Today, as is my habit sometimes, I was hopping around wikipedia and IMDB. For one reason or another, I had reason to try to look up the voice of Optimus Prime in the original Transformers cartoon (Peter Cullen). Since I knew they managed to get him back for the recent live-action movie, I figured I’d shortcut my search and go right there.
Now given the movie focused a lot on the humans, and not as much on the giant robots who lent their name to the title of this thing (a separate rant altogether) I figured I might have to scroll down past Meghan Fox to find the name.
Nope they’re not even on that first page.
And this made me seethe. The voice actors who played the fucking TITULAR CHARACTERS were relegated to the end of the credits.
I don’t know why I got so worked up about this. It’s pretty emblematic of both the movie industry and the games industry, and is entirely stupid. Put simply, voice actors don’t get the recognition they should get. They make invaluable contributions to a movie or game, and at the end of the day they get written off with little or no respect. Where are the E: True Hollywood Stories for voice actors? When do we see their Cribs? When do we get the regular Mel-Gibsonian salary updates?
You never hear about them, and yet they go about their business working incredibly hard, mastering and plying their craft, only to be one-upped by someone like Ben Affleck when he decides to take a cameo role in the 3D animated movie of the month. And even WORSE, because they sometimes do multiple characters in the same piece people tend to give them even less credit.
Where is the recognition for hard working actors like Jim Ward, David Kaye, Erin Fitzgerald, or Richard Steven Horvitz? The products they’ve worked on are internationally known and loved (and I guarantee you that you’ll recognize many of the CRITICAL characters they play in those products), but who among you can tell me what all of them have done just from looking at their names?
But if I say Shia LaBeouf, you’ll know right off the bat.
And the worst part about it is how amazingly good they are at what they do. Take Erin, for example. The last time I worked with her she recorded a song, read the lines for multiple characters (including one crucial main villain), did screams, yells, and other voice-breaking noises all within a few hours. It’s amazingly difficult, and yet the professionalism and expertise that she (and many of her voice acting brothers and sisters) show is amazing.
Anyway, time for me to get off my high horse. Hopefully, though, this makes you as upset as it makes me. Hopefully it raised an issue that you haven’t thought of before. Or mabye it’ll just get you talking.
If you have any thoughts, as usual feel free to post them below.