Fueled By Death Cast Ep. 5 - BROCK POWELL
VOICE ACTOR/KOOL-AID MAN - BROCK POWELL
“Not just being a fan of voice acting, but being a fan of the characters is what fuels me to keep getting out there.” - Brock Powell, voice actor, Kool-Aid Man
ON EPISODE 5:
How do you tell time in space? On this week in Science, the hosts talk about NASA plans to put an atomic clock into deep space orbit, so it can help with space travel and GPS. Then on What Fuels You, the theme is setting a goal and how that is only half the battle. You have to figure out the path you are going to take to achieve that goal. Finally tune in to the Update to find out what is in store for The World's Strongest Coffee Company in 2017.
ABOUT BROCK POWELL:
Brock Powell didn't know what he wanted to do with his life until he and an epiphany when an iconic voice actor died. Now he is the voice behind many characters and also does all the voice overs on this very podcast. He talks with Dustin and Jeff on this episode about breaking into voice acting, and how the voice of Goofy, Bill Farmer, helped him get his start. Find out about the various jobs he has had including voicing The Kool-Aid Man and how he got connected with Death Wish Coffee.
Brock Powell: I'm not ready. I haven't rehearsed. Here we go. I call this the impressing chicks at a bar list. These are the voices I go through when I'm trying to just make conversation with people. If Kool-Aid doesn't work, if the "Oh, yeah!" doesn't work, 'cause what happens is somebody will be like, "Oh, this is the Kool-Aid man." And I'm like, people are gonna think it's a weird nickname, right?
Jeff: Right. Right.
Brock Powell: I'm kind of round, if it's hot, I'm red already. So people are gonna think it's like-
Dustin: You burst through wall the time?
Brock Powell: Right? So let's see. Gosh, hiya, pal. It's your old pal, Mickey Mouse. Oh, brother. Obviously, I'll skip Goofy. Hello there. Oh, bother. I have a rumbly in my tumbly.
Brock Powell: Hey ya pal. It's your old pal Pegleg Pete. What's up doc? You're despicable. You are making me very angry. Hi ho there. Kermit the Frog here. Ah, Fozzie Beary then. This is Gonzo the Great. I like chickens. Animal. Animal. Hey man, Doctor Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, brother.
Rooby, Rooby, Roo. Honey. Hey, exit stage left Steven.
Jeff: Oh my god.
Brock Powell: To infinity and beyond. Buzz come on, you are a toy. You're a child's plaything.
Jeff: Okay, so, Brock, voice acting is something that everybody wants to do, but no one knows anything about. Can you talk a little bit about getting into the business of being a voice actor? Did you just fall into it or did you set out to be the next biggest voice in town? How did it all come to be for you?
Brock Powell: I wanna say fall into it, 'cause it's just a funny. Ah, boom, boom into a booth. I've been an actor most of my life. I went to college to do musical theater. And when I graduated, I was at a crossroads of just trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do. And any part of the acting industry, whatever it is, film, television, theater, or what we as voice actors call "the face acting," just kidding, it always bothered me that it's voice acting and then acting.
I'm like, "Well no, it should be face-acting or flesh acting or just acting.
Jeff: Right. Yeah, totally.
Brock Powell: Whatever you wanna call it, right?
Jeff: Body acting.
Brock Powell: Body acting. "Oh, you're a body actor."
Brock Powell: Whatever part of the industry you go into as a performer, there is just a lot of drama associated with it. So you have to figure out, obviously, we know the tropes of, "Oh, I wanna be a television actor, so I have to deal with body image issues and moving up to LA and meeting people and waiting tables and avoiding casting couches."
Jeff: Pilot season.
Brock Powell: Pilot season. All those things that you think about, the theater's got it's own ... You're not making a lot of money and you're fighting for not many jobs and most of you guys are gonna end up on cruise ships doing Abba covers for the rest of your life. And it's like the reality and I can only sing Mamma Mia so many times.
Brock Powell: There was a crossroads that I was at where I was just about to graduate college and get my degree in theater and I went to a school in Orange County. It had an amazing theater program that I was a part of.
