|Interview With Peter Kelamis|
For those of you who don't know, Peter Kelamis is the actor who took over for Ian Corlett in the role of Son Goku in FUNimation's English dub of Dragon Ball Z when Ian was unable to continue due to other commitments. Several months ago, Peter agreed to a simple e-mail interview, and then I asked you, the readers, what you wanted to ask him. What appears below is the final result.
I give you my word that this interview is 100% authentic, and that I have not misquoted Peter in any way. Not a single character of his responses has been modified, nor have I changed my questions in any way from what exactly he was asked. Except for a few (very) minor typos on both of our parts, the questions appear EXACTLY as they did when sent, and the answers appear EXACTLY as they did when they showed up in my mailbox.
|Tell us a little about your professional background. Is there any other work people may know you from?|
|I am actually a stand-up comedian who has done a whole variety of things. I have appeared at the Montreal Comedy Festival, was in the movie Happy Gilmore (although most of my scenes were left on the cutting room floor), I have appeared on the X-Files four times, have had the opportunity to improvise on stage with the likes of Robin Williams, and have done hundreds of T.V. and radio ads and commercials. I am also currently voicing a new animated series called Ed, Edd, and Eddy that will be seen on the Cartoon Network this fall.|
|How did you get involved with FUNimation's English production of Dragon Ball Z? And, more specifically, how did you get the role of Son Goku?|
|I got the role by auditioning. The previous actor, Ian Corlett, was unable to continue in the role so open auditions were held and I ended up getting the part.|
|Had you ever heard of Dragon Ball before you took the job?|
|To be completely honest, no. I was first exposed to the show during the audition process. I was given tapes of previous episodes and studied them for the audition.|
|Have you seen the Japanese version, and do you ever try to emulate the original performance?|
|I have seen and heard the Japanese version only during recordings of the show. There are times when the producer actually has to check direct translations to see if they make sense. The level and emotion of the original performance is attempted to be re-created but not the voice. If I tried to re-create the original voice I think I would run the risk of hitting a note so high that I may not be able to have children in future life.|
|What is the work environment like? Describe the typical voice over session.|
|The work environment is made comfortable and things are kept light and fun thanks to the great people who run the recording sessions at Ocean Sound in Vancouver, where the show is voiced. Depending on how many episodes we are recording on that particular day, the entire sessions may run between 2 to 8 hours. It is very tedious work and requires developing ADR skills, (the art of re-voicing an existing cartoon). You are put in a room alone with headphones and a T.V. that plays the cartoon in segments. After first viewing the segment on the monitor you are "beeped" in with three electronic "beeps". At the end of the last beep, you attempt to exactly match the lines on paper to the movement of the mouths on the T.V. This can be tough since most times the number of syllables in the Japanese mouth movement do not contain the same number of syllables used in the English translation. You just keep going until the people in the booth are happy with what you have done.|
|Do you know any of the other cast members or anything about them? What are they like?|
|I know a few of the other cast, but since each of us voice our segments individually, we are never acually in the same room at the same time. Of the others that I do know, I can assure that they are some of the most talented voice people in the business.|
|Have you gotten any feedback about your work from the fans? Do you ever go to Dragon Ball Z pages on the Web to see what people think of your performance?|
|I have looked from time to time for feedback, and yes, I do visit the sites from time to time. I have actually come across little in the way of feedback on the performance. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I hope people are enjoying what I am doing.|
|How long do you intend to keep playing Goku? I'll put it this way, there are almost 300 episodes in Dragon Ball Z, and the English version has only around fifty done so far. Do you plan to stick around for the long haul if the show does indeed last?|
|I have no say or knowledge as to how many episodes will eventually be translated or how many I will be asked to be a part of. So far, it has been a great experience. I will probably stick around as long as they'll have me.|
|What do you think of all the censoring and editing done in the English version? How do you feel about the fact that you have to say "next dimension" instead of "die"? Do you think the alterations are warranted, or do the censors go too far?|
