The epic Armageddon Expo returns to Hamilton and Wellington this month and that means two things: Going cosplay crazy – and meeting the stars of your favourite shows and movies. One of the stars you could meet is William 'Bill' Salyers, AKA Rigby from Cartoon Network's smash-hit series Regular Show. Maverick DEBBIE TAN caught up with Bill before his trip down under.
What’s it like playing a mischievous raccoon?
It's, um... only the BEST JOB EVER. I have been a mature adult for – shall we say, a few years, now – and getting to play an immature, egotistical raccoon is therapy that money just can't buy.
Add to that the wonderful people I get to work with: J.G. Quintel (the show's creator and voice of Mordecai), Sam Marin (the voices of Benson, Pops and Muscle Man), Roger Craig Smith (Thomas the intern, and about a million other characters), and I almost feel like I should be paying for the privilege... please don't tell Cartoon Network I said that.
Where did you find the voice for Rigby?
Rigby is a cross between me on wayyy too much caffeine and my teenage son, Ian (he likes to think he's Mordecai, but believe me, he's TOTALLY Rigby). The sense of the voice kind of came naturally out of the audition material I received. It was pretty clear that this was a character who had yet to find his zen.
Do you find elements of Rigby emerging unexpectedly in your own personality?
Gosh, I hope not! Rigby's life choices are kind of the opposite of what any rational person should strive to achieve; so, hopefully, I've learned more from him by contrast, than comparison. Sometimes, when my wife and I are arguing, she'll get a mischievous smile and say “You just sounded exactly like Rigby.” That's when I know I've got to calm down.
You’ve often expressed a love for live theatre. How did you make the transition from live action to voice acting?
Oddly enough, it was a pretty fluid transition. I find voice work to be much more akin to theatrical performance than on-camera acting is. When you work on camera, so much of it – the bright lights, the crew around you, the camera itself – feels very artificial. I suppose great film actors get beyond that, but for me, playing a scene without worrying about my eye-line, or pretending to talk to an actor who is already back in her trailer, or having my makeup retouched every few minutes – that's much more like the plays I've performed. On Regular Show, we usually work together, in the booth at the same time. There's an immediate sense of partnership, and our director usually lets us go for several pages at a stretch; so, even though I'm playing a raccoon, it really feels quite natural.
You’ve also voiced video games, including the Mass Effect franchise. How does voicing video games differ from voicing cartoons?
Great question. In video games, there are usually multiple outcomes for any situation a player finds him or herself in, based on the choices made. That can multiply scenes and dialogue exponentially. On a cartoon, you may have alternate lines to record, here or there, but you won't record one scene based on your character living and another just in case he dies. In Mass Effect 3, I recorded many different pieces of dialogue, based on scenarios the player could affect. There was even one patter song that was kind of an “Easter egg” – a moment the player would only encounter if he or she followed a particular, unusual path. I'm a gamer, myself, so I really appreciate the peculiar challenges of rendering a game character truthfully.
Regular Show screens Mondays at 5:00pm on Cartoon Network.
Already planned your outfit? Get all the Armageddon Expo deets here.
Armageddon Expo dates
Hamilton: May 24-25
Wellington: May 31-June 2
Auckland: October 24-27