Monday, April 15, 2013

Voice Over Actor Interview #1 Jamie McGonnigal

Jamie McGonnigal is an organizer and founder of He is also a contributor to Huffington Post and LGBTQNation. He currently works as the Community Engagement Manager for the New Organizing Institute.

As an award-winning producer and director and as a founding producer of the New York Musical Theatre Festival, Jamie has created some of New York’s most important theatrical events over the last decade, raising funds for victims of floods, earthquakes, tsunami and inequality. His World AIDS Day Concerts were named the best theatrical events of the year from 2003-2007 and his concerts have featured performances from Rosie O'Donnell, Ben Vereen, Chita Rivera, Betty Buckley, Laura Benanti, Jai Rodriquez, Mike Nichols, Cheyenne Jackson, Michael Urie, Gavin Creel and hundreds more.

As a photographer, Jamie’s work can be seen at and on the cover of Tracy Baim’s book, “Obama and the Gays.”

As a voice actor, Jamie can be heard on more than 100 anime titles including Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Viva Pinata, One Piece and many more.

1) Do you see more fanservice aimed at yaoi fans in recent years? If so, does this surprise you?
I actually don't have my finger on the pulse of the fan service, so I wouldn't really know about the volume of the fan service. I am rarely surprised by anything though. I think the first thing I ever saw when I was hired to play Barry in Pokemon was a dirty drawing of him and Ash getting it on, so no - it never surprises me.
2) Can you see a day where a yaoi series can run on Hulu or even Adult Swim?

If it was a series that wasn't too risky sexually, I could see it happening. Something like Kizuna (if it was more than three episodes) would be appropriate. But to be completely honest, considering Kizuna is the only yaoi title ever even dubbed professionally in the US, I'd be really surprised to see that happen. Additionally, there is still a great deal of homophobia in this country, and sexism. So while the media has no problem showing a boob or "down there" on a woman, they very rarely show the male private parts on screen. So again - I'd be pretty surprised to see Yaoi on anything that would be as accessible as Adult Swim or Hulu - but hopefully I'm wrong.
3)What do you think about fan creations based on your shows (cosplay, amateur Music Videos and fanfiction)?
I LOVE THEM! I'm not a hugely well-known voice actor, so when I see someone recognizing something I've worked on, I'm really honored. Actually, I've been uninvited to judging cosplays because the first one I judged, I gave the big award to someone who was cosplaying one of my characters - and I will absolutely admit it's because I didn't know any of the other characters. As for music videos, I'll search youtube once in a while and comment on things people have created - again - I find it really flattering...even (and especially) the yaoi pairings.
4)Not that we want you to drop names (HA!), but I must put you on the spot the way a con panel would. Do all Voice actors react well to finding their characters in explicit doujinshi?
HAHA! No. They most certainly do not. There's one voice actor who shall remain nameless, but is a big celeb. Anytime I've been on a panel with him and someone has asked a question about this, he's been very vocally upset about yaoi pairings of his characters. This always confused me because when I first met this actor, I thought he was gay (as did most of the people who work with him). But apparently he's not, therefore he's very offended that someone might think a character he did a voice for might be gay.
Most voice actors are pretty cool about it and well...I love it. But once in a while you run into someone who's fairly homophobic and is truly not a fan.
5) Do you advise your fellow actors on handling a different vision of their characters than they might have envisioned?
Well, we never really have the opportunity to work together in the studio. Additionally, it's bad form to tell a fellow actor how they should do their job. Where I do get to advise, or talk to my fellow voice actors is on the issues affecting LGBT people on a daily basis. Many of them come to me when they have questions about equality and the LGBT movement. So that means a lot that I'm able to pass along some of the things I've learned.
6)What characters would you love to play that you have not?
Truly, anything fun. I haven't done much of late since I moved to Washington D.C. two years ago. I finished out what I was working on in Pokémon and there's not much access to new things down here, but I'm certainly open if someone calls!

Big Update about Free Yaoi!!

As a reward for all of your support through my own dramas, I am planning to publish some short fiction around the characters from my yaoi novels. Moreover, these will be illustrated stories! The Soldier's stories will be from the timeline between the two novels and involve some military adventures. The Ensnared stories will be set between volumes two and three. All of the stories will have a great deal of good lovin', some crazy Seme possessiveness and some clever uke humor. They will be free initially. They will never cost more than 99 cents when I do charge. I'll also do some doujinshi stories based on some of my favorite anime characters. Those will also be illustrated. Since I can't sell those, they will always be free.

