If you’re a fan of English-dubbed Anime, there’s a huge chance you’re familiar with Voice Actor Brian Beacock. Beacock isn’t just about voice over work. He is an accomplished actor in film, television and most recently a few web series. We caught up with Brian Beacock as he prepares to screen his series, Acting Dead, at Scare LA 2015.
FGN: You are an incredibly versatile actor. You’ve done a national tour of Les Miserables, stared in several web series and even acted on CSI and in the film Mulholland Drive. Do you prefer working on stage to film? Do you prefer working on webseries, television programs or feature films more?
Brian Beacock: First of, thank you. Yes I had done lots of community theater from the time I was about 10 years old, plenty of extra work in films in the San Francisco Bay Area where I’m from, and Les Miserables was my “big break” I guess you could say. After doing the tour for a year and a half in SF, I moved to Los Angeles and started my career. Along the way, while working at Universal Studios singing and dancing for 15 years, I did lots of theater, TV movies, and lots and lots of voice overs.
A big “wow” moment was indeed working with David Lynch on Mulholland Drive. It was absolutely amazing and I was terrified before he came to set. Cause I’ve seen his films and imagined him to be….well terrifying! Haha. But he was the niecest, sweetest man and the whole experience was one I’ll never forget.
As far as webseries go, I kind of fell into that. I was writing a pilot with a writing partner John Yelvington called McCracken Live! and we decided to shoot a 10 minute sizzle reel for pitching purposes to networks, etc. People saw the presentation and suggested we turn it into a webseries, which we did. Lots of crazy episodes came after that and we did quite well in the web world.
When that wrapped up I knew I wanted to write more and make the series bigger and more like a television series and that’s how Acting Dead came to be. I’ve enjoyed working on TV, soaps, etc and depending on the budget of the webseries, there’s not many differences except sometimes content. You have more freedom on the web to do things that might not work for television. Lots of variables: content, length, style and tone, cast, etc. As webseries become more and more financed and produced by Hollywood’s “Big Boys” I fear we may see that going away.
With Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix Original Series becoming so popular, the feel of the webseries is fading and shows are actually just TV shows made for digital platforms, watched on your television, or wherever you watch TV nowadays. The medium is certainly changing and not many of us know in which direction it’s headed.
I love working on stage and have done it most of my life. But it’s LOADS more work than doing a move or a TV show. The concentration required to do a 2 hour play, non stop, no re-takes, is a different skill set than short takes, minimal amounts of scenes shot per day, etc. It’s been a while since I’ve done a play but I’m sure I would enjoy it if I went back.
FGN: You were also the voice actor for the English dub of Yumichika Ayasegawa on Bleach, Sakon for Naruto and even work on Digimon Data Squad? How did you get into voicing Anime?
Brian Beacock: I absolutely love my VO life that I’ve got going now. I started waaaaaaay back in 1999 with Digimon Data Squad, playing Takato; the most fun I’ve ever had with this brand new world I had been thrown into. My friend Mary Elizabeth was directing the show at that time and she had seen me in a play where I played 40 different characters so she thought I might be able to do some “voices.” Haha, which is what I was doing every night at The Coronet Theater. I auditioned and MONTHS later received the call that I had booked it. Honestly, it was from that moment that things just kind of snowballed voice over wise. It’s a very small community and I would received “bookings” without even auditioning, or someone would call and say “Hey I got your number from so-and-so, do you want to come audition for blah blah blah.” So it was really exciting, and continues to be.
FGN: How does work as a voice actor differ from acting on screen for you?
Brian Beacock: As far as the difference between VO work and on camera work, there are definitely some major differences. Firstly with VO, it’s ALL your voice; you can’t rely on whats going on with your eyes, or your body language, or a funny glance. It’s just the nuances in the voice, the pace, the rhythm, volume, pitch, etc. Very challenging but fun. And when I get on camera I actually feel free to use the rest of me! Haha.
FGN: Are there any other voice actors you get a kick our of working with?
Brian Beacock: Unfortunately, in our world of Anime, and to a certain extent original animation, we don’t work “with” other actors all that much. Everyone is recorded separately and then magically edited together into the show. I’ve met people years later that I had been in a show with and had only read their name on the sign in sheet or seen them in the credits. It’s very weird that way.
FGN: For those not in the know, can you give us a brief description of your series Acting Dead?
Brian Beacock: Yes Acting Dead, which is screening at Scare LA on August 8th from 3-4, incidentally. It’s a zombie comedy webseries… or a zomedy as I like to call it. It’s a story about a down on his luck actor who’s life and career is so bad that he goes to a company that kills actors and turns them into “actual” zombies so they’re more likely to be cast “AS” zombies in any number of Hollywoods’ newest zombie films or TV shows. In this world I’ve created, zombies are in every kind of entertainment arena: weddings, kid’s parties, TV, musicals, you name it. So, all these desperate actors make themselves more “real,” more “cast-able.” by actually BECOMING zombies. It’s a ridiculous series, very funny. Lots of name stars you’ll recognize. They style is very much like Arrested Development and Parks and Rec but with plenty of Shaun Of The Dead thrown in.
FGN: In Acting Dead, you play Tate Blodgett. What helped you get into the mindset of a newly dead actor? What is your favorite part about playing the character? Any challenges?
Brian Beacock: The mindset, very funny. Haha. The “brain” of Tate? Well I wrote the show, I exec produced the show and starred in it, so I’m not sure there was much conscious effort to get into his mindset, I just had to say my lines and be funny. Haha. But he’s so much like me anyway, it wasn’t difficult. I mean, we’ve ALL lived Tate’s life at some point if we’re actors in Los Angeles. We know that the business is sometimes absolutely terrible and awful and ridiculous. Acting Dead just puts a twist on it and makes it funny. And you root for Tate, you want him to succeed.
FGN: What is the makeup process like your your character?
Brian Beacock: We had a great makeup designer, Jen Grable, and we worked with her prior to shoot to create the look for Tate. I didn’t want flesh falling off or tons of blood in his everyday life. Because zombies are so matter-of-fact in Los Angeles in this world, I wanted Tate to be able to keep himself presentable at the very least. The design was very much life a BBC series a while back called In The Flesh: cold, translucent skin, opaque eyes (contacts), and blue veins everywhere. Took about an hour at least every day in the chair. And I went back and forth with makeup cause there are times when Tate is trying to “pass” as “living” so it’s kind of a dead person who’s put on “alive” makeup. Very weird. And different contacts for those scenes as well. My poor makeup and costume people (because we had lots flash back scenes) they were like “Is Tate alive now? ‘Acting’ alive? Dead? Pre-death?” Haha.
FGN: Do you have a project you’re dying (no pun intended) to work on in the future?
Brian Beacock: I’m desperate to sell my horror feature I wrote with my writing partner called “Rewrite.” We thought about breaking down the script and turning it into a series, or shooting it as a short for festivals, but we’re still bouncing ideas around. I’m writing a “live” show based on my character from McCracken Live! as well. And of course, lots and lots of voice overs and traveling around doing conventions for that and for Acting Dead.
FGN: Where will our readers be able to see Acting Dead?
Brian Beacock: You can get all the info for “Acting Dead” at www.actingdead.com. And follow us on Facebook (Acting Dead) and on
Twitter @actingdead. We’ll also be screening of course at Scare La on Aug 8th 3-4 pm and will be at Long Beach Comic Con September 12th and 13th.
FGN: Where can our readers follow your latest projects?
Brian Beacock: You can always follow me on Twitter @brianbeacock. I’m usually pretty good about posting things. Currently you can hear me as Sneech on Doraemon on Disney XD.