SacAnime Interviews Guest of Honor DC Douglas

SacAnime Interviews Guest of Honor DC Douglas

SacAnime: All right, so first question, generally a great question. You know how you are first? How are you doing?

D.C. Douglas: Yeah, I’m doing just fine.

SacAnime: I mean, you know, I had to look up some of your interviews before this and I’m like wow, this guy is very interesting. Can’t wait to interview him. He just has no filters.

D.C. Douglas: Oh yes, we got to keep this PG-13 though, okay?

SacAnime: Of course. And if you swear we’ll just bleep it out. Unbelievable. So how did you get into the acting business?

D.C. Douglas: Um, well it’s it’s I think it’s it’s partly genetic. Um my uh my grandfather uh worked in um vaudeville. My sister was my grandmother. My grandmother went on to do burlesque and I actually found a film of hers from 1952 of her doing burlesque in Hawaii. Um and uh so it’s been in the family. Um and uh so I think at age seven I wanted to be an actor uh from uh watching a “Hollywood in the Stars” thing. Um and uh told my parents that I was gonna be an actor and of course they laughed it off. And then at I think it was eleven my um I had a single mom raising me. Came home from a horrible day at work and she sat both her kids down and she said, “I don’t want you to have the life that I’m having so you need to figure out what you’ll want to do with your life that makes you happy and you just start working towards that right now.” So my sister said rock and roll star, it’s late 70s, and I said uh want to be an actor. So my sister had to look up the singing class and I had to look up a theater company and I started with the San Jose Children’s Musical Theater in uh San Jose. And um and then from there I just started you know a lot of theater and uh I never stopped doing theater. Was in high school. The only way I was able to get through high school is I was in the drama class and then I was uh a tutor – on one of the drama – not a tutor a a teacher’s assistant on one of the drama classes for my elective. And my other elective was a teacher’s assistant – same teacher – on his English class which of course he would just let me go and paint sets for the whatever play we were doing. So that was uh – so it’s always been acting. Then I came down to LA when I was 19 to uh pursue a career in film and TV.

SacAnime: Well you and I have something in common. I spend my entire high school career in theater classes as well. Not one semester without a theatre class.

D.C. Douglas: That’s beautiful. We’re – you’re in Sacramento right?

SacAnime: Yes, right.

D.C. Douglas: Oh very cool. That’s where Tom Hanks started.

SacAnime: Oh yes, Sac State. That’s what we’re done for: the Kings and Tom Hanks. I don’t know.

D.C. Douglas: Not so much the Kings anymore but uh what are you gonna do?

SacAnime: Yeah. So most people, especially gamers, never forget – the gamers recognize you as the voice of Albert Wesker in the “Resident Evil” franchise. So the hell was that experience as a whole?

D.C. Douglas: As a whole – like just not even the whole recording process, I know that – I’ve been interviewing other voice actors, they say that’s kind of just straightforward, go through, but like – a fans love you for being Albert Wesker.

