D.C. Douglas Australia Interview

D.C. Douglas Australia Interview

AVCon: Hello everyone and welcome to AVCon 2019. I’m Phil and I am sitting here with voice actor D.C. Douglas. Now you’re not just the voice actor though. You’ve got a lot of various talents and you’ve done writing, directing, editing and you cut your teeth treading the boards as well. I love you put those two phrases together, cutting your teeth and treading the boards. Which of those come most naturally to you?

D.C. Douglas: Oh wow, well I guess it starts with theater doesn’t it? So I mean that was how I realized I wanted to be an actor. I was in, I know if it was third grade or something, and they were doing skits and I was playing a lamb that had an injury and they put a band-aid on me and then they had to take the band-aid off and I reacted to that in a funny way and they all laughed. And then from there I did, my mother hating her job at the time came home one day and sat my sister and I down and she’s like, “You’re not going to end up living a life like I’m living. You need to determine what you want to do with your lives and we’re gonna start making it happen.” So my sister’s like, “Rock star,” she got singing lessons. And I went, “Actor.” I knew that since 7 that I wanted be an actor. So yeah, theater was where it all began and that does come most naturally to me. But I really, my, I came to LA for film and TV on camera acting. So voiceover turned out to be the gift that I kind of ignored and then realized once I embraced it, it became my saving grace so that I could have a life as an actor both behind the mic and in front of the camera without having to be a waiter or any other survival job, which is, I realize, is the blessing. And so people talk about making it, that was the making it part for me, is not having to have that survival gig.

AVCon: Yeah, I did read when I was researching that part of the reason that you decided to do more voiceover was because of the reaction from the dedicated fans.

D.C. Douglas: Oh well that was a part of, that was actually more about the anime side of it. I did like some RPGs, JRPGs in late 90s and early aughts. But the conventions weren’t around then. And one of the things that, when we in voiceover, how do I explain, there’s so many different levels of pay that you can get depending on the kind of thing. So for instance, I can do like the legal tag at the end of a commercial that runs on TV and buy enough to get a house, you know, something ridiculous like that. Or I can go into an entire season of an anime and barely make as much money as you get in one residual check from the other thing. It’s a bizarro world. But there’s so much acting that what you get to do in anime. And so that part is nice. But the biggest part was I went back to it when I realized there were conventions and you could travel. And my, hold, one of my dreams was I want to be an actor, a famous guy that they fly around to different movie sets around the world. Well oh, that didn’t quite happen. But this other thing happened where I’m a voice actor and they fly me around to different places so I could, you know, do meet fans and sign stuff. And I’m like, that’s, you know, life sometimes gives you what you want but in a different way than you expect it. And so I just fully embraced it. So and also I mean, for crying out loud, having fans is bizarre wonderful. And I want to, you know, give back if I can, if just by me showing up and signing makes you happy, right on.

AVCon: So I think it’s wonderful. You’ve also done a lot of different genres. Obviously you’ve done porn, you’ve done procedural…

D.C. Douglas: Watching or playing?

AVCon: Sci-fi, you’ve done soap. What do you personally like to watch or play?

D.C. Douglas: It’s gonna go back to my joke, but I won’t do it. The weird things, video game wise, I would love to be able to play video games. But the problem is, I’m, I tried it once and I went in to play “Grand Theft Auto”. It was like my first video game I really tried to earnestly play. And I got so, such motion sickness. And I felt like I, like we had like, I felt I was not doing the things I needed to do, like the hustle for my career and just general life stuff. I’m like, I’m wasting time doing this game. And just a weird, this weird Western mentality that I’m now shaking off and enjoying lots of vacations. But so, but as far as like watch stuff, it’s, I’m an HBO guy. I like the shows where they’ve got no parameters and they can go off into really weird places. Right now there’s a new show on HBO called “Euphoria” that I’ve just watched the pilot for and that was like, wonderful show. That’s about what I watched, not what I’m in, right? That’s… okay, you just want to make sure I gotta get to you, the person.

AVCon: Yeah.

D.C. Douglas: No, I like the weird stuff. So, somebody in the other interview I was doing, they asked a favorite film. And you know, obviously there’s no ever a favorite film. But one of the ones that impacted me deeply was a film called “Synecdoche, New York”. Charlie, you know it? Oh you haven’t seen it? You’ve got to watch it. And you have to watch it a couple times. But yeah, so it’s, I like the weird stuff. I’ve always liked, what was it, “Track 29” way back in the 80s, that’s how I fell in love with Gary Oldman. So, but anything that’s weird and you have to watch several times to understand what the hell it is you saw.

