Archive for February, 2009

February 23 – March 1 (2009)

Monday the 23rd – SESSION MADNESS! – In the morning I went to see my buddies at Voice Trax West to record some voice tracks for an upcoming Microsoft project. It’s along the lines of tutorial/instructional types of things. It went very well and I had a blast. Then I hightailed it over to Voicecasters to do another session, this time for Busch Gardens in Virginia. I did a few versions of the VO and then sat around and waited for the producers on the other end of the ISDN line (a high quality phone line over which voice sessions are conducted) to get approval from their client. They made a few little changes, and then I was off and running. What a fun day!

Tuesday the 24th – LONG BUT FUN DAY! – I got up early to grab some items from the local craft store. I needed glue and some leather lace for my friend Sara’s Princess Leia costume that she would be wearing this weekend at the Wonder Con in San Francisco. I got my products and headed over to West L.A. to audition for a commercial at 310 Casting for casting director Terry Berland. While I was there I saw my old pal Gary Owens. In addition to being a legend, he’s also from South Dakota like me. So we always have fun chatting. When I was finished with the audition, I went over to Laser Blazer to see what new DVDs had been released but I didn’t find anything I needed. I stopped off at home, walked Sassie and then headed over to Studiopolis to do voice tracks for a new “Bleach” movie! My friend Ginny, an aspiring anime voice actress, even joined in to watch. When I was done I ran home quickly, changed shirts, walked Sassie again and fed my cat Spooky. Then I headed into Hollywood to Cinespace to see my friend Sara’s work in a new feature film called “3 Days in L.A.” When I got there I ran into my old pal Jacki R. Chan (She played C.C. in my short film “Livin’ On a Prayer”) and I also discovered that my friends Chuck McCann and Fred Westbrook were already there. Sara’s work in the film was terrific, and we all went out to eat afterwards at Jerry’s Famous Deli. My friend Ginny was done with her acting class, so she came to join us as well. What a long, but fruitful day!

Wednesday the 25th – CROWNED AT LAST! – Today was the day I FINALLY got the crown put on my right molar. If you remember my entries over the past couple of months you’ll recall that I’ve had a long, hard road with this particular molar. Well, I went to Dr. Acosta and finally got it crowned. I couldn’t eat for about an hour after, but on the way home I got crazy bread and a pizza from Little Caesar’s. It smelled so good on the way home but my hour wasn’t up yet. I stopped by to get my mail and saw Sara and congratulated her again on the great job in the movie. I also gave her a couple of slices of pizza, which I could only watch her enjoy. Then I headed home and met up with my electrician Electric Bob. He was rewiring some of my switches in the kitchen. I kept working on Sara’s “Slave Leia” costume. I assembled the boots, and started in on lining the top. It was a lot of work but it was really going well. That night my friends Scott and Vickie Sebring came over with Vickie’s sewing machine and added the skirting fabric on to the metal waist plate. When that was completed I set about packing for the trip to San Francisco the very next day!

Thursday the 26th – SAN FRANCISCO HERE WE COME! – I ran Spooky over to the groomer’s to get his nails clipped. When I got him home, I grabbed some checks and ran for the bank to deposit them. I was on a very tight schedule today since I had a session later in the afternoon and then I was flying out to San Francisco that night for Wonder Con. My friend Kristy came over to get the keys since she was pet-sitting all weekend while I was gone. I packed up my bags, threw them into the car and was on my way to my session for Underwear Affair. Underwear Affair is a series of 10k runs to benefit “cancers below the waist” in Canada, and you’re supposed to run them in your underwear. Kind of a fun, kitschy way to raise funds for a worthy cause. I got to the studio in Hollywood and had already mapped my route from there to the Burbank airport. Luckily the session didn’t take very long, and besides I had forgotten my jacket! So I had time to run back home, grab my jacket and pick up my friend Sara, and then head for the airport. We got there, valet parked and were in good spirits and in good time. We changed our seats so we could sit together. When Lynne at the United desk asked if we wanted seats 13a and 13b I said without hesitation, “WE’LL TAKE ‘EM!” You see, 13 has always been my lucky number so I figured it was a good omen. However the flight was now leaving 50 minutes late! Ugh. United Airlines strikes again. So I enjoyed a hot dog and Sara and I watched Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune on the big screen TV in the airport lobby. We finally got on the plane, I nodded off during the short hour-long flight. Since the plane was small and our row was directly across the aisle from the bathroom, we could stash our excess carry-on luggage (containing Sara’s fragile Princess Slave Leia costume) on the bathroom floor during take-off and landing. It wouldn’t fit in those tiny overhead compartments, and we didn’t want to run the risk of crushing it underneath the seats in front of us. When we landed, we got our luggage and grabbed a towncar to the San Francisco Marriott. Our driver Aham was a cool guy and the car was very comfortable. We checked into the room, unpacked and ordered up some room service. The next day we would grab our convention badges and head out on the floor!

