At 3pm EST today, or 12-noon PST, Tara Strong; the voice of Twilight Sparkle as well as everything else in the world it seems, will be doing an AMA on *leReddit. An AMA, for those who don't know stands for "Ask Me Anything" and is really a Q&A session. If you have questions, or would simply like to inform Tara that you would like to lick her armpits, we've included a link to the area where the AMA will be found.
The AMA should be held on this lesubbreddit . Be sure to upboat. Updated links will likely be available through the "Fritz's Funporium" Twitter.
"Funporium" as you may remember from our previous article is an upcoming naughty puppet show, described as "what happens on the set of an educational program when the cameras stop rolling". We'll likely learn more about the project today. Check back for updates
"Past or present, what character would you like to voice that you haven't?"
I would have liked to have been on the Simpsons. Would have been a nice paycheck :) When I was a little girl, I really wanted to be the Mermaid (Ariel)... but then I got to be her daughter in the sequel, so that was amazing. I had so many of my dreams come true. I'm so lucky.
"How do you think boys feel when they grow up and realize that Timmy Turner was actually a really hot woman the whole time?"
I think they're happy they fantasized on the right cartoon character... ;)
"I was definitely surprised. But I wasn't, like, taken aback by a negative reaction. It was a pleasant surprise! And I was excited because I know how much it means to people who are bullied, or loaners, or feel like they can't go out, to have friends all over the world... and these fans created these great communities that reach out to their fellow members who are lonely, and it made these great networks of people across the world. It reminded me of Powerpuff girls, which also crossed over genders and ages... but yeah, I was surprised, but totally happy about it!"
"How rigorous was the training to go from Tara Weak to Tara Strong?"
It was called getting married.
"On a scale of batman to joker how awesome is Mark Hamill? Also I totally had a crush on Raven when I was younger. Just thought you should know that. Big fan!"
He's off the awesome scale, he's so awesome. There's no word for the level of awesome Mark is the awesome of awesomeness awesome. Awesome.
"What kind of events lead up to getting in a Hayao Miyazaki film like Princess Mononoke and spirited away, and what were those experiences like?"
I think a director had recommended me for those films. I consider it a huge honor to be part of them. There's so few of these films, and they're so unique and weird and beautiful and culturally so different form anything we would ever know. So, yeah, I think it was just a director recommendation, and I was super proud to be part of something that incredible.
"Are you planing on doing any more Harley Quinn in the future?"
I sure hope so!
"Have you ever taken on a VA roll that you later realized you weren't really prepared for?"
Hmm. I don't think so? I'm pretty unbreakable.
"You might've been told before. ' Tara' is the Hindi word for ' star'."
I did NOT know that... I love it! Thanks!
"How does one go about getting into voice acting?"
I get asked this a lot... and it's actually very challenging. I'm lucky that i started when I was 13... it's not an open arms business. Take as many acting classes as you can. I highly suggest improv classes, singing classes, voice classes. The greatest misconception is that it's all about reading, but it's not. It's so much more than that. Practice in live studios every chance you have. Take as many acting/improv classes as possible. And then when you're ready, make a professional demo and send it around to agents. Good luck! :)
"Hello Tara! Huge fan here. You've made up about 78% of my childhood. Finding out you voiced all these different characters for the first time, I couldn't believe it. I thought you did an amazing job on Harley Quinn, it took me awhile to realize it wasn't Arleen Sorkin!
Anyway, I have sort of a dumb question, but it's always intrigued me. On an episode of Fatman On Batman with Kevin Smith, you said you've kind of "forgotten" your original voice since you do so many voices, and in interviews you seem to sound like a different character each time. So my question is, have you ever talked to your family as one of your characters, and how did they react? I guess a follow up question could be, have you had to go to a voice coach to "find" your original voice, sort of like Gary Oldman after Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy?
