Saturday, May 12, 2012

Q & A: Jamie Marchi Part 1 of 2

What’s the first thing you imagine when you hear the term voice actor/actress?  If you're like me, you probably see an overweight basement dwelling grandma with whiskers.  Something that perhaps re-enforces the idea of “a face for radio.”  On Friday of ACen weekend I got the chance to find out just how wrong I could be by having the pleasure of sitting down with extremely prolific voice actress, script writer, ADR director, and all around smokin’ hot sweetheart, Jamie Marchi (pronounced Markey).  Fellow contributor Grant and I arrived early expecting to compete for our chance to ask questions, but instead found ourselves with Jason Sackel and Steve Yurko representing The Unofficial One Piece Podcast and an ACen press moderator as the only attendees.  As a result, we were given a rare chance to really chat with Jamie on a less formal basis and get a sense of what she must be like outside a convention environment.  Her open and easy going personality made the interview go by in a breeze.  Before we knew it, Jamie had turned the interview around on us and our thirty minute block of time was up. If you are unfamiliar with Jamie's work you can see a complete list on her site.

By RonniGuy

Jamie Marchi enters the room dressed in business casual and disarms us all with a smile.  Sitting down she looks us over and asks us how this generally goes down.  The press moderator explains that she can either tell us a bit about her current projects or open things up for Q&A.  After some polite chatting the press moderator lets us begin with questions.

One Piece: Do you prefer voice acting or writing?

Jamie:  It’s really hard to pick one because in the moment they all become your baby.  It’s rough.  Sometimes you’re like "Oh yeah, I forgot about that show I did five years ago because I’m working on one I can’t talk about."  Stuff like that happens.  Right now I’m really digging the writing.  I don’t know.  It’s like asking me what’s my favorite chocolate.  It’s all chocolate.

Sure, but I’d take a Cadbury chocolate bar over any other out there…but I get it, sometimes you just can’t decide.

"It's all chocolate"

PA: What advice would you give to people looking to get into voice acting or writing?

Jamie: I would say if you’re a creative type, be a creative type.  Whatever your passion is, really hold onto that and own it.  If it’s acting - I mean I don’t think of it as voice acting, just acting - then do acting.  Educate yourself.  Learn about what you want to do so you can become better at it.  You know you can’t just go out there and become a doctor,  you have to know things.  Get experience, which will build confidence, which is huge.  Then just follow your passion from there, whatever your passion is.  Don’t narrow it down into one tiny little thing.  In the creative arts, everything is subjective.  Never take anything personally.  It’s never personal rejection, ever.  There is always something behind it.  Even if it is personal rejection, you can choose to believe it’s not.

One Piece:  What would be your ideal type of character to voice and how do you voice the ones you already have?

JamieWitchblade was kind of ideal in that it was two different characters.  It was one that was a sultry, fighting, creature of awesomeness and then there was the torn woman going through the journey of her life with relationships and what’s happening to her.  Those kind of things all in one great character.  That’s perfect.  I like the one’s where you can do different things.  The more levels and the more depth, the more places you can go with the different characters is usually more fun and the ones I like a lot.

As I snap a few quick photos I suddenly realize everyone in the room is looking at me.

Jamie:  Are you gonna Photoshop those so I look fabulous?

Right, like we need to Photoshop her at all…

PA: Um, sure.  I’ll just need to take a ton of them, okay?

Maniacal laugh

Jamie:  What is the number one question you ask people?  Do you ask everyone the same thing?

PA:  I usually like to ask about their current projects because I find that’s what people want to read about, what’s relevant now.

Jamie:  That’s the most difficult because half the time it can’t be talked about.

Don't I know it

One Piece:  How do you know when something is going to be announced?  Do they send you a message saying it’s okay to talk about now?

Jamie:  Sometimes they do.  It depends on the role.  I have to pay attention.  Lots of times my fans will let me know.

I try and imagine a time when I didn’t whore my post out via social media the minute I finished…nope, can’t think of one.

Jamie:  I try to follow as well, especially if it’s something I really want to talk about.  It’s then I have to be really patient and I’m not good with that.  I don’t like it.  I’m working on writing two different shows right now and all this other stuff and I can’t talk about it.

