An Interview with John Stocker

Hello Moon Chasers! Emily here. I had the opportunity to sit down with John Stocker at FanExpo Canada 2012 in Toronto for an interview. I took notes during the interview and I have typed up everything below. We hope you enjoy this interview, and we think you’ll be happy to read about how much he still loves Sailor Moon! You can also find more information about John Stocker’s voice acting and directing credits on his website.

And now on to the interview…

John Stocker

Natalie Brady: One of the biggest mysteries of Sailor Moon was who did the voice of Princess Snow Kaguya in Sailor Moon S The Movie: Hearts on Ice. Linda Ballantyne is sometimes unofficially credited as the voice actor for this role, but she said in an interview that she can’t remember if she voiced this character. Do you remember who provided the voice of Princess Snow Kaguya?

Due to a chaotic production schedule, where episodes and movies were randomly recorded at the same time, John is not surprised that Linda Ballantyne is unable to recall if she played the part of Princess Snow Kaguya. He said that some roles were uncredited simply because it could be difficult to attribute specific roles to specific actors/actresses after the fact. He also commented that he’s sure he has uncredited parts throughout Sailor Moon as well.

Natalie Brady: What was your favorite memory from working on [the Sailor Moon] movies?
Moon Chase: What were your favourite and least favourite parts about directing Sailor Moon?

His favourite memory of working on Sailor Moon, in general, was working with a wonderful cast. He likened the recording of Sailor Moon to a production line, as it was pumped out very quickly. Production values were not high for the series, and he found the popularity or “cult following” as he called it, to be random and surprising. Sailor Moon was also his first adventure in voice directing and happened rather unexpectedly after the previous voice director left the show.

He continues to work with some of the cast, which he enjoys. For example, he noted that he would be working with Katie Griffin on the Tuesday after FanExpo, and that they also worked together on Totally Spies! He also mentioned that Karen Bernstein is a talent agent now and he often sends his talented students to her agency.

His favourite moments were interacting with the cast. Although they didn’t hang out after recording sessions, many of them are still friends. He sees Katie, Susan, and Ron often.

His least favourite things about working on Sailor Moon were the high tension level of sessions and dealing with negative energy during production. For example, some people were fired on the spot or had to hear comments that they weren’t any good.

Moon Chase: If you could have played any character in Sailor Moon, which character (or type of character) do you think your voice would have suited the best?

Although John played some uncredited voices in Sailor Moon, he commented that he likes playing villains. If he could have played a recurring character, he said he would have liked to play Wiseman.

Moon Chase: Which character in any cartoon that you have acted in seems the most like your own personality?

After giving it some thought, John said that the character he’s played that seemed the most like his own personality would be Newton Gimmick from Teddy Ruxpin.

Moon Chase: We have heard that you were the voice of the original Mr. Mini-Wheats. Does this encourage fans of your work to give you gifts of Mini-Wheats?

John never receives gifts of Mini-Wheats, but he’s okay with that! He said the cereal is too sweet for him and he considers it a junk food. However, he very much enjoyed doing the voice!

Moon Chase: If more episodes of Sailor Moon were made, would you want to direct Sailor Moon again?

John responded to this question with a very enthusiastic “Absolutely!” He also said he would like to approach it in a different way and make it more edgy. He is willing to travel to direct more Sailor Moon, and would jump at the chance because he would love to work on it again. Production studios – take note! John Stocker really wants to direct more Sailor Moon. You can find his contact information on his website, and we’re sure he’d love to hear from you!

Moon Chase: When putting together the dubbed episodes of Sailor Moon, how much improvising was allowed for the voice acting cast in the studio?

In dubbing, John said that there is no improvising at all. They used the rhythmoband method at the time, and the script was very strict and based on lip flaps to match mouth movements on screen to the spoken dialogue. The only place they had flexibility would be when a character was seen from behind or you otherwise couldn’t see their mouth.

Moon Chase: You have worked with the voice cast of Sailor Moon in other productions as well. How have you noticed voice talents changing (theirs and yours) over the years?