So my final semester I actually kind of took a trip around the world and didn't need the credits, just wanted to have this experience and went to seven different countries and studied different topics. But I was a theater major and all these things that I was studying were like cold war history and like, the socioeconomics of Argentina and things that I didn't need to do but I just wanted to go visit these places and have these experiences.
While I was, I was in Israel and the longtime voice of Mickey Mouse, Wayne Allwine had passed away at some point at that time. And because I was so far away, the news hadn't reached. But I literally saw it in a paper and they announced the actor who would be succeeding the role and taking over it or that there was an actor that they had found to continue the voice.
Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Brock Powell: It was just one of those weird things. I was reading this and we were hiking on a mountain. I'm looking at this thing. We're going up to some museum on top of like a cliff side there.
Dustin: What would be the theme music playing at the scene that you're painting right now?
Brock Powell: We could go, you could go so many ways with it. Of Hobbits pops into my head, just 'cause I love the ...
Jeff: Beautiful. Beautiful.
Brock Powell: Yeah, 'cause it really was, when I pinpoint that moment. I'm reading this paper, I'm hiking ... and it's not like a straight slope up. It's like a clearly touristy pebble path, but it's up a mountainside. And so, this student, this girl who was in this group with me who, we hadn't spoken a lot, but she's very sweet and she and I were walking together and she looks at me and she's like, "What is the weirdest thing you could see yourself doing with your theater degree?"
And I hadn't really thought about it because it was like, I am a big picture person, but I've always just been like, "I'll figure it out." And I said, it was part of this experience was part of the reality of, "Oh wow. The voice of Mickey Mouse passed away. I'm affected by that. That's really bizarre. I'm 22. I never met the guy. Why is this bothering me?"
And realizing, "Oh, it's the character is what, that character had an impact on me." And then kind of when she asked the question, it was like, "Oh, I want to have that impact on kids. I wanna take my acting and move people that way." And so it just kind of came out of my mouth. I was like, "I want to be a voice actor. I want to take over for a Disney character someday." And it was like ... It just popped out and that changed my life.
Brock Powell: Saying that and the feeling after I said it, that was the first moment and there's no plan. There's no, "Here's how to be a voice actor."
Brock Powell: There are a thousand different ways. I just knew that I wanted to work for Disney and do that. So what I did was, the Genie in Aladdin was always a huge inspiration. I had auditioned throughout college for the role of the Genie at Disney's California Adventure.
So sing. Musical theater is kind of a thing. And I've always been a character actor. But when you're ... You guys know me. I'm a big dude. When you're my height and size, there's a limit to what parts you can play.
Brock Powell: I don't care how many times they call me back, I'm never gonna get Maria in Sound of Music, it's not gonna happen.
Jeff: In my mind, it's happening.
Dustin: I believe in you, Brock.
Brock Powell: The hills are alive, with the sound of music. I audition for this part and got a call back to be the actor who portrayed the Genie in this musical show that they did. That had been the dream just in general. Disney had always been a thing I was really a huge fan of and really enjoyed.
I get the callback and I did Friend Like Me. I did all the impressions, I did all the stuff. It basically came down to like, "You were great, you did the job. You auditioned. The song was great, the impressions were great, but you're too fat."
Right? For a part of a thing that's not even a real thing.
Brock Powell: Like, wait. Kids are gonna believe that I'm blue, but not that I'm fat?
Jeff: Right. Come on.
Brock Powell: Right? And so, I left that audition with this deep conviction that started with anger, like all great movements. And I said, "Acting is about pretending and I am done being limited as an actor because of the way I look." And the next day there was another audition at Disney Land for Turtle Talk with Crush, which was a show they did where actors would take on the role of the turtle and digitally puppeteer and-
Jeff: Yeah, and he interacts with kids. My nephews are in love with Crush and when they go to Disney World or Disney Land, that's their jam, is that.
Brock Powell: And I only did that for a little bit, but that connected everything together from that literal mountaintop experience to what I was feeling at the audition, to getting behind the mic and being like, "Oh, dude. You so totally rock." I was like, that is it. I don't know how this is going to work, but I'm going to chase this and this is the thing that I will pursue now.
I stayed at Disney for a couple years and I took on some different roles there. And in the meantime decided that I wanted to be a voice actor. I went up to a group in LA and it was like Past Guests Include, and I flipped over the brochure. It was like Joey Fontaine or some weird people that I didn't care about.