Friday the 27th – WONDER CON DAY 1! – We got up around 10, enjoyed in-room breakfast and headed over to the convention. But we found out that even though the registration desk opened at 10, the convention itself wouldn’t open until noon! How odd. Good thing we didn’t get up at the crack of dawn to be there! So we Professionals were ushered into a waiting area with tables and rows roped off. It looked like this would serve as a signing area for some future event. So it was Sara and I, along with about 6 other people. As I went out to investigate the scene, I ran into a guy named Cory who recognized me. It always amazes me how people can recognize voice-over people because we’re, for the most part, fairly anonymous. But he had studied with my buddy Bob Bergen and was in the business. He was a vendor at the convention, so he was going to get vendor passes for Sara and myself so we wouldn’t have to wait for the doors to open at noon. So I went back to the waiting room and told Sara. While we were waiting the other people started asking what voices I did on what shows. Apparently Sara had mentioned what I did for a living while she was waiting. Sara and I sat down at one of the tables to wait and an almost impromptu panel discussion started. We thought it was very funny as I took questions from the 6 people there from the table. We had a great time laughing and talking, but Cory had shown up with the vendor passes. It ended up getting us into the convention a whole 3 minutes earlier than normal, but I certainly appreciated Cory’s efforts. Sara had never been to a convention like this before and she was amazed. We saw my buddy Neil Kaplan, another voice-over guy. As well as legendary character actor Malachi Throne. It was good seeing all these familiar faces. I also saw my pals E.G. Daily and Gregg Berger. My animator friend Dahveed was there promoting his animated projects. It was like old home week! Sara was amazed at the screen-accurate Stormtroopers and Darth Vader that were there. I told her it only gets better! But as we were looking around and buying stuff, we totally spaced on the Henry Winkler panel! Henry had told his manager to send me his way when I got there, as I had met Henry several times before, but we missed the panel! And the autograph line was way too long and the security guys wouldn’t let me just swing by and give a wave to Henry. So I went back to the convention floor. Later my pal Tom Kenny came by and we helped him find some retro Popeye stuff. Even though Tom’s best known as the voice of Spongebob, he’s a huge Popeye collector. He’s a great guy and Sara loved meeting him. She also enjoyed meeting Mark Hamill, who was there signing all weekend. So I bought an autograph ticket and got in line. I know Mark from working on “The Avengers.” He plays Klaw and I play Ant Man. We had a couple of nice scenes together in the episodes he appeared. Once we got to the table he signed a pic for Sara and we started talking about animation and Broadway musicals. He also said that now that he knows me, he’s seeing my name all over the place. That was a very nice thing for him to say. We had a great chat with him and he hugged Sara and we moved on down the road. One of the booths had a tribute to Gene and Majel Roddenberry. They had a camcorder set up and were asking people to record messages that would be sent up into space with Gene and Majel’s ashes. Figuring that most people wouldn’t take this seriously, I decided to send a truly heartfelt message. I paraphrase, but it went something like this…”Brothers and sisters who share God’s wonderful universe. Hello from Earth. We hope that you will not judge us too harshly by viewing the actions of our political leaders and our media. The majority of us really do have good hearts and souls, and we ask that you not judge us by what you may see us portrayed as. We wish you peace and love to all reaches of the galaxy.” The camera operator was amazed and thanked me profusely. But it was time to catch a nap. I was still dragging a bit from all the past few days’ activities. My friend Fred Westbrook got into town and called. He was with Adam West for the weekend and once he and Adam had dinner, Adam retired for the night. But Fred was still ready to prowl. So I called my good pal Mark Hardeman. In addition to owning original Batman and Robin costumes from the 1966 TV series, he’s also a San Francisco firefighter. He offered to come by in the fire truck and pick up Sara and I for a tour of the firehouse. Strangely enough…FIREHOUSE 13! My lucky number rears its head again. As Sara and I were waiting outside the Marriott, there were other people there waiting for a taxi. The fire truck pulled up and Mark came out, gave me a hug, and ushered Sara and I into the fire engine. The people waiting for a taxi were amazed! One of them said, “Where’s MY fire truck?” We drove over to the W hotel where Fred was staying and he was outside waiting. He didn’t know a fire truck was coming to get him. He climbed in and we were on our way to Station 13. It was great meeting all of the other firefighters. They gave us the tour, let us wear some of the gear for photos and we sat around eating ice cream and cake. What a great time. When it was time to go back, they gave us a tour of San Francisco from the viewpoint of a fire engine. Fred said that he had never been on a fire truck in all his life. I had before, but not one so elaborate. We got souvenir Firehouse 13 t-shirts too! Later that night, Sara and I went over to Denny’s to grab a late dinner. Tomorrow would be Sara’s first outing as Slave Leia on the convention floor!