Over the years, John feels that everyone has gotten better. He also noted that the voice business is highly competitive and there is little loyalty. Thus, it is necessary to keep improving all the time. He still works with talent from Sailor Moon because they are good at what they do, including Katie Griffin and Tony Daniels. He hasn’t worked with Vince since Sailor Moon though.

He also commented that some of the cast had worked together before Sailor Moon, and some of the voice talent sounded very similar. For example, Tracey Moore and Terri Hawkes both played the same character in Care Bears, called Shreeky (the nemesis of “Beastly” who was played by John), and their voices were almost identical in that performance. Likewise, they both played the title character in Sailor Moon, and fans often don’t notice where the switch happened (Tracey voiced the first 14 episodes, then it switched to Terri)

Moon Chase: What are some of the qualities that you feel a great voice actor needs to make it in the animation industry?

In order to make it in the animation industry, a great voice actor needs to have a very good understanding of context to play their part well. They need to be willing to do their homework, including reading the whole script and not just their own lines. They should also be able to read lines as though they are their own dialogue. Related to this, John mentioned that the cast of Sailor Moon would watch the episodes in Japanese before recording sessions, to hear the original emotion and inflection for each role in different scenes.

Moon Chase: What do you think is Sailor Moon’s legacy almost 17 years later?

John considers Sailor Moon to be a very iconic series, and expects it to be around for several more generations. He thinks that even if it isn’t airing many years from now, it will continue to be referenced.

Moon Chase: Have you heard about the Sailor Moon revival? How do you feel about Sailor Moon returning to countries around the world and being aired for the first time in some countries that never aired Sailor Moon before?

He has heard about the revival and he thinks it’s great, although he was a little disappointed that he didn’t get to join the anniversary event at Anime Revolution in 2012. He said that the hype that is preceding Sailor Moon right now is going to generate a lot of interest when it comes back to North America. He also said one of the things he loves about Sailor Moon is that it’s harmless and purely entertainment.

Moon Chase: What is your educational background and what kinds of influences led you to working in anime and cartoons as well as directing?

John has always liked doing voices and has a facility for it. People who hired him in the past noticed his talent, but he was also lucky to be in the right place at the right time. He feels very blessed in his career.

He also likes to make people laugh. He said he prefers to have some fun at work, and make people laugh at work for a positive environment. He says that animation is a light form of entertainment and it “won’t change the world” so it doesn’t need to have a serious approach. He feels that it is important to have fun with it because it is a fun medium. He also said that a cure for cancer or having no more war would change the world, not whether Sailor Mars turns left or right.

Moon Chase: If you can choose a series to direct, what kind of series do you find the most creatively satisfying to work on?

John loves to work on series for “really little kids.” He doesn’t like these shows to be overly simplistic, he likes them to be a little edgy and push the envelope a little. He thinks kids can understand more than they are often given credit for, so he likes to work on shows that are catered to their intelligence. He also loves being able to work with kids too, because they’re very off the wall and spontaneous.

Moon Chase: What advice do you have for fans aspiring to work as a voice actor and/or director?

John’s advice for getting into the business and working as a voice actor and/or director is not to do it, because you’ll be taking away some of his work! In all seriousness though, John’s advice if you would like to succeed as a voice actor is to take lessons, study, and practice. He said you should be diligent and be ready to sacrifice a lot because your time will no longer be your own. Also, you will need to have a flexible day job, at least when starting out, so that you have time for taking lessons and going to auditions.

Moon Chase: Anything else you’d like to share with the readers of Moon Chase?

John’s final thoughts for the readers of Moon Chase – if anyone has any influence when it comes to Sailor Moon, he would love help to get the chance to direct more Sailor Moon. And he will repay the favour with laughter and love!

Moon Chase: Thank you so much for the opportunity to interview you! It’s been a pleasure and we are sure fans will be happy to hear how much you still love Sailor Moon! We hope to hear that you will be directing more episodes in the future!

Photo courtesy of John Stocker. Used with permission.