Also, I have some huge news that I can't really talk about. All I can say is that your support of this page an my books gave me a high enough profile that I have a deal in the works with a major publisher/distributor! This is why you all deserve a reward! So, look for the story announcement in the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Shizuo x Izaya – Why it Really Doesn't Work & How it Could

This makes some sense to me.
No one likes seeing Shizuo and Izaya go at it on Durarara more than me. They are exciting, and they are often hilarious. However, I seem to be almost alone in not viewing their testosterone drenched, city wide battles as anything more than mutual hatred. I suppose when pushed, I could believe that there is an obsession on Izaya's part toward Shizuo that is based on desire. The only reason that I'm willing to give in to that is that there is speculation amongst the show's characters about what is going on between those two. If it is there, I doubt Izaya is aware of the reason behind that compulsion. He wouldn't want anyone to have that kind of influence over his emotions. That may explain why he has tried so hard to destroy Shizuo. So, let's say that he wants this incredible Bishonen and wants him badly at first sight. Subconsciously, Izaya senses the loss of control around this man. Consciously, that comes out has hostility. He's like a little boy with a school crush who has no idea how to seduce his crush, so he punches him in the arm. Or in this case, starts knife fights or tries to get him arrested. It is clear that Izaya of starts most of the near lethal battles between them when there is no need to even glimpse each other in the neighborhood.

Okay, I'll buy that Izaya has something for Shizuo that makes him lose control and do very bad things. What
does that get him? Endless scheming and constant dodging of flying vending machines, that's what. He certainly can't get as close to his heart's and body's desire as Celty or even some school children can. He can't get within 20 yards of the man. Destroying Shizuo might end the torment, but that has not worked. In fact, one might argue that the efforts have backfired. Physical attacks have made him stronger. And antics like trying to get him thrown in jail have left him with more allies who think Izaya is a douche. Some of those allies like Tom Tanaka are as heavy hitters in the underworld as Izaya. Actually, Tom is a great case in point that Izaya has no control around Shizuo. You would think that a guy who enjoys scheming and upending the order of everything would try to do what Tom did – befriend Shizuo and get him to be an ally in his mayhem. I doubt he'd succeed – and maybe that's why he didn't try – but the vendetta against Shizuo would make more sense if he had tried and failed. Perhaps, he needs to rethink this problem and find another angle.

Taming the Beast

There have been different ways that writers have helped Izaya have his wicked way with Shizuo. I've seen rape, I seen blackmail and I've seen drugs among others. Aside from not approving of any of these methods, I don't think they would work with Shizuo in the universe in which the novels and the anime were written. Before I go on, let me quickly say that I am not a prude. Far from it. Read my fanfic of yor (the link can be found in the menu on the right for those who dare). I own implements of pain as a lifestyle dominatrix, but I have never caused a moment of unwanted discomfort. I have never caused humiliation. I don't think force or drugs is worthy of anyone who claims to be a true top or Seme. Those methods speak of insecurity in their prowess as a lover and a lack of knowledge of how the human body works when under duress. In short, it ain't sexy. I want to read about lovers who really know what they are doing. But nevermind me, force of any sort will not work on Shizuo. His response to any kind of assault on his person is intense rage. Izaya was never strong enough to take him on alone and force him to have sex. I don't know if a dozen men would work to rape him. Blackmail wouldn't work either for the same reason. Shizuo would be affronted by anyone placing people close to him in any sort of peril for any reason. That the reason is for sex with him would trigger a volcanic reaction after some maniacal laughing. Drugs could work, but I think Izaya would want Shizuo to be responsive. He's arrogant and self absorbed enough to need a response from his prize at the very least. Besides, I think that it's likely Izaya's fear of losing control stems from his desire to bottom for this beautiful and powerful man.

It seems then that this pairing is an impossibility, but there is a way. Shizuo has a strong moral and ethical
code. He doesn't hit women, and he is protective of children. He is a man of his word. If a greater danger came to Ikebukuro that caused the factions to work together, I could see this pair in a situation where they were truly interacting and not fighting. And given that the neighborhood boasts a demonic sword and an Irish death spirit, I think such an enemy exists that could make them fight together and not fight each other. During a truce Izaya could make sure they were often side by side or back to back. There would be protecting of each other and watch over each other. There may even be eating a meal together. During such a truce Izaya could safely reveal his desires. Oh, their would still be an explosion, but it wouldn't lead to bloodshed. Sparks would fly. There would be some shouting about lusts and desires. I can imagine such a story being very funny. And I think such an arc could lead to something really, really sexy.

I don't believe that just because there is smoke there is fire. Nor do I believe that because a pair of anime or manga characters look good together that they can automatically be shipped. However, I am open minded. Give me something that fits their characters and makes sense within the story arc, I'll go with it.