AVCon: So I also wanted to ask a little bit about your work with movies like, like on set. Does anyone take it deadly seriously or…

D.C. Douglas: Well the other thing is, because it’s so low budget and they’re moving so fast, it’s kind of hard for them to like joke around or like, we just need to get the shot done. First off, I’m thankful to The Asylum because as far as my, the latter part of my career here, I would be nothing without them. I had a fun little arc in “Z Nation” because of them. And I’ve done six films with them I think, “Sharknado 2” being one of them. And “Sharknado 2”, I actually asked to be in the movie because the first one hit so big. And so I, one of the the guys who run, and I kept emailing, I’m going, then I heard they were at principal photography was like, “Oh okay, it’s alright.” And then out of the blue he reached out and he’s like, “Hey, if you can get yourself over to Buffalo, New York, there’s a pickup scene that they need to do.” And I’m like, “Yes, I’ll do it.” So literally I paid to be in the movie if you really think about it. I get myself there and you know, by the time I was done with everything that, the expenses for what I got paid, I was still like I’m negative 360 dollars, which was like the price of doing an online press release. And I thought, that’s worth it. And years later I finally got enough residuals that have made up for it. So I think I’m at zero now. But the amount of fans and acknowledgement that I got for just being in a “Sharknado” movie, it’s like right on. So I’m, you know, I’m proud of that aspect. So it’s like that all actors would, we, unless you get really lucky and you hit it really big, and everybody else takes care of your career, most of us are journeymen and we’re just, we’re scrubs. We try to scrabble, what’s the word I’m looking for, you know, cobble together careers and things. And then all of a sudden there’s, you have a career of some sort. And shows, this me being here right now is the result of me humble for many years.

AVCon: So let’s talk a little bit about Albert Wesker.

D.C. Douglas: Hopper Wesker.

AVCon: Alright then. He’s iconic, he’s a little bit extravagant. How much of you is in that character? He’s also a murderous masochist.

D.C. Douglas: I mean, I love playing bad guys. That’s always fun. So I just did a, I just did a show called “The Encounter”. We shot for a week in Georgia and I play a demon Uber driver. And I say the worst things to this pregnant woman for a week and it was, horrible person. I know I wasn’t saying… Right, so. So Wesker was, here’s the thing that I loved about doing it. First off, the voice is like an amalgamation of a couple of voice actors who’ve done the role back in the 90s and early aughts. And then I took it over and I’ve been doing it since 2007. So I’ve done about eight different projects, Wesker’s voice. And I did a lot of fan service videos as well. So the voice has kind of evolved a little bit. But I love, I think what I love is that for some reason, for I don’t even know what it is, why other people love him, the fact when I do the voice and I see the reaction, that’s the part of doing him that I absolutely love. But do identifying anything in that kind of a character, oh god knows. I know inspired by anyone you know? No, no. Though he does seem to have a lot in common with Trump, but no, but I started doing way before Trump was a thing. We’ll steer around that show. Yeah.

AVCon: I also wanted to talk a little bit about video game work and focus a little bit on playing Legion in “Mass Effect. Now “Mass Effect” very famous for having lots of branching dialogue and lots of outcomes. When you go to approach a script like that, is it hard to kind of keep your head around where you are in sort of the branching plot and what the context is?

D.C. Douglas: Well here’s what the interesting thing about video games is that we don’t get the script because they’re so tight-lipped on everything, for some reason I’m not quite sure. But you can’t, so you don’t get to see the script. And also with video games, it’s that whole process of recording the voices has evolved over the years. So for instance, when people talk about how bad the acting is in someone like the early “Resident Evil” games in the 90s, and that is because it all started with coders. And so they were giving Excel sheets with just the list of lines and some sort of where it fits into the game somewhere, but missing so much context. Oh, you have no idea why you’re saying it. And sometimes the director, producer doesn’t know either. They go, “Let’s do three takes. One, you’re calm. One, you’re angry. One, you’re in the middle of a war.” That kind of a thing. We don’t know. So you get weird like, like sounding stilted dialogue because there’s no context for it. But that has evolved with use. But even now when I do especially RPGs and that stuff, and still a list. But the producers and the directors are more keyed into contextually what’s happening. So it comes off a bit better, plus as actors, the more that we’ve been doing these, we’ve kind of picked up on the feel of it as well. That being said, “Mass Effect” was wonderful in that when we did, we didn’t get stuff before him. But when we there, you had not just your dialogue, but who you were talking to. So you knew at least the immediate context of what was happening. The director, whose direct, Ginny McSwain was on the first one I did which was “Mass Effect 2”. And then they directed me out of Canada for the third one, my second one, their third one. And so they know even more context. Yeah, let you know. So they’re very good at guiding you for that. And it also, they really wanted cinematic acting. So yeah, no, soon. And plus my character as well, you know, Legion is, everything is very close to the heart. And I sit, close to the heart because I miss him. But so they kind of keep that you an order. Now in “Mass Effect 3”, for me the interesting challenge was, if you let me live, you then run into a familiar Legion in “Mass Effect 3”. If you let me die, then I’m a very cold Legion that you meet. So we had several scenes where I record them, a different kind of dialogue. Either if you knew me, warm dialogue. Cold dialogue if you didn’t know me. And then some scenes were meant to be neutral, they’d work for both, both time. And what you call those, both branches? So that was kind of an interesting challenge. So it’s funny, I had a lot of voice work for the three, even though my character does not appear that much in the third game.