SacAnime: Well that’s the thing. That’s what makes it so amazingly unique. Though I will say uh because the first time I did Wesker was “Umbrella Chronicles” and that was a regular record session like you would have with any of the video games. The uh – but when I – I was brought back, I auditioned for the mocap for “RE5“. I had thrown my back out – it was back in the days when I – I wasn’t in the best of shape. Um I had thrown my back out and so all I could do was walk around the stage and hold the gun, and they were trying to get me to do flips and things. I’m like, “Yeah it’s not going to happen.” So um but that – they but they said, “Well you’re definitely the voice, don’t worry.” And but that session was fascinating because that was when they – they implemented um facial mocap. They were you know experimenting and they wanted the characters to have facial mocaps. So I had all these – you know little dots – not dots, little metal things they put on – balls on my face. And then I was in a room with – you know it was a rig with all these cameras, 180 degree cameras, uh and lasers pointed at the the face. And so I had to be really animated, but I could not use my arms and if I was talking to two people – like I might move here and here just for the feel of it. Um but like, “No, you have to pretend that you’re-” It’s so it was it was the – because in a usual VO session when you’re not doing that, you can like – you see I’m Italian, you can gesture all you want and just like when you have to get sounds for efforts, you’re going to make weird things. You’re going to go – things like that. Of course you can’t do that when they were with that. So I had to be going – it was the most bizarre um – so that was – so it was so that was a remarkable recording session for a video game compared to any other video game I’ve done up until “NBA 2K14”, where I actually got to do the whole mocap voiceover simultaneously thing, which is like acting in theater in the round in a close-up. Uh it was a – and we get to improv as well, which made that a really phenomenal experience as well. So those were like my two – like there are two games that really stand out as far as the recording experience. It would be “Resident Evil 5” and “NBA” – “NBA 2K14”. Um but the fans are what makes the “Resident Evil” stuff so amazing. It’s the – I didn’t real- I mean I didn’t – I didn’t understand why I was getting you know friend requests on Facebook um from these strangers. And I’m like, “No I’m not gonna be your friend, I don’t know who the hell you are. What the [ __ ] you want, sir?” Oh yeah, bloody – good, two bleeps. I got two – okay I gotta know who you guys are. And uh and then all of a sudden I kind of realized that it was the “Resident Evil” thing. I go, “Well I better start a fan page. I didn’t think I needed one before that.” So I started one. I thought I’ll just promote my voiceover career and things like that, and I got a home studio biz I do. So I started that and then like – I went from like 50 fans once I put it up there the first day and then by the end of the week it was a thousand. It was like, “Wow.” And I thought, “I have a thousand fans.” Now I think I’m like at 19,000 or something. Um which is just – but again it’s all – it’s just wild. So um and the fact that the longer it goes from the very last one that I’ve done – because I mean he died in “RE5” and then I did I think two or three other ancillary uh connected games after that with Albert Wesker. Um and I think the last one of that was like 2011 if I remember correctly, or maybe 12 maybe – 2011. And then since then he’s gotten more and more popular. I’m getting more and more fans that I guess that are – I guess the way video games work is they discover the games and they want to go back and play earlier versions and then they go, “Who’s this person?” and that kind of thing. And so it’s a new wave, new crop of fans coming uh coming around. It’s pretty wild. And I talk a lot.

SacAnime: All right, this one – this is the big question.

D.C. Douglas: Oh gosh.

SacAnime: I’ve been hearing you recently received your biggest break with the massive blockbuster known as “Sharknado 2”.

D.C. Douglas: “Sharknado”, buddy. Yeah, absolutely. I think uh it is the second one, yeah yeah. I don’t know uh without this break I don’t know where it would be – probably the same place just without that credit. But anyway, it uh – I mean George Clooney started with uh “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”. Yeah – I’m I’m almost 30 years in Los Angeles, so yeah some people get their breaks, other people just work towards a break – and the break being that you die and you don’t have to try anymore.

SacAnime: Of course. Anything you tell us about “Sharknado”?

D.C. Douglas: Uh they said yes – a hashtag “Sharknado 2” is what we can say. I’m not allowed to say anything about – I guess I could say um I shot it in New York, that was cool. Uh it literally was a one-day shoot. It was probably one of the hardest one-day shoots I’ve ever done physically. It was a hard shoot because I can’t describe that, can I? I can say that it involved water and um wearing clothes that did – don’t go well with water. And uh and then also you know we were moving at a pace – a really fast pace. And uh and it was also freezing and so wet water, freezing, New York. And that’s about all I guess I can say except that the – um it’s fun if they keep my scene in there because it’s basically – I’m one little tiny section. You know they have like little cameo moments and things and – and I don’t know if I’d qualify as a cameo but the – the guys that are head of Asylum are – are um – I’ve worked with them many times and I’ve known them since the the late 90s and they’re sweethearts. And uh so I was very happy that they – they put me in this movie. Um but uh so but they – so this is kind of like – I can’t describe any of the things, I’m sorry. But it’s really fun. I enjoyed it and it’ll be cheesy fun and I look forward to it. And hopefully it’s – hopefully the whole segment’s in the film and then it’ll go on my demo reel and then it’ll make people want to vomit because it’s gooey.

