Welcome to From the Mouths of Babes
Gio's Note: This is the first of a set of video pieces done for the Central Park Media DVD releases. In this one, which appeared on Temptation, Miki's voice actor discusses the industry and how to get into it.

Jimmy Zoppi With Some Sound Advice for the Kids at Home:

Don't Be a Wimp!

   Good morning! My name's Jimmy Zoppi, and I do a lot of character voices in a lot of different cartoons; anime cartoons, some on TV, some on video—I have a ball! I want to talk to you a little bit about the series Revolutionary Girl Utena, in which I play, mainly, the character of Miki, the sensitive musician/screwed up, emotional, romantic… I dunno what else to call him. I definitely identify with Miki in a lot of ways though, don't get me wrong. He doesn't really look like me, I could fit three of him in me, but that's beside the point.

    The way I feel about Miki really depends on the kind of day I'm having. If I'm having a good day, if I'm feeling confident and kind of cocky I can go in and do this guy and I can be like 'Man, this guy is such a wimp!' But then on other days, I'm a musician, and I know the kind of problems musicians have, and I can relate to Miki's plight. He keeps getting hit on by his sister, which is pretty psychotic, so I can see that being a bit of a problem. Sometimes when we're doing the show, I'm only doing the scenes that I'm directly involved in, and sometimes I wish I could kinda see the whole thing, which I don't get to until it's all over with and it's all mixed and everything. So sometimes there are holes in the plot, it's like in my head—same thing. So, but it always works, it's always great, and God willing, it'll always keep working.

    I got started doing voiceovers, probably, I guess it was a little over ten years ago. I was—still am—a musician, I was in a band, I've been with the same guy, Carter Cathcart forever, and he was doing the music for a TV show for ABC called The ABC Weekend Special. So we played the sessions, I played bass on the session and my friend Carter came to me and said they were looking for someone to do the voice of the host on the show, which was a cartoon cat named OG Readmore. The voice he had before was kind of like this (Mickeymousevoice), and they thought it was a little dopey. So I said I can do it! I'll do it, I've done this forever , I've done tons of cartoons and of course they asked what I'd done and I couldn't think of any because I never had done that before, but you gotta stick your foot in there. And so I got the gig. And it really turned into a great three year run, we did a lot of PSAs for Project Literacy. And while I was doing that character, I met a couple of agents, and started going out and doing auditions for regular commercials, except with a voice like mine. You know I'd go to these auditions for like, medicines, drugs, and all these guys are like the bass voices and I come in like this and of course (high-pitched) I wouldn't get the job, but what happened was people started hearing my voice and thought I'd be good for cartoons. But I'm so grateful that when I was asked if I did it then I went and stuck my foot out and said yes, I do do that, and anybody that wants to get into the business, that's what you have to do. You can't say 'I've never done this before,' you've gotta just be brave, don't wimp out. Go in. Do the voices, stand in front of the mirror. Do it to the TV, scream, drive your parents crazy, it's like playing drums. It's like the kid in the basement that played drums all the time. Do it with your voice. Imitate Spongebob until you go horse(censored). Do as many things as you can, stand in front of the mirror, get as out as possible, and don't be shy. Don't worry that you're going to offend somebody, because that's where you get your range. Just be fearless, and go, and continue to find out what your voice can do, and then eventually, I'm sure you can hook up with somebody, do a tape, a little demo tape, and if you persevere, I guarantee you'll have some success. It may just take a while, took me, you know, all my life to be doing this crazy stuff. But I'm very grateful, very grateful that I can do the work, and I hope I can continue. So thanks!

Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena) is © Kunihiko Ikuhara, Chiho Saito, Shogakukan and bePapas/TV Tokyo and/or their respective copyright holders. The US release of the Revolutionary Girl Utena series and movie was © Central Park Media and now belongs to Right Stuf. The US release of the Utena manga is © VIZ. The various sources used in this site are noted where their content is presented. Don't sue us, seriously. Blood. Stone.