D.C. Douglas: Anime Weekend Atlanta Interview

D.C. Douglas: Anime Weekend Atlanta Interview

Rico Fagiolini: We’re here at Anime Weekend Atlanta. My name is Rico Fagiolini, host of this podcast. We’re here with DC Douglas DC. Hey, thanks for coming out. Thanks for having me. You’re enjoying the con, I understand. Yes. Is this the first time you’ve been to this one to.

D.C. Douglas: Awa? Yeah, I’ve done DragonCon, like 6 or 7 times, I think. But this is my first other Atlanta experience and. Yeah. And it’s and it’s it’s pretty wild.

Rico Fagiolini: You’re from LA. Yeah. Okay. So how are you finding Atlanta this time of year?

D.C. Douglas: I well, this time of year actually interesting because I’m used to coming when it’s really muggy out. I also I mean I’m a big I’m one of those weird people that I love humidity because it’s great for my hair, but also it’s good for your skin, it’s good for your vision. So I was I was like, I wanted to just bring my shorts and sandals like I usually do. And then I look, check the weather. I’m like, you get cold at night at this time of year, and I’m like, pants and boots.

Rico Fagiolini: So it’s going to drop down to about 45 or something. So yeah, you see it’s just not bad. Yeah.

D.C. Douglas: No. But it’s like now it’s a little more. Now this is a little more like LA weather right now. Okay. Yeah.

Rico Fagiolini: I’m from New York. So doing this weather it’s not too bad, but. Right. I prefer staying to the muggy. I think your.

D.C. Douglas: Accent, the name like Rico is like. And you’re like, I’m from New York. Yeah. No kidding. Yeah.

Rico Fagiolini: Yeah, I haven’t lost. I’ve been here since 95.

D.C. Douglas: So since you don’t want to lose it, it’s so nice.

Rico Fagiolini: No, thanks. I appreciate it, man. Your career has, has been like all over the place. I think that’s a.

D.C. Douglas: Great way to describe.

Rico Fagiolini: It. No, no.

D.C. Douglas: And a great.

Rico Fagiolini: Way and a great way. I’ve been on major sitcoms. You’ve been on soap operas, you’ve done games, you’ve done family Guy. I mean, yeah, well.

D.C. Douglas: That was the family Guy thing is weird, actually. So is it. Yeah. The well, it’s an interesting audition process, and he gets very particular about things, and he usually ends up wanting to do the voices himself or he wants us. Sorry, I shouldn’t say that. Sometimes I think he wants the actors to do his performance in their voices, I think. And so the one that I, I’m actually credited with two, but I only did one, and it was where it was one line as Superman, we’re the super friend and said, that’s it. That’s the line. But he auditioned like, I don’t know, 50 people. And he said he would always. It’s always the same thing when you go in to audition. He’s like, no one seems to be able to get this. And so he’s very particular and I got so I got that. But I literally got it by impersonating him, doing the line as a line read in the in the audition. And then the other one was Star Wars episode for one of one line for some Stormtrooper. Can’t even remember the line, but that first off, the casting director made a huge deal about how he’s been looking for two weeks and hasn’t found it like two weeks for one line for this thing, and he couldn’t find the person to do the line right, and they go, so they’d like to see you.

D.C. Douglas: And I’m like well, I don’t want to walk into that because I remember what it was like the last time and I went in and literally, like you could tell he was so disappointed with me and I tried. I gave it like eight different read line reads of it. He tried to give me a line read and I did it, but I thought I did it, but no. And I could just tell he was like, okay, thanks. And like, I didn’t get it, but I’m credited. So what I think is they maybe use it as a temp and then later scrapped it for something else or his own voice and then just gave me the credit being nice. Yeah, I was being nice. Yeah. So cool. Okay.

Rico Fagiolini: So you know, it’s amazing. You know when you look at a bio and stuff and you see a person’s history of, of work and, but you don’t know what goes behind it, whether it’s one line or if you’re just.

D.C. Douglas: Oh, right. Right, right.

Rico Fagiolini: Yeah. So that’s kind of cool. And the process.

D.C. Douglas: All my stuff has been major. I’ve been the star of everything.

Rico Fagiolini: And we all want to be.

D.C. Douglas: But that’s a weird thing. Like with IMDb, you go look at, you look at the credits and you roll, scroll down. So I think mine is like 300 and something. And so you go, Holy cow. Like, you must be working every day. And it’s like, well now, but like look at the timeline, right? And it’s literally 40 years in LA. And then so it’s like kaleidoscope, you put all these things up together and look at it all at one time and you’re like, wow, that’s a beautiful design. When really each year is just a couple little dots on each one of the slides. So, so.