P.S. I'm male by the way, and I swear this is a rare occasion of me fangirling"
First of all... holy hell, that was long. I always do funny voices to my family and kids. I have no control over how and when they come out. I kid around a lot, but my original voice is a lot like the Batgirl voice, only a lot spunkier My real voice seems to be a good fusion drink... fine, normal, and then there'll be a spike of tabasco in it... ;)
"There have been tons of famous people who guest starred on Fairly Odd Parents (Jay Leno, Ben Stein, Norm MacDonald), who were you most excited to meet?"
We didn't get to work with any of them... they recorded their stuff separately. I presume that it'd be because they would be all intimidated by all the genius voice actors in the booth ;) I was most excited about Leno, 'cause he really had taken a step away from his comfort zone to do this. I think all these guys are a little afraid of us, really.
"If you weren't a voice actor, which profession would you have ventured in to?"
Something with animals. I'm pretty animal crazy.
"Hi Tara! Big fan of all your work.
1) I know that one of the biggest worries of voice actors is a "blowout," losing your voice for a few days because of screaming/yelling. (Your MLP co-star, Andrea Libman, had one when she was channelling the Incredible Hulk for an episode.) Have you ever had a blowout? How long does it take to recover? Any tips for avoiding one?
2) If you could have one voice actor role that someone else had - movies, TV, videogames - which would it be, and why?
3) I know you've said that you want to do more live action work. Is that why you're doing Funporium? Also, would you ever do a PG-13 puppet show (like Avenue Q)?
4) Waffles: do they really keep evil away from you?
Thanks, and stay awesome."
1) Yes, I've definitely done it. If you're sick, there's nothing you can do. Video games are really dangerous for that. Tea with honey helps. Take lots of breaks. 2) Already answered that above... somewhere. 3) Doing Funporium 'cause it's FUN! And it's a PORIUM! Uh... yeah! Seriously, it was a fun project to pickup, and hilarious, and so I was happy to come out to play! 4) Duh.
"What's your favorite alcoholic beverage?"
I like fruity sweet things... like blueberry mojitos, or vodka cranberry... You know, sweet stuff! OH! But I also like those fusion drinks with tabasco and funky stuff in it that will kick you in the BUTT!
"What's your favorite story about your fans? What convention has been your favorite to go to?
You should come to Anime Central up in Chicago! We'd love to see you! My boyfriend has worked cons that you've been to and he says the same thing I suspected; you seem like a fun, generous person to be around."
Hmm. Let's see. I have a fan named "Dragon" who was very upset because I couldn't go to a convention and he was super looking forward to seeing me there... And his mom was very upset on Facebook, so I called him. And told him that Twilight Sparkle loved him... and that if he was ever bullied, he should tell his bullies that you're friends with Tara Strong!
Re: Anime Central <cute voice> NO!
"Hi Tara. Is Funporium more targeted to adults, or will kids be able to enjoy it too? Say, under-10s? Also, will there be music/songs?"
Hi! This is DEFINITELY not a kid's show. Funny, but naughty! Many, many songs.
"Hey Tara! I really hope you see this. I really want to thank you for all the amazing work you do. Whenever I feel depressed or just need to smile, I turn on one of the shows that feature your talent. It calms me down and makes me laugh of smile when I need it most. Its gotten me through hard times. You are one of my inspirations So thank you. So who do you look up to or your inspirations? (Sorry for the long message) -Rachel"
Aw, that's a very cute question Rachel. Hmm. Who do I look up to... My mom. She passed away, but we still talk. She's totally my hero.
Must run! Friend with a new baby is here!! Thank you for being a fan, I love you guys SO much. Thank you SO much for coming and asking and playing! My friends at Funporium put this together so PLEASE DONATE A DOLLAR SO WE CAN MAKE MORE!!!! I have so much fun with puppets and Riz it's seriously crazy hilarious guys!
"How does it feel to be a voice so flexible, that here in Latin America your roles have been dubbed by fifty (yes, not fifteen, fifty) different voice actors and actresses from several countries?"
Wow! That's cool! I like it! :)
"When creating a voice for a new character, do you ensure it's distinct enough from your previous voices? If so, is there a limit to how many characters can be played by a voice actor? One would think that if a voice actor's career is illustrious enough, there are bound to be characters of theirs that are indistinguishable from one another. (As an example of this, I remember the first time I heard Mel Blanc as the Dodecahedron in the Phantom Tollbooth movie: 'That's Bugs Bunny! It's obviously Bugs Bunny! He's not even trying to hide it!') How do you ensure each new character of yours has a unique voice?
