Patrick Seitz is a well-known video and anime voice actor, ADR director, and script writer. He has provided voices to over 100 characters on such shows and video games as One Piece, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Mortal Kombat, and Tekken. While at Anime Boston, I was able to sit down with Patrick and talk to him about the creative freedom of voicing characters, the differences between working on anime projects versus videogame projects, and the next direction for his career.
You’ve taken on roles in large projects such as Bleach and One Piece. Do you find there is a lot of pressure to deliver to such a dedicated fanbase?
There is. I remember with Bleach in particular – that having started so long ago – that was the first time I was in something that was such a big deal. There is that pressure, but you can’t let it be at the forefront of your mind, or you’ll start to second guess yourself. If that happens, you’ll end up playing it safe in your acting, which is doing everyone a disservice. Not saying that it should be completely disregarded; it’s always good to acknowledge when something has a huge built-in fanbase. But I think being over-aware of it breeds timidity in the performance or the adaption of the directing. You want to honor it, but don’t let it call the shots for you.
On top of voice acting, you’ve done casting and script writing. What direction do you want to take your career in next?
I think I want to keep doing the same thing I’m doing for the next thirty years. I think for a lot of voice actors, it’s not about wanting to do something different, but about being able to continue to do the same thing, and to do it with the consistency and profit that we like. Basically, keep doing work, get a fair pay for it, keep the lights on, and not worry about the next gig. It’s nice because once you’ve worked long enough, there’s a momentum of work the provides security. It goes from worrying what the next couple of months will be like, to knowing that you’ll probably be fine. It also goes from saying things like “It would be weird if someone hired me in May” to “It would be weird if no one hired me in May”. Anything can happen, but there stops being an ever-present fear of failure and starvation. There aren’t a ton of people that do this, so, if you do it well and consistently, people take notice. I have a lot of respect for the people who have been doing this work for twenty or thirty years. I mean, that’s a long time to keep any sort of entertainment job chugging along with any kind of consistency. But I plan on doing this until I drop.
What are some of the script writing challenges you have noticed adapting anime to an English dub?
Puns don’t translate well. Otherwise, the translation is usually going to take less time to say than the original. So, finding ways to fill the space without it sounded padded is a challenge. Conversely, we sometimes need three or four words to convey the same message the Japanese can in one, so trimming that down is a challenge. Also, keeping different characters sounding distinct. But, there’s always a way to get around these issues. Sometimes it involves speaking elliptically, or adapting the preceding line. But there’s always a fix. Another challenge is when the mouths are animated in a very articulate manner. It looks beautiful with the original language, but is challenge to dub over. However, I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t feel like you’re getting a secondhand product. There’s always a way to make the audience feel like they’re the first ones to hear it – and that’s my goal.
Funny and open, Patrick provided a lot of great information about himself. On behalf of everyone at Mithical Entertainment, I want to thank Patrick Seitz for his time and responses.