Jamie:  In the past few years it seems like scripts have become a bigger deal and the way things are written and adapted.  I’ve certainly seen that I get more appreciation as a writer than I ever had before.  Now I can’t even announce what I’m writing.

It’s crazy to think with such a prolific career she gets more recognition now.

Jamie:  Oh, here’s a good question for you!  What show do people need to see that they haven’t seen?  Cause there’s a lot of times where I have a favorite show and nobody’s seen it.

PA:  Does it have to do with availability, say on television?

Jamie:  I don’t know.  Maybe people didn’t get the word out or know what it was.  It should be available.  I think it’s available on Netflix even.  Don’t quote me on that.

PA:  Don’t worry we’ll do our due diligence.

Jamie:  You’ll check my sources, hmm?  So what’s your least favorite question to ask?

One Piece
:  For our interviews on the podcast we usually end up asking ten questions to the actors or studios.

:  And you don’t like those?  Do you have to leave out the cursing ones?  Sometimes I’ve done those and they’ll leave out the cursing ones and I’m like why are you asking?  Cause we all know what we want to know is the cursing one, right?

One Piece: Sometimes their favorite word is the curse word.

Jamie:  There ya go.  What about you guys?

PA:  We never really have many bad responses.  I mean, you get so lucky to have a few minutes with someone.

:  That’s the best answer ever.

Okay, when did Jamie switch the direction of this interview?

PA:  Do you find at this point you get approached a lot more or are there projects that you actively seek out?

Jamie:  Yes, I would say yes.  There’s things I care about.  I have a really good rapport with different brand managers who will give me a heads up with stuff to check out.  I’m much more aware and on top of it.  Not nearly as much as the fans are.  To be honest, it's because I’m so busy living in the world of finishing that script and doing it that I’m not as aware as most fans are.  If that even is an answer, I’m not sure at this point.

 Makes sense, her priority is on creating.

One Piece:  When you’re working on a show, do you look further ahead to see where things are going and is there a difference if you are writing, directing, or voice acting?

Jamie:  I don’t always watch the show all the way through if I’m doing a voice, which is an interesting technique.  However, as a writer I know how much those words aren’t always gonna be the same.  It changes and the dynamics change.  I have to trust the director so much as an actor that I don’t necessarily go in a different direction, like having a plan for it and get my heart set on it - cause I’m a sensitive creature - so I don’t want to do that and have it not be the direction it goes.  As a writer and director I watch the entire series before I even start writing it.  I mean what we can, if it’s still ongoing there’s only so much we can do.  I’ll watch an entire season in a couple of days, which is a lot of anime.

OMG, you too?

Jamie:  I’ll get those done so I know what’s happening and take screen shots of all the characters, even the bit roles.  You know, really try and organize it so I can follow it and refer back to it.  I even - cause I’m a little OCD - if I’m using a particular word say for Yamada’s First Time B Gata H Kei, we tried to find as many different words for sex as possible.  I was like “why just keep saying sex?”  How about…dirty dirty freak freak?  That sounds way more fun, right?  We tried not to repeat them very much.  It was fun.  Currently I’m doing the same thing with boobs.  I always wonder if someone searches through my computer and finds the different things I’m searching, it could be interesting.  It’d be a good story I’m sure.

Part two coming soon!


  1. Looking forward to part 2 of this interview!

    Last question sounds like she's writing the English script of a new fanservice show Funimation licensed.

    I like how Jamie finds it amusing.

    "I'm writing a booby show, got a problem with that?"

    Also that she has no problem using her real name for shows where she voices half-naked characters, when other VAs would get all embarrassed about it (in some shows those other individuals have used an alias).

    *tsk* *tsk*

    Oh well it's their loss and Jamie's gain.

    She proves she's more professional and gets to voice some of the most awesome characters! (fanservice shows can have some interesting characters believe it or not!)

    *Uzume (Sekirei franchise)
    *Mikako Satsukitane (Heaven's Lost Property franchise)
    *Masane Amaha (Witchblade)
    *Rana Linchen (Freezing)
    *Mimi (Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne)

  2. I can't say I'm a fan of her writing she tends to use trendy lingo in her scripts that try to make it
    modern & relatable to a 20 something audience. I like her as a voice actress tho she is over cast but that can be said about a majority of the current talent pool working at Funimation.


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