Have you ever run afoul of legal departments or other top brass for posting stuff like this?
Why doesn't Timmy ever wish for a panacea for all diseases, or a steady food supply for the Third World? Why would those populations be so impoverished in the first place, as their children would presumably be miserable enough to be issued godparents of their own? Huh? Huh? Huh?
How are bronies different from the other fandoms related to your work? Are we really all that fanatical by comparison?"
1) I'm very conscientious about stuff like that. And I really try to give each character something unique to them, so I do take a lot of responsibility with that. Once I create a character, they live in my head... and whenever I need to bring them down to play, I do.
4) Bronies are a lot more verbal about their fandom than other fans. They're also some of the most creative out there. The biggest difference is that they've created a great community for each other. They're also an amazing group who like to help others: they've raised 100K for a little girl with brain cancer last year, and a little boy who tried to commit suicide over being bullied for liking MLP this year, too.
"Two questions from me:
Which of your characters is easiest to voice, and which is the hardest? And do you prefer the simplicity of the easy ones, or the challenge of the hard ones?
Do you think you'll have voiced more characters than Mel Blanc by the end of your career?
Okay, maybe that was three questions.
Thanks for all your awesome brony charity work and community engagement! So Twilightlicious."
The hardest is Terrence, from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. And the easiest is Batgirl. If I have to sustain a voice for a long period of time I'd rather do an easy voice that doesn't hurt my vocal chords...
As for Mel Blanc? I think so!
"Does your husband ever get jealous of your flirtatious behavior towards others?"
Nah, my husband's a good sport about this stuff. Although I wish he'd get a LITTLE jealous...
Hi Tara, thanks for being awesome.
Have you ever been completely weirded out by a brony? You've handled the whole situation very well and have made it obvious you support the fandom, so I'm curious as to your worst experience with a fan.
I would say... I've been weirded out a few times at conventions when there were huge lines and someone's just stands there STARING, and STARING... I had one guy standing there with a plushy just staring at me for a good 45 minutes. Creepy.
"What has been your most complicated role/voice to portray been?"
Final fantasy was an insane amount of work. Soooo much work. Very long things are really hard to do, especially in games, where you have to provide answers for all sorts of various outcomes... Oof!
"Ok, here is the big question here.
Why didn't you voice Presea Combatir in Tales of Symphonia 2? Was it just a scheduling conflict or what?"
I don't know, to be honest.
Obviously the majority of your work is in voice acting. And if I'm understanding Funporium correctly you'll be doing live action acting. I know you've done some live acting before, but are there any major differences in the way you have to act when your whole body has to be into the role rather than just your voice? Do you find one to be easier than the other?"
Well, there's obviously lots of differences... if you're doing voice over, there's less waiting around (like for hair and makeup and lights). When I first saw the Funporium script, I laughed my ass off... and then I realized how many lines I had to memorize and man, I realized I'd gotten a little rusty. It's two different art forms -- kind of like tapdancing and ballet -- voice acting and live action are two different beasts, and some people like to do both!
"Hi! I'm 9 years old and I am using my dad's reddit account. I am your BIGGEST FAN! Not to brag but I have seen all your shows! even some Scooby Doo you were in. Since you played Twilight Sparkle the unicorn, Do you really believe in magic?"
Awwww. Absolutely I do.
"Are you still friends with Lauren Faust? Do you talk to her about how pony turned out after she left?"
Yes we're still friends, and yes, we talk quite a bit. We don't talk much about MLP, 'cause it makes her sad. It was hard for her to leave.
"What are your thoughts of being a guest at conventions? I.e. Are they better or worse than how you would've expected? What are the highlights of your experiences with them?"
I do love meeting the fans. It's a lot more work than people realize because I like to give people some real time and attention, and it can be exhausting.
