You know what’s cool? Anime. You know what is even cooler? Celebrating the hard working people who help bring quality anime to fans. Today, we’re highlighting the work of Ray Chase, Robbie Daymond, and Max Mittelman who are veterans of voice acting! We got to sit down with the three of them during Taiyou Con to discuss themselves and their careers!
The Geek Lyfe: Thank you guys again for accepting this interview!
Max: Glad to be here!
TGL: Could you take a moment to introduce yourselves?
Robbie: Hi! I am Robbie Daymond and you might know me as the voice of Tuxedo Mask for Sailor Moon, Prompto from Final Fantasy 15, Spider-Man from the Marvel animated universe and a bunch of other stuff with these guys here!
TGL: I am trying my best to stay away from basic questions, so I’ll do as best I can! You all have been voice actors for a long time, what was the role that challenged you the most?
Ray: Eve, from Nier Automata, was really difficult. We recorded him twice in the same day in a crazy four hour session. We had to figure out who the heck he was, so we had to do the whole character first and then we said, “Nah, this is just not right.” So, we changed his voice up and did it again and that guy screams. A lot. So that was a really really tough session. So it can be a physically taxing job.
Max: An emotional character for me would be Kousei, from Your Lie in April, because there was so much going on with his backstory. He was wrestling with his own fears and trying to navigate the weird world of puberty. It was a nice series, but voice acting it was very stressful, emotionally.
Robbie: On Nickelodeon, I once played a beaver in a top hat and bow tie. His only line was ‘Slap a steak on your back!’ And I really think that was one of my hardest roles because who is this beaver? Why is he holding a steak? Where did he get these clothes from? What is he doing on a cruise ship? Every time I think about my struggles in voice acting, I go back to that.
Max: That is a tough one man. How can you- Like what- What is the answer?
Robbie: I really don’t know. I’ll take that one to my grave. (Everyone laughs)
TGL: Often times with creatives, we will create projects that are not as well received as some of the other roles? What was that voice acting project for you?
Max: Kousei, from Your Lie in April. I just feel like it was so good and it just did not get the audience it deserved. (Everyone laughs)
Robbie: Mine was Bread Winners for sure, especially since it was my first animated voice acting lead at a major studio. We did 80 episodes, our ratings were great, they are still paying me, since it still airs, and it opened doors for me since I got to work with some of the biggest names in the industry. However, if you look at it on the internet you would think it is the worst piece of trash ever. Honestly? I think it is a fun, silly show with a broad cartoon humor. It was a victim of the culture at large like the Ren & Stimpy potty humor shows are falling out of passion nowadays.”Why was there a fart joke!?” I don’t know, because when was the last time you saw a kid’s reaction to a fart joke? They love them! That would be my biggest disappointment.
Max: It is funny since people will not think fart jokes are funny and then they’ll watch South Park with that and even more and yet it is acceptable.
Robbie: Because those are for “adults”. There are these adults that are like, “Kids should not see farts ever!” and then the kids are like, “Why don’t I get fart jokes any more?” There is one fart joke in the Lego Movie. I was watching the Lego Movie and it is probably 70/30 kids. The adults were laughing their heads off and the kids were laughing at the slapstick stuff and then there was ONE fart joke and the kids lost THEIR MINDS! They went crazy! I just wanted to stand up and be like “You idiots! Not everything has to be Steven Universe!” Now, I do love Steven Universe! But not everything has to be so serious.
Ray: I got to be a voice acting lead in an anime on two separate occasions. Both shows were a critical and commercial failure. Charlotte and B: the Beginning. I thought B: the Beginning was going to be big because it was Netflix. It was about a week of people paying attention so that was a disappointment.
Max: What I have learned is that is that I cannot approach a voice acting role and have the expectation that people are going to watch it or enjoy it. (Everyone laughs) Because a vast majority of the time, people do not become super fans of it. I have found that some of my best work or most enjoyable work has been stuff that has not been seen by too many people. For that reason, I love it just as much, if not more than my more popular roles because it is even more special just to me.
Robbie: You learn that it is a part of the game as you go along in your career. Like I did my first mo-cap game and the cast were seasoned veterans with some new people. And the new people were really excited, including me, to be apart of the project but it was for different reasons. I was excited because I just got to do it, they were excited because they thought it was going to be this big huge hit. Then, the game came out with moderate success, they made their money back, sure. But it was by no means a “huge hit.” No ones career got traction out of it, and there was no fan interaction from it. The crew was texting me like, “Man, aren’t you bummed?” I had to sit there biting my tongue. I wanted to say, “Guys, it is not up to us.” On my IMDB out of all the things I have ever done, I am known most for only five of them. That is what you have to keep in mind, if you are doing this for recognition and fame, you are doing it for the wrong reasons. This is not the business to be in because it is rife with rejection.
Ray: Yeah, you are right. I better stop…(Everyone laughs)\
Robbie: No wait! You are so good!
Max: This really is the interview where Ray stops!
TGL: Actually, that leads us to our next topic!