Rico Fagiolini: So what do you find being, you know, that pays the bills? What is it that’s been a regular sex work is.

D.C. Douglas: Usually my only fans by the way is no. It’s well for me I moved to LA to be an on camera actor. Didn’t even know what voiceover was. I accidentally auditioned for voiceover coach during the time I was looking for a school, and so when I finally found the school I had six months before the next semester started. So I went to her because she said I had a good voice and I think it and she was really inexpensive. So I studied with her for six months, learned a lot of the technical side of voiceover, and she was really big in the 60s and 70s with voiceover and, and she said, so, you know, you should really think about this as a way to make supplementary income. And I still didn’t. And it wasn’t until I started getting I had a commercial agent, nonunion commercial agent at the time was non-union. And she started saying, you’ve got a good voice, you need a demo reel. Got me a demo reel by Michael. Oh, what’s his name? Michael Savage. Who’s a voice actor? You know him? He’s been a lot of stuff. A lot of games. He did my first demo reel in, like 1990 or something, and he put it together and.

D.C. Douglas: Yeah, so. So it’s funny, he just directed me a couple of weeks ago in a game. So that so started with that. And then I auditioned for things and I would get them and then I’d do like these, like non-union trailers for these horrible movies. I fell into wala, which introduced me to some production houses. And then if they like you, they sometimes remember you for a certain thing. From that, I got the voice of an AT&T ride at Epcot Center. I’m not no longer there. They I don’t think the ride exists anymore. It was like the ride of the future, which is now the past. Yes. But yeah. So anyway, that so it just kind of all fell. And then this side of it, the whole video game and anime stuff that didn’t my first video game was 2000. So I moved to LA in 85. And so our 2001, I think it was called a Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And the only reason I got it is the the actor who played the role in the series like video games. Poo poo. Right. Because now they’re all now they’re all in it and dying to be in it and stuff.

Rico Fagiolini: Royalties.

D.C. Douglas: Yeah. So. Well, no, sadly, we don’t get residuals. The stars get huge buyout fees, so that’s why they want to do it. But but we we just get scale and we don’t get we finally worked out a residuals deal I know you guys don’t want this too much.

Rico Fagiolini: No no no this is good. All right.

D.C. Douglas: It’s a little inside baseball. But they finally worked out a residuals deal on this because they said, look, you’re actually doing better than the movie industry. And so it’s like it’s like a fraction of a penny after like a million things, a million sales. So. Right.

Rico Fagiolini: So from the new strike.

D.C. Douglas: No, this was this was like they negotiated this like five years ago or so, and it’s like, so I’ve never seen I’ve only seen one residual check. And it was actually because they converted the game from that I recorded it hack. I did Gabby in that and tie hack. So anyway I can’t remember, but they converted it from whatever they used to play it on in like 2006 and they converted it to a new platform. And so we all got this is thanks to Cuppa Tea Productions. They renegotiate it as a SAG conversion. So we all get a nice residual check for that. And that was the first time ever I got a residual check for a video game.

Rico Fagiolini: So does the does the current strike. Well so is that something.

D.C. Douglas: It’s a it’s kind of a rolling thing. And that they’re they’re dealing with different or different contracts are up for negotiation. The video games one was tabled for a year. So that’s now back on not the strike but the negotiations. I don’t even know if they’ve actually met yet or not, but it’s about to happen. We just authorized striking video game side if we have to, but we don’t. We’re not struck yet. So a lot of the voice over is not affected by the strikes that the strike that has been going on. Okay. But you know, obviously they’re going well. They have to address the AI thing because that’s really big because video game stuff.

Rico Fagiolini: I’ve seen some of the stuff chat I’ve played with some of that stuff.

D.C. Douglas: It’s amazing what some of it like you can have. So the NPC characters, they can literally just program it with an intention to get you to do something, and then the rest of it and we give it a backstory and all that, have a modeled voice that they use for it. And you can have a conversation with that NPC player all day long, and it will be unique the entire time, and you won’t know the difference. You would know the difference really, right now, the the the voice style, it sounds human. There’s breathing, and a lot of times it’s kind of passable. But when the longer it goes, you start to see that there’s it’s like they’re on lithium or something. Yeah, a little bit of a limit in their range of emotion that’s going to change within a year or two. Oh yeah. So it’s they’re going to want to do it’s the way that the stuff it’s not just going to like synthesize new voices all the time, just easily. It needs to pull from actual voices. So I think what’s going to happen is that we’re going to license our voices. So we will go in, we will have a session where they model the voice for that game. The contract says you can use this model voice only in this game, not for other games okay. If you want to, then you have to pay a royalty fee for that voice. And that to me I think is like they have to go into it.

