Friday, April 16, 2010

Interview With.... Bob Bergen (the voice of Porky Pig)

And now for something a little different.

Rather than simply providing movie reviews for you again and again I've been wondering what else I can do to keep my readers entertained.
And then it dawned on me, "what if I could do some interviews with people in the business?"
So I did some research, and then some more research, and I've been lucky enough to get in contact with the voice of Porky Pig, Bob Bergen!

Honestly, just how cool is that?!?

See? Even Porky is excited about this interview! :)
As you know the actor who provided the voice for Porky Pig the longest was Mel Blanc (below).

Wasn't Mel great? I certainly think so.
Mel voiced Porky until his death in 1989, at which point Noel Blanc took over for 4 years. During that time Bob also stepped into the role and is now solely responsible for the stuttering we've all come to love.
Aside from Porky Pig, and the voice of Luke Skywalker in a bunch of Star Wars video games, Bob has also provided the voice for Blade in my favourite character of all-time, Tekno Man.
God, how I love that cartoon!

Easily though, Porky Pig has to be the biggest name on Bob's resume.
I was lucky enough to interview Bob recently, and I hope you enjoy the following;

1. Porky Pig is a cultural icon. How do you feel being the voice for this beloved character?

Blessed! I’d wanted to be Porky since I was 5 years old. Just being able to work as a voice actor is a blessing, but being able to provide the voice of a classic character is an honor. I don’t take it for granted. And I try very hard to keep the integrity of the character.

2. How did you get such a great job? Certainly there must’ve been some competition from other voice-over artists.

Big time. I was already represented and working as a voice actor when WB held auditions. I’d been sending WB tapes of me doing these characters for years, since I was about 14. No idea if they ever got to the proper people. After Mel died WB held auditions. They must have read every voice actor on both coasts. I don’t recall how many auditions I did. I remember one of my last auditions was for Chuck Jones. I never get nervous at auditions, but I had butterflies reading for Chuck. When I went to shake his hand he saw I was nervous. He asked why I was so scared?? I told him, “I’m about to do Porky Pig for Chuck Jones. It’s like doing Jesus for God!”

3. How did you feel about stepping into the role after Mel, and then Noel Blanc?

There will never be another Mel Blanc. He was THE man! There are a handful of us who share voicing the Looney Tunes now. We do our best with the characters. But none of us, in my humble opinion, can or have ever replaced Mel Blanc.

4. Animated feature films are going from strength to strength. How do you feel about this?

Not sure what you mean by “strength to strength.” Can you elaborate??

5. Any chance we could see another Looney Tunes animated film soon?

Not sure about a feature, but we are working on a new series that is scheduled to debut fall of 2010.

6. What advise can you give to people wanting to be voice-over artists?

Study acting. Voice-over IS acting. If you approach it because others have told you “you have a great voice and should do voice-over” consider the source. Usually you hear it from a friend, family member, bank teller, etc. There’s no such thing as a good voice. Because there’s no such thing as a bad voice. There are only good actors and bad actors. Voice-over, and especially animation, is extremely competitive. You need to be the best actor you can be. Study acting! Then, study voice-over. I took 4 years of voice-over, acting, and improv classes before I was ready for my first demo. It then took another 5 years of hit or miss auditioning before I was able to make a living at this. So for me, it was a 9 year journey from first workshop to paying my bills as a voice artist. You also need great demos. And each genre of voice-over requires a separate demo. Everyone has to do commercials. But if you want to do animation, you need an animation demo. If you want to do audio books you need an audio book demo. If you want to do narration you need a narration demo. Etc. A demo will cost on average $1500-$2500, depending where you go. So if you have 3 demos, that’s 3 times (possibly) $1500. Animation also falls under Screen Actors Guild or American Federation of Radio and Television Artists jurisdiction, so you need to join those unions. Another $4000 or so. It ain’t cheap. But if you really want this badly, if you can’t see yourself doing anything else with your life, none of this should matter. If you are meant to do this you will do it. It has to be a passion. It can’t be a hobby. You need to want it more than anyone else. Just don’t do a demo before you are ready. It’s very hard to get a second listen once they pass on you.

7. What do you do to prepare for a day of stuttering?

Nothing really. I wake up, the coffee maker has already brewed, I go into my office studio and check the emails for my morning auditions or work. If I have a Looney Tunes session I review the script before heading to Warner Brothers. The real work happens in the session. I’ll review the script, but I won’t “dwell” on it. I like the process to be spontaneous.

8. When you’re interviewed, do you ever get tempted to say, “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!”

Well, I can usually expect the interviewer to ask. ;-)

Also, here's an image of Bob.

So there you go, pretty cool hey?
Bob is a super-nice guy and I want to take this opportunity to thank him wholeheartedly for taking the time to talk with me.

What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at
Until next time, th-th-th-that's all folks. :) (I just had to write that).

1 comment:

  1. Awesome stuff! You could've asked him more about Tekno Man though.