Welcome to our next edition of Artist of The Month! After our fun sit down with Voice Actress Stephanie Nadolny (CHECK IT OUT if you missed it!), we wanted to delve deeper into the Dragon Ball community. With the now record breaking “Dragon Ball Super: Broly” movie still filling seats around the globe… Our excitement and fandom for the DB Universe has been greatly strengthened! Here at Maven we value the relationship between fan and source work, both the professional and participants of the art! It not only brings us insight into our creative ventures but helps us grow and revitalize our goals here. As fans we also notice whenever there is a predominately male driven stereotype, there is always strong independent women there bringing more diversity into the fold. We just released our SUPERHEROINES on the mass market and we felt this is perfect to spotlight this month as well. Today, let’s take a look at three amazing and very different talents within the DB community for an article I call, “Women of DBZ”.
Welcome to our next edition of Artist of The Month! After our fun sit down with Voice Actress Stephanie Nadolny (CHECK IT OUT if you missed it!), we wanted to delve deeper into the Dragon Ball community. With the now record breaking “Dragon Ball Super: Broly” movie still filling seats around the globe… Our excitement and fandom for the DB Universe has been greatly strengthened! Here at Maven we value the relationship between fan and source work, both the professional and participants of the art! It not only brings us insight into our creative ventures but helps us grow and revitalize our goals here. As fans we also notice whenever there is a predominately male driven stereotype, there is always strong independent women there bringing more diversity into the fold. We just released our SUPERHEROINES on the mass market and we felt this is perfect to spotlight this month as well. Today, let’s take a look at three amazing and very different talents within the DB community for an article we are calling, “Women of DBZ”.
SSJ Goshin 4
When did you get into Voice Acting (VA)? How did this all start for you?
I started as an on-camera actor first, doing work in film, TV, commercials, and corporate videos. Oddly enough, it was during that time that I started taking voice classes to work on articulation, accent reduction, breath control, etc.—all for my on-camera work, not realizing how helpful it would be for my voice-over work in the future.
I became very interested in doing voice-over work and talked to my agent about getting started. Since I didn’t have voice over experience at the time, she gave me a checklist of things to do. (I love checklists!) I started working through the checklist…take a workshop. Check. Take private voice over lessons. Check. Record a voice over demo. Check.
In the midst of this, I was performing with an improv troupe and heard my improv friends talking about working at Funimation doing anime voice work. Funimation specializes in the dubbing and distribution of anime and other foreign content. I asked how to get an audition there. I got very lucky and booked a lead role in the anime series Dragon Ball GT. That was one of my first voice over jobs!
From there, in addition to anime, I also started booking voice over jobs in TV and radio commercials, corporate training videos, children’s online reading programs, and other great gigs. Today my jobs are split pretty evenly between voice-over work and on-camera jobs. I absolutely love what I do…and love every single job I get to do!
How do you prepare beforehand for a VA role? Is it similar to say how a singer would prepare for a gig (i.e. vocal preps, drinking certain teas)?
My preparation before a VA role includes a vocal warmup that I learned in a class a long time ago. I do this warmup in the car on the way to my jobs. And I like room temperature water. That’s it. Pretty simple! (I’m not a professional singer so I’m not sure how singers warm up.)
Did anyone show you the ropes, mentor you along the way? Teach you about the VA industry?
So many people have helped me along the way! When I first started working in voice-over, I took an internship at a studio so I could learn the ropes. I wanted to become familiar with all the jobs at a studio—not just that of an actor. It was a great experience as I was getting started.
I’ve worked as an actor in both Los Angeles and Dallas and have found mentors in both places whom I will still call upon with questions. Over the course of my career, I have always looked for good classes and teachers (I’m the type who always wants to be learning and studying). I like to stay current on voice over trends and the latest industry standards. People have guided me in these areas and have also helped me when I’ve had questions about my home studio and have wanted to upgrade my microphone or other equipment.
So yes…absolutely! I’ve had many mentors and people who have helped guide me. I couldn’t be in this job without the wonderful help and support of others.
Did you get to pick any of your roles?
The only roles I’ve gotten to choose are the ones I’ve written for myself. Usually, as actors we audition for all our roles and it’s up to others to decide whether we are right for the role. Depending on the job, the people deciding who gets the job could include a variety of people (director, producer, ad agency, etc.). It really depends.
When you write or produce your own project you have more control. I’ve created a video promo where I was the voice for the spot. I’ve co-written and co-produced some short films where I was also one of the actors in the films. And I’m currently the creator of a new YouTube show called Anime Adventures where I’m the host.
This may be a difficult one but who are your top 3 favorite characters you’ve voiced?
