Toonarific Interview – Erin Fitzgerald

Originally posted: 4-28-2005

The angelic voice behind Nazz and May Kanker on “Ed, Edd & Eddy”, Piranha Mae on “Fat Dog Mendoza”, cartoons, video games, and so much more!

It’s interviews like these that make me wish I was doing this in person. Erin is absolutely brilliant! Not only does she voice some incredibly popular cartoons, but also Anime dubs, and video games! With ever changing personalities and hair colors, this actress has the ability to blend into any production she is currently working on. You may have heard her as Nazz or May Kanker on the Eds, or you may have heard her voice while you were ripping apart some bad guys in Spawn Armageddon. Wherever it was, she was there; watching and waiting in the shadows, ready to pounce when you least expect it! But enough of that, see what she had to say!

What was your childhood like? Where did you grow up? Was any of your immediate family in entertainment?
I was born in Victoria, British Columbia. Daughter of a Commander in the Navy and a Forensic Nurse. I grew up all over Canada (practically every province) my father, Uncle Dave and Uncle Lou were the funniest most entertaining people I’ve ever met but had nothing to do with the industry. My father is comparable to Peter Sellers in his ability to morph into anyone from any country. He always made up characters and mimicked accents and I know that’s where I was most influenced growing up.
What was your favorite cartoons/series/shows as you were growing up? Did any of them inspire you to get into the voice-over industry?
I loved superfriends, scooby doo, fat albert, the smurfs, he-man, she-ra, strawberry shortcake. Honestly if it was a cartoon I watched it. I looooooved cartoons. (and still do) I spent hours watching them and renting them when VHS was invented. (and still do) I didn’t have a clue there were people doing hte voices of the characters because I really gave myself up to the shows and believed they existed for real.
After High School, did you attend college? If so, what was your major?
I went to the University of Victoria receiving a BFA acting specialization. The 1st year started out with 70 students in the program and they cut students every year ending up with the 4th year class of 8 of us.
What was your first job in entertainment? How did you hear of the position; get the assignment; etc?
My first entertainment job was when I was 16 and I auditioned for a tv show shooting in Ottawa, Ontario called “Denim Blues”. I didn’t get the part put I got hired to do extra work and I thought that it was the cat’s meow to just be on set, talk with the actors and get to know directors and producers. Sandra Oh was in that series as a teenager (she recently starred in “Sideways” and is in Grey’s Anatomy)
Just to name a few, so far you have worked on shows like Sabrina: TAS, Generation O, Dragon Tales, Flint the Time Detective, Rainbow Fish…and best of all Nazz and May Kanker on Ed, Edd & Eddy. Of the shows you have worked on, what do you think was your favorite? Of the people you have worked with on these shows, whom did you enjoy the most, learn the most from, etc?
I think so far my favorite tv show that I’ve worked is “Fat Dog Mendoza” playing Piranha Mae. It airs as reruns on Cartoon Network UK only. It was the funniest scripts I’d ever read and the most hilarious actors were working on it. It really didn’t feel like work at all, it was so much fun. Unfortunately the company that animated it didn’t spend enough money on the animation and the incredibly talented artwork of Scott Musgrove didn’t get the opportunity to be showcased properly. I think that’s why the show never got off the ground. It was very “calvin and hobbs” meets “the tick”

Of the people I’ve worked with that I’ve learned the most from I’d have to go to the video game arena on that. I had the incredible blessing of gettting to work with a man named Jack Fletcher on Everquest II. He is an unbelievably talented director with such a creative edge to him that I really got to experience what I do, voice acting, as an Artform. He raised my awareness of what I do to the full potential that I have. the fact that he did this on a video game, where I didn’t get to work with other actors, blew my mind and I believed he raised my game for everything I do.

