Sailordees Exclusive: An Interview With Roland Parliament!

Roland Parliament
CN Anime Expo, 2004

In late 2006, I had put out a call to fans via the SOS mailing list with an exclusive interview opportunity with Roland Parliament (Melvin, Voice Director). I was able to get many questions from fans all around the community and finally got the interview back from Roland a week ago, and I am cross posting it here from the mailing list . Thank you very much Roland for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview, and for your support over the years!

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Jay at for all his assistance in publicizing this interview , as well as my friends who pulled through at the last minute, I could not have finished this without you! A thank you goes out also to all the fans who sent in their questions, merci beaucoup!

Without further ado, here he is answering your questions!

Sadie : Did you get to pick which voice you did, and if so why Melvin? If you got the pick of the male characters aside from the fact that he eventually gets to date Molly (although she’ll always be with Nephlite in my mind), why Melvin?


Melvin ♥ Molly
(or rather Umino ♥ Naru )

Roland Parliament : I didn’t get to choose. I went to an audition several months before the recording sessions started, and I auditioned for a number of characters. The producers liked my audition but couldn’t fit me with any of the characters. It was only shortly before the recordings began that they discovered they hadn’t found a “Melvin” yet. My only instruction at the audition was to do a “nerd”. I have a lot of experience from my childhood with THAT character, and though I spent years trying to alter my real personality into something a little more “cool”, I must admit I felt very comfortable in the nerd role. In fact, if I had to choose, I probably would have chosen the Melvin character. I like playing oddballs because they are far more interesting than the stereotypical hero. Next time though, I think I might like to try a hero role. I just hope I could bring something quirky to the role. Nephlite by the way was a twerp. Molly liked me far better.

Jennifer Ehring : Hi Roland Parliament how does one become a good voice actor and how do you get to audition for voice acting in the anime industry?

Roland Parliament : You study. This can come in many forms – some people go to theatre school, some take regular workshops, and some very rare individuals just have an innate talent. I’m an odd combination of all three. I started my theatrical experience at a very young age (two) and realized I was confident in front of an audience and liked the attention. I was much more interested in music during my teens and twenties, and got my satisfaction playing in rock bands. This lead to a career in producing advertising music, which led to a career in voice-over performance, which led to a career in animation voicing, etc. All along the way though, I was always interested in what my voice could do. I always tested its limits, and constantly experimented. I tried dialects, vocal imitation, choral singing, solo singing, anything that challenged my voice. At one point, because I had pushed my voice so far, I was on voice control for six months and had to remain completely silent during that time. I would do that differently if I had it to do over again. I would start out much more slowly and ease my voice into the more strenuous activities with a LOT more attention to process.


Trivia: one of Roland’s earliest
roles was Matthew in
Primetime Bedtime Classics’
The Toy Shop

It varies from person to person