#WritingWednesday - An Interview with Jeremy Cohen - Voice Over Extraordinaire ~ PART ONE

October 25, 2017

For those of you who are unaware, I'm currently getting one of my books, Dark Deceit, being made into an audiobook. This has always been a dream of mine, so when the opportunity arose, I jumped on the bastard and held on for dear life!

Fast-forward about two months, and I'm almost nearing the end of the actual narration stage. I've been working closely with my narrator, Jeremy Cohen, and feel like a real working relationship has formed. If this is, in fact one-sided, I feel a little awkward right now. (Jeremy, if you're reading this, say it isn't so!)

As we've chatted, I started to get curious about his work and the whole industry. After much deliberation, I worked up the courage to ask if I could interview him. To my shock, he said yes. To my delight, I found out I was the first person to interview him.

Interview. Cherry. Popped.

 I decided to split the interview into two parts, so sit back and enjoy part one of my interview with Jeremy Cohen...

1. Can you tell me a little about how you got into the industry? Was it something you’d always wanted to do, or did you ‘fall into it’?

I started doing accents at a young age.  My mother and I could never agree on what to listen to on the radio during long road trips, so to break up the monotony of brake lights and telephone poles, my mother and I would improvise conversations happening between the drivers around us.  Fast forward to my years in college.  I was getting my degree in Electronic Media, and taking a class called sound for picture, taught by an adjunct professor, whose day job was an engineer at a local recording studio.  One project required a us to learn the hardware of a sound board and to record other students doing some VO for a fake commercial.  I ended up voicing 4 of the 8 characters in that spot, and the teacher invited me to his studio to record a demo.  A week later, I played an excited sports fan waiting to get tickets from a genie….AND, they gave me money for it.  I spent the next five years attempting to get into a career more suited to my degree, I wasn’t happy, dropped everything, and did everything I could to do Voice Over.

2. I feel like I know your voice so well, but I have no idea what you look like. Do you enjoy the anonymity that comes along with narration work?

I don’t see my success in the industry to amount to me being able to enjoy the anonymity.  However, my experience working in advertising and television in Los Angeles for 6 years does allow me to look forward to the anonymity if I am lucky enough to work on the level of those with celebrity.  There is a great documentary available on Netflix called, “I Know That Voice”, which is interviews with some of the juggernauts of animation voice over artists.  I cant remember who exactly stated it, during an interview, someone mentioned that they have friends from on-camera-television fame that have become reclusive because every time they leave their house, they are swarmed by fans and paparazzi.  But some of these VOA’s that have voice some of the most recognizable cartoons EVER, are able to walk freely with their family around Disney land, sometimes even next to those in costumes of the characters they voice, and everyone is none the wiser, and they are able to lead normal lives.  (Mark Hamill is excluded because he made the mistake of being a young Jedi as well as the most iconic animated Joker in Batman the Animated Series).

3. What has been your favorite project to work on to date? Can you tell me why you enjoyed it so much?

This may seem like a cop-out, but my favourite project is always the one I am currently working on because A) it means I am working, and work means I can put food in my dogs bowl, and B) I just enjoy the work, there is a freedom/release that I get from performing and being on the Mic that I can’t get anywhere else.  Your book is also so very fun to work on because of the vast array of characters, in both genders, inside a captivating story.

Outside of your book.  I was recently hired on by a sketch comedy/variety show in Los Angeles called “Jake and Daryl’s One Woman Show: LIVE”.  They had a formidable social media following for a few videos they made for Funny-or-die.  They had pitched a few show ideas around town to the networks, getting close but not getting picked up.  They took a few of those ideas and made a great live show, a few with introduction videos, which they invited me to voice.  One of them being a sketch about what happens after an accidental apocalypse, and another introducing a terrible magician who works at a Casino and Discount Jerkey outlet.  First and foremost, they were hilarious scripts, and it was very cool to see or more over, hear my voice being used in a live setting.

4. Do you prefer voicing male or female characters, and why?

I can’t say that I have a preference.  It is VERY difficult for any male to voice a convincing female character.  That being said, narration does afford me the chance to do female characters, which is fun.  Alas, my anatomy does make it so I can make more distinctly unique male voices. 

~ ~ ~
Check in next week for part two of my interview with Jeremy Cohen! What's it going to entail? My lips are sealed, but if they were to slip open, I would tell you he'll cover how to get into the industry, what his process is and also about a very funny and slightly embarrassing phone call with his dad. I do believe my book was the culprit for this too.

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