Megatron Speaks - Interview with David Kaye

You know him as the voice of Megatron, but he's the man of a thousand voices -- and a growing number of faces -- actor David Kaye was already a radio professional by the age of 16. Working summers and weekends during his high school years in Peterborough, Ontario, he dropped his plans for a psychology degree to pursue a full-time career on-air with Vancouver's CKLG. There he handled every shift before joining the popular "Morning Zoo" crew, for which he came up with zany characters like the drawling "Cowboy Dick" and "Stunt Boy" with the latter providing him an excuse for remote broadcasts from odd locations.

Writing and improvising material for the Zoo soon gave him a taste for more challenging fare, so he undertook acting studies. "When I was still in radio," recalls Kaye with an uncontrollable smile, "somebody told me I would never make a living in this town doing voice-overs. That was all I needed to hear." Kaye has since worked non-stop as a voice actor. He began by supplying vocal personalities to cartoon characters on series like G.I. Joe (the Canadian’s first cartoon character was as the "great American hero" GENERAL HAWK!), G.I. Joe Extreme; David played the infamous MEGATRON on Beast Wars -- Transformers (Also Beast Machines; Beasties; Transformers Armada); D'Myna League (BARRY), Kleo The Misfit Unicorn (his character SLIM shares star-billing with a character voiced by Mickey Rooney), Street Fighter (AKUMA), Kong (RAMONE DE LA PORTA), Exo Squad (Hallas, Draconis) a series directed by Gordon Hunt (Helen Hunt's, of Mad About You fame, father). Today, he’s still MEGATRON, this time on Transformers Energon. In addition, David Kaye more recently has been loaning his mug and talents as an actor co-starring and guest starring in TV roles in The Outer Limits, So Weird, The Sentinel, Viper, Dead Man's Gun, The Twilight Zone ; features such as Carpool, Prisoner Of Zenda Inc., Dead Like Me and the TV movies Murder In My Mind , Ladies and the Champs, MVP II: to name just a few.

Kaye counts guest-starring with Michael York on Dead Man's Gun as one of his best acting experiences. "I have been really lucky with the direction my career has taken … I’ve been able to do my own thing." That "thing" includes dead-on comic timing and a flair for intense dramatics. The six-foot, brown-haired Kaye comes by his flamboyance naturally, since he counts Captain Blood -- the infamous model for Errol Flynn's most swashbuckling role -- as one of his family ancestors.

Tformers interviewed David to find out more about the Character voice that Transformers fans love to hate.

TFormers: What made you decide to become an voice actor?

David: I was always screwing around with my voice and always seemed to have a tape recorder with me when I was a kid....Little did I know I'd actually be paid for it one day ! In about '89 I was taking a commercial modeling course. The modeling thing was kind of a farce but the commercial side of it....learning lines, acting, etc...really made it all worthwhile. My agent-to-be was teaching the course and thought I could do this full time. Few weeks later he called and asked if I could 'do voices'...I lied and said....sure !! That was for GI Joe. I eventually wound up with the part of General Hawk.

TFormers: What kind of education did you have to pursue in order to become an voice actor?

David: Well in hindsight I needed to be sufficient enough as an actor. You need to be able to bring it off the page.

TFormers: What advice would you give to any would-be voice actors?

David: Acting lessons....theatre experience.....don't grow up !

TFormers: Besides Energon, what other voice work have you done?

David: See resume (www.davidkaye.com) although it needs an update.

Recently on some pretty popular video games. I play Clank, on Insomniac games' Ratchet & Clank among others...Currently voicing the bad guy for a series called "Class of the Titans." My characters name is Cronus. Also Voicing a main character in the New upcoming Hot Wheels movies called 'Diesel "Pork Chop" Riggs.

TFormers: Tell us a little about the character(s) you voice in the Energon show?

David:Well Megatron LIVES !! Now he's become Galvetron. This is just the continuation of the Transformers legacy.

TFormers: Do you think you have any traits or quirks in common with the character(s) you play?

David: Yesssss. I DO have a bit of a dark side (laughing evil-like)

TFormers: What is it like working with the rest of the Energon cast?

David: I don't know. No, seriously....I rarely see anyone else as it's dubbed and not a pre-lay series. We come in separate to do our lines.

TFormers: Are any of you close friends?

David: Yes, quite a few. Michael Dobson, Gary Chalk. Scotty McNeil, Paul Dobson...The list goes on. They're all great fun to work with and hang with.

TFormers: Please describe for us what a regular voice acting session is like.

David: Pick up the script from the agents (when it's actually available), show up on time, rehearse...then we might record walla (all the grunts, groans, hits, punches during the episode) then we'll break for 10 minutes, come back and record the show....some pre-lay shows like X-men and such take about 2 to 3 hours...Some, like the new Hot Wheels can take all day ! The ADR session..Like Energon...is recorded with one actor in the studio...Voice director, engineer and assistant behind the glass. You have a TV monitor showing the scene. Just before your line, the engineer electronically inserts 3 beeps before your character opens his mouth to speak. Your job is to fill in the 'lip flaps' with the translated English words. Sounds kind of difficult, but like riding a bike, you get the hang of it fairly quickly...If you don't, though, they might be reluctant to have you back for any other projects that require dubbing in the future.

TFormers: Did the Energon directors allow you to develop any part of your character(s)?

David: Being a 'dubbed' to English series (or ADR) there's not much room for playing around 'cause the 'toon is already drawn.

TFormers: How is the Energon cartoon different from the other projects you have worked on?

David: No different from other ADR series. It's fun, 'cause the director, Terry Klassen, makes it fun...

TFormers: Have you ever seen G1 or other TF cartoons?

David: Not too much G1....I was obviously in the following BeastWars, etc......and I have seen some of those.

TFormers: What are your Thoughts/opinions on the different TF cartoons over the years?

David: It's amazing how huge it is STILL ! The toys are obviously the driving force behind it all too. They're soooo cool!

TFormers: What was your favorite cartoon series and why?

David: Bugs Bunny !!! Mel Blanc was/is still the king. ALTHOUGH>>>>>Family Guy is a real favorite of mine. I think Seth Green is a genius.

TFormers: As things wind up for Energon, is there any talk about doing a follow Up to It?

David: Don't know. I know there's a feature live action Spielberg thing happening. Hmmmmm, I wonder if I'll get the call from 'Mr. S. ??

TFormers: What other projects are you working on?

David: See above.....

TFormers: If it was up to you, what would be your dream Transformers role come true?

David: A call from Mr Spielberg about wanting me involved in the Transformers movie !!

TFormers: Each year, hundreds upon hundreds of Transfans From all over the world gather together for OTFCC, the (now-official) Transformers convention! Would you be willing to attend OTFCC if invited?

David: I did and have and would again.

Thanks to David Kaye for taking the time to answer our questions and to Holly for organizing everything. You can learn more about David Kaye at his web site located at: www.davidkaye.com.






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