Saturday the 28th – WONDER CON DAY 2! – Talk about rude awakenings. A horn blared in our room and woke us up. I couldn’t figure out what it was…the alarm? Sara’s phone? Then a voice came on a speaker and said to evacuate the building because of a fire. WHAT? Of all the strange ironies! So I threw on my clothes, Sara just walked out in her pajamas and we ran into a maid who didn’t seem the least bit concerned. We took the stairs down to the street level and a familiar sight occurred! A fire truck pulled up in front of the Marriott. But this was a different station, not Mark’s outfit. The manager of the hotel said we could go back inside as there was smoke in the kitchen, but nothing to worry about. Well, now that we were awake it was time to get ready for the convention. Sara was having issues attaching the Slave Leia pony tail, but we got through it ok after I went back downstairs and got some bobby pins from the gift shop. We got all dressed and ready to go, and we hit the convention. Sara was an immediate hit as she posed for photo after photo. Mark and his wife Sherry came by as well and Mark snapped away with his professional camera. We went back to see Mark Hamill and he was amazed at Sara’s transformation. I introduced him to Mark and Sherry and we all had a wonderful chat. And great pictures too! Then we got in Carrie Fisher’s line and Sara got to meet Carrie again as well. Carrie saw Sara in her outfit and said, “I wish I still looked that good.” I told Carrie she was beautiful and we got photos and stuff signed. What a day! Then some of the guys in the Star Wars club asked Sara to appear with them in their big group photo. It was amazing seeing all those people in their costumes! There were two guys there with fully functional, actual sized, remote control R2D2’s. Those were impressive! The other impressive costumes were these guys dressed up as the muppet aliens from “Sesame Street”…you know, the ones that always say, “Yup yup yup…uh huh uh huh.” Those were amazing and drew smiles and applause everywhere they went. But the costume was starting to wear on Sara so we went back to the room to change. We ran into my old pal Mark Evanier, who I worked with on the new “Garfield” series, and we had a good chat. But as we went back to the hotel my old friend Zack Sherman walked in with his girlfriend. It was great seeing him, as I hadn’t seen him in years! Back in the 90’s, he was my Robin when we would appear as Batman and Robin. It’s him as Robin you see in the Vicki Lawrence show clip. He’s now writing comics full time and I couldn’t be happier for him. He seems very happy and healthy. Sara and I headed over to Mel’s Diner for dinner, and then we met up with Fred and walked around San Francisco for awhile. Fred smoked a cigar and we enjoyed looking at the city’s architecture while enjoying perfect weather. We eventually ended up at an Irish pub where we killed some time chatting over Cokes. Then we headed back to the room to reflect on an amazing day!

Sunday the 1st – WONDER CON DAY 3! – We were up early packing our stuff to get ready to head back to L.A. We also had to meet Adam West and Fred for breakfast. When we went outside, our perfect weather luck had run out. It was now sprinkling. Fred and I wondered how this would affect the outgoing flights later that night. We had a terrific breakfast with Fred and Adam and then we headed over to the convention to see Adam’s panel on the film “Super Capers.” Adam was brought to the convention to promote the film, and now we would get to hear the inside scoop on the film (opening later this month! See Adam was so freakin’ funny at this panel he had the whole room in hysterics. After the panel, we went to visit with him at the Super Capers table for awhile. Mark and Sherry were back for a bit as they wanted to do some more looking around. I also ran into a bunch of other friends that day. This convention was packed, but not overly packed like the San Diego Comic Con. It was a nice change from the madness that has become the SDCC. Sara and I headed back to the hotel to check our bags with the bellman for later pick-up. When we got our claim checks, it said our bags were stashed in BIN 13! Sara and I just laughed as it was a recurring theme for the weekend. We went back to the con for last minute shopping. But we were pretty much conned out by that time. We headed back to the hotel to relax in the lobby for awhile, to kill time until we had to be at the airport. We ran into some of the other Star Wars guys who invited us to see their costumes. They had Jango Fett, Stormtroopers and my favorite, a Darth Vader! They offered to let me try on pieces of the Vader costume. I didn’t hesitate. It was amazing seeing the detail of the work on the breastplate, the helmet and all of the belt pieces. The sound chip that plays the breathing through a hidden speaker on the costume was amazing! Though I had fun trying it on, I had no plans of actually getting a Vader costume to appear at conventions. After all, how would you travel with all that stuff?? We thanked the guys and headed out to get our bags and catch a cab. We found out that Fred’s flight had been delayed so he was sitting around at the airport. He said our flight was still on time. We got checked in, got our seats (I grabbed seat 13a again to stash the Leia costume on the bathroom floor) and waited for the flight. All was going well. However, I noticed that our take-off time had been delayed a full hour and a half! WHAT?! Apparently in San Francisco, when rain falls they close a few of the runways, thus causing delays and all sorts of chaos. Ugh. Our luck had run out. So I settled in, read some of the comics I bought at the convention, and just waited. The plane we were taking had arrived, but the crew on it was off duty. So they had to wait for another crew to come in from another flight to crew our flight. United Airlines strikes again. Insane. Now we wouldn’t be getting into Burbank until about midnight. Oh well, at least we were getting home at all. I had halfway considered renting a car and driving home from San Francisco. But even though our flight was delayed two hours, we still made it home and the amazing experiences of the past weekend were still alive in our heads. It was good to get home and see Sassie and Spooky again.

And how was YOUR week?!?!