SacAnime: Question number four. Your voice is awesome.

D.C. Douglas: Well thank you, thank you.

SacAnime: Have you ever – is there anything you do? Like vocal warm-ups to improve the quality of your voice over the years?

D.C. Douglas: Over the years, no no no. This is all just – this is just the way the voice was born, kind of thing. I mean and the way I was raised – my mother has a very um articulate way of speaking. Um and uh it was especially effective when she was punishing me. Um it’s a way to make you feel really bad once you enunciate every word as to what you did bad. Um but uh no, I think the only thing that I do is – is I have thick lips that are stiff in the morning. Um they don’t look as thick now but when I was younger they were thicker. But I also had – I had a basal cell tumor, it’s a form of cancer, uh that developed over my lip over in my 20s. And I thought it was just like one of those – you know moles that show up that are clear. Um and then in my thirties uh on a one audition they asked, “You know is he gonna do anything about it?” I realized – I looked at like an old film of that I was in and I said, “And what it is now?” And I – wow it got bigger. That’s probably not good. So they went – biopsy – turned out it was cancer. They had to take a third of my lip out and uh bring it together. And I was really – you know that was one of the scary things where you’re like going, “I may not have an on-camera career after this operation, I don’t know.” And uh once it was done, the only thing I noticed is that my lips in the morning were really stiff. So I have to do a lot of um – [makes sounds] before you know, a lot of that kind of stuff so uh that – it’s a little loose in the morning and then I’ll go through the alphabet. So and – and the alphabet is like – you know [makes “A” sound repeatedly], all the sounds that go with whatever that letter is. I just – you know it’s whatever works for you. Know there doesn’t have to be any one actual regimen. So some people like to do you know, “Baby buggy bumper”, but I can do it – “baby rubber baby buggy bumpers”. I can’t do it, but they like to do that kind of stuff. Um and I’ll just do the alphabet you know repeatedly all the way through. And once I’ve done that, then I feel like I’m pretty warmed up.

SacAnime: So what’s your favorite part about what you do?

D.C. Douglas: The money. No, um – it’s a nice bonus. A lie. I’m not gonna lie. Actually it partly is the money. It’s – I mean I get to be – it’s – you know what’s really funny, actually I’ll say – you know I say the money and that’s not necessarily true. Because um you think uh for instance the highest paying gig I could get is doing a tag announce on a national campaign such as GEICO – which I had had for a couple years. Um the uh uh – you go in, you say one sentence, it’s – it’s put on you know 10 commercials and it’s run you know like crazy and then you get all these checks continually throughout the year. That’s insane. Was that fun? Sure it was fun. It was very little work and all of that. But what’s more fun than that – more fun for that is me going and uh doing a day on um uh uh like “2 Broke Girls” or something – you know doing an on-camera roll and making uh uh 160 – even less than that – of what I would get on a national campaign. So I mean give you a like a really big national campaign – you can make 100 grand let’s say in a year. Um but let’s say you’re only going to get you know a little above scale when you go to do the one day work on a sitcom and you get what – $1,100. So you know maybe you look at the difference but which did I enjoy more? You know under labor – especially the labor on that one day. I worked eight hours, maybe even 12 or 14, and I got a little overtime. But then that commercial – I went in for a half hour and I was done. But I enjoyed that full day way more because it was make-believe and I got to do it. So it’s – so the money is a secondary thing like – the the money is really fun um but I would do it even if I didn’t get paid that – especially for the on-camera stuff. It’s just nice to not have to work a survival job, you know? If you get enough of those gigs, you don’t have to work a survival job in between – which I did for many years. I worked – I mean I was a waiter and all those other things and a personal assistant, and then I started an editing company for that – the guy that I was a personal assistant for. I mean I did – all the way all the way until I was 38 and then I decided I needed to make the jump into just doing all acting. And uh you know and hoped that I would make enough gigs in between to pay my bills and it worked out great.

SacAnime: So it was like – waiting is one of those stereotypical actor jobs on the side.

