Last week, the Hub’s Facebook page solicited questions from their friends for a Q and A session with legendary voice actor Peter Cullen; the voice of Optimus Prime. Today their Facebook page has posted the answers. Peter Cullen answers questions about his approach to voicing Optimus and gives advice to aspiring voice actors
Thanks for the huge response last week! The legendary Peter Cullen (voice of Optimus Prime) has answers to YOUR questions!
1. Brandon Torio: What would Optimus say about you if he met you in real life?
PETER CULLEN: I don’t know what he would say, but as all of us who want to do the right things in life, we might hope he could say something positive, encouraging and inspiring. “A desire to be observed, considered, esteemed, praised, be loved and admired by his fellows is one of the earliest as well as the keenest dispositions discovered in the heart of a man” (John Adams). Caring about what others think of you is the defining moment that separates selfishness into compassion and generosity. President Harry S. Truman once said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
2. Morgan Harris: What kind of advice would you give to future voice actors?
PETER CULLEN: Voice acting is acting. There are some out there that think its not real acting, they are wrong. Attend a session and just watch them perform. During “Transformers Prime” recording sessions I am always amazed at each and every actor going through their performance. They are uniquely talented, devoted professionals from different walks of life, age, and heritage. They have studied acting. Seriously studied, and have seen the ups and downs that come with it. Never give up. No matter how discouraged you become, never give up! Trust your instincts, practice your abilities, and above all, love what you are doing and do it with truth. I love this… “Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.”
3. David Shropshire: Have you changed your approach or interpretation of Optimus over the years?
PETER CULLEN: My attitude will never change with Optimus Prime. He came from a script that was a brilliant new version of hero. I still draw from my original source, and that source was someone closer to me than no one but a few will understand. Considering the effect Prime has had, you would have loved this man as well. There are times when a different approach to his character occur. I have weighed the significance of them with concern, but in the end, I find some justification. I must, for I do not have a final decision, I can only rely on their understanding of him, and respect for him. Can he lose his temper? Did he lose his temper? Is he becoming human? Is he real after all? Most importantly, will he always stand for the core values of society, the true measures of character? To that I say, “As long as I’m alive!”
4. Natasha M Lifa: What made you decide to do voice acting?
PETER CULLEN: It was really a ‘no brainer’ for me when I took the advice of my parents to do what I loved. I loved a lot of things, but somehow my ability to impact people with voices, sounds that came from inside me from God knows where, eventually won out. One elocution contest led to another, and before long I knew that acting was to become my life. I studied, and soon became a full time actor in repertory theatre, cabarets, and eventually TV and film. It became evident that I could audition for voice acting roles twice as often as on camera roles, and so, off I went. I am a lucky man and I wish that for everyone. PS, My first cartoon series was “Mighty Man and Yuck” where I met the King, “Frank Welker.” We have shared a great friendship over the years, and working with him again (Prime and Megatron) is to say,” It doesn’t get better than this!”
5. Becky Crowder: How does it feel to work with new talent in the “‘Prime” series?
PETER CULLEN: It has a glow of its own. “Transformers Prime” will possibly enter record for season three in the near future, and I look forward to that. I truly admire the entire cast, as each member brings something unique into the works. The show has its own soul, and as the Transformers has changed quite a bit over the years, the Autobot presence has not. The addition of humans brings each session a strong and enjoyable experience. We really love working together. The respect, the generosity, and the unselfishness of all, permeates the room. The laughter and appreciation we share together is undeniably one of the best experiences I have encountered in my career.