And then down the thing, it was like Bill Farmer, the voice of Goofy was a past guest. And I was like, like the Peter Griffin.
Brock Powell: I was like, I missed my chance. Goofy had been a favorite character and I was a huge fan of Kingdom Hearts. I was a very lonely high school student and ...
Jeff: Me too.
Brock Powell: Right? So I had that brochure and I was like, "I missed him."
Jeff: You missed him, yeah.
Brock Powell: So I went back to my job at Disney Land the next day and I don't really tell this part of the story, but for you guys, I'm gonna tell you all about it.
Brock Powell: Death was exclusive.
Jeff: Love it.
Brock Powell: I'm from Vegas initially, so small town boy. And I did not want to go back to Vegas. So I took jobs and I lived in some different living situations to stay out here while I figured out the acting-plan. And I had a college professor who lived in the city of Orange who ran a set building company.
So they had a loft, that was like a night watch apartment because this studio was used for infomercials and tons of props and it was a huge old converted bank in old town Orange that is next to Chapman University. It's just a huge warehouse.
To stay out here, and to make it happen, I worked at Disney during the day and then I went home and I was a janitor and lived in a warehouse above this infomercial studio. This is all true. And I did that for a while. While I was cleaning, like Cinderfella I would listen to this podcast called Rob Paulsen's Talking Toons Podcast.
Jeff: Love that podcast.
Brock Powell: Do you love that podcast?
Jeff: I love everything Rob Paulsen, and when he started a podcast, I was immediately on board. I listen to it all the time. Absolutely love it.
Brock Powell: Rob Paulsen changed my life and every time I see Rob Paulsen, to the point of annoyance for him, I'm sure, I remind him.
Jeff: And just for all of our listeners out there, explain real quick who Rob Paulsen is. Because that's a pretty big name to drop.
Brock Powell: Robert Paulsen, his name was Robert Paulsen. I will confess, so my best friend Austin is running the board behind me and he makes that joke all the time. Without spoilers I'll say, Austin Farmer, is Bill Farmer's son. So, not to have spoilers, but.
Brock Powell: Spoilers.
Jeff: Anyway, back to Rob.
Brock Powell: I'm mid-story. So, anyhow. He was the voice of Raphael in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He was the voice of Pinky. Carl Wheezer. He's been a working voice actor since I think the early 80s and is the nicest human being ever. He's a singer. He was Yakko Warner on Animaniacs.
Brock Powell: And was the voice of a lot of our childhoods. He loves voice over. He loves the industry. He is a true vaudevillian, a true showman, and he, at some point, started doing a podcast for himself and for other people. Because voice actors really don't ... Even this sort of thing is rare for us.
In the last 10 years, there's been a rise of like, "Oh, you actually know who these people are." There was the documentary I Know That Voice, which was put together by John DiMaggio who was Jake the Dog. Amazing. But for a lot of people, and that's still available on Netflix now.
Jeff: Yes it is.
Brock Powell: It's wonderful ... just a wonderful taste I think.
Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Brock Powell: Into what the world is. So Rob put together this podcast, it's still happening.
Jeff: He's a busy man. He does it when he can.
Brock Powell: He is a busy dude. He is actually Donatello in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles right now, which is awesome.
Jeff: Which tickles me because I grew up listening to him as Raphael and now he's Donatello and it's pretty special.
Brock Powell: Role change.
Brock Powell: So, I'm cleaning a warehouse.
Jeff: Listening to his podcast.
Brock Powell: In a french maid outfit, which I guess isn't important to the story, but I wanted you to know that.
Jeff: Yes, I got it. Thank god.
Brock Powell: So, I'm listening to this podcast and Bill Farmer is one of the guests. And I'm listening and he's talking about all his career and stuff, and then he mentions that he has a company that makes demos. So in the voiceover industry, your demo is like a clip or a thing that you put together that represents what you do.
So, the face actors, the body actors, they've got headshots and video clips of their work.
Brock Powell: A voice actor has a one to maybe a 90-second sample of the different things they do. So Bill was talking with Rob that he had just started doing this and he had been working with his son.