Favorite experience: a MASSIVE, intimidating Brony came up to me once, told me I made his childhood and then PASSED OUT! Right there! Hilarious....
"Do you ever find yourself having conversations in your head with the characters that you voice?"
I definitely talk to myself quite a bit. Do you know how hard it is to go clothing shopping when they all want something different?
"What was the most memorable moment from recording Arkham City?"
Hmm. When I first booked the role, I thought I was going to have to do an impression of Arleen, who I loved 'cause I worked alongside her. I really worked on that impression, and when I got there, they said they didn't want an impression. They wanted it to sound like her, but with my own spin. Scared me a ton, 'cause everyone knows Harley's voice! So I played with it, wanting to honor Arleen, and after the fourth recording session, I was still listening to my little recording of Arleen on my phone, for inspiration. And the creator told me to stop worrying about it, that I WAS Harley, and that they loved me as Harley. It was the greatest thing ever!
"My son Bodhi, 6, and daughter Desmina, 9, love MLP, Fairly Oddparents, and Powerpuff Girls. Bodhi wants to know if you have a doggie? Desmina wants to know what your favorite animal is."
I have two doggies: a little white mutt named Latka, and a Bernese Mountain Dog named Baci. We also have a mustache bunny named Stasha, which Funporium Riz Manji named! As for my favorite animal, I really love dogs. They're so affectionate. I am really intrigued by sea lions, and dolphins, and whales... they're really beautiful, but you can't hug them.
"Are you going to do another episode of Fatman on Batman with Kevin Smith? I loved you on there."
If he asks, I will be there!
"HUGE FAN! My question is why haven't you done much live acting? You're a beautiful woman and (as far as I can tell) a great actress. I would love to see you in a non-cartoon form. (That is creepy!)
Thank you VERY much for doing this AMA! Like I said, big fan! You practically raised me, since I spent more time listening to you than my mom! :)"
... As you should.
When I was in Toronto, I did a lot of on-camera, and I got to do both. And when I was in LA, the voice over took off so fast that I wasn't able to do a lot of on camera. I just don't have enough time to do it all. In a perfect world, I'd do broadway, voice over AND live acting. So I pick and choose projects that get me excited. Funporium was one of those that got my attention because it was super funny... and worth taking off the time to do it. I have so much voice over work lined up, I work long weeks, so when I do on screen stuff, it has to be something I love and really believe in! Hope to do more!
"Hey Tara, Whats your favorite episode of My Little Pony??
Favorite Teen Titans episode?
Thanks !!! Dont stop being awesome"
I love Lessons Zero, and for Teen Titans... hmm. That's a tough one. In the original series, I liked the Trigon stuff and the Many Colors of Raven... I can't choose!
"All of your characters have to fight in an arena until one is left standing. Who would win?"
Bubbles. 'Cause she's hardcore.
"Hey Tara! Do you remember Tom, the brony you and Meghan "bronynapped" a couple years ago at Bronycon? I'm his friend that met him up there.
We both just want to say hi and that we're so lucky to get the chance to meet such an awesome person like you there and again at EQLA later that year.
Don't ever stop being amazing, Tara!"
Yeah... that was hilarious. I like kidnapping Bronies....
You've done a lot of work with comics-related characters in TV shows and video games. How well do you think that side of the industry represents the idea of strong female role-models for young kids of both genders? Also, are there any comic book/superhero-style characters that you'd really love the opportunity to voice?
I'm a big fan of your work, and thanks for the AMA!"
I think there's a lot of great strong role models characters for girls and boys out there... Batgirl, Powerpuff Girls, Twilight Sparkle, and Raven, Kylie... there are so many cool chicks out there for little girls to look up to.
I always thought it'd be fun to do one of the Wonder Twins! Then I got a chance to do it on Teen Titans. Otherwise, I dunno!
"What's your opinion on the new Power Puff Girls?"
I got to create that role and all that... So I still love doing the new version -- because for me, it's all the voice, not the animation. I hope that the fans love it with the animation changes... it's always scary to try something new!
"Is there anyone you've worked with that you were really excited/nervous to work with?"
