Interview with Vincent Corazza – Tuxedo Mask

Vincent Corazza, voice actor of Darien Shields / Tuxedo Mask, joined Anime Revolution 2012 as part of a special 20th Anniversary Sailor Moon Celebration Panel.

Check out the following interview where Vincent talks about how he got into voice acting, his role as Tuxedo Mask, and the Sailor Moon dubbing process.
 
 

AR: How are you doing Vincent?

VC: I’m good, how are you doing?

AR: Good. So is this your first time here in Vancouver?

VC: No, I’ve been to Vancouver a few times. I actually lived here for about a month, on and off a couple times for a month, and I’ve worked here a few times. I’ve visited Vancouver a couple of times. So yea, I’m a Canadian boy.

AR: You’re a Canadian boy.

VC: Yes, I’m an East coaster though. Toronto boy; it’s where I was born and raised. But I rooted for the Canucks a couple years ago.

AR: How long have you been doing voice over acting?

VC: The first that I was introduced to it, I went to Ryerson Theatre School. I went to Ryerson University and studied acting. In the second year, we had a course called microphone technique. I remember the first day walking in to it thinking “Microphone technique? A whole course on microphone technique?!” I was thinking for acting, as an actor either on stage doing musicals or as an on-camera actor. And then it turned out it was for voice overs. It was taught to by Roland Parliament who, actually, was one of the original directors in the Cloverway. He played, oh I got to be careful here, I might get it wrong cause it was so long ago. We’re going back almost 15-16 years. He played one of the characters in the show but I can’t remember what it is. I was gonna say Melvin but I think it might not be. Anyways, Roland was my teacher for two years at Ryerson and this is what we did. He would bring in copy; he was a director, an ad writer and a performer himself. We had professional booths and stuff and we’d go in and get-. It was a godsend because it was something I love to do. I love to create voices. My favorite cartoon as a kid was Scooby-Doo, so I would imitate all the voices when I would watch it. But I didn’t really know that there was a career; I didn’t really know that there was a job doing that kind of stuff. I mean, I guess I knew about it but I didn’t know anything about it, how you got in to it. During my theater training, suddenly there was a course and it was amazing and its lead to a 20 year career.

AR: Is that what led you to Sailor Moon? Or how did you end up with that role?

VC: A little bit yea. I kind of ended up with the role by (the normal route). Once I graduated I signed with an agent, the agent sent me to the audition. But ironically, I originally auditioned and booked the role of Alan Granger in the Doom Tree series, and the director of it was Roland Parliament, was my teacher from Ryerson, which is very cool. I’m giving a lot of shout-outs to Roland right now. He’s a great guy. I haven’t seen him in many years. I now live in Los Angeles and I haven’t gone back to Toronto, but I remember bumping into him a few years ago. He means the world to me in terms of what he did for my career and my life as an actor and as a voice artist but he also pretty much gave me the role. Not Tuxedo Mask though, Tuxedo Mask came down the road.

AR: So how was it to work on an all female cast?

VC: I loved it actually. I still, to this day, feel very proud and honored to have been part of one of the ground-breaking, if not the most ground breaking animation for female driven storylines and female characters. I mean, there was Wonder Woman in DC and there was female heroine and female characters but I don’t really recall prior to Sailor Moon an entire series that was based on a group of women with multiple characters. They brought in Saturn, they brought in Rini, and you know, the later characters. Tuxedo Mask was a backseat driver. He took second place to them and I kind of love that. I was very impressed and I loved the idea we were creating a show where the man supported the woman and they (the women) were the leaders. What I also loved about it too was that it didn’t really, in my opinion, delineate in terms of placing importance on the women over the men. Tuxedo Mask still had importance, it was we were working together but the series just focused on the women. It was the heroic characters. I think that’s what really spoke to the fans too and why it took off. I mean why we’re here 20 years later. Here we are today doing this. You guys, if you could turn the camera around, you’d see all these people walking around and just lining up. It’s amazing. It’s pretty incredible.

AR: Early today in the panel you mentioned some sort of a technique or technology that you use for voice over recording.

VC: Yeah, the process that we use for dubbing. Animation is typically done where we voice the character in front of a microphone, and then they draw the animation after we voice the character. With Sailor Moon and a lot of the anime, anything that’s been created in a different country with a different language, we dub. English dubbing. But the process for Sailor Moon was a technique called the rythmo band.

Basically it’s a giant band, it’s a giant piece of paper almost so it looked like a band, but it was stretched across the ceiling. Imagine this is the wall here, and there was a band that will be stretched. The band would wrap around these 2 rollers, and basically, it was done in a spool and they would write it out, the entire script. They would write it on this paper, all in one line so it all went across, All our words would float across and we’d watch it. And then there was a line, and every time our word hit the line, that’s when we’d speak so that it would exactly match when the mouth was moving. They would even write the word out almost phonetically too. Say the word was “Jump” but I was going “JUMP!” they would write “J-U-U-U-M-M-M-P”. So every time the “U’s” would hit, I would go “juuuummmmp!” so it would match, exactly the lip flap.

It was a fascinating technique but it took a while for all of us. We’ve been hanging out at the convention and talking and reminiscing about the process and we were all saying that to this day I still think it’s the most precise way for dubbing. It absolutely matches the lip flap of the mouths that are drawn down to a T. You can’t get more precise but to learn to do it, it takes a lot of practice. It’s almost like singing a song. As Terri was saying at the panel earlier today, it’s very physical too. You get really into it because it’s all about timing. Maybe I’m thinking of this cause the Olympics just happened, but it felt almost like it was a little bit of an Olympic event where everything is about timing and precision and it was very physical. You really had to get into it.

You had to teach yourself how to read but also with your peripheral vision, you are almost reading ahead. You are trying to match the line exactly, but you are also trying to peripherally see if a word was suddenly being stretched out so you could prepare; so you could get ready to go “okay, I got to yell, I got to get a breath”. It was very involved but once you got into the habit of doing it and you got the technique down and you got the rhythm, that’s why they call it rythmo band, because it’s very rhythmic. It’s very much like singing and once you got it, the most precise thing that there was.

AR: Do they still use that today?

VC: I hear that it’s still in existence. Nicole, who was our director, I believe she worked for the company that owns the process and I believe it was at Montreal or Quebec somewhere. My understanding is that it’s still in existence. I don’t know if a lot of people use it because it’s a very labor-intensive process where you have to write everything out. Nowadays, mostly when we dub, we do stuff where they show the picture and you’ll hear “beeps” and then you just go. That’s more about, you have to watch the scene a couple of times to get the feel for it. To me, that’s not as precise because you can be slightly off. Now with modern technology, they can move, they can move or slide the audio, but rythmo band is incredibly precise. I think it’s still used. Some people use it, but it’s very labor intensive. From my understanding, it could be somewhat expensive to do.

AR: Just to finish off here. With Anime Revolution, it’s the first time it’s being held. Would you recommend this event to any of your friends?

VC: I would highly recommend it to anyone in Canada, especially Western Canada. I actually just met a fan who’s from Edmonton, drove all the way in. I think you guys put on a fantastic convention. First of all, there’s the setting. The Vancouver Convention Center is gorgeous. The time of year is fantastic; Vancouver is great this time of the year, it’s beautiful. I think it’s very well organized. Granted it’s the first year, there are things like the some of the panel and stuff where we had a couple of the panels going on at the same time, so that was like hard to hear sometimes. But, I think everything went incredibly well, it was very successful. I think all the fans loved it.

AR: Great! Well thank you for joining us today.

VC: You’re welcome.

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Interview and video production done by Hype Life Films.