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!

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