|The following is an Interview from Anime Central 98 which took place in Rosemont, IL from April 3-5, 1998. Enjoy!
Golden Boy 2
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Super Atragon 2
Spike Spencer, a native of Houston, Texas is one of the voice actors for A.D.Vision. He has been in the acting business for around 10 years and specifically in anime for approximately 3 years. Spike is widely known for his portrayal of Shinji in Neon Genesis Evangelion. We were able to talk to him about the anime acting industry and some of his plans for the future.
With the production of Evangelion finished for A.D.Vision, Spike is turning his thoughts to getting into the bigger spotlight. He's planning to move from Houston to the Los Angeles area sometime in the near future. "We're moving to L.A. because I'm a professional actor," he said. "I work well there. I make money there. I'm not rich by any means, but they know me there. I want to be bigger, and you can't really do much in Houston."
After spending some time in Los Angeles, Spike plans to hit the road once again. His immediate thoughts on where he'll go after L.A. is to head out to someplace in Utah. "We'll go out there and have a ranch in Idaho next to Bruce Willis," he joked.
"If there are any anime companies out in L.A. who would like to talk to me about doing some voice overs, I'm available!" Spike said of his plans to continue in the anime voice acting business.
Spike got interested in acting early on in his life. Speaking of when he was a young boy he said, "I've only been actually doing acting since about high school. Turns out I was a ham even as a kid. I'd jump up on chairs and sing Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer for people. They didn't pay me then." He went to high school and auditioned for parts in school plays and got hooked on acting. After high school, he turned to the University of Houston for his study of acting.
When asked how he got into the Anime scene, he replied, "Got into that through doing the movie The Imposters, with Amanda [Winn]. It's a lot of fun."
Spike was asked about the process that goes into recording the voice tracks in a show and whether or not the voice actors recorded their lines at the same time. "Whenever we have everyone in a room to do it for a big gang scene like in Goldenboy 2, we're doing this big scene. Everyone's, you know, pummeling the crud out of him [Goldenboy], and just a whole bunch of us in there just making all kinds of noise. It's just ridiculously stupid and nothing but fun." But he said that they usually record the dialog by themselves.
And with that, here's the @anime! crew with a few minutes with A.D. Vision voice actor, Spike Spencer.
@anime!: In anime voice-acting, is it more appealing to do a character in a series rather than an OVA?
Spike Spencer: You betcha. One, You get a character that you can go off and explore a little bit. It's hard to get into anime, I'll tell you, because you don't make up your own character, it's all done for you. It's more difficult in some ways and less difficult in others. You've got to match the mouth, and a lot of times there's no emotion showing. But when you get a series you get paid more, that's a steady paycheck.
@a!: Is there a lot of competition getting roles?
Spike: There's always competition, but once you get into something where people know you, they will think of you. A lot of people say it's who you know. But it's not; it's who knows you. When you're not there, you can say "Yeah, I know this guy," but he's doing some casting, he's not thinking about you. But if they're doing the casting and they're thinking about you, that's really how you get the work.
As far as acting goes, I do a lot of marketing on my own. I'll send out postcards, call people up if I'm doing something big, just get in front of these people and audition as much as possible. As long as they see you, they'll think about you. If you're not there, they aren't going to think about you. It's as simple as that.
@a!: Do you plan to do more anime voice-acting in L.A.?
Spike: Yeah, if they'll have me! I know there's a few places out, and I'll target them until they say "OKAY, stop calling me! Here's a role!" It's a whole 'nother market. We've got to start 100-percent all over again. But at least I've got a good little resume, it's not too bad--I'd say Shinji is pretty popular!
@a!: How did you get into the field?
Spike: Amanda got me started in it, just totally. Evangelion came a little later; I had already done some work for AD Vision, and I thank her and Matt Greenfield wholeheartedly, because if not for them I wouldn't be in this at all. I didn't even know what anime was--I'd seen "Speed Racer," "Whoa, hey, cool!", but I really didn't have a clue that it was this huge. I had no idea. And I'm glad I'm doing it, because it's fun.