So I took that opportunity and I wrote him an email. And, he'd been looking to take on a student. Somehow I fooled him into letting that student be me. And it was maybe five years ago now and yeah. Changed my life. And they're like family. And that's the story.
Jeff: That's incredible. I mean, was there a moment of terror when you're crafting that email? I'm gonna write an email to Goofy and I'm gonna hope that he's gonna read it and maybe this can help my career?
I mean, that's a big step. That's swinging for the fences right there.
Brock Powell: There's a video circulating right now on the Facebook, where Steve Jobs is talking about what makes the difference between someone who does and someone who doesn't and he was like ask for help. And I truly believe this. Especially in the voice over industry. Most everyone wants to help you.
Just be honest and ask questions and be a real, just be nice. That's it. Steve Jobs was telling this story about how he wrote to the ... how he called the guy who was in charge at Hewlett Packard, whatever, Hewlett.
Brock Powell: He was like 15 and he was like, "Can I have some extra parts from your computer?" And he's like, "Sure." And then he gave him his job. And that guy is the reason Steve Jobs was Steve Jobs.
Brock Powell: But it all started with him asking for help. I was like ... Mine wasn't that well thought out. I was like, "Well, if I suck, Goofy will tell me and at least I won't be upset because Goofy tells me I'm not good at voiceover and that's fine." Like, "If I have to hear it from anybody, it might as well be from Bill Farmer."
Jeff: Right. Totally.
Brock Powell: He hasn't said it yet.
Jeff: Five years later.
Brock Powell: Right?
Jeff: You infiltrated your way into the Goof Troop somehow.
Brock Powell: The Goof Troop. It's funny because... and full circle with Rob and stuff, I am pretty much PJ. That's pretty much who I am. That's sort of like, "Oh my dad's gonna squash me like a bug."
Jeff: You totally are. Oh my god. So, you get into the business. You get Goofy of all people to start teaching you the ropes. And, for anybody who might have seen that amazing documentary, I Know That Voice, or who knows a little bit about the crazy bitch that is Hollywood, that is a constant battle. What fuels you to keep going out there and keep plugging away at this?
'Cause since then in the last five years, you've had some pretty great accolades and some pretty great jobs and I'm sure they're keeping coming, but what fuels you to keep going for that? To keep chasing that brass ring?
Brock Powell: It's the characters. I just love these characters. To this day, there is still a thrill like, I was in a booth with Frank Welker.
Jeff: Oh wow.
Brock Powell: I was in a room with Frank Welker, and for those who don't know, Megatron, Fred from Scooby Doo, every creature from every Disney movie in the last 30 years from Abu to Raja, to Pegasus was Fred Welker.
Jeff: He's pretty much the speed dial for, "Oh, crap, we have a non-human character. Get Welker on the phone."
Brock Powell: And it's always fun to be like, "Who was that? Oh, it was Welker." Like the Martians in Mars Attacks with that "dah, dah, dah," that was Welker.
Dustin: Oh my god.
Brock Powell: The monkey in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Jeff: I didn't know that. That's him?
Brock Powell: Yeah. Right. Bad dates. That little ... that was Welker.
Jeff: Oh my god.
Brock Powell: It's the same thing he did for Abu. He was Spike in the Gremlins. He was Cujo, the voice of Cujo. They couldn't get the dog to ...
Jeff: Yeah, I knew that. Yeah, that's hilarious.
Dustin: What? That's crazy.
Brock Powell: Yeah.
Jeff: The dog was working for a different union. Didn't want to actually talk on camera, so they had to get Welker to do it.
Brock Powell: He was in the DOG union, which is just ... It's ruff. Anyhow.
Jeff: Goodnight everybody.
Brock Powell: Where you going? Austin, where'd you get a noose? The dude's a legend. That's kind of what fuels me. It's not just being a fan of it, but it's being a fan of the characters. It's being a fan of ... Jeff, you and I are crazy Star Wars fans. It's a collective unconsciousness. It's mythology. It's all these things that we look at the Greeks and they're like, "It's crazy. They believed in some god."