D.C. Douglas: Well they say – I guess yeah. I mean I started as a waiter. I I did a lot of waiting jobs and I hated that. And then I got into um – and I started to look into – but that’s the thing is – you know you think about what is it you want to do and you do it and then you go, “Well this – I don’t want it – I don’t want to be a waiter while I’m trying to get these acting gigs.” So you can create – if you if you think it through and then you start looking for it, turns out you can find these other opportunities. And for me, I thought, “I want to be kind of a personal assistant.” What did that lead me to? Led me to working for um the act – my acting coach uh for her school for a little bit – led me to an envelope company for a week. It turned out to be a horrible thing but from that I knew what I didn’t want and I didn’t want to work in an office. So then I started looking for unusual personal assistant jobs. And then I ended up meeting this great guy uh and um – I was gonna say his name and I thought I better not because everyone will hit him up for money because he’s very rich. But I got a great gig being – I I landed this gig and I was the first guy he’d ever hire because he only ever hired female personal assistants. And uh uh so was the first guy that he hired as a personal assistant. And that led me to many wonderful things. So and – but had I just said – if I just said, “Well you know I’m just – waiting is – waiting tables is the best way because you make the tips and you can you know trade shifts and things like that”, I might have never met him and I would have never done a lot of – I would have done my first full produced play or film short or learn editing. I mean there’s a lot of things I got out of that – now I’m basically my own PR machine because of all the things I learned working with him and him giving me the freedom to do that stuff. Um but it all starts with you vision – envisioning what it is that you want and what it is that you don’t want. When you realize what you don’t want, then you – you can turn and start looking at the positive.

SacAnime: Kids – last question, general question I ask everyone I interview. What’s your advice for aspiring actors?

D.C. Douglas: Don’t do it. Um – that’s what they all say. No joke, it is – you know and actually that’s what they said to me when I um – I took this uh repertory workshop one summer when I was um uh – I guess it was – I was about 12 or 13. And um the teacher said – you know the first day of the class, we’re all sitting around and she’s like, “If you can do anything else other than acting and you’re happy, do it. Because you’ll spend more times not being happy than being happy as an actor. You know struggling for bills and juggling jobs and all that.” And that’s the truth. So I mean but at the same time I would say if you really want to be an actor, don’t let other people tell you not to be – to say – don’t let people – can you bleep “get ready to believe”? Okay – don’t let people [bleep] your dreams. Um if they’re giving you advice and to help you or just making helping you clarify do you really want that – that’s one thing. But if then if they’re just negative Nancies, then just then f them, forget about them, and follow your dreams and you’ll make it work. But you have to do it. It doesn’t fall in your lap. No one else is going to make it – you’re not – the big break doesn’t happen because somebody met you um and that they do things for you. The big break is because you did all of this stuff to create opportunities and it’s about more opportunities and the only way you get this opportunities is by you creating them. And it’s an it’s a non-stop thing at every level in the career – you have to continually work to make your own break. I go in and I read on a on a sitcom uh for a a guest role and there are other actors that were series regulars on shows you know in previous years that are reading for the same thing I’m reading. Working. And this might be even a scale job these days. It might be. And they’ll still be there reading for that. That’s the competition that you’ve got because everybody – even if they hit it big for a little while then they come back down and they still have to work their way to the next – next opportunity, the next gig. So so yes it sounds horribly negative but if you enjoy doing it and you’re willing to you know kick your own butt to get there and there keeps changing, then then go for it is what I say. I don’t know if that’s good advice or not.

SacAnime: It’s great. I mean the truth hurts sometimes but it’s also helpful. Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to thank my guests for being here – D.C. Douglas. What does DC stand for?

D.C. Douglas: Domestically challenged. Damn cunning. Devilishly cute. I’m not going to tell you I think so.

SacAnime: DC DC. All right, so I hate to put you on the spot, but can Albert Wesker take us out?

D.C. Douglas: Uh absolutely. You’ve been listening to an interview for SatCon. SatCon – yes. What’s up anime? I’m working. You’ve been listening to an absolutely fascinating interview with D.C. Douglas and Joseph Ferris for our SacAnime’s SatCon. We’ll see you there June 1st. Be there now.

SacAnime: You.