Ha, you’re right…that is a tough one! I’m going to answer this from the perspective of my experience in voicing the characters vs. which ones were my favorite characters or favorite shows. This is not necessarily in order.
1. Pan in Dragon Ball GT – I have to say this character for many reasons. She was so much fun to voice. I loved the fighting scenes. This was one of my first VO jobs that opened the door to so many more! And as an actor, it’s wonderful to be able to play a character for a long period of time and/or over many episodes, movies, and video games.
2. Mom Baxter in Boz the Bear – This was an animation project created by the Emmy award-winning producers of Barney. They allowed us in on the project from the beginning. I loved seeing this project and my character from creation to completion. I am fascinated by animation and anime, so to be included in the process and to hear some behind-the-scenes thoughts from the creators of the show was absolutely thrilling for me.
3. Yoko Okino in Detective Conan – This was a fun one because she was a pop star and I got to sing part of a song. I typically only sing in character voices and enjoyed singing as this character.
Any funny moments you can remember voicing as “Pan” from the Dragon Ball series?
One funny moment was at the beginning of voicing Pan. I have a background in sports and I also love the physicality of acting. (The characters train in martial arts and there are a lot of fighting scenes–for those who are unfamiliar with the show.) One time when I was doing a lot of fighting noises for Pan, I was also doing small kicks as I was making the sound effects. Well, if you’ve ever seen a recording booth, some of them can be quite small. The one I was recording on that day happened to be very small. I kept kicking the wall! The director would have to stop me to re-record because the microphone picked up the noise from my foot kicking the wall. Not to mention he was getting a bit nervous with all the expensive equipment in there!
I learned very quickly not to kick the wall. (I still couldn’t stop myself from acting out the kicks, but just learned to do smaller motions!)
What is a typical day of work like for you as a VA?
That’s one thing I’ve learned about being an actor…there is no typical day. I actually had to adjust to that at first. My undergrad degree is in accounting, so I’m a person who likes structure. But there is very little structure in the life of a working actor. Since I do on-camera and voice-over work, my days can be very different.
Monday is the only consistent day for me. I go into a recording studio every Monday to record radio commercials. On other days, I may have one day where I record 3 voice over auditions from my home studio. Another day I may go to a production company for an on-camera TV commercial audition. I meet my video editor 1-2 times a week to edit for Anime Adventures. I could have an on-camera shoot for a corporate training video. Last week I recorded 3 hours for an online children’s program that helps teach kids at all levels to improve their reading. Or I could have a day or more where I have absolutely no work at all. At times where I’m not working or auditioning, I work from home on projects.
The part I love about my job is the flexibility and the ability to be with my family a lot. I have a preschooler and my husband runs his own business, so I like to spend a lot of time with them.
Did you have any struggles in the VA industry (i.e. deadlines or scheduling conflicts)? How did you solve them?
Coming off that last question, you can see that with no set schedule, conflicts can also arise. A lot of times I may find out the night before–or sometimes even the day of—that I have an audition or a job. Fortunately, I have amazing agents at The Campbell Agency who make sure no jobs or auditions conflict with one another. But there are times when my husband and I may have to scramble because I book a last-minute voice over job at a time where he has a meeting and my son needs to be picked up from preschool. That’s when it’s important to have a great support system in your family and friends. We have people who can step in and help us if there is a conflict between our work and family schedules.
Any professional advice you could share to new VA’s coming into the industry? Realistic expectations? Qualifications?
Yes! I get asked this question a lot. I always say several things… study, learn your craft, research, understand the business side of things, and work hard. Acting is not much different from other careers you might pursue. It takes hard work and dedication. (Sorry if that sounds a bit cliché!) But if you love voice acting—or anything else for that matter—the whole journey can be exciting.
To elaborate on some of my advice, I always recommend starting with a class. If there is not a class in your area there are some great online classes. Having lived in Los Angeles, I know there are some wonderful teachers out of LA who also offer online classes. I’m sure the same is true for NY teachers. (I don’t know of any Dallas teachers offering online courses right now.) And these days we can all record on our phones to start practicing and hearing ourselves or invest in an inexpensive USB mic to start recording on the computer. There are also groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. dedicated to voice over. That’s a great way to join in with like-minded people and start asking questions.
Anything you’d like to share about yourself right now in 2019? New projects or business ventures?
Yes! I’ve briefly mentioned it in earlier questions, but I’ve just launched a brand-new YouTube channel called Anime Adventures. Anime Adventures is a show all about anime…as I have adventures myself traveling the country going to anime conventions and comic cons. This show will have interviews with voice actors. I will also explore conventions and talk to YouTubers, fans, toy collectors, artists, and others. Check out the show at www.AnimeAdventures.tv.