Yes... when I worked with Dustin Hoffman. Also, Lea Salonga! I was obsessed with her in Miss Saigon, and we got to work with her in Johnny Bravo.
You really were the voice of my childhood, which is sort of crazy.
With having worked in the industry for so long, what do you think is lacking (in terms of programming for children)?
Thanks for your work!"
More FUNPORIUM! (which is so totally not for children.) Seriously, I'm having too much fun with it. We want to do more!
Evil beware, we have waffles.
"I lovelovelove your work in Afro Samurai as Otsuru. Honestly I can't think of a voice performance i like better! What was it like working with Samuel L. Jackson? Did you enjoy doing the voice of Otsuru?
Thanks so much for the AMA! Keep doin your thing"
I didn't get to work with him directly. In VA, we often work on our own in the booth, so we don't often get to interact with the others on the same show or film.
"I am old enough to remember you voicing characters on Care Bears, Babar and The Raccoons (my favourite is the latter). What were some of your best memories working on those shows and why does Canada produce so many great voice actors?
Also, who are you cheering for in the Olympics: Canada or USA?"
My fondest earlier memory was working on Hello Kitty. I was 13 and played Hello Kitty Cree Summer was playing the bad cat... I don't know why Canada produces so many great actors and voice actors.
<bubbles' voice> I cheer for both the US and Canada, since I'm a dual citizen! Yay!
"thank you for giving me an awesome childhood! now onto my question... Would you fight 1 horse sized twilight sparkle or 100 duck sized twilight sparkles?"
100 Duck Sized... CAUSE I'D STEP ON 'EM... I'D JUMP ON 'EM! I'D SQUISH HER LITTLE PONY BUTT!
"What makes you happy?"
My kids make me really happy. It's actually one of the reasons I don't do more conventions... They're at that age where they really need me and they're SO CUTE...
"Whats your favorite show that you aren't involved in?"
It would have been cool to have been in Breaking Bad. I'm totally obsessed with it.
"Whats the weirdest thing a fan has ever done to you?"
Made me sign their tushie. And I did. Nice tushie, too.
"I hope you haven't been a victim of inappropriate emails or social media messages based on characters that you've voiced, but my curiosity urges me to ask if you have been, and if so, what your general reaction to these are."
Yes. Definitely lots of those. And I do despise bullies. I've even received death threats. Not a fun time.
"What was it like working on the new Powerpuff Girls special with all your old friends and featuring Ringo Starr as well?
I heard the original creator wasn't a part of it, any backstory as to why? Perhaps because of the art direction?
Any info on this new special would be bangin'. Thanks."
He's not involved because he's at Disney now - it's just that simple!
"What's the weirdest thing you've ever heard coming out of your mouth while being a VA?"
"Um, about the party in your pants? I can't come. I'm sorry!"
"you're a legend in Ethiopia btw"
Wow... who knew?
"What's it like working on internet only shows like Bravest Warriors compared to the big budget broadcast shows?"
For me it's the same, because it's all in the acting. There's no difference in my approach... I like Bravest Warriors a lot though... I think it SHOULD be a show...
"Who's voice is the most prominent of the characters in your head?"
You mean the loudest? Harley can get pretty loud...
"So how about something Funporium related? How did you get started in this webseries, and did you bring any creative input to it? It seems quite 'Tara-esque'."
The writer and I share somewhat a portion of our brains. Maybe we're like long-lost sisters... Ellie (typing for me) sent the script to my agent, and that was that!
"Hello Tara, Have you ever considered physical acting?"
Have a look at my current project, Funporium maybe! I get to sing and act and enjoy the company of puppets!
"What's your favorite hat?"
I look good in a baseball cap and cowboy hats.
"Tara, big fan! My only question is: what is your go-to depressed food? What will you pig out on when having a crappy day? Everyone else asked the important questions, so I'll ask the unimportant one. :)"
I'm really not a depressed eater. I tend to not eat when I'm not feeling great. I do love kids' mac and cheese, and some pizza... but I'm a really really healthy eater, so my treat these days is a really nice cup of coffee.