John Stocker

John Stocker (Vlix)

John Stocker
Vlix, Zatec-Cha, Sollag, Greej (Droids), Widdle Warrick, Mooth, Hoom, Dulok scout (Ewoks)
Interview: August 2010

How did you get started in the entertainment business and what got you started as a voice actor? Was it something that fascinated you as a kid for example?

I always wanted to be an actor – since age 4, actually. I seemed to have a facility for dialects and voices, but they never really came to the fore, at least professionally, until I was about 20 or 21, when one of my agents took notice, and sent me out on a job for which an advertising agency had simply asked for someone who ‘would do a good, professional job’.
I’ve never looked back.

How did you get cast for both the Droids and Ewoks TV series?

I had done a couple of small jobs for Nelvana, and the Droids/Ewoks producer/voice director simply hired me – no audition required.

For the Droids and Ewoks series you voiced characters like Vlix, Widdle and a Dulok.
How did you get your parts for these series assigned?

This same person would simply call me into the session and say “What have you got for this guy?”

How do you create voices for (your Droids/Ewoks) animation characters? Do you use specific techniques, do you get inspiration when you see the characters, etc?

I would either see a drawing, or get a verbal description, and pray that I’d be inspired.

When you joined the Droids/Ewoks cast the Star Wars movies were the most successful movies ever. Had you seen the movies? And what did you think of them? Also, did it influence your decision to join the Droids/Ewoks cast?

Yes, I had seen the movies, but I wouldn’t say they particularly influenced me. It was great to be a part of something that was so obviously going to become iconic.
The decision to join the cast was not mine, but as an actor, my main motivation to work on the show, at least initially, was money. Who knows which projects will ultimately become fun to be a part of, and take you beyond the purely financial reward.

What does an average day working on Droids/Ewoks (or any other animated series) look like?

Animation performances are usually recorded individually, unless it’s either essential or more convenient to record ensemble. It’s not necessarily better or worse to practice this method, it’s simply a matter of style or preference.

Did you know that there was an action figure made of your Droids character Vlix, but since it was only available in Brazil it is worth +- $ 10.000 in mint condition due to its rarity?

I had no idea. My ego says I’d love to have it. Unfortunately, I don’t speak Portuguese. Got a spare one you can send me as a small ‘thank you’?

Your résumé of characters you have voiced and series you worked on is endless. Which character or series is your personal favorite?

No question – Beastly from Care Bears, followed by Newton Gimmick (Teddy Ruxpin), Clogg (Redwall), Mr. Cube (Mischief City) and Edgar (Benjamin Bear).

Being a voice actor you have seen a lot of animation series. What do you think of the fact that most modern animation series are done by computer instead of the traditional hand painted cells?

I love tradition, but this is the way of the world. Now we have both. Some day, perhaps, our current computer techniques will be yesterday’s news, and so become the nostalgia of future generations.
What would you advice someone who is reading this interview and wants to become a voice actor as well?

Wait until I’m dead. I don’t need any more competition.

What are you doing right now? Can you tell something about your current projects?

Right now, I do more voice directing than voice performing. I absolutely love it. Currently, I’m voice directing a 52 episode series for Amberwood Entertainment called Rob the Robot, on which I also perform a continuing role, and a new series for SpinMaster/Marathon called Ky Staxx. There’s another series on the immediate back burner, plus a video game.

Final question: how do you look back at the fact that you are part of the ‘Star Wars Universe’?

I don’t think this will necessarily be a part of my legacy, but hey, we’ve all got to be a part of some universe. And this is a pretty unique and special one.