A few years ago on Halloween,(also a full moon) I went to a Con not as an actor, but as a writer. Still, somehow, I ended up doing an ‘Acting for TV’ panel.

I’ve been on camera, but mostly I gravitate to a fishtank and a mic. Too, I think being unseen brings out the best in people. They're not confused by illusions of body or sartorial splendor. I don't want my overwhelming physical attributes knocking out anyones speech centers.(It could happen!)  The talkback button causes one to refine feed-back. Sure, if I had a nickel for all the times director Terry Klassen has leaned on the talkback and said: “That was just weird. Can you do it better?” 

Succinct. Elegant. Actionable.

Anyway, on this panel, everyone but me and Maryke Hendrikse worked in live-action, and that was what the audience wanted to talk about. Let’s face it. That’s where the glamour is. The on-camera actors talked how hard 'the craft' was,  the process and depth of it all.  And one very good, well-respected, (other adjectives) actress made pointed remarks about this breed actors with 'attitude" who aren’t really good soldiers and just think they can stroll in and be all jokey. So of course, I made a joke. Of course I did.  Oh. Dear. Escalation.  I was one of those actors. Now herself kept referencing us and talking about slovenly acting habits and people who can't stand authority and how they don't belong in the business. And... I started to blow toony gaskets. Voices were building in my throat. I was on the verge of doing her right back to her. 

"No,' monologued the great arty beacon to other performers-- 'you can't just wear a bandaid on the bridge of your glasses, and be a 'nerd,' for example-- you have to have an inner life. What makes this person tick."

My inner life at the time: 
What if I stick this pencil in my eye?

Outer life:
SHE: " Hawhawhaw, thank you.  Yes mine too. Yes that was one of my favorite characters I've done. ...funny you should ask that. Yes, I find a touchstone for me is shoes. When I put on the footwear I really know who the character is..."


BLAARGGH. I released a stream of silly voices and accents like a completely crazy baby whose Count Chokula has been purloined.  Now normally I'm not reactive, I don't feel the need to top the floorshow and I'm a girl who gets on great with other girls. Who stole my body?  I just remember the wide-eyed expression on Maryke's face.  Hoo-mummy. 

What made me want to jump up and down on this actress head with an anvil marked "ACME" ? Still a mystery. Maybe I was the victim of microwave mind-control.   Maybe in a past life she stole my tube-top. Whatever. It was so bad,  so inexplicable, that all I can do is laugh at myself. Time to drop the pencil. Maybe I shouldn't call her a 'great arty beacon to other performers."

I'll cut that line tomorrow. 

My own inadequacies notwithstanding, on-camera is acting not that hard. It’s not coal mining or sewing in a sweat-shop.  Sure, take classes, get crafty, but when it comes down to it, it's walking and talking. Most have it mastered by 5 years old. Say your lines, try not to crash into the lights. 

It does help to be a bit brazen. 

They give you sprawling meals and treat you as if you can do more than merely imitate the way real humans do things. They treat you like you invented flowers.

Now toons, see, don't work from the inside out. It ‘s not viable. The tooner that has his nose up his petunia looking for the science usually sounds like he's over-working. Who wants to hear the gears? You want that superficial marker. The vocal equiv. of tape on glasses.  Yes, tooning’s a serious job. You have to read the script, arrive on time and know how to spell your name. For the contract. Then you’re a fly on skates, Jeeves. Skim that pond. Look! Down in the gluey brown depths! Could those be people down there be stuck in their own seriosity?

Tooning is serious work you do lightly. A good rule for a lot of life. Let's face it, shoe salesmen lose their nut over 'the new heel for fall.' You can get bent out of shape over anything. Like an incident four years old, Tabitha...

Yeah. Anyway,  so... like... don't.. do like me.

I EAT MY WORDS. NUMMY.

Last week I did an episode of live-action show ‘Supernatural.’  After my makeup was airbrushed on, (graffiti-face!) I moved to the hair station. I was first in the trailer. Then came Dmitri Chepovetsky, (Sweetie actor-boo I know from theatre days,) and shortly the two stars, Jensen and Jarod-- and bugger me, but the two “J” names shorted my only working brain circuit.

They were both extremely funny, Jared kibitzing with the A.D. “You’re fired! Go Fire yourself!” Jensen had the chair next to me. He had his sides in hand. He was very open, had this inclusive capable elder-brother vibe, taking care of everyone and keeping things on track. A supernaturally supportive vibe, you might say, (lol am) but I didn’t try to yank on his attention beyond greeting. They have to learn loads of lines daily.  I had my few lines and I still managed to salad some. J Name and J. Name had woolly suits on under hot lights all day. Not a boo-boo.

12 hours plus per day, the makeup lady said. Three months off to remember how to be human. Then she laughed a long time through gritted teeth. This is their seventh season. 

