Skip to main content

My semi-secret talent

Okay, I'm about to post some crazy $#!% so hang on to your ballbags.

When living in Tokyo (and probably any other part of Japan), you get the opportunity to add a bunch of slashes to your skill set. Where in NYC, most of the people you meet are waiter/dancer, waiter/screenwriter, waiter/actor, most of the people I know are teacher/artist, teacher/voice actor, teacher/writer, or teacher/singer.
Though according to my various targeted CVs I am a translator/interpreter, an artist/animator/illustrator, a writer/proofreader/editor/copywriter, and/or a teacher/lecturer, I've also been called upon to do voice work, motion capture work, and good-ole fashion acting.

It started when I was asked to translate the script for a short animated segment and then was asked to do a test voice for one of the characters. The director, Yusaku Furuya liked my portrayal and I ended playing a bucktoothed trailer trash yokel (my kinda guy) who joins his friend on a roadtrip across Japan. In their travels they come across several peculiar types of Japanese behavior which causes them to ask "Why?"
Here's the first part which is NSFW and NSFKids unless you have your headphones on.
It asks "Why do people just read the whole magazine in front of the magazine rack (tachi-yomi)  and not buy the magazine?"
http://youtu.be/TnKSUox7750

Part 2 asks "Why do people line up for sales at the supermarket?"

And part 3 asks "Why do people make their motorcycles so loud?"

These were lots of fun to do and I found out how incredibly tough it was to keep the same character accent throughout a whole recording session.
Again, the director liked my work enough that he asked me to be in some extra scenes for the "Why? Brothers" DVD special features. I thought, why not? I'm up for pretty much anything if it's a new experience. Thus this clip from "Dream Captain", a fictional documentary show focusing on the bumbling foreigner Charles Erickson who speaks Japanese very well but when he's nervous he starts to insert the same dirty words into the conversation instead of what would actually make sense. Again, these clips are not safe for work if you work in Japan or there are any Japanese kids around. There were three clips total and this is the first one where Charles (me) keeps saying nikubo which translates literally as "meat-stick". Must I spell it out? Okay. P-E-N-I-S. Got it?
If I can find the other clips I'll throw them up as well. This shoot was difficult because I had to keep a straight face while the director was laughing his ass off.
After this, I was approached by the producer of "Why?" to appear as a French/Japanese translator (though I don't speak French, I actually did my best to translate what the French actor was saying) in the DVD series "Silver Fiction" which is about seniors who are at the top of their game. The characters and situations are surreal and hilarious. The actor I worked with looked so frail but he was supposed to be the top "Charismatic Hair Stylist" who had a special scissor technique that had made him famous.
(Totally useless trivia: the pink pen I use in my scene is the same that shows up in one of the Dream Captain episodes. Now you know!) Clips aren't available online, but here's an ad:
At the end of 2011, I was casting an educational DVD and got to hire some great talent, but the incredible numbers of successful but really bad actors made me wonder if I might want to give acting a serious try. Hell, if they get so much work when they are so bad, maybe I could make a decent living by just "not sucking". It was then that I got a call again from my favorite producer/director team who asked me to be in an online short for AU where I portray a "Walk Creator" who charges $80,000 a session to help people find their ideal walking style.

I hope Mr. Furuya releases a director's cut someday because most of the really funny stuff was left out of the final clip. I think I remember one line where my character talks about his famous clients but can't reveal their actual names. "I did some work for a well-known actor - let's call him Mobert deBiro. Mobby, I says..." or something like that. We really had fun with that one.
Furuya's speciality is "mockumentary" like Spinal Tap or Best in Show where you are encouraged to ad-lib quite a bit. He's a funny guy, but also very serious about the shot. I always look forward to working with him.

Another acting bit I did in 2012 was super intense - a found-footage test piece about a gossip rag reporter/shifty artifact dealer looking to make a big score who stumbles upon a rare Cthulhu mythos-related artifact which drives him insane.

Creepy, eh? That guy really likes chocolate.
I'm no Mobert deBiro, but I did my best to commit to that shoot. I ate so many Black Thunder chocolate bars that I almost did go insane.

My latest performance was in a promo video for the band Angry Cats. In that video, I play Max who is in love with the bass player of the band (a dude) who gives birth to our baby which is an Angry Cats CD album. I seem to only be involved in surreal shoots. My friends who perform full time tell me that this is just part of acting in Japan.

There you have it. I wanted to record this somewhere and now I have. I feel much better and also suddenly very nervous. My next challenge might be radio. I'm often told I have a face for it.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Starry-eyed heroes of Akira 'Leiji' Matsumoto

Hello, friends and manga-philes.      You probably know that my interest in Japan was originally fueled by a combined interest in Japanese animation and martial arts. My interests expanded somewhat over the years, but one big change happened about the age of 15 when I bought my first Japanese collected comic. From that moment on, I became more interested in comics than animation and eventually after moving to Japan, I started to collect the comics of Mr. Leiji Matsumoto .       At first, I was put off by the heavy-lined art and blocky characters, but the more I got into the stories, the less I cared about the style. Eventually, though, I started to appreciate the artistry much in the same way it took me a while to warm to Jack Kirby's art.      Like most Leiji fans, I was heavy into Space Cruiser Yamato , Captain Harlock , Queen Emeraldas , and finally, Galaxy Express 999 . These comics were created in the 70's and are representative of Matsumoto's style of that time. After

Hellchik

There's just something about a woman in red... It took me some time to complete today's illo. I went through an episode of the BBC "The Office", an ep. of "Freedom" (animated show by the creator of Akira), and an ep and a half of Star Trek: DS9. For a daily pic diary, I'm taking just way too much time! But, I can't help it! It's too much fun!!

Top 10 Sci-fi Westerns Part 2

Continuing the Top 10 Sci-fi Westerns list... 5. Outland (movie) - Sean Connery must weigh his thankless job against family (good-looking wife and son who is too dorky-looking to be believable as from Connery's hallowed loins) and survival. Of course he chooses the option where he must face down a team of assassins at high-noon on a mining station on Io, one of Jupiter's moons). No cowboy hats or six-shooters, but it is very much a wild west type of scenario where the new Sheriff must deal with the land baron's evil henchmen and the townsfolk and deputies won't lift a finger to help, and there's space heroin and exploding heads... Okay that last part doesn't happen so much. I still enjoy seeing this one every once in a while. Connery is always awesome and best slomo head explosions ever (other contenders - The Fly II and Scanners )!! 4. The Wild, Wild West (television NOT the movie!) - When I was quite the youngun' I would flip the channel