Carl Macek Passes Away

Anime producer Carl Macek, responsible for the American release  of  such titles as Robotech, Akira and Lady Death, passed away of a heart attack on Saturday.

Along with animation historian Jerry Beck,  Macek started Streamline Pictures in 1988. Streamline is responsible for importing many of the series that made the Anime industry what it is today.

“He will be missed by so many of us,” wrote Greg Ayres on his Facebook page. “The anime industry has truly lost a “Giant”, and one hell of a story teller….Rest In Peace friend.”

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Greg Ayres Interview

He rocked the stage as Hideki in Nerima Daikon Brothers, and stole hearts as the soft spoken cross-dresser Yuki in The Wallflower. Today, Richmond, VA native Greg Ayres continues to steal hearts in the world of voice acting, and continues to rock on the side as a DJ. Thankfully, he was able to take time out of all that rocking to be interviewed over email. 

How did you become a voice actor?

I never really set out to be a “voice actor” specifically. I have been acting professionally since the age of seven. I’ve done stage, radio, TV, film, along the years, and am always looking for new venues to “perform.” While voice acting seems to be the best “fit” so far, It’s not something that I ever thought I would do for a living.

There are lots of people who want to get into the voice acting business, but want to skip the whole “acting training” part. I’m afraid that’s not a reality. With only a few exceptions, almost all of us in this field have some sort of background in the performing arts.

I have to thank Monica Rial for my first gig with ADV Films. They were casting a show called “Spriggin”, and they were looking for a really young boy. Monica suggested that they call her friend who was “in his 30’s but sounded like a kid.” 

In spite of the fact that I didn’t get THAT role, I continued to audition for several other shows over the next year before landing 2 roles in “Steel Angel Kurumi.”

What is the favorite out of the characters you’ve done, and how did you develop that character?

I would have to say Chrono from “Chrono Crusade.” Not because of the size of the role (something that’s not really important to me) but because of the depth, and warmth of the character itself.

There are three things that usually contribute to the development of a character. The first would be the text – if the dialog is stilted it will hinder your performance. The second would be the Director – he or she cast you in the role based on what THEY wanted the character to sound like. And lastly the actor – who takes the visuals, and the music, and the text, and the direction…and brings it all together in the delivery.

I had a little extra help towards the end of the recording, as I was fortunate enough to meet the original Manga-Ka (Manga Creator) for Chrono Crusade. As it was his original story we were working on, I was thrilled to have the chance to talk to him about his original ideas for the character. It really made recording the end of the show very special for me.

What non-anime work have you done/are you doing?

The work I’m most proud of is a totally different type of performance. I have been DJ for the last 28 years (almost as long as I’ve been acting) and continue to do that to this day.

Since I spend most weekends away from home at anime conventions, I bring my decks and throw big dance parties. While I would love to spin in clubs again, I really enjoy turning people on to new music.

 What is the most fun part of being a voice actor? What is the most challenging?

The best part about this job, is that I get to do something that I love for a living. I can’t imagine a time in my life that I wouldn’t want to perform, so the fact that I get to do that for a living is a huge blessing.

That is also part of the most challenging side too. This is not a job where you will EVER get rich. In fact, with the decline of the anime industry over the past years…It’s not really a full-time job anymore. There are more than a few of us that are looking for part-time work so that we can continue to do this on the side too.

Who do you consider to be your greatest influence?

As an actor, I find the people around me to be my biggest influences. Part of the job of being an actor is being able to slip into the skin of your characters. So the people around me provide me the ability to understand so many things that I would never be able to grasp otherwise. So even though I may never go charging in to battle, I have more than a few friends in the service who do just that. I live and I learn through the people closest to me.

 Why do you feel that so many people gravitate towards anime?

I think anime appeals to such a large audience, because the medium itself is fairly broad. Unlike other subcultures that appeal to a specific demographic, anime has something to offer everyone. There are as many different genres in anime as there are in modern film, so as long as you are in the market for a good story…anime has something to offer you.

 What’s next for Greg Ayres?

I’m not really sure. 

The current state of the industry doesn’t look too good. In the last three years we’ve seen three very large anime companies disappear (Geneon, Manga, and ADV Films), and while many people would like to believe it was due to other things…it can directly be linked to loss of sales. 

I have spent the last few years at conventions talking to fans about the effects that digital piracy has had on the industry. 

So for the time being…I’ll keep doing THAT..in the hopes that it’s not too late.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As the above link indicates, Manga entertainment is still operational.

Update…

Having been busy with school and all, I’ve been neglecting my anime-watching duties. Hopefully, once my classwork settles down, I’ll be able to make it to some comic book stores to explore manga consumption in our area.

Towards the end of April, I’ll be taking another anime tour of New York, and will have loads of pics and stories from that. Meanwhile, I’ve managed to score an interview with voice actor Greg Ayres, which I’ll have for you by monday.

Coming up tonight: Lolicon and the censorship of anime in America.