Brandon Williams goes a few laps with Hotrod
Many fans may or may not have heard about the fan dubs produced by www.TFCog.net. And there are some fans who would like to know how they are put together, which includes me. I am a fan of the dubs because I for one do not know the Japanese language and the dubs give me a chance to enjoy Transformers series such as Beast Wars Neo, that I would other wise not understand. So I contacted Brandon Williams who helps write, produce, and voice act in the fan dubs. Brandon was kind enough to do an interview and about his work. I hope you enjoy this interview.
: Before I start to ask you some question Mr. Williams, I would first like to thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me. I have seen some of your work, Beast Wars Neo, and I enjoyed it. I know you are a busy person and it is kind of you to giving up some of your free time to answer my questions. Thank you.
Brandon Williams: Thank you for the kind words, Billy. That's probably more than I can say about a lot of episodes of Beast Wars Neo personally! I love the good stuff, but when something's bad, I know it. It's basically a progression thing... The latest stuff I love, while early stuff I can't watch. So when people ask for older episodes, my response is "do you really want them?"
: My first question for you is when and how did you become a Transformers fan?
Brandon Williams: I was never a Transformers fan growing up. Not even Beast Wars on anything later on, possibly because I wasn't interested in cartoons at that point. It's weird how things go on a cycle. Basically what happened was, my cousin bought the movie on VHS while he was over and we watched it. I thought nothing big of it... It was okay, but I didn't quite "get" it. Then, I watched it a few more times and with each viewing, I picked more and more stuff up. My brother also had a "Return of Optimus Prime" tape, so we watched that as well. Then I found out that there was a Transformers-G.I. Joe crossover episode ("Only Human"), and even though I didn't care about G.I. Joe, I still thought it was cool! So I kept downloading episodes and got really into it. That was my Transformers education. By the time Robots in Disguise was announced, I was hooked.
: Out of all the Transformers series produced, which one is your favorite and why?
Brandon Williams: It's really hard to compare them. Either they were done in different countries or different eras. I usually like the newest stuff the best because I've seen it the least, but generally I like everything.
: When did you first start doing Transformers dubs?
Brandon Williams: I think it would be around February-March 2003.
: What made you decide to start doing the dubs?
Brandon Williams: I was fed up with what Hasbro and Takara were giving us and I felt I could do better! Actually, it had nothing to do with that. It was just sort of an in-house project that I had the idea of doing - something no one else had really done and if they had tried, not been successful at. Anyway, when I presented the idea to my brothers and cousin, we more or less cast ourselves in roles.
: When would you say the Fan Dub Project officially began?
Brandon Williams: "Fan Dub Project" doesn't pertain to the whole deal... It's just the title to each series we give. For one shot eps, we use "Fan Version."
: What was the first episode you dubbed and when was it released?
Brandon Williams: Beast Wars Neo episode 1 on June 30th, 2003.
: How long did it take you to produce your first dub?
Brandon Williams: Well, when I started out, I had no idea what I was doing. So I had to figure things out for myself. Now, this didn't take long, although my technique was primitive and not very good at all.
: Over time has the process become easier and faster?
Brandon Williams: Definitely. Originally, I had been using a sound editor to put all the voices into, as well as the music and sound effects. I looked at the time on the video and used that as a guide. I would then run a "test" and watch it. Whatever was out of synch, I would mark down and then I basically shift everything back and forth 0.15 of a second or a quarter of a second until I got it the way I wanted. Sometimes, I never quite got it. Then I switched to using Adobe Premiere, which is great. Why didn't I use that to begin with?
: How do you guys determine which project to work on?
Brandon Williams: It's always different. With Neo, it was "hey, this would be fun with all these harmless little animals... and having Unicron in the series would be cool too!" With Victory, Peter and I decided it would be the best series to do which we could get our hands on at that time. With Beast Wars Second, it was more or less the last one we could do, by process of elimination, and we wanted to keep doing this after we finished Victory.
: Once you decide to begin a project, about how long does it take you to put an episode together for release?
Brandon Williams: Three weeks to who knows how many months. Generally, it's not up to us. We can knock these things out like it's nobody's business. It's up to the voice actors to send their stuff to us on time so we can continue producing episodes at our preferred pace.
: Could you give us a quick step by step of how the process works?
Brandon Williams: Get ready, because this might get a little lengthy. This would be for the episodes which Peter and I work on together.
: For those fans that are just learning about the Fan Dub Project and what help what can they do?
Brandon Williams: I think the biggest thing we need is support. We want people to download the episodes, hopefully like them and send us feedback
: Do you do any character voices in the dubs, and if so which ones?
Brandon Williams: Oh, I do tons. Big Convoy and Cohrada in Neo, Hellbat and Lightspeed in Victory and Scuba in Beast Wars Second. I'm also in Scramble City and Zone. Doing voice work in these projects for me is neck and neck with writing as my favourite parts.
: How many projects are you currently working on?
Brandon Williams: Four - Beast Wars Neo, Beast Wars Second, Victory and Robotmasters. I also voice characters in other people's projects
: Is there anything planned for the future as far as new projects go?
Brandon Williams: Let's just say that if you know any animators, tell 'em to talk to me.
: How would you gage the reaction of the fans to your dubs?
Brandon Williams: Usually, it's pretty positive... Maybe 85-90%. That's something that really satisfies me, as it definitely did not start out that way. As I said, it's all about getting better as we go along. Some people even say it's better than the pro stuff.
: Will you continue to work on Beast Wars Neo?
Brandon Williams: Definitely... That's my series! The series that I started, which started all this stuff! Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a backseat since we just started Second and Victory has always been the top priority, as we are over 60% of the way finished it.
: Which series that you have worked on in the past or are currently working on is your favorite?
Brandon Williams: It's a tough one, but Victory.
Brandon Williams: Neo started out with a learning curve. Victory started out far below our current standards as well, but we've produced more episodes and usually I'm very satisfied with them. Beast Wars Second, as of this writing, only has one episode out, but if every episode is three-quarters as good as it, then we'll have a new champion.
: Which episode that you have dubbed is you favorite?
Brandon Williams: It would probably be Victory episode 19, although 17 and 18 come close.
Brandon Williams: It's just a matter of constantly improving. Usually, the most recent episode will be the best thing we've done, but sometimes it comes up short of the previous episode. That being said, Beast Wars Second ep 1 is also in my top five.
: Thank you again for taking your time to participate in this interview.
Brandon Williams: Thank you! This is my first interview ever and I was a little surprised when you asked me... I mean, I'm just a fanboy! Even so, I feel I'm contributing in my own little way, which is part of the reason I do this. As far as people who are unfamiliar with our work go, you can check us out at www.TFCog.net. And I know people are going to want to know how they can get parts in our shows, so the best bet is to check the website regularly. Auditions can go by quickly.