Rico Fagiolini: And that could go into perpetuity for your state, your kids.

D.C. Douglas: That’s what it will be. Yeah. But I mean, if you imagine it’s like all of a sudden there’s like all these games that can’t afford to to bring in live sessions or don’t want to like, they literally they’d rather just computer run it then, but you’ll just get checks for those games that your voice is used in. It’ll be hard to track though.

Rico Fagiolini: It’ll be like those stock websites where you get the images. It’ll be just like that. Yes, you just pick up the sound. But.

D.C. Douglas: So for NPCs, I see that happening. I think for lead characters, I think people are still going to want to at one point know. That there’s an actor behind it. Yeah. I’m hoping that that’s the case. But because one of my theories about this is that if you look at what happened with the pandemic and we all went remote, we all went onto zoom. And like Teladoc, doctor stocks went up and all that. People were like, well, this is the future anyway. Even the pandemic is over. We’re all going remote and all this stuff. But pandemic ended and sort of with a whimper and but what happened is that people were dying for human contact. So people didn’t want to do Teladoc. They wanted to go into their doctor’s office and meet their doctor. People didn’t want to have their meetings always on zoom. They wanted like for me, as voice actors, it’s like we were all doing it from home. And it’s like, I want to go into the studio even if the client is going to be, at least I want to say hi to the engineer. I want human contact. So I think that there may be a wave of just a lot of licensed voices in these, in these games, and then and then eventually they’re going to go, we want here’s what’s going to give us the edge in this game. We’re going to bring actual humans in to do these roles things. So I think it’ll be a little bit of that. But I think audiobooks going all all to to AI, all corporate narration, industrials going to AI, live action dubbing, definitely. I why they can take the voice of the actors actually performing, turn it into the new language and they can deepfake the lips on the fly. So it’ll just be like they they did the entire film in that that like, there’s a.

Rico Fagiolini: Mess up that can actually just go and fix it. It’s like they don’t.

D.C. Douglas: Need to bring. Exactly. And it’s and it’s literally you, you know, like now when you’re on Instagram and you go put captions on this and it’s like, it just captions. That’s what they’re going to do. Change this to French. And this is the guy in his lips. That’s right. That’s the whole thing.

Rico Fagiolini: Every time I ask Sarah to text something, she keeps reminding me, by the way, you can send that automatically without saying anything. And, like, not the way you’re doing it, because that transcription is off.

Speaker5: Yeah, I.

Rico Fagiolini: Still want to still want to be careful with that.

D.C. Douglas: Yeah. I’ll see you at the pantry later tonight. What? The pantry. Why are we going to the pantry?

Rico Fagiolini: That’s right. With your voice, it’s distinguishing. You might be able to get it right. No, actually.

D.C. Douglas: Because my low voice, it does other weird things. So, yeah, autocorrect doesn’t like me.

Rico Fagiolini: It’s funny that way. You do a lot of different cultural characters to know a lot of this is what we’re getting. Well, wait, what do you mean? Six backgrounds? How do you, like, set your mind to doing certain characters that might be of a different cultural background, maybe that you. You know, I’m not talking about fantasy characters. I’m really talking about, like, what would be a good example you talked about, like.

D.C. Douglas: The anime stuff.

Rico Fagiolini: Yeah.

D.C. Douglas: Well, the Japanese culture, I mean.

Rico Fagiolini: Cosmic stuff, I mean, the.

D.C. Douglas: But the thing is, is that’s usually covered in the writing of the characters, so I don’t have to worry about that too much. Okay? There’s only so much. Also, a lot of times we’ll get cast of something and it’s codenamed project, so we still don’t know. Maybe it could be all of a sudden Star Trek. We don’t know it. And the character is Lieutenant five, and that’s all I’ve got to go on. And I know that, you know, what you auditioned with is not what actually is the script. So I know nothing until I get into the session and they go, here’s a picture of your character, here’s the story, here’s what’s going on in this scene right here. And, and and now we record. So there’s not much prep time I can’t go wait a minute. I want to research Japanese culture for this character. Right. But then that’s what your director and producers are there for. They fill in if you’re if vocally you’re going into in a weird way for it. So but usually it’s covered in the writing. Yeah.

Rico Fagiolini: We’ve been here with DC Douglas and talking about anime voiceovers. We’ve been talking about I really.

D.C. Douglas: And I’ve not shut up at all.

Rico Fagiolini: No, no, you’re doing a great job. I have questions, but who the heck reads them? They don’t need questions. But it’s been a great time and I do appreciate your time. Oh thank you. Lovely meeting you. Yes. Great.

D.C. Douglas: Thanks so much. Thanks you guys.