No. These stories tell us about ourselves. These characters tell us about ourselves and each other. And as a storyteller first, and an actor, I love it. Being a person who does not like doing the same thing every day, there is nothing that gratifies me more than waking up and not knowing, "Oh, I got an audition for XYZ today." Or, "They're bringing that character back and they want somebody to voice match him? Wow."
It's like that kind of excitement and this last year I've gotten to audition for some amazing projects including beep. I mean, it's just been a total thrill ride. The real dream is to one day ... To be where Bill is now and to have someone come up to me and say, "You changed my life with your performance and your acting."
And voiceover feels me because it is the ultimate pretend. You are in a room by yourself and it is your job to create the scene, the environment, the stakes, and sometimes the other person you're talking to. They used to record altogether. Now they don't. Now, I actually have to act for two people. I have to hear what you're saying, so if it's like a video game and it's like, "Get down." And then the other person says, "No."
Well then, I have to act and respond to that. It's a real challenge. It's really, as an actor, the ultimate challenge 'cause you never know what you're gonna be asked to do. That's really rewarding. You get to turn off the celebrity. If you didn't tell people, "I did this voice." They would never know.
Brock Powell: So you get to be a real person and you really get to know people and I love the anonymity. I love being able to do that. But I also love being able to tell people, "Oh, that was my voice, or I'm doing this right now," and seeing their face light up. Because it's not like, "Oh Brock. You're so cool." It's like, "That character's so cool. That' project's so cool." And I'm just chasing this feeling.
The feeling of being in the booth and bringing these characters to life and doing what the job entails makes me feel so happy. It's an actual ... When I'm not in the booth, I'm not sure what to do with myself. It's like, "I don't know." It is that much fun. It's so rewarding.
Jeff: That's so awesome.
Brock Powell: Yeah man. Sorry, I'm ...
Jeff: No. I mean, that's really great.
Dustin: Pure gold man. That's very sweet. The way your passion is behind it, even though I have no interest in voice acting, that just lights me up and makes me pumped to do what I love doing because that's-
Brock Powell: Well see, and that ...
Dustin: That's the feeling that we all get when we find that one thing that drives us, that fuels us, that rush of serotonin, that feeling of belonging. And you're where you should be.
Brock Powell: And that's the thing. It has empowered me to be a better listener and to be more active in just having friends out here who are artists and everything from musicians to writers and just getting to know people and saying, "What's the thing that really," like you said, "fuels you. What really drives you? What is it that if you had one shot to make something happen, what would it be?"
Jeff: Uh-oh. Are we delving into an Eminem song right now?
Brock Powell: Or Hamilton.
Jeff: Or Hamilton, yeah.
Brock Powell: So, jump. Take a leap. I don't know what it's gonna look like, and I'm not saying it's gonna be easy. But whatever it is that makes you happy, you have to honor that feeling because that is life. That is your purpose. That is the thing. It's not easy. We kind of brushed on it a little bit.
I have had my share of success and I'm so grateful for all the opportunities that I've had so far. But there's been a lot of disappointment. There's been a lot of tight months. But I've ... It's worked for me and I'm not all that smart. If you're ...
Another person told me, "If there's something that you wanna do and you're just as smart or smarter than the person doing it, you can do it too." And I assure anyone listening to me, I promise you, you're smarter than me. So, just whatever it is you wanna do, go for it.
Jeff: That's great advice, and I especially like how you said, "Just take the jump and be happy and open to what that brings." Actually, that just made me think of this. One of the things that draws me as a fan of your teacher there, Bill Farmer, every time Goofy jumps into something, even if he falls off a cliff, the "Wahoohoohooey." Which is terrible.
Excuse my voice acting. But he's stoked about it. He's stoked to be falling off that cliff, even though it's gonna cause him cartoon bodily harm, he still did it. That's an incredible outlook and a way to kind of tackle what you can get out of life.
Brock Powell: No. Absolutely. Dude, it's so fun. For those who don't know, I've been doing the voice of the Kool-Aid man for the last year. And to be able to ...
Jeff: Can we get a taste?
Brock Powell: Yeah, I can have some Kool-Aid mailed to you. That's no problem.
Dustin: I wouldn't trust it.
Brock Powell: Oo yeah.
Jeff: There it is. There it is.
Brock Powell: Oh, yeah.
Jeff: The real laid back, lazy Kool-Aid man, just kind of pushes a brick aside.
