Rob Paulsen just can’t help himself. Over the hour of conversation with him Saturday at 4PM, we heard from Wakko, Arthur, Donatello, and other characters Paulsen had voiced throughout the years. A quick look at Paulsen’s IMDb credits will show you that there are a lot of voices in that head, so it’s understandable that they easily come out.
The question that Paulsen got asked the most was whether he had any advice for aspiring voice actors, either for themselves or for family members that couldn’t attend. Regardless, Paulsen’s response was the same: Learn to act. He added that if you perform because it makes you happy, instead of trying to follow a job or money, then you’re more likely to be successful. He also advised a young fan of 15 years old that now is the time to play around and try things out and develop those acting skills.
One theme that Paulsen kept coming back to was his intense gratitude for his situation and the job he has. “I am the luckiest human to ever draw a breath!” He says that when he doesn’t get a role that he wanted he feels sorry for himself for approximately 32 seconds and thinks about what it would mean to get a real job. Then he tells himself to shut up!
When asked if he had any regrets about a role he didn’t get, Paulsen revealed that it had come down to him and Billy West for the role of Philip J. Fry on Futurama. He couldn’t classify it as a regret that West got the job instead of him because it was absolutely the right choice. But it was hard knowing that he “missed it by that much.”
Paulsen said that he really enjoys doing panels and answering questions about the craft of voice acting. He mentioned that he also has a podcast that he’s been doing for approximately the last 5 years where he sits down with a fellow voice actor. There’s an unscripted section where they sit and talk about the craft and business, and then a section where they do readings in character from a script that’s not necessarily cartoon related. The podcast can be found on iTunes, and it is now available in a video format through Nerdist and Geek & Sundry on their Project Alpha platform (projectalpha.com).
As a treat, and in response to an audience request, Paulsen concluded the panel by performing all of “Wakko’s World” for us from memory. He graciously waited until we could all get our cameras out and start filming him, too. He also provided us with a performance of the updated version including all of the countries that didn’t exist at the time the original song was written. It was a special throwback to my childhood that left me awash in nostalgia, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.