|I think what is considered taboo in the Japanese culture and what is taboo in North America are two completly different sets of rules. Yes, the censorship is necessary. I have seen footage of Goku's bare ass, penises, and all sorts of things that you would obviously not see on North American television. As for saying "next dimension" instead of "die" I don't think that would really bother anyone. Bare asses, yes. Next dimension, no.|
|What do you think about the English version overall compared to the original?|
|Well the only differences between the two are the voices and since I do the voice, dammit the show is fantastic!|
|English/Japanese versions aside, what do you think about Dragon Ball Z itself? What do you like/dislike about it?|
|I have always admired the Japanese animation style and it is quite a neat thing to watch with your own voice attached to it. As for the drawbacks, I would have to say that an 8 hour voicing session begins to get to you. If there is an episode that involves alot of screaming and fighting sounds, then your throat can get a little sore. And those headphones have to be surgically removed from your head.|
|I have heard that FUNimation is currently doing voice auditions. Does that mean there will be a change in the voice actors for the third season? Do you know anything else about FUNimation's plans for season three? (How many episodes will be done, whether or not a network has picked up the show, etc.)|
|I haven't heard a thing about new voice auditions. Dammit I hope I'm not out of the "loop"? I gotta go and call my agent!|
|Do you watch the DBZ episodes you are in when they air on TV?|
|The times that the show has been on in Vancouver have bounced around a bit, but i just did some promos for TV12 out of Bellingham, so the show can be seen Saturday mornings at 10:00 am on their station.|
|Boxers or briefs- which is the way to go?|
|I would have to say boxers at all times, you should always let as much air down there as is humanly possible without getting arrested.|
|And finally, is there anything you'd like to say to the fans?|
|I would take this time to say thanks for watching and hope that the shows are keeping you entertained. Without you watching, there would be nothing for us to voice. I'll be looking for your feedback on Chris' website so let me know what you think. And hey, keep your stick on the ice. (it's a Canadian thing) Chat with you later. :)|
So there you have it, folks! Before anything else, I would like to thank Mr. Kelmais for taking the time to answer these questions for us. I understand and appreciate that interviews are a demand on anyone's time and energy, and that in most cases, only allowed to people who the interviewee feels are "important." I certainly am not that, I'm just your average otaku. I think of this as a favor from Peter to the fans, and a very generous one at that.
I would also like to thank those who wrote to me and suggested questions for this interview back when I first polled the readers about what they wanted asked. Listed in no particular order: Michael Payne, Cookie, Guy Lev, Prince Vegeta, S. Pamdini, Steven Troutman, Wuken, and...um...me! I would like to acknowledge who asked which questions, but that would create problems since several were asked by multiple people, some were rephrased for clarity, some were left out entirely, etc. You get the idea, I'll just thank you all at once.
As for the interview itself, I consider it to be a complete success, and I am very happy with the way it came out. I don't want to go into too much detail and "analyze" Peter's responses word for word since that would be exceedingly rude, but I will say that overall I found them very intelligent, informative, interesting, and revealing. I'll just keep my big fat mouth shut for once, and leave it to you guys to draw your own conclusions.
I also feel that it is important to mention that the appearance of Peter's interview here DOES NOT NECESSARILY SUGGEST THAT HE SUPPORTS OR ENDORSES THIS WEBSITE! I personally would love to hear his thoughts on it, even if he is completely and utterly against its very existence. Once again, I must stress that this site is for EVERYONE'S opinions, US DBZ supporters, opponents, and those like myself who are somewhere in between. So Peter, if you're reading this, you are cordially invited to tear me a new cornshoot if you think that I deserve it.
And finally, no, you can't have Peter's e-mail address! I don't want the poor guy to become a victim of William Shatner syndrome and hounded by fanboys to his dying breath. Besides, some of you people out there are psychotic, and I would fear for his safety if I gave it out. The last thing I want is to pick up a newspaper and see "Actor Slain by Crazed Stalker" on the front page.
Anyway, I've said enough, keep watching for more interviews in the future!