Brock Powell: Excuse me, excuse me, oh. Oh yeah. Excuse me.
Dustin: I call that the Goulet man, 'cause it's kind of Robert Goulet. It's like, "Oh yeah. Oh yeah." It's just very.
Jeff: Oh wow. That's a Saturday Night Live skit waiting to happen. The Goulet man? Come on, that's gold.
Brock Powell: Do you know what the real dream is? I really, I think I'm gonna do it. I really want to get, and you heard it here first, I really want to get an animated, just quick scene of Donald Trump cutting the ribbon at the wall, when he builds the wall. And saying, "You know, a lot of people said that it couldn't be done and that I was drinking the Kool-Aid."
And Mike Pence is talking to the sleeve-like, "Uh, sir, sir."
"And I got to tell you, all the people that thought I was drinking the Kool-Aid, I built the wall. I did it. The wall's done." And then it starts rumbling. Right?
Dustin: Oh my god.
Brock Powell: And all the people on the other side are like looking wide-eyed and then you just hear, "Oh yeah." And it's down.
Jeff: oh my god.
Brock Powell: It's down and we're done. I don't know.
Brock Powell: Do you guys have any connections to the Bernie Sanders people? Let's make it happen.
Jeff: Dude. Dude. That's incredible. And you could do that in like a two minute animated clip. That'd be so amazing. Is there anything that you wanna plug that ... I know there's a lot of stuff, especially working actors that you're working on stuff that you can't actually announce yet or stuff like that. But is there anything that you're working on that you can actually talk about?
Brock Powell: Yeah. So, I'm on a show right now on Disney XD, you can hear me popping up every once in a while on Milo Murphy's Law, which is Weird Al's new show with the producers of Phineas and Ferb. It is-
Jeff: So cool.
Brock Powell: So funny and uplifting and it was a really great message. It's a kid basically with ... He's got Murphy's Law syndrome. He's related to the guy who discovered Murphy's Law. So bad things happen to him and he has to learn to cope with it. And his friends have to learn how to accept him and wacky things happen.
It is so funny.
Jeff: That's awesome.
Brock Powell: The team behind it is so funny and I'm just honored to be a small part of it.
Jeff: That's so cool.
Brock Powell: And then, they're out now. I have to say, this last year, this is the thing that I'm most excited about. And it's stupid. Not stupid as a product, we can cut that bit. It's stupid how excited I am about it.
I got to take over and do Luke Skywalker, Hans Solo, Admiral Akbar, and Emperor Palpatine for some Disney Star Wars toys that are coming out this week.
Jeff: I'm so excited that you get to talk about this too. Actually, when we were both down at New York Comic Con this year, you actually got that job and you were jumping up and down you were so excited. And that is super exciting 'cause that's some big shoes to fill, even though it's just for some toys and stuff.
Still, it's like, you have to be careful with those shoes.
Brock Powell: And of all those characters, the Akbar card is the most exciting 'cause I'm like ... I got to say, "It's a trap."
Jeff: Yes. Oh my god. I want that as my ringtone.
Brock Powell: Right? It is ... I can't tell you how exciting that was to do that.
Jeff: And the toys are really cool.
Brock Powell: And, this Christmas, kids ... Propel Star Wars Drones, these are top of the line, they're highly collectible, available at Brookstone, Bed, Bath, and Beyond. The more I see about these toys, the detail is insane.
Brock Powell: They go 35 miles per hour. They're battling drones. They've got the X wing. They have tie fighters. They're gonna have a falcon coming out. They shoot lasers at each other. They keep score. The box, you open the box and it plays one of X amount of tracks of different voices and movie clips. It's astounding to me.
Jeff: It's so cool.
Brock Powell: When they reached out and they went through the process to audition for it, I was like, "Oh man, that would be really, really cool." 'Cause going back to what fuels you, I always try to make a list, or have a goal. Last December, I wrote a list out. Join the union. Get a great agent. And I'm not kidding, get my voice in a Disney toy.
Because, the first step going back to that mountaintop experience, I want to be the voice of a Disney character. The first step to being somebody that they know can do the voices and the impressions is working with the consumer products and the toys. Because there's so many of them.