AVCon: Is it hard to approach, you know, like a robotic character and give them life that makes sense?

D.C. Douglas: No, actually it’s, it’s a lot easier because you don’t have to, there’s not a lot of backstory you necessarily have to keep trying because everything is very literal. And I tend to get a lot of robots as well. So well, I played, yeah, even in commercial work as well. But I played Chase on “Transformers: Rescue Bots”, which is a kids show. I mean the Transformers have personalities…

AVCon: That day he definitely, well we started off with him no personality.

D.C. Douglas: Originally the audition, the audition for him was that it was supposed to be like “Dragnet” from the 70s, 60s. Which so Chase spoke like this. And everything was very, very much robotic like that. And then by the first episode, we’re recording, I’m going, “Yeah, this is not gonna work 23 episodes.” So it, it’ll slowly becomes kind of like a very literal Don Pardo. So the, but it’s nice because they’re, you’re always dealing with just what’s in front of you. When you’re doing a robot voice, Legion was interesting because it’s not meant to be, he’s not just a robot. And so there’s this, you want emotion in there, feeling in there. So it’s almost like being an intelligent child, that’s how I would describe doing Legion.

AVCon: That’s awesome. Now we were talking just before we kicked off a little bit about the special show that you’ve brought for us this… will people see this before tomorrow night?

D.C. Douglas: I’m not sure. We can talk about it, can you tell us a little bit about sure what that is, how it came together?

AVCon: It is, okay.

D.C. Douglas: It is called “The Notorious Zombie-Related Erotic Fan Fiction of Dr. Dark One”. Yes, it’s at seven o’clock Saturday night, tomorrow night. And if you do see this before then, and the way that it came about was, oh how much can I say? There’s a lot of, that I can’t say. Because of lawyer stuff, okay. I’ve been asked to like, be quiet about it. That’s why it’s so secretive. Oh wow. But I will say this, that it started because of fans sending me things when, when I used to be on Facebook and the messages were open. And I would get these like fan fics. And I’m like, to read. And then I realize they actually want me to read it to them. That’s what I think is going on here, okay. And I had done a little, I’ve been doing a lot of conventions at that point, I did a couple years worth. And I thought, I can’t, there’s only so many times I can say, “What’s the favorite role I’ve ever done,” you know. I want to do something more interesting, but also involves the fans. Because me just, I get tired of hearing myself talk for 45 minutes. And so I created this show where I, I sourced all the fan fics from people. I put it together in a show that has an arc, it’s about 90 minutes. But then I’ve tweaked the scripts a lot. One is, I had to strip out the misogyny that was in there for some of the fan fics, because if you know the fanfic world, they get a little out there. But then the second thing is, I wanted to work in more humor and stuff like that. And then I wanted to work in a lot of different voices, characters that I’ve done over the years. So, and they’re scrubs. And so I’m bringing people on tour to read with me. And then it’s like, however they perform, that adds to the evening. And so every show’s a little different because of whoever’s performing with me. So great, I’m really looking forward. It started as like a half hour thing I did in Florida once, and now it’s a 90 minute show. So it’s been a fun journey. So fantastic, this would be the Australian premiere of it. So I’ve done it in the UK and Canada and America, and now Australia. Exclusive, your first chance to see it here in Australia. I’m sorry, get down to that if you see this before tomorrow.

AVCon: Yeah, and if not, thank you very much for your time.

D.C. Douglas: Thank you. We’ll have a wonderful convention and I’ll catch you very soon.

AVCon: Next time, can we sit together?

D.C. Douglas: Yeah, of course. I felt lonely.