When you first started getting into VA was your family very receptive towards it? Did they understand it?
When I first got into acting my family did not understand it at all. I had majored in accounting, gotten my MBA in marketing, and was working as a financial analyst in the defense industry when I announced to them that I was moving to Los Angeles for the summer to pursue acting. They were completely shocked! That didn’t seem practical. (And we are a very practical family!) They didn’t want me to waste my degrees.
But my family is also very loving, and we are extremely close. After many conversations, they started to understand my passion and my desire to pursue something totally different. And ironically, they now see how my background in business comes in very handy as an actor. It’s show “business”, after all.
Now they are my biggest fans!
Do you have a personal favorite Anime and why?
This won’t come as a surprise…for me, it’s the Dragon Ball series. I think it’s partially a sentimental reason. It’s how I got my start in anime and how I got my start in voice acting.
Would you want to return as “Pan” again if the opportunity should arise?
Absolutely! I would love that opportunity
SSJ Goshin 4
What originally made you a Dragon Ball (DB) fan?
Well, it all started with my older sister watching Dragon Ball Z on Toonami. She had it on while I was in the room. I can still remember what episode was on. It was when Yamcha was killed by the saibaman! After seeing that, it just got me hooked and I had to see more! I was probably about 4 or 5 years old lol. That was the beginning of my journey with DB.
Who is your favorite DB character and why?
My favorite character is Goku. I love him not only because he’s the main hero of the series but because he is so happy go lucky and positive no matter what situation he’s in. He makes me want to conquer any obstacle I face. I think of Goku when I want to persevere. He is the first thing I have ever looked up to. I wanted to be like Goku. I love that he’s pure at heart and will do anything to protect his world. He’s always breaking his own limits as well, which is something I go by in my everyday life. You always have to break your own limits just like Goku does. I also love Pan. Many fans don’t really like her which I never understood. My reasoning for loving her is because she’s the first female DB character I could relate to. I was around Pan’s age when I started watching GT so I looked up to her and saw some of myself in her. I was a tomboy just like she was. She could hold her own around the guys and she could kick ass! She didn’t let her being young or being a girl stop her from fighting. She was bossy but it showed that she couldn’t be pushed around. She always wanted adventure and she cared for her loved ones. Goku and Pan are for sure my favorites.
For me, I think there are strong women characters present in DB (like Chi-Chi/Android 18). What’s your take on all this? Think there could be room for more female characters? Are you happy with what DB offers in this regard?
I can totally see why people can think this about the series but lately, we have been seeing even more powerful female characters which I really love. We now have Kale, Caulifla, Android 21, Gine etc and these are all new female characters introduced into the Dragon Ball world giving even more appeal towards girls and stronger female characters. I’m happy with the direction DB has gone by adding these newer characters. It gives the cast of fighters more diversity as well and I’m interested to see what else they will do with this.
There has been a necessary and great resurgence for human equality this era. Did you feel openly accepted as a female DB fan? Or did you have to make room for yourself in the community as a young woman?
When I first started to be prevalent online I felt like it was rare to see female Dragon Ball fans. Whenever a female fan would emerge some males would call them “fake fans” or girls that just want “attention” for being into the series. I felt like you had to prove yourself more so back then than now. I feel that we are seeing more female dragon ball fans and the series doesn’t feel like, as people used to say back then, a “boy” thing anymore. It is for everyone and has always been in my opinion.
In your opinion, are there more female DB fans than when you started getting in? Is it the same or less?
I think I just answered my own question in the previous one haha. I don’t think that there are more now then back then, I just think that it is more accepted for girls to be fans of DB so more girls are open and outspoken about their fandom. When I was a kid I was called a boy for liking the series. I can see why girls might have been hesitant to be open about liking it back then.
What is your favorite DB product and why?
Wow, that’s a super hard question. I don’t think I have a favorite item lol. I just have so many. I guess some of the ones I like the most are the ones I’ve had since I was a kid. For example, I still have this large Super Battle Collection Pan bootleg figure I got when I was about 8 and I still have it to this day. I used to create my own stories with her and my other DB action figures as a kid. Things like that have more value to me and can be considered my favorites I suppose.
Who is your least favorite DB character?
RIBRIANNE!!!! I don’t think I need an explanation for that, it’s self-explanatory. Lol!
Our CEO Jason remarked seeing your videos from over 8 years ago. When I took a look, your oldest videos stemmed back over 10 years… That is AMAZING! What made you get on YouTube & start SSJGoshin4? Why did you stick with it?