John Stocker Interview Deadline Extended

Hey Moonies – we announced previously  that we have an exclusive opportunity to interview John Stocker (Director of the English dub of all 3 movies, and S and SuperS seasons).  Unfortunately, our staff has run behind and we need more time to prepare for this, therefore we are going to submit our questions sometime in January.  This works to your advantage because…we’re giving you until December 21st @ 12 AM CST to get your questions in!  Remember, two questions per fan, and we will only take questions via email  at moonchasers@NOSPAMYOUINTERNETFIENDSgmail.com (please put John Stocker somewhere in the subject line), on our forums, or as comments on this blog post.  It is much too difficult to keep up with facebook threads, so please do not submit your questions through there.  Also, please try not to ask questions that everyone typically asks (such as, will you return to Sailor Stars if it is dubbed?).  If you are confused about this, feel free to go through our past interviews and spot all the common questions with multiple askers.

Fall Moonie News

So, this article is going to sum up what’s been going on in the last little while. This will be the last article until the next time any of us has the time to work on the site. Rest assured though, we always have our eyes on Sailor Moon (just that there aren’t enough hours in a day to work, travel, watch, and write about Sailor Moon). This update was written by 3 members of our staff. Teamwork FTW!

Kodansha USA’s Manga Rises!

(The Me) We will get to our review as time permits. Everyone on staff has copies of the manga now, just that time is a problem again. We like what we see so far though! The books are about 10% bigger in width and height than the original Japanese books. Both Sailor Moon and Codename Sailor V have also been dominating sales lists (Week 1, Week 2, Week 3), which is not without consequences. Despite fears that the books have been pulled from shelves, the real problem is that people are snatching them up and stocks are running low at the moment. Amazon as well as some independent distributors are experiencing a stock shortage (we learned from our contact at Kodansha USA yesterday), but for the time being Barnes and Noble seems to have a decent stock left. A big thank you goes to all the fans who’ve helped put Sailor Moon at the top of the charts! Not only has it beat such titles as Negima, Pokemon, Full Metal Alchemist, xxxHolic, and One Piece, but it’s knocked chart topper Naruto’s 52nd volume down to #3 and it has even beat new titles from Marvel Comics and DC Comics! Thanks to everyone who has showed their support for our beloved Odango Atama, the companies are getting a clear message that Sailor Moon is just as, if not even more popular than it was the first time around! We are still waiting for the list of retailers. And fans, please do your part and support the official releases. Supporting official releases sends a strong message to everyone of fans’ desires for legitimate releases of Sailor Moon.

Terri Hawkes Appearing in Florida!

(Moonie1995) There is good news for English Sailor Moon fans who became fans of the show with the original DIC dub back in the 1990’s. Terri Hawkes, who voiced Sailor Moon for most of the original DIC run, as well as the 3 Sailor Moon movies, will be the Guest of Honor at Florida Anime Experience 2012 in Orlando (dated May 27-29, 2012). This appearance marks Terri Hawkes first convention in 11 years as well as her first U.S. convention. For fans of the original English dub, the voice of Terri Hawkes is synonymous to the Sailor Moon experience, and it will definitely be a treat for anime fans in Orlando to learn about her experiences voicing one of anime’s most popular characters. Our image we have here is from her last live-action movie appearance – 2004’s math and psychological thriller Cube Zero.

