A couple of weeks ago the Hub facebook page
asked fans to submit questions for legendary voice actor Frank Welker. The four selected questions and their answers have been mirrored below for those without facebook access.
1) Randy Young: What are your thoughts on why Transformers has become such a pop culture icon and endures to this day?
FW: Honestly, I think early on the ability to move the characters and have them transform was a brilliant design idea. You ended up with two figures not just one. The figures themselves were well thought out and stood apart from what was being made at the time. Also, Hasbro never sits idle for long they must have “mad scientist” idea men who work around the clock to keep coming up with new ideas, takes and concepts. I think that helps keep interest in the brand and grabs a new group of fans in each generation. Some things work and some don’t but they never stop trying to please the fans and it blows me away that they have listened to you guys and kept Prime, and Megatron as the leading force in the franchise. That kind of loyalty is not often seen in the biz.
2) Chibi Chan: If you could bring in any of the transformers from the other generations into Transformers Prime, who would they be and why?
FW: Chibi, you know what I would really like to see is a tribute to the G1 series and have a special that included the entire past cast or as many as we could assemble for a terrific 90 minute or two hour event. I know a lot of the guys and gals that are around and would love to do it. It’s problematic to bring charters into CGI life it’s very expensive so it would have to be like the old animated show and done in flat animation.
As to who I would bring into Transformers Prime, that is a tough question…there were so many I had affection for but you know what might be a good idea, have a contest and let you the fans vote for one Autobot and one Decepticon that you would like to see inserted into the TFP shows.
3) Christopher Curi: Mr. Welker, have any of your characters ever been modeled after the voice you create for them, or do you create the voice based on what the characters already look like?
FW: Hi Christopher, it is almost, with rare exception, the latter. We usually create the voice based on what we see or a verbal description by the producer or director. My favorite process is looking at the drawing or picture and then letting us the actors just come up with a voice to fit what we see. That is what Wally Burr director in the G1 days did with us. Almost always, that will be the best voice for the actor to perform because it is his initial gut instinct. But it usually doesn’t go down that way. The writer, the producer, and the director all have ideas that they want to be incorporated and often the amalgam is far from the actor’s first impression. Sometimes it works out great with the team effort…but to me the less messing around the better, after all if a picture is worth a thousand words that should be plenty enough.
4) Barry Koch: how hard is it to get the voice of Megatron down to the perfect pitch?
FW: Barry, just like feeling better some days than others there are times I feel such power and strength with Megatron it’s like flying effortlessly. Then there are those few days where I have to physically kick it up a notch to get him where I want him. There is technique for this…when I feel he isn’t quite as edgy as I would like, I do some low unearthly growls to get into character then I play the microphone on its stand just like it was a boxing opponent. I concentrate on the mike as a presence and bob and weave and pounce. I know that may sound a bit melodramatic but it works for me. The sound engineer may stop me once in a while because I am off mike but it really does the trick for the acting beats and getting vocal control.
Now I think is the time I should say, “I am a professional don’t try this at home”…but I would suggest it is a great way to get into character or maybe loosen up for work?? So put on your best evil face and move swiftly making guttural sounds, bob and weave and enjoy irritating the bejesus out of those around you!!! Yes, Barry, I say…”Start your day the Megatron way.”