Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt Interview
Con Artists and Shelf Life
I'm Jason Leyanna from Realm of Gaming and today I'm here with Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt. They are most well known for their anime voice acting including Naruto, Ben-10, among many others. They also are the voices of many video game characters in: Halo 2, Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, Saint's Row The Third - to name just a few. They have their own production company together, Monkey Kingdom Productions, and have created a mocumentary - Con Artists - that is now available as well as four seasons of their web series, Shelf Life.
Jason: It is a pleasure to have both of you here today. Thank you so much for joining us!
Jason: Aside from voice-acting, are you doing more live action work?
Tara: Yeah, we're are putting a little more focus on our on-camera work. We're always auditioning for a variety of things.
Jason: You've also written a book about your voice acting? Voice-Over: Voice Actor.
Tara: Yeah. We wrote Voice-Over Voice Actor four or five years ago. It was the response to so many people sending us emails. They wanted to know how they can get in voice-over and what is it like being in voice-over. At first, I tried to go to the library to see if I could find an example book to share with people. Then I realized that there wasn't anything that was exactly the kind of information I was trying to give people. It was either really technical or had been written a while ago or just didn't hit all the things I wanted to share. We just compiled all of our thoughts and ideas into a book and it's been out a while now. It is doing really well. It's available on our website, but it is also available on Amazon too. There is an e-version and a downloadable audiobook.
Jason: Random question for Yuri. I read that you are fluent in Japanese, French, and German?
Yuri: My German is a little rusty, but I would still say that my Japanese and French are really good.
Jason: Have you had a chance to use any of that in your current work?
Yuri: I have actually. The great thing about doing voice work is that even if I don't necessarily have to look like my character (like a Japanese guy for example). If I sound like it I can play that. It has been really exciting because I grew up internationally. I was exposed to a lot of different dialects and a lot of languages. I've gotten to use them in my acting work and get to play characters that I thought I would never get to play.
Yuri: I'd say that I've used every single one of those languages at one point or another and some dialects for some languages that I don't even speak.
Yuri: You never know how a skill that you grew up with will come into play as an actor.
Jason: Do you both play video games for fun at all?
Tara: I suck at video games… they make me really queasy because there's so much motion.
Tara: I have a hard time. The more that they've gotten video games more cinematic, which i'm sure people love, makes me very very ill. I like watching the gameplay as long as I don't have the controller and don't have to make the character move.
Yuri: I used to play a lot of video games. As we've become more and more content creators we've got more projects that we're working. I find that I have less and less time to play. Sometimes I'll just watch playthroughs if it is a game I worked on or if I have a copy of it I'll give it to a 12-year old who will play through it a lot faster than I will. So I just watch them.
Jason: I was curious on what upcoming conventions you plan on attending?
Tara: We're still in negotiation with some at the beginning of the year, but we're down for Dragoncon (http://www.dragoncon.org) this year which will be later in the year. We're probably going to San Diego Comic Con (http://www.comic-con.org/cci) this year but still working on scheduling stuff for earlier in the year.
Yuri: Those are our only two solid ones right now.
Jason: Are there any other upcoming projects that you can talk about?
Tara: Outside of the voiceover realm, like Yuri said we are working on our Steampunk short and our graphic novel that goes along with that. It is really exciting! And I've been working on a book about a traveling gypsy girl. It is in production right now. I'm working with artists all over the world to do the art for that. I've got my hands full working on that these days.
Yuri: I've been writing a lot more recently. Hopefully I'll finish some scripts soon. We will either produce ourselves or see if someone will help us produce as well as some fiction stuff. I was working on writing the graphic novel for the steampunk character. It's called Topsy McGee vs. The Sky Pirates (this is the film - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3497232/). The graphic novel will deal with a totally different story than the film does. Besides those things, we're also promoting the things that just came out like Con Artists and the Shelf Life App and working as much as we can.
Jason: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Yuri: I guess I would just say if you're interested in conventions and seeing a bunch of voice actors goof off. There are a lot of good cameos. Aaron Douglas from Battlestar Galactica is on it. You can check it out on Vimeo On Demand. We'd love to share it with as many people as possible. https://vimeo.com/ondemand/conartists/112498724
Yuri: The Shelf Live App is on iTunes these days. It is 48 episodes of content plus all the behind the scenes stuff. Its just $2.99 for hours and hours of stuff.
Tara: It's pretty awesome!
Yuri: And keep an eye out for Topsy McGee vs. The Sky Pirates.
Tara: You can find us on Twitter pretty easily: @taraplatt and at @yurilowenthal
Jason: Thank you both so much for taking the time to speak with us!
Con Artists [Get it on Vimeo On Demand for $8.99 USD]
Shelf Life App
Voice-Over Voice Actor: What It's Like Behind the Mic
Tara Platt - Twitter
Yuri Lowenthal - Twitter
Tara Platt - Official Website
Yuri Lowenthal - Official Website