SacAnime 2016: John DiMaggio lends some real truth for future voice actors



Sacramento may be one of the most unsuspecting cities in the U.S. (aside from being the fourth hippest city in the nation), but things are moving for the small capital of California.We have moved from being just a boring intersection city for all the fun things to do in Northern California to actually having an eclectic midtown scene, a wine connoisseur’s quaint place, a farmer’s market dream, and, of course, a nerd’s safe haven.

We now have events that celebrate all things nerd-related all year long, from weekly Friday Night Magic tournaments for fans of Magic the Gathering, to our huge Wizard World Comic Con. Fans of all ages and creeds in Sacramento all come out of the woodwork, donning their best cosplay outfits, and fitted with a sense of awe and wonder, to enjoy a weekend of geeky bliss at these events. And no event does such a things more than our beloved biannual anime event known as SacAnime! This year at the event, we got a chance to sit down and speak with the voice behind so many incredible characters, as well as behind the voice acting industry itself: John DiMaggio!


Nerd Reactor: How’ve you been?

John DiMaggio: I’ve been good, man. Been busy. Things are good, work is good. I can’t complain. Happy life, happy wife, all that good stuff!

NR: I heard about your role in the upcoming Transformers film, reprising your role as Crosshairs.

JD: Umm… have they announced that [laughs]?

NR: It’s already on IMDB [laughs].

JD: Yeah, well then, there you go. I guess – if it’s on IMDB, then it’s true [laughs]. Yeah, I’m excited about that, it will be fun. It’s a fun franchise to be a part of.


Crosshairs from ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’

NR: Are you a fan of the original Transformers?

JD: I mean, I remember as a kid, you know “Robots in disguise,” of course. Everybody remembers that! I’m a fan of anything I’m involved in. I’m still amazed at some of the stuff I get to be a part of.

NR: Let me ask you, have you-

JD: Hold on, let me clarify that [laughs]. I’m mostly a fan of the things I get to do, because I’m a fan of the things that I do. And I’m a fan of the people that are in the things that I do, not just because I’m sitting around, stroking my own hoo-ha, and my wacky ego [laughs]. Let me just make that perfectly clear, that I’m not some ego maniac, I just like the things that I do because of the people in them, and what it is.


Bender from ‘Futurama’

NR: You’ve had a chance to play several parts in animated features from both DC and Marvel, do you happen to have a preference for either one of them?

JD: No. Neither. I enjoy all of them, I enjoy working for many different companies. That’s the best part about being a voice actor is that you can be on television and be on rival shows, both at the same time, and still not have a conflict. Which, for me, is really cool.

NR: And as far as voice actors are concerned, you’ve been in the industry for quite a while.

JD: Yeah, for 20 years.

NR: And you’ve seen the flow of popularity for voice actors all these years. Do you think this is now becoming the norm for people who are wanting to make their break in the industry?

JD: You know, being an actor is hard enough. However you get to be an actor, and make a living, is absolutely fortunate. Wonderfully fortunate circumstances. There are certain actors who can do this stuff, that don’t excel on camera. There’s certain on-camera actors that don’t excel at this. There’s certain actors that can do both, usually they’re pretty strong character actors. I think the secret’s out, that it’s wonderful work to get, as an actor, so you’re seeing more and more mainstream actors doing it. But, you know, it’s all good. There’s enough work for everybody that’s trying to get a job. But as opposed to getting into the industry, I don’t know. That’s everybody’s singular journey, and every journey’s different. However you get your foot in the door is however you get your foot in the door, and it varies from person to person and story to story.

NR: If you had an opportunity to sit across from someone who had just decided, two seconds ago, that they wanted to be a voice actor, and were willing to do what it takes to get there, but needed some good solid advice, what would you say?

JD: You need to be an actor first! You need to be an actor, first and foremost. You have to have it. For the most part, you have to have it. If you don’t have it, you’re not going to make it. It being just that magic thing that makes you able to do all different stuff, all different kinds of voices. Being able to act into a microphone for 4 hours straight, sometimes people just think it’s like, “Oh, I can do silly voices, I’m going to be in it.” I’m like, no, it takes a lot more than that. It takes a lot more focus and discipline. It takes a lot of training. People are like, “I’m really inspired by your film,” and it’s like, “Yeah… good luck.” It’s hard, it’s hard work. It’s hard work to get. That’s one of the hardest things about it. Being an actor, 99% of the work that you do is trying to get a job. Nobody tells people that, and that’s the thing. People are like, “I’m a voice actor in training. I’m trying to be a voice actor.” It’s like, “Good luck.” It’s going to be tough. You’re going to have trials and tribulations. You’re going to have people that tell you that you suck all the time, and people, who shouldn’t be critiquing you, critiquing you, and trying to tear you down. You’re going to have people telling you no all the time. If you have the armor to take that, and if you have the talent to provide a service, and if you have the patience and strength to wait and to pull it out, all the better for you. But if you don’t have those things, bye. See you later. Done. It’s a wrap. You’re not going to make it. Sorry, you’re simply just not going to make it. And a lot of people don’t want to hear that, so, I’m saying it [laughs]. I’m saying it.

NR: Yeah, I agree.

JD: It’s like, yeah, give it a shot. There’s a long, loooong line going way down the street, wrapping around the corner, and it keeps on going further down. So, get on the back of the line, and see how you do. Because anybody that gets cutsies into that line is going to miss out on where they should’ve gotten in line, and they’re going to miss that wisdom. People forget about that, you know? It’s like sometimes you really have to wait, you really have to dig in those trenches, to appreciate it, to learn it, to figure it out.


Joker from ‘Under the Red Hood’

NR: That’s some solid truth right there. On a lighter note, you’ve had great opportunities to voice so many characters. Is there any franchise that you’d really love to crack and voice one their characters?

JD: You know, to be honest, I’m really happy with the way things have worked out. I don’t really have that have that wish. I mean, I kind of would like to play the Joker one more time. But as far as a dream job, I’m already in it. I already earned it, being an actor, and doing voices for animation and video games. I’m already there. To say “Well my dream job is…” that would be a double negative, and I’d end up, you know, drinking 40s in the street, asking people for change [laughs].

NR:  I could see you as a pretty bad-ass fusion of Bender and…

JD: I thought you were going to say that you could see me as a pretty bad-ass bum [laughs]! Drinking in the street!

NR: Oh yeah, well I bet you could be a great bum too [laughs]. Acting like Bender and doing voices for change.

JD: [Laughs] Hey, that one guy in Ohio did it, so it’s possible!


A big thank you to our friends at SacAnime for bringing John to Sacramento, and make sure to check out all of his upcoming projects, including Transformers: The Last Knight, hitting theaters in 2017.

If you’re in the Sacramento area, and want to check out more information about SacAnime, you can head over to their website here.

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