The camera man said, "You caught us at a good time. We're good on Monday." 
Another crew member piped in, "Not so much Tuesday." 
"Wednesday's bad."
"Thursday there's despair."/ "Yeah, dude, Thursday. Grim" 
"Good again on Friday."/"Yuh. Or not."  

Supernatural is a fun show, but the show I'd give my liver to see was behind the scenes. That crew, fluid and familial, irreverent, bored, engaged, expert and stuffed to the gunwales with personality under pressure.  Quel show! As the French say.  If I had cameras in my eyes I'd plug ‘em into my computrid to show you. Although… Gross images… eyes jammed into ports. Eww. Eye-juice.  Erase.

The thing that makes me laugh every time I work on camera is how unglamorous it is. You sit in your little cubicle in a giant bare trailer that smells of loo disinfectant, you’ve been waiting hours, you smell like a wet bag of mice, you can’t lie down because you’ll put a dent in your hairspray sculpture. When you get to set, you’re an object that all the expensive, important pieces revolve around, the lights, the camera, ladies with brushes. Someone sticks a wire up your skirt and tapes it to your bra.

You’re a lump of monkey. 

Then it’s ACTION and you waddle in and say those words exactly as they are on the page even if the way things are realized makes the exact wording daft and wooden. You try to find the floormarks without looking.  Oh, and don't say anything compromising with a wire up your frock.

Okay, so maybe on camera acting is a little hard.

In the name of relief, here’s a moment of tooning no amount of study could prep you for...

..

 


Comments

Andrew
10/03/2011 15:21

I loved reading this!

It sounds like you had an amazing time
and
I bet you're a natrual on camera Tabitha :)

(no pun intended, lol)

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tomtherock
10/04/2011 00:24

Could you please do a blog about Rarity in the future? It would totally make my day. :)

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Joey
10/04/2011 17:57

Can you do Heloise or appear in Comic Con?

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tabitha
10/04/2011 18:48

Thanks Andrew, ole pal.

Tomtherock

Hm. When the season starts up again I'll have a think. P.S. My favorite movie star is THE ROCK.

Joey,
Hi Bear. Um... Heloise or Comic Con. One or the other? Do peeps outside Canada know Heloise?

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Andrew
10/04/2011 19:54

My pleasure Tabitha ^^

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Andrew S.
10/20/2011 22:54

This was a great read. I admit that I re-read parts with Rarity's voice in my head, just for dramatic flair.

The video at the end had me on the floor laughing.

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Derek M.
10/21/2011 11:34

I can't say I've been on a panel, but sometimes I wish I could swing a hammer at people who come off as pretentious about their careers. With voices, it helps to grab the mindset of what you're voicing, but it ought to be fun!

Heavy lifting over a Mic is always glamorous. That's like rule #1 in the VO industry!

Thanks for sharing that - I got a real kick out of it!

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Tabs
10/23/2011 09:27

Thanks Derek... but... it wasn't heavy lifting!!!

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Mike S.
11/05/2011 11:28

Hi, Ms. St. Germain, this is my first time stumbling upon your website/blog, but this was absolutely hilarious! I always thought that Rarity was simply a character you voice, but I really do find myself reading this in my head in Rarity's voice. Acting is such a dramatic business. haha

I just wanted to let you know that you have no idea how many thousands and thousands of people absolutely love your work, particularly thanks to your voice acting on My Little Pony. I've always adored the incredible range you voice Rarity, particularly in "Suited for Success" and "A Dog and Pony Show," it's completely astonishing, but this season!

Oh my goodness, absolutely marvelous! I always find myself loving your parts the best, and then Luna is also so wonderfully adorable! Today's episode, "Sisterhooves Special," was so, so cute and heartwarming, it made me want to call my younger sister and catch up. The melodrama in her character you carry so wonderfully, of course you *had* to reference Vivien Leigh in "Gone with the Wind." It's incredible that your voice stands out so much against other incredible voice actresses such as Tara Strong. Well, I'm gushing and making a fool of myself, but I just wanted to let you know I'm going to try to watch more of your work for sure, and to keep up the wonderful work!

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Brendan
11/30/2011 10:26

Hello,
Firstly, i would like to say how much of a fan i am of your work. If you are the person that i think you are, The name Marie Maize, a woman who lived in Burbank LA, might mean somthing to you. If it does not then feel free to stop reading. If you know who im talking about, please send me a message; im related to her, i'm a huge fan of your work, and when my mother told me that she once met you when she was with Marie I was absolutly astounded. Please reply when you are able.

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Tabitha
11/30/2011 13:26

Hi Mike. Thanks for the props. Too kind, too kind, li;l bro.

Hi Brendan. I don't know Marie Maize. But that's a great name. I kind of want to write a character named Marie Maize now. I've only been to Mount Shasta in California. I think I have some look-alikes, however. There seem to be a few spare mes on the net.