I want to focus on the Eds right now. It is one of the most popular shows on Cartoon Network, and has quite the following the world over. When you first started working on this show, did you think that it would catch on the way it has? Does being the cool girl and a trailer jockey on the same show give you a split personality at times?
I have always had a multiple personality ( my husband will tell you that, he feels like he’s married to a harem of women) but as for knowing the Eds would hit. I had no idea. No one did. I knew it was going to be a terrific show but lots of terrific shows get the ax. Thank god for all the fans that keep tuning in week after week. Proving to the world that the audience can dictate the life of a show.
There are so many stories about the Eds series ending. To clear this up, have you heard of it coming to an end, or will they still be producing new episodes and seasons? Interestingly enough, someone who we interviewed earlier is actually doing the monster designs for the Ed’s Halloween special coming out this year.
Yes, last year was going to be the end of the Eds, we even recorded a “last” episode but when the new president of Cartoon Network came in he asked Danny if he wanted to do a movie or some seasonal specials. Danny chose the seasonal specials and we recorded them. Then the president asked if Danny would please do 26 more eps. please. and Danny felt that he’d do it for the fans and so here we are, after the 26 eps. Who knows. I guess we’ll all find out when we get there.
From look at your site, and email, it seems you enjoy working on the Piranha Mae character on Fat Dog Mendoza. I have yet to see the series, so please fill me in on what it is about, and what your character is like.
I mentioned what the show was like earlier but my character was this quiet girl named Piranha Mae who has a kind of addiction to adrenaline activities. So she’s very shy and quiet until something excites her and then she turns psycho excited. For me it was going from 0 to 60 in less than a minute. A real challenge and lots of fun. I love her.
Not only have you worked on the shows I mentioned earlier, but you have also jumped the oceans and worked on the English voiceovers for some very popular Anime titles, Saber Marionette J & Ranma 1/2. On Saber you voiced the characters Cherry and Luchs, and on Ranma 1/2 you were Kodachi Kuno. Since the early 90s, Anime has become quite the household name. Even earlier when you realize that many of the shows we grew up on in the 60s, 70s, an 80s were imported from abroad. When you first had the opportunity to work in anime, what was your reaction? Were you a buff of the format, or was it just another job? If you are an avid follower of the genre, what is your favorite anime series/movies? Did you bring anything out of working on these shows?
When I started in anime, I had only seen a couple of limited things that were dubbed horribly, so I thought that was the way you were supposed to sound. No one took the time to explain what anime was and I never took the time to investigate it further. I did the shows and I loved doing them. I think dubbing is the most challenging artform there is. To act and match flaps at the same time is incredibly difficult especially under the pressure of time and number of lines to get done. I think that’s why so many performances suffer. I feel I’m quite good at it. Its only since I’ve lived in Los Angeles that I’ve turned into an anime buff. I decided that maybe it was time I got back into dubbing, since I loved it so much, and I’ve been trying to get work here, but no luck so far. I was given the gift of a book called “anime explosion” by Patrick Drazen and I fell in love with it. i was finally learning all the things i should have known years ago. And with the help of Netflix i could all of a sudden have access to every anime series that interested me. right now i’m into Bubblegum crisis tokyo 2040. Movies i love include perfect blue,spirited away, cowboy bebop and ghost in the shell 2.
Video Games! Now this is something all us albino geeks can really sink our teeth into. No man can just veg in front of a tv watching cartoons all day, every day. We must have video games too! You have done voices in some really hot titles: Spawn Armageddon, Everquest II, Shark Tale, I-Ninja, Destroy All Humans, and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. This is the first time I have interviewed someone who has worked on so many game titles before, so I have to know, is it any different working on a game compared to a tv program? Also, why do some people that voice game characters sound so awful. Like they are reading a report in front of 5th grade English class? Did you work with any of those guys 🙂 ? Any games on the horizon that you will be working on? Are you a gaming nut, and if so, what is your fav system/ games/ etc?
Games that hire non-union actors tend to get what they pay for, low budget reads. Games are much more difficult to do than tv shows just because a) you don’t get to read the whole story b) you don’t get to read with other actors c) you read alot of lines in the same way for alternate story lines in the game so think about your favorite game. Find out who the voice director and voices are and give them the props they deserve because only terrific directors get great actors to give great performances in video games. You have to pretend and make up so much that isn’t there. I just finished working on Lineage II and SAINTS ROW

I have a PS2 and I love my Dance Rev. and Final Fantasy series games. I am also a huge fan of the Silent Hill series.

Since the best part of conversing with the people behind the scenes is finding out info we don’t normally get to hear, here goes. Of the people you have worked with, who do you think was more personable and easy to get along with, and who wasn’t? Was there anybody in particular that liked to cause alot of strife during production?
The reason I stopped working on camera is because the people who work in animation/games are the coolest, most fun people on the planet. I know you would love gossip but honestly there isn’t much. My favorite people to work with (actors ) so far are Michael Dobson, Kathleen Barr, Chantal Strand, Peter Kelamis, David Grove, Matt Hill and Phil Hayes. As for people I didn’t care for, well there are people I don’t have so much in common with so the chemistry isn’t as great but no one I’ve worked with ever caused strife during production. Maybe that means I’m the strife causer. ooooooooh.
What is your fondest memory overall from the shows you have worked on? What about your least fondest? favorite characters, roles, etc?
I love working on the Eds and having a giggle fest with Peter Kelamis, David Grove and Kathleen Barr. That happens alot and I love it every time.

My least fondest memories is when Danny is really tired and hungry and in a bad mood. Boy those sessions can go for hours just on one persons line. It doesn’t happen often unless AKA is under a lot of stress and deadlines. But does that ever suck cause there’s no laughter in the room at all.

My favorite character right now is the Farmer’s Wife I played for the video game Destroy All Humans that’s coming out later this year. RIDICULOUSLY FUNNY character. I’m dying to play the game. It’ll be a 1950’s type horror game with aliens a la “mars attacks”. I loved playing her. she was awesome!!!!

If you could work with anyone at all, who would they be and why?
Candi Milo because I love her character THE FLEA on Mucha Lucha. and EG Daily because I was in love with her in the 80’s when she had the hit song “if you want my love say it, say it”
Just to jump completely off topic, is that your natural hair color?
I have no idea what my natural hair color is anymore but these days I’m dying it blond. I plan on going pink in september.
When you were on the X-Files playing a waitress in Redux II, did David like his coffee black, or with cream and sugar?
What projects do you have coming up, or are currently working on? Anything in particular that you would love to do?
Lineage II and SAINTS ROW are coming out and I would love to get back into anime. and I would loooove to be on Mucha Lucha. that show cracks me up!!!
When you have time off, what do you like to do?
Scuba Dive, watch movies, snorkel, read, dance rev, play video games, go out to eat.
Any advice to the up and coming actors who have yet to get into the industry, or to those who are still young vegetables in front of the tv trying to decide what to be when they grow up?
Watch alot of cartoons!! You’re not lazy you’re studying!!! Practice in front of anyone who’ll listen. Believe in yourself and create your own work!! Then give me a call and I’ll voice one of your characters.
Back to a question we used to use alot, how many degrees of seperation are you from Kevin Bacon?
Well Kevin Bacon was in Balto with Phil Collins and I knew Phil Collins daughter Joely Collins when I lived in Vancouver. How’s that?!
It was quite an honor being able to get an interview with Erin, since Im a big fan of all the mediums she has worked in. I’m sure her husband has his hands full, as well as her producers & directors. I can’t wait to see the projects she will be working on in the future!