Robbie: You stuck the knife in and now you are going to twist it! Can we get some tissues in here!?
TGL: How do you deal with not getting a role that you were looking forward to?
Ray: Every single day we audition for voice acting roles and have like five of them. We book 0 of those on average and then one every couple of weeks.
Robbie: Yeah, if you are booking one in thirty, you are crushing it.
Ray: So, we are very used to rejection. But definitely when you get one of those opportunities that really means a lot to you, that can definitely hurt. Especially if you get all the way to the call back stage or if you get casted in the dang video game, and then someone replaces you. It has happened to all of us.
Robbie: Ray replaced me! It was in The Walking Dead video game, Ray being the good, sensitive, kind friend that he was, he approached me about it first and he let me know, “Hey man. We are friends. I think that they are going to recast this voice acting part with me.” I was like, “I don’t care, man!”.
Ray: Yeah, I was all sincere and he was was like, “Pfft, what are you talking about?” (Everyone laughs)
Robbie: And that was not to make him feel better, that was genuinely how I feel. The real only emotion I had was happiness for Ray. At least it didn’t go to some schmuck I don’t like. The best part about it all is that the character he voiced died in the first episode of the game despite him giving a masterful performance. Yet my character was a bone just for me to be in the game and he is still alive. (Everyone laughs) You may have won that battle but my check book wins in the end! But seriously, that is how actors fall out of the business. They get too sensitive to rejection.
Max: I was in college and in one of my theater classes. He sat down and looked depressed. I was like, “What is up man?” He was, like, 20? And he said, “I just feel like I should give up.” “Why?” I asked. And he was like, “I’ve just been on 50 auditions, and I haven’t booked any of them.” I was like, “Oh…well that is what happens.” And I realized at that moment: “Wow, you are wrong for this industry.” You have to be more resilient than that.
Robbie: My first two years of college I had more theater experience than anyone in my classes. I had done 30 shows and I was not cast into a single college production. I don’t know if it was because I had a big head or maybe because they wanted to put me in my place. A lot of kids left because of that and you need to trust in yourself and your abilities. You have to know you are right for it. However there are a lot of really talented people in Hollywood that will bus tables for 25 years and never catch a break. A bit of it is luck. It is so tough!
Max: This really is a Diane Sawyer interview!
Robbie: When he said “no basic questions” he really did mean that would be all hard hitting.
TGL: What moment, early on in your career, do you covet and hold near and dear to your heart?
Max: There was a moment in my career, very early on. One of my mentors, when we were walking in the cinema school and passed by the foley room. The foley room is where they record the sounds that are not normally picked up by the mics like footsteps, cups being put on tables etc. I didn’t know that foley was separate from voice overs. I thought it was under the same umbrella. I was with my mentor and she saw I took a liking to this foley and I was like, “Wow! This is cool! I didn’t know about this and this is a whole other part of this world.” And she said, “Yeah, that is what you should be doing!” And I said, “Yeah, that is right. That is exactly what I should be doing!” not realizing that she was insulting me because she was basically saying, “You shouldn’t be a voice actor, you should be doing something else entirely because you suck.” About a year later, I realized what had happened and was like, “Son of a gun, that wasn’t a compliment.” That was a motivating moment, I from then on, wanted to prove her wrong! Actually, before that, I had a teacher who basically told me I was a bad actor, in front of the whole class. I had rehearsed this thing, I had done more work on this scene than anything that I had ever done in my life and she said “You…are the bad, manufactured actor that nobody in this room wants to be,” and I said, “Okay.”
Robbie: Half of my career is fueled by spite at my pompous, asshole, college professors. I had some really good ones. I had some great ones near the end of my schooling, who mentored me when I transferred schools. But first conservatory I went to they were in their little world, in their little bubble, in their little know-nothing Midwest universe, and that fueled me. You have to take that, and use it, and put it into your art. People are often like, “Don’t be spiteful!” but eff yeah; you be spiteful! Especially if it pushes you forward, and you just want to smash down all of the people who sad you couldn’t. I think a lot of the successful people do that. Look at the nerds that have shaped who we are. They all were put down by people and it just drives you to do more. Did anyone ever put you down, Ray?
Ray: Everyone was really nice to me in college. (Everyone laughs)
TGL: How do you deal with creative blocks?
Max: I don’t have them!
Ray: I don’t think we are actually old enough. We still are getting varied roles and new opportunities. There are a lot of things to learn.
Robbie: I had this conversation with my mother this morning. It is not so much a creative block but it is a work ethic. It is forcing yourself to keep working. Even when you do not want to do it, you need to sit down and keep it at. It is a grind.
Max: Totally, since a lot of the creative blocks come from distractions and in today’s world there are a lot of distractions. Put down the phone. Creatively, walk out of a place of comfort for you and walk into a place of discomfort and that is helpful.
We thank them again so much for taking the time to interview with us! Absolutely check out Ray Chase, Robbie Daymond, and Max Mittelman and everything that they have done! You’ll be shocked by how many beloved characters they have brought to life!