Tuesday, March 4, 2008


David Adam Bridges side by side with one of his anime counterparts -- Le Chevalier D'Eon's Durand

[PHOTO CREDIT © TOW UBAKATA • Production I.G/ Project Chevalier 2006]

It should be said that one of the reasons why The Count of Monte Cristo became so popular was because of David Adam Bridges, the voice actor who stirred fans' hearts with his heart-rending portrayal of Franz D'Epinay. Although he later on did a wide variety of dramatic and comedic characters, he remains, in the opinion of many anime fans (including yours truly!), to be THE voice actor who could portray death scenes with great intensity. Just see how he handled Le Chevalier D'Eon's Durand so marvelously.

Let's get to know Animax voice actor David Adam Bridges in this week's blog...

What prompted you to decide to become a voice actor? Did you get formal training and for how many years?

Honestly, I found this job online. I'd never done it before, but I did have some acting experience both professionally and leisurely. But it's not something I'd never even considered until I saw the advertisement. But as soon as I did, I thought I'd be good at it and it'd be a lot of fun. And as it turns out, I was and it is. So here I am now.

Many fans have the impression that anyone could become a voice actor. Some have even gone so far as to say that "Voice actors are born and not made." Is this true or not? And why?

I don’t know. I certainly think that anyone can do anything if they try hard enough. The thing is, some people would have to try and practice a lot harder than others. For me it was that I could just do it from the start, but of course since then, I've grown and learned more and experimented with different voices and things. There's a lot more to it than just speaking though. You have to be able to read the other actors you're working with to know who's going to do what and when. You have to be able to read the script, interpret, then speak with the right meaning and inflection in your voice in an instant while at the same time trying to sound interesting. You need range in voice to be able to do it, as is so often needed -- a big tough mean sounding deep gruff guy for this line, a high soft airy lighthearted boy for that line, an confused old man for this, a nerdy kid for that, a heroic strong yet cool guy for the other and something random for a guy in the crowd. And then you have to remember the exact voices you've done for the next week after having done three other cartoons in between. It's easy in a way and you get used to it, but it's tiring sometimes as you can understand. So, what I mean is, though I believe anyone could do it, if they practiced and trained and trained and practiced, it takes a special kind of person to be able to do it well from the start.

Among the characters you have voiced for Animax, who is a) your favorite, b) the most challenging you've ever done, and c) the most memorable, and why?

That's a hard question. Do you know just how many characters I've done over the years? 'Cause I don't. Probably almost a thousand if you count all of them. And personally I don't have a lot of favorites. Just things I like and things I don't as much. But let's try. My favorite. Alright, you're not going to like this but two of these are going to be from the same cartoon. My favorite would be Master Roshi from Dragonball. He was a super fun character to play because 1. He was so strange and quirky all the time and 2. He’s like Yoda. He's the ultimate master who never loses. He sometimes gives up of his own accord to teach a lesson, but you just know he's the man regardless. I can't think of any specifics for the most challenging, but it would definitely be a character who's realistic and emotional. Funny and goofy is easy, but realistic is hard. Especially if that character has a very serious personality. I'm not a serious person in life so seriousness is something that really takes it out of me. And when I act emotional I really feel that emotion and sometimes it's hard to recover from that. Crazy psychotic bad guys like Creed Diskenth from Black Cat who I did. Most memorable would be grown up Goku, also from Dragonball just because he's my favorite anime character from my favorite show. I was so psyched to be able to play him. So I'm sure he'll be the character I remember most.

In the past, you have moved TV viewers with your heartbreaking acting as Franz in "Count of Monte Cristo", in particular, the climactic death scene in the anime. Your acting chops were also put to the test in your role as Durand in "Le Chevalier D'Eon". Some fans have said that when it comes to angst or dying characters, you are obviously the "Master". How do you prepare yourself - both acting-wise and mentally - for such heavy scenes?

Gosh, The Master of Angst, eh? That's a pretty cool title. Hehe. Well, as an actor, and especially a voice actor where anything could happen, you just have to be ready to play any type of person. But when it comes to major roles like these where the characters are so serious, I just have to put myself into their world and, as I said before, literally feel as an actor what they feel as a character. It does make me uncomfortable to do that (no one likes to feel sorrow or anger or helplessness), but it's not about me, is it? It's about the audience. So I give what I can.

What dream anime project would you like to undertake? If you have an anime character you would like to play, who would it be?

Right. This one's easy. It'd have to be the later Dragonball chronicles as Goku. I only got to play him for a few episodes as he was a little kid for most of the series we did and was played by Andrea. But that'd be what I'd like to do most. Goku, Dragonball. My favorite character.

After a long, hard day in the studio, what do you do to unwind? Do you hang out with the other voice actors? Who is your best friend among the Animax voice actors? Who among them is the most fun to be with?

Hmm. After work I usually just go home. But if I really want to unwind, I'll go catch a movie or something. I try to practice Muay Thai regularly if I can be bothered and I've recently taken up bowling, usually with David Lee McKinney and Emily Woo Zeller, and golf, or I go hang out with Scott Evans, all of whom are other voice actors I work with. They're all cool people though, everybody I work with including the boss and the technicians at the studio.

[WRITER'S NOTE: All the voice actors whom David mentioned will be featured in future blogs.]

In your opinion, would you recommend voice acting as a career? For you, what are the qualities of a voice actor?

Yeah sure, why not? If you can do it well and it comes naturally to you, if you enjoy it give it a shot. It's pretty low stress, you're an integral part of production and, for the most part, it's fun. Voice actors are like any other actors. They're not your average run of the mill employees. A voice actor needs to seek perfection in his (or her) craft and has to stay on his toes, is always ready for a challenge and is versatile in character. He's got to be focused but relaxed and calm yet energetic. And, just like any actor, has to be able and willing to put himself in anyone's shoes.

[Catch David's performance as Goku in Dragonball, Ryota Miyagi in Slam Dunk, and Gord in .Hack//Roots. Just check your local listings for the schedules of these shows.]

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