and I was awfully excited every time I got to do all the traditional anime sounds, like the various gasps, and the occasionally-awkward translations and bits of dialog we had to add to match the mouth movements (which were originally animated to go with Japanese. Mostly, though, I felt the tremendous satisfaction that comes with bringing a character to life and making him my own.
I always tell people who want to be actors that they have to need it, the way we all need to eat or sleep. It's a long hard road, fraught with uncertainty and more defeats than victories, and if you don't have a visceral, primal, almost supernatural need to do it (that is deeper than "I want to be rich and famous") it's just not worth it.
Bringing a character to life is how I chase the dragon. Whether it's writing, acting on camera, or acting with my voice, I need that fix, man. For a few hours today, I got it, and it felt so good.
Maybe that's why my brain was so worked up last night. Maybe I was subconsciously shivering with antici . . . pation.
I wonder how I'll sleep tonight?