SEE Chats With Voice Actors Virtually

By Shreya Vuttaluru

Student Entertainment Events hosted renowned voice actors Dante Basco and John DiMaggio in two light-hearted Zoom conversations, discussing their experiences in the voice-acting industry.

Basco is best known for his role voicing Zuko in the Nickelodeon series, “Avatar, the Last Airbender,” and DiMaggio is recognized for his work voicing Jake the Dog in Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time with Finn and Jake.” 

Both conversations were hosted by Sammy Garcia, SEE’s Comedy Director and senior supply chain management major. Basco joined Garcia on March 2, and DiMaggio spoke on March 9.

Each event started with the actors lightly riffing off with Garcia, with both actors giving their two cents on the importance of animation.

Basco discussed his experience working with high-profile voice actors like Mark Hamill, known for his work on “Star Wars,” and Dee Bradley Baker, who voiced characters like Perry the Platypus on “Phineas and Ferb.”

“The world of animation… it really captures the world in a different perspective,” Basco said. 

DiMaggio talked about the versatility and endurance required to be a voice actor, and how actors need to consistently be able to produce a voice for hours on end at times. People tend to discount voice acting as easy, DiMaggio noted, but in reality, the profession requires a lot of hustle.

“It’s a particular skill set–you don’t send an electrician to do a plumbers job,” DiMaggio said. 

Basco also echoed a similar sentiment about the grit required in voice-acting. 

“I’ve been in this industry for over 35 years and it’s arguably one of the hardest industries in the world,” he said.  

Basco and Garcia also discussed the power of fandom culture, and how events like ComicCon are powerful in the way that they bring people together. Basco also noted that these events were instrumental in inspiring him as a child. 

Garcia enthusiastically suggested that Basco rank “Avatar” characters based on tiers of power. The two spent almost 15 minutes intensely discussing which characters should be ranked at what level, with Basco making the controversial decision to place both the character Katara and Zuko on the second tier. 

“Zuko has the greatest character arc I’ve ever seen,” Garcia said. 

DiMaggio spent his time with Garcia dropping several references to characters that he played and talking about his experience voicing different characters while often shifting voices to mimic them. Garcia expressed a lot of excitement about interviewing DiMaggio in particular, because he had met DiMaggio nine years ago during a fan event.

“Adventure Time” was one of DiMaggio’s favorite shows to work on because the show started with eccentric plots, but by the end, created a beautiful fantasy.

“I didn’t get it until the end…when it ended, I cried in my car,” DiMaggio said.

The two also spent some time talking through iconic television and movie moments that DiMaggio voiced, including the elephant from “Zootopia” and Rappin’ Drakken from “Kim Possible.” 

Towards the end, DiMaggio expressed gratitude to SEE for hosting the event, adding that he hoped to be able to do a casual event like this live. 

“We’ll do this in a room one day,” DiMaggio said. 

Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of SEE’s Facebook Page.

Shreya Vuttaluru is a sophomore government politics and journalism major and can be reached at shreya.vut@gmail.com.

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