I discovered youtube back in 2005 when I was looking up anime clips on google. I stumbled upon youtube and would browse it for hours. I made my first youtube channel in 2006 with the name “SSGoshin4” and started to upload AMV’s (anime music videos) on dragon ball. Then in 2008, I saw someone named EbayFigureReviews doing reviews on his DB figures and I thought “hey I can do that too, I have so many figures!” And that’s what really got me started on making videos consistently. I stuck with it because I just enjoy sharing my collection with the world as well as my love for DB. I love making videos and connecting with fans all over the world. That’s why I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.
How has your collection changed over the years? Do you collect more or less as a fan?
I definitely collect more than when I started because back then I didn’t have my own money lol! Now I can buy what I want when I want. I would say I collect newer things versus back then, I would collect mainly older figures like Irwin, Jakks, Bandai etc.
Do you value collecting more detailed/truthful representations of DB characters? Or do you like more stylized artistic takes like SD (Super Deformed)? Have you sold off older items because of this?
Honestly, I appreciate all kinds of representations of DB characters. I have a little bit of everything in my collection. I don’t limit myself to a specific kind of style or type. I love all things Dragon Ball! This can include backpacks, skateboards, plushies and even toilet paper lol! I must admit though, I do have a special place in my heart for vintage figures. So to answer your second question, I haven’t really sold my older stuff, if anything I find myself buying the older stuff lol!
What is the one DB item or items you could not part with and why?
I would say the pieces that I have the most memories with or some that I have spent a long time looking for. The Pan figure I mentioned before I don’t think I can ever part with. I still have some of the first figures I remember getting as a kid and I can’t let those go. They’ve been with me too long. My Super Battle Collection figures are some I can’t part with either. Those for me are the epitome of vintage childhood figures that I grew up on.
When did you start painting DB characters?
Dragon ball was the entire reason I decided to teach myself to draw in the first place, so I sketched a lot when I was 9-10 years old all the way up through high school. I never actually painted a picture until this last Christmas when I found an old canvas lying around in my loft and decided to give it a shot. I’ve been going full force since then.
What is your favorite art medium to use (acrylics, oil, etc.)?
Definitely acrylics. They are cheap to buy, they don’t smell and they dry really fast.
Who are some of your favorite artist(s) and why?
None in particular other than Akira Toriyama and Toyotaro. I’ve mostly been inspired by all the incredibly talented fan artists on the dragon ball pages I follow on Facebook.
Have you thought of painting other Anime/Manga characters? If so what series?
I’ve already started doing some paintings of other anime characters from Full Metal Alchemist and My Hero Academia. I’m also interested in doing my own take on Studio Ghibli characters, Fairy Tail, Attack on Titan, Naruto, etc.
Do you paint other materials instead of canvas? Have you ever painted a model kit?
I’ve never painted a model kit before other than creating some depth in already colored model kits with Gundam markers, but I’ve made a couple dioramas from scratch where I’ve carved and painted landscapes out of foamular.
In your opinion, are there more female DB fans than when you started getting in? Is it the same or less?
I definitely think there are more female DB fans then there used to be, especially since the people who grew up on it and love it like I do are introducing their kids to it. So even if there are only a few hardcore female fans around my age I’m anticipating an upheaval of young girls who will be growing up watching it and falling in love with it as I did.
What is your favorite DB product and why?
That’s a tough one! There are so many great items out there it’s hard to choose just one. I’m a collector of anything and everything dragon ball. I love the old Jakks and Irwin figures they had in the early 2000s for nostalgic purposes but now I’d have to say my favorite figure line is the Grandista Resolution of Soldiers.
Who is your least favorite DB character?
Do GT characters count? If so, definitely Pan. She is so whiney and entitled.
Any other DB projects you’d like to get into one day or currently pursuing?
I’d like to continue on with painting and get back into dioramas again eventually. Being part of the Dragon Ball community is amazing and I’m just happy that I’m able to take my art and intermingle it with DB.
We would like to give a giant THANKS to Elise Baughman, SSJ Goshin 4 and Amanda Neuens for sharing their work/passions this month. Just as Amanda said, we are very excited to see the next generation of female fans come up! Be sure to Subscribe to Elise Baughman’s YouTube Channel “Anime Adventures” where she takes it to a whole new level in her VA to VA interviews! Be sure to do so for us too on our New YouTube Channel that has around 200 subscribers already! Thanks everyone! Lastly, if you are itchy to get some more NERD art around your place, check out our Consignment Shop! We just got in some awesome DB stuff from Japan and it’s flying out our store!
So, what did you think? Anything resonate with you? Any questions left to ask? Comment below or find us on our social media pages, ask away!