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Brendan
12/01/2011 10:33

Thanks for the Speedy reply. Once again, i am a huge fan of MLP and Rarity especialy; The "Do you want to Hear whining?" bit from A dog and Pony show kinda won me over. Loving the "Worst Possible Thing" gag as well.

Stay truely awsome :D

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12/11/2011 22:42

Hello, Tabitha. This is my first time to visit your website. I wanted to say, first of all, that I really enjoy your works, especially on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I never thought I would watch a MLP and be a huge fan of the series. When I learned that Lauren Faust (who did work on The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends) was working on the series, so I gave the series a shot. It's a beautiful show to watch: great art, animation, great voice-over talents, and excellent writing. My favorites of the series are Spike, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie. I always loved Rarity, but I've really grown to love her character more, especially "Sisterhooves Social" and especially "Secret of My Excess", which just aired on Saturday on The Hub network. For the latter episode, you and Cathy Weseluck (as Spike) did an outstanding job; easily the best episode I've seen up to now. I really mean it. :) I look forward to the upcoming episodes.

Someone mentioned Comic-Con (I'm assuming San Diego Comic-Con), it would be great to have a panel or signings from cast and crew members of FIM there. Of course, schedule, availability, and other stuff play a role. If that's not possible, it's okay. I do want to thank you for what you've done, and I'm glad to have found your page.

Take care, and have a great holiday season!

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tabitha
12/13/2011 06:11

Thanks Carlos.
It sure is fun working with those loopy chicks. My mike is always next to Andreas so I get the up close and personal high-pitched meltdowns in sense-a-round. And when I get a chance, I do love to dish them back.

I've actually always wanted to go to Comic Con, although more as a big geek than with any desire to be on a panel. I'll see if anything can be done.--Thanks again. boo.

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12/14/2011 13:54

Hello Tabitha, I know you get this alot and I apologize, but I'm a huge fan of your work My Little Pony Friendship is Magic and Rarity is my favorite pony from the mane-six. I love it when she acts like a drama-queen over the smallest of things like loosing a ribbon or forgetting to bring plates to a picnic. I love how she is always generous and caring of her friends especially after the latest episode "Secret of My Excess" where she kisses Spike, it made me d'awwwww out loud. It amazes me how you go from Rarity to Princess Luna and Granny Smith,such a vocal chameleon you are Tabitha.

I'm also grateful that you take the time out of your schedule to respond to your fans, it truly means a ton to us. Anyway, thank you so much for your hardwork on Friendship is Magic and I wish nothing but the best of luck with your future projects.

Thanks for loving the bronies, signed Kyle.T

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12/15/2011 03:01

Kyle T: Those Spike and Rarity scenes were contagious to me. lol I thought they were going to kill me! ;)

Tabitha: Hah hah, sounds awesome! :D

Yeah, I understand that you prefer being a big geek over doing a panel (panels can be fun, but I understand it's work, too).

Sounds good. Thank you again, Tabitha. Take care!

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Tabitha
12/15/2011 08:46

Shucks Kyle and Carlos!
All I can say is that I'm deeply grateful that being a lunatic can actually earn me a living. I have no practical skills. I'd be voted off the island if I had to survive 'reality.' I'm glad you guys dig Rarity. Honestly, I had my doubts about that filly. For a horse she sure can be a bit of a cow.

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12/15/2011 11:37

Thanks for the response Tabitha, I'm just glad that your doubts about Rarity were wrong and she turned out to be my personal favorite from cast. You being a lunatic in the VO world is the reason many of us enjoy watching cartoons. Thanks again for being such a nice person and a great Voice Actress, a really funny one at that.

Signed, your faithful fan Kyle.T

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12/19/2011 03:12

I'm sorry if I'm bugging you and I don't know when you'll get this message,but I just wanted to wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Your work on Friendship is Magic is some of the best voice over work I've heard in my life and Rarity is best pony. This show has helped me consider making positive changes in my life, especially in the new year, so thank you once again for helping so many people with the help of your voice. Happy Holidays and stay safe.

Signed,your faithful fan Kyle.T

P.S. Rarity certainly has a thing for rocks doesn't she ?

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Yoyomom
02/17/2012 15:46

Yes Tabitha. Peeps outside of Canada know about Heloise. Jimmy Two-Shoes is/was one of the best children's western cartoons I've seen in a long time. Rarity is my favorite pony because of you. I would LOVE to see you at a convention and do Heloise

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08/19/2012 20:33

Shucks Kyle and Carlos!
All I can say is that I'm deeply grateful that being a lunatic can actually earn me a living. I have no practical skills. I'd be voted off the island if I had to survive 'reality.' I'm glad you guys dig Rarity. Honestly, I had my doubts about that filly. For a horse she sure can be a bit of a cow.

Reply



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