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BABScon Interview: Andrea Libman (Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy Voice Actor)
Question: What’s the major difference between voice acting and live action acting?
Andrea: Well, voice acting is nice because it doesn’t matter what you look like. You can wear whatever you want. It just matters how you sound. With live action, there’s a little more that goes into the part. During casting, they have certain “looks” that they want someone to meet while they are auditioning. With voice acting, they don’t care about your looks as long as you can play the part. It doesn’t matter your age, or gender.
Question: How are the additional voices cast? Do the voice directors know who’s going to be Flurry Heart or a random critter voice? Or are there quick auditions for them?
Andrea: I think it depends on the role and how big the role is. These days, a lot of the time there are auditions for additional characters. Especially since the show has been running for six seasons, you kind of want to bring in fresh blood for these new characters. But that also means that if there’s an incidental role (which means there’s only a couple of lines for a new character), they will cast from within. Usually the voice director or animation director would pick who would voice that role.
Question: Do you think that we’re in an age where the people behind a show have more attention and appreciation put towards them compared to previously? I know that we’ve had the stars of Star Trek come to conventions but it seems that modern shows have everyone from the top to bottom appreciated. Were voice actors for cartoons as closely followed ten or twenty years ago?
Andrea: That’s a good point. I feel so lucky that we’re in this time, where people remember and care about who the actors are. I remember when I was a kid, I don’t remember the actors from any of the cartoons I watched. I feel so lucky that the internet exists and they want us to talk about our careers and what it’s like to do it. I feel that people are more interested in voice acting in general, too. I don’t know why that is, that also might be because of the internet.
Vicodin: I actually had kind of a followup question. You do voice acting workshops, right?
Andrea: Yes, for kids.
Vicodin: Okay, then this question might be a little tangential, but is there a main problem that you see with aspiring voice actors or your students that you think you could help them overcome? Do they focus too much on the wrong enunciation or focus on “making silly noises” rather than acting?
Andrea: With kids it’s a little different. It’s fun to teach kids, since they are (for the most part) very open when they’re in front of the microphone. They aren’t shy and they’re willing to try different things. Which is a difference from adults, who are more likely to have inhibitions when it comes to acting. In terms of mistakes, everyone is so different so it really depends.
I also teach piano, and everyone has their own challenges and struggles so I can’t say one particular thing. You kind of need that one on one time with someone. There is no recipe that you can follow, because teaching everyone is so different.
Vicodin: That’s true. Different people can pick up certain things (voice, inflection) really quickly while others might struggle with something completely different.
Andrea: Exactly. With that being said, that’s one of the reasons that voice acting is so diverse and interesting. Is that everyone has a different take on it, whether it be a line or a voice or a role. Even though some actors might sound like others, every actor is unique and that’s what I love about the industry.
Question: What have been some movies or TV shows that you’ve been enjoying? Any books? What’s your favorite form of media? Do you like curling up with a good book or marathoning a show on Netflix with a full tub of ice cream?
Andrea: Oh, well I was just in South Africa for a month, so I read Nelson Mandela’s biography, “Long Walk To Freedom”, which was incredible. I definitely recommend that. I’m looking forward to Game of Thrones, which is starting back up again.
Vicodin: Oh yes, just like everyone else. Do you like to curl up with a book or sit with Netflix and a tub of ice cream and enjoy?
Andrea: Hey, how did you know about that? I think both. I think it’s important to find a balance. Lately I’ve been watching more TV, so I’ve been trying to read more. It’s hard. Another thing is that it’s important to watch TV because you have to stay on top of voices and references for shows. Sometimes it feels like there’s so much for me to watch, too. It’s hard to find the time and the balance to get it all done.
Vicodin: Yeah, you want watching TV to be fun and not research.
Question: So, you like to do volunteer work in your spare time. I saw that you did a cycling journey for the BC Cancer Foundation. What organization do you volunteer for the most?
Andrea: That’s a cool question. I tend to support whatever my friends are doing and their foundations. I know I still have a lot of people doing The Ride to Conquer Cancer. My brother does it every year, so I always support them. That’s BC Cancer Foundation. I support the Breast Cancer Foundation as well but I’m not sure if that’s the same foundation as BC Cancer.
I also support the CKNW Orphans Fund, and the Pink Shirt Day Anti-Bullying Campaign, which is something that I’ve become involved with. I really love that cause. Have you heard of Pink Shirt Day?
Vicodin: I have not. Please explain.
Andrea: It started up in Canada. It’s a day in February, where you wear pink to support anti-bullying causes. It started up in the maritimes, when someone was being bullied for wearing a pink shirt. So a bunch of people banded together and wore pink shirts to basically say that if they were going to be bullied, the group was going to stand with them. It’s a very cool cause, and I think that bullying doesn’t always happen with school-age people. It happens with adults too. A lot of people can relate to that.
Vicodin: You mentioned you were in South Africa, was that for an organization?
Andrea: No, actually it was for a wedding. I had so much fun. It was incredible.
Question: Who do you think Fluttershy pairs with best in episodes? What about Pinkie?
Andrea: Hmm… that’s a good question. I don’t know. I think her and Rainbow Dash are a good combination because of the clash of personalities. Fluttershy and Pinkie are also good opposites. I also like Fluttershy and Applejack. The Bats! episode was fun. Even Rarity and the Pony Tones. She goes with everybody, really.
Pinkie and Rainbow Dash are funny too. I think that all the characters go together because they’re so expressive and fleshed out.
Question: Here’s a little hypothetical. If you wanted My Little Pony to crossover with any other show, what would it be?
Andrea: Law and Order, Special Victims Unit.
Vicodin: That sounds amazing. You got Zecora in the basement, Twilight up top with Celestia as the head honcho. Get on it, Hasbro.
Question: Let’s say poof, you or your OC are teleported into Equestria. What do you think your first friendship problem would be, besides of course having to pay rent?
Andrea: *Laughs* I don’t know. Maybe just… having to put up with the bright colors and happiness?
Question: If you could swap roles with one of the characters for an episode (for example doing Rarity’s voice or someone else’s), who would you choose? Who would you have do Fluttershy’s or Pinkie’s voice?
Andrea: I wouldn’t. Everyone is so excellent at their role and I think that’s what makes the show so good. Even I like doing what I do with my characters, that I’m lucky enough to voice. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Question: Do you think that in a decade or so, we’re going to see a spur of talented people that will be voice acting and creating shows and writing for those shows that perhaps came from fandoms such as these?
Andrea: Oh cool, what a neat idea. Probably, since that’s the way that the world works. Artists and authors are constantly inspired by what’s around them and what they’re seeing and hearing. In a way it’s inevitable, but I’m not sure how specific those links are going to be down the line. I love the whole idea.
Question: Celestia or Luna?
Andrea: I believe I’m supposed to say Luna?
Vicodin: Well you can pick whoever you want, of course.
Andrea: I like them all. They’re all awesome and neat.
Question: Anything else you want to say to your fans?
Andrea: I just want to say “thank you”. I feel so grateful to the fans. I wouldn’t be here (at the con) if it wasn’t for the fans. It’s been so amazing. It’s been six years and I’m still awestruck at how awesome the fans are. I have to take a breath sometimes and remember how lucky I am for having fans like these.