They do ... There is a lot of opportunity to potentially work with these awesome characters. So on my list last year I wrote, join the union, get a great agent, get my voice in a Disney toy. And as of this recording in December, it's all happened.
I'm just beyond thrilled because it's like, this is ... better make the list bigger next year.
Jeff: Yeah, you gotta make that list even shooting higher, definitely. If you nailed it, you knocked it 100 percent out of the park-
Dustin: Raise that bar, man.
Jeff: Yeah, raise that bar.
Brock Powell: Yeah, dude. I joined the union. I am at an agency called Vox Inc, which is, if you guys get a minute, take a look at who's there. I'm so thrilled to be on the list with these amazing, talented people, and it's just been awesome. It's been such a fun ride.
Being out here in LA, you gotta keep your own stuff going because there's a lot of waiting by the phone. A buddy of mine, Curtis Waugh, who's a writer out here, we were like, he was working at a big production company at the time, and we were like, "Yeah, we gotta do something so we don't lose our minds."
We both really loved movies. And, we had a conversation one day about how we both hated the Goonies, mutually and I was like, "I've never admitted that to anybody because it's such an unpopular opinion." And he was just like, "We should do a podcast." And then it just sort of went from there. And thus, we started to call it the Un-POP podcast.
Brock Powell: It has grown. I think we just hit, or are about to hit 20 episodes. We're nearing our 20th episode.
Jeff: That's awesome.
Brock Powell: Curtis, Austin, And I, we get together, we call it the unfiltered, unpopular, unimpressed, is sort of our ... Each of us represents one of those sort of movie monkeys with the hands over the eyes. It is so much fun.
If anyone's interested in listening to it, we are on Stitcher, Sound Cloud, iTunes, and we had a good time.
Jeff: It's one of my new favorite podcasts. No joke. You've been in this business now for a handful of years.
Brock Powell: Yeah.
Jeff: And you've also been in ... you kind of touched on this a little earlier, you've been in this business as it's gotten more traction. I mean, back in the day, people who knew Mel Blanc was. And that was probably it for a voice actor. Nobody really knew that there was this industry kind of happening behind it.
It isn't until very recently that it is kind of the veil has been lifted and people are really starting to pay attention to it. Has that made your job as a dedicated voice actor, going out for auditions, and getting jobs, is it harder now? Is it more of a saturated environment?
Brock Powell: That was a brilliant question, Jeff. Honestly. Yeah, it has. Because now, it's one of those things that you kind of had mentioned it earlier, voiceovers are things that people are aware of. And because they don't really understand or just know what goes on to become a voiceover actor and the process of voiceover auditioning, people think that we just go into a room and do a funny voice and it's easy to do.
The market has become saturated with a lot of actors wanting to get into it without necessarily understanding that just like anything you wanna do, you have to be a craftsman, and you have to learn, and you have to put in your dues. It's not something you can add to just do for fun and buy a microphone. And you can, there are websites that ...
If your dream is to just do voiceover once in a while and have a thing, there are websites where ... Voices.com, Voice123, they're called pay to play sites where you can audition from home and book jobs from home and work on like companies that are smaller, on smaller budgets, that just have little budgets and need talent to do like, "Coma, drink some Cactus Cooler. It's stuff."
You can ... that's my audition by the way.
Jeff: Well, we're gonna go with somebody else, but keep going.
Brock Powell: Cactus Cooler is ... Every time I've gone to a laundromat, that's the ... They have Cactus Cooler. I don't know if they've got some-
Jeff: Oh, so it's a real thing? I thought you were just literally making it up.
Dustin: There's no Cactus Cooler out here.
Brock Powell: You guys don't know what Cactus Cooler is?
Jeff: No. We're on the East Coast. We have real things like Beer and soda and stuff.
Dustin: And six inches of snow.
Brock Powell: Cactus Cooler is like off-brand Squirt. If you remember Squirt.
Jeff: I remember squirt.
Jeff: Yeah. Ew.
Brock Powell: So, go one step to the side, isn't that disgusting?
Jeff: Yes it is.
Brock Powell: But that's a real ... I'll tell you what. When you guys come out here, I'm gonna take you guys to a really nice laundromat, we'll go get some Cactus Cooler.