Sailor Moon Rocks Hot Topic!
(Sailordees) I have been fortunate enough to get every shirt Hot Topic has released, as well as the costume! So here come my one sentence reviews on everything. White Sailor Moon Logo Girls T-Shirt – Love it, nice to see something based on the R-series, wish it wasn’t so see-through. Black Sailor Moon Sailor Senshi Girls T-Shirt – Love it, I’ve worn this one a few times out and about, I wish Sailor Mercury’s hair wasn’t so green and that it wasn’t so see through. Black Sailor Moon Purrrfect Girls T-Shirt – this shirt looks a lot less cheezy in real life compared to what you see on the screen, nice to see something with the cats, wish (again) it wasn’t so see through. Grey Sailor Moon Hero Girls T-Shirt – of all the shirts, this is my least favourite; Sailor Moon was also always known to save the day and Tuxedo Mask was more of a helper, and he never really seemed like much of a hero to me; once again this design looks a lot nicer in real life than it does on the screen, and wish that this too, was not so see through. Black and White Sailor Moon Group Girls Raglan – a week and a half ago, I made a day trip to a mall with one of the biggest Hot Topic stores in the nation and to my surprise this was there; I love the retro look of this design, but once again I wish it wasn’t so see through and I wish that the sleeves and the bottom of the shirt had cuffs and hems sewn; I won’t be wearing this until I have access to a sewing machine so that the material doesn’t fray. Also at said mall was the Sailor Moon Costume by Leg Avenue – I was surprised at how well made this costume was and I think any cosplayer will be satisfied with this costume; the headpieces don’t look as cheap as they do on the video, and this is actually roomier than all of the tshirts; I was pleasantly surprised but I still think it isn’t worth the steep price tag (maybe about 20 bucks less). And finally, the White Sailor Moon Costume Tee (yes, this is what it is officially called) that isn’t online yet – this is actually a little more wider cut than the other shirts so those who found the other tshirts a little too snug may actually be able to get into this one; again, wish it wasn’t so see through, but neat idea for those of us who want to dress more casually on Halloween. For those who are having a tough time finding this tshirt, some have it on display but not out on the shelves. The people at my local HT were nice enough to go pull one out from the back for me last weekend (thank you, you two know who you are and I’ll probably see you again soon). The SKU for the tshirt is 19537004 for those of you who are wanting to know when your local store will stock it. I have heard it was supposed to be online but I don’t see it up yet (EDIT: Here it is!). On the bright side, many stores are getting rid of their tank tops and camis from the summer, so fans have lots of options to make sure that only the characters on the shirts are being seen and nothing else.

Oh, and I have some big news for you all from Emily (who contacted our contact at Hybrid Apparel last weekend)! The mens tshirt was finally shipped from Hybrid Apparel to Hot Topic and should be in stores in a week or so! The mens sizes at Hot Topic are a lot more forgiving than the womens, so hopefully everyone can fit into this one!

And Finally…

As if that announcement wasn’t enough, we have a new interview on the way! John Stocker has been a director of cartoons from all over the spectrum, but he will be best known to fans as the director of the 3 Sailor Moon movies, as well as the S and SuperS seasons. We are delighted to have this opportunity! Fans are limited to two questions each, but please don’t ask any questions that everyone is probably going to ask (what was your favorite episode and/or character, will you return for Sailor Stars etc.) because those are already on our master list. Remember, don’t feel like you are limited to just asking about Sailor Moon since he has worked on so many other shows as well. We will set the deadline for getting your questions in to 12 AM on November 1st. Leave your questions and a name we can credit you with as a comment here, on our forums, or send us an email at moonchasers@NOSPAMPLZKTHXgmail.com with “John Stocker” in the subject line. Do not leave your questions on our Facebook page as they will get lost easily. We will not be going through those posts and looking for fan questions.

Oh yeah, and we are keeping our fingers crossed. A week ago we got an official sign that things are moving in a very positive direction for something. Stay patient, Moonies.

Sailor Moon Voice Director Appearing at FanExpo Canada

John Stocker, a Sailor Moon voice director will be appearing at this year’s FanExpo in Toronto!

Fans may recall that John Stocker directed episodes in the Sailor Moon television series (during seasons R, S, and SuperS) as well as the movies (Sailor Moon R Movie: Promise of the Rose, Sailor Moon S Movie: Hearts in Ice, and Sailor Moon SuperS Movie: Black Dream Hole).

A selection of some of the other titles John has been involved with are listed on his guest page on the FanExpo website. If you check out the list of anime guest stars at the convention this year, John is named under “American Voice Stars.” His website has more details about his voice acting and other talents.

If you’re also interested in other guests at the convention this year, the line-up of sci-fi featured guests is here. And the comic book guests are listed here. There are also Horror and Gaming guests and events.

Readers interested in attending FanExpo this year can find ticket information here. The convention has been extended to four days this year (August 25th – 28th) and will be held in the entire south building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. We hope that the expanded location will help alleviate the crowding issues experienced in recent years. The FanExpo website also indicates that there will be a limited number of deluxe passes available. Although no total number is listed for the deluxe passes, the convention organizers note that the deluxe passes will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis until sold out.

(photo from John Stocker’s website)