Few anime series have been as beloved as 1985’s Robotech, and fewer still have stood the test of time in the mind of fans. The same could be said about Barbara Goodson, prolific voice actor, anime dubber, and, most recently, the voice of Robotech‘s Sera, who makes her return to the seminal series with this week’s release of Robotech on Blu-ray and DVD combo pack. Based on the 1985 OVA, Love Live Alive is one of longtime Robotech writer-producer Carl Macek’s final projects, as was revealed in the memorial documentary, 2011’s Carl Macek’s Robotech Universe. And because just one Robotech OVA wasn’t enough, the new combo pack comes with 2006’s Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, to boot.
To celebrate the release, we sat down for a short talk with Barbara about about returning to Robotech and her life as a voice actress. Plus, we’re giving away two copies of the new film over at Nerdist News! In space, no one can hear you screaming with excitement.
Nerdist: Before we discuss the release of Robotech: Love Live Alive, we have to talk about your IMDB, which lists over 207 titles, ranging from cartoon work on shows like Clone Wars, to anime such as Naruto. What some fans might not know is that you’ve dabbled in some live-action voice acting as well, namely as Rita Repulsa on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. How did that come about, and what was that experience like for you?
Barbara Goodson: Even before Robotech, from just doing the “cartoon dubbing,” as we called it back then, we found out very early on as a group from working at Intersound with Carl [Macek], about a company called Saban. The word got out that they were looking for people who could do cartoon dubbing, and I got in with them at the beginning, and started to do the boy voices. Haim said, “Oh, you can do a real boy! Sounds good!,” and I started to do most of their boy voices. It was just a small stable of actors back then, and I could do the women’s voices as well, so they just handed it to me and said, “Hey, can you do a Wicked Witch of the West voice?” So I did… and then they fired me, because people said it wasn’t scary enough. I said, “Well that’s how you directed me! I can make it scarier”, and they said, “Well, we’re gonna replace you!” I was a little angry to say the least, so I said, “Can I audition again?” and they said, “Yes, you may,” and I did. Then I came out with that scary voice that I would be doing 5 years later, for the full run of the shows and the movies.
N: You mentioned voice dubbing, and like your work on Robotech, you’ve been involved with countless anime projects. Is there a difference in your approach between an anime dubbing role and one where you originate the character?
BG: The only difference for me is to be able to keep the continuity, and that the voice is the same even when I’m under the constraint of having “mouth flaps” to deal with, and make that accurate. Dubbing is much harder because you have more of a technical aspect to it. You can’t go with your instinct as much and you have to honor what went before and incorporate that, and you have it make it match. In a way, it’s a more technical approach to acting, but you have to make sure your guts and instincts are running the show as well. Because otherwise it’s just not dubbing… it’s dubby.
N: You’re reprising your role as Sera in Robotech: Love Live Alive, which you’ve played several times in the series itself, video releases and video games. What’s it like to return to such a familiar character? Was it easy to get right back into the role?
BG: I had to listen to the way I sounded. I was a little worried because it was 28 years ago. I wanted to make sure I could get the same quality, and sure enough, Greg Snegoff said, “Yeah, that’s it. You nailed it.” I remember the personality of her; I just wanted to make sure I was in the right sound area again, and not have them have to tweak me up or something.
N: With the July 23rd release of Love Live Alive, what can fans of Robotech expect?
BG: Just being able to go back down memory lane and be like, “Oh my god, it’s them again!” I think they’ll like the story; it’s a tribute to Carl’s creativity once again. We put our love into it as well, and I think the the storyline will be great. I don’t want to spoil what happens, but I love how it ends. I’m in it just for a short bit, but I love reconnecting with Lancer, my love, and I think the fans will love it too.
N: Coming from such a renowned voice actor as yourself, do you have any tips for people trying to break into the industry?
BG: Don’t do it! If you “cannot not do it”, do it. It takes so much commitment and the passion has to continue. I wouldn’t continue to do this if I didn’t love it. Be honest with yourself – I can’t do every voice. I like to think I can, but there’s certain accents that are harder for me to hook into and that take more work. I finally feel like I have enough knowledge of how to get it, but you need a lot of energy and you always need to be an actor first. Get into an acting class, find your strong suits. If you’re more of a signature voice – there are people that just do one voice that’s so unique that that’s all they do, and they don’t have to worry about the versatility factor. If you’re a versatile person, be honest that you’re not as good at this one as you are with this one, and just put your best foot forward. I wish great luck to anyone trying to get into the voice acting field.
N: Other then Robotech, any upcoming projects that you’re excited about?
BG: I have some on-camera work. I play a crazy landlady named Olga in a web series called La La Land, and I’m kind of using my mother’s voice for her. I just also did a movie that’s going to go to festivals called Home Sweet Home where I played a wise woman. Women my age always want to look as young as they can, but they put latex on me and made me look older! Not what I was going for, but that was very sci-fi-ish and end of the world and was a lot of fun to play, so if you go to festivals, look for that. Other than that, I’m not doing any voice over work right now that I can really talk about. But… wish me luck!
N: Lastly, where can fans find you online if they want to chat or keep in touch?
BG: You can e-mail me at [email protected], I have an official fan page on Facebook, and you can visit my website at www.barabaragoodson.com. And lastly, thank you to the fans, because without them I wouldn’t be where I am today, and I’m pretty happy!
Huge thanks to Barabara for chatting with us and be sure to check out Robotech: Love Live Alive, available now, and enter our contest to win a copy for yourself!