Jeff: Sounds awesome. Can't wait.
Brock Powell: There's been a surge of ... The pay to play sites are set up because now with the internet, obviously, we're not in studio together. We can ... and people do, can do sessions this way over Skype. It's kind of changed the game a little bit where companies now ... and this is a good thing for people trying to get in and a really bad thing for people who are union actors trying to remain steady.
What happens is, these sites allow a lot of people to compete for very few jobs.
Brock Powell: Think of it like, for years voiceover was like, and Eharmony kind of thing. There was a committed user-ship. Now it's Tinder. Now there are just so many options. Each project. It's TMO. It's too many options. And it's just like what's going on with dating right now. There are so many auditions to listen to per project that it's really kind of changed the way the casting's done and changes the way the projects are handled.
What the danger is, what happens is, actors don't have as much ability to say, "Well, I don't want to do it because it's not fair at that rate." What they then do, is they can go to these sites and say, "Well, we can just find somebody who can do your voice at half the price. Or would be willing to try it for half the price."
It really has kind of, not been in the favor of the actor in long term. Going back to Mel Blanc, it's kind of interesting because, he was fighting for a raise from Warner Brothers when he was doing those cartoons, or there was a talk of having some raises. He actually was the first actor to say, "Keep the money. Put my name in the credits as voice characterization. I want people to know those are me."
There were other actors who did the voices, but Mel was the only one to negotiate it for the credit.
Jeff: And that's a big deal, 'cause like I said, that's when people started to even know that, "Oh wow, he's the man of 1000 voices and he's doing these characters that I'm watching."
Brock Powell: Absolutely. But it was brilliant on a marketing standpoint. But there were other actors. Stan Freberg was a huge voice actor who did a bunch of the Looney Tunes. Elmer Fudd was not Mel Blanc originally. Porky Pig was not Mel Blanc originally. These are all voices that Mel inherited because he became the guy known as the thing.
And, that's all to say, Mel is the godfather of voiceover. He is obviously an idol, and if anyone's interested in getting into voiceover, he wrote a book called, That's Not All Folks. And it's just a really interesting journey. I'm always fascinated by old Hollywood when people came out here in the 30s or even the 20s and there was no plan.
When I wanted to go into voiceover, I had no plan. But voiceover was a thing. When these guys moved out, Stan Laurel, Stan Laurel from Laurel and Hardy, moved out at the turn of the century. Lived here in LA. Was Charlie Chaplin's roommate. Before silent films were really even a thing.
He just had a dream and kind of followed that passion and I'm fascinated how things, especially when you go back and you read these memoirs, whatever that is, and I know we're Star Wars fans, it is like some sort of force or something. It works out. It all comes together. It's a really kind of cool thing.
But, ain't I a stinker? That's all to say, I think the trend right now, my prediction is what's gonna happen is there's just gonna be, a lot of the work's gonna get spread out to too many people to sustain any one type of person to do it full-time and I think there's always something to be said about focusing on the thing that you wanna do.
Voiceover's one of those things that people now think that they can do while they have other jobs. But, you guys know with music and stuff, that has to be your life, because all the hustle that goes into promoting yourself and booking the gigs and the practice that's required, it's really hard to do anything else and voiceover's no different.
Yeah, we don't have to memorize lines, we don't even have to put on anything other than pajamas sometimes, but there is a lot ... It's just like anything. Just like focus. It totally is a craft and I am constantly being reminded how much work and focus play a part in success on a day to day basis. And I just think it's ...
But that's all to say, also, I truly believe there's room in the pool. If someone's passionate about it and really wants to do it, come to it and don't let the fact that there are a lot of people competing for jobs scare you because, what's meant for you, I truly believe will come your way.
Jeff: That's incredible. Well, you know man, it's been an absolute pleasure to talk to you on the podcast and that's a lot of awesome knowledge that you dropped on us and as I say every podcast, please check out brockvox.com because you did all of the amazing bumps on the Fuel by Death cast as well, and we can never thank you enough for all that.
Brock Powell: You guys, I love you guys. You guys are awesome. And I'm so glad to be a small part of what you guys are doing, and I think this cast is so awesome and important, and positive, and just stick with it.