In Case You Missed it: The Mike Pollock SAGE Chat

In Case You Missed it: The Mike Pollock SAGE Chat

by July 30, 2009

SAGE_2009Voice of Eggman Talks Sonic X Censoring, his Favorite Project

He may sound like an evil guy, but he only plays one on TV.

The current voice of Dr. Eggman, both in television and in video game, Mike Pollock was kind enough to chat last night with online attendees of this year’s Sonic Amateur Games Expo.  A good two hour session was had, and I sat in on the event, while both Brad Flick and TSSZ News editor Ryan Bloom fielded the moderating of questions to him.

We’ve compiled a list of some of his more notable responses here.  If you’d like to see the full log, you may do so here.  The best of the rest of the SAGE chats are on their way.

On how Pollock became Eggman:

Back in 2000 or so I answered a classified ad in Backstage, the Theatre Newspaper. It was a vague Blind Box ad for an anime dubbing gig. I send it my demo reel and booked a guest shot on what turned out to be Pokémon….Eric Stuart, the director at the time, remembered me and brought me in when the Fox Box was getting off the ground, and through him I was recommended for roles in Kirby, Ultimate Muscle, the Fox Box promo guy, and eventually Sonic X.  Sonic was produced by the same teanm that produced the Kirby anime, and they worked really hard to convince Sega to cast me, through a very long audition process.   That led to the games and to where we are today.  Confusing and exhausting but also fun.

The producers gave me some Deem Bristow samples to match for the audtions, and the early episodes of Sonic X reflect that. As the show wore on, the voice settled into a more comfortable place for me.  I just tried to keep the evil genius quality going throughout.

On his favorite project:

That question could have several answers. I probably had the most fun working on Viva Pinata, since it was very well written….(Pollock voices Langston Lickatoad in Viva Pinata.)

But I also had great fun today voicing a couple of NoDoz spots, and voicing the Astonishing X-Men motion comics. Both of those were more recent, but much shorter-lived. But for the purpose of this chat, voicing Ella just made me laugh, and Eggman is nice because he keeps popping up again a few times a year.

On Sega handling the voice of Eggman different than 4Kids:

…The material was different, which affected the voice quite a bit. Darker material called for a darker voice, and that was mostly my choice, not the director’s.  No one complained, so I stand by my decision.   It was less comedic, so the changed happened pretty organically.  I’m not gonna play favorites.

On Eggman vs. Eggman Nega:

The trouble with those one-off type characters is that there really isn’t any time to prepare. I first found out I was Eggman Nega when I walked in that day. And when he resurfaced in a game, the 4Kids talent booker had to ask if I voiced him…. basically let the director guide me and take whatever notes I’m given. I tried to separate the two by darkening my tone a bit for Nega.   I didn’t really have enough time with Eggman Nega to like or dislike him, unfortunately. He came and went so quickly. I enjoyed the challenge of creating the character in the blink of an eye, though.

On 4Kids Censoring Sonic X:

That’s a business decision on their part. They’ve gotta get their stuff by the network’s Standards and Practices people, so they do what they think they have to do. It kind of makes sense to me, since they’re targeting 6-12-year-olds, not adolescents and above.

On the time everything went wrong:

It was for some forgetful commercial product or other….I was frazzled running from one place to another, and the lady running the auditioning was really liking my voice, but kept saying she wanted more of a Stone Phillips sound…. I read four or five times, and thought I was being all Stone Phillips, but she obviously disagreed.  What made it worse was that she kept saying she really liked my voice, but we were obviously not connecting on the read she wanted.   And the best part was when I realized I had forgotten to turn my phone off and it started beeping and ringing in the middle of the audition.  Needless to say, she didn’t call.

On his biggest inspirations:

Watching cartoons and listening to the radio when I was growing up. I spent my early career in radio, doing voices in commercials and bits and stuff. It’s great to be able to have more time to explore a recurring character.

On other career options:

I’ve been a radio DJ and production director, as well as a radio comedy and song parody writer. I’d happily go back to any of those if the opportunity arose and time permitted. But notice that they all have the common thread of voice acting. Coincidence?

On how long he’d like to voice Eggman:

Easy. As long as I can. There are very few jobs I’ve ever wanted to give up, and the one that I would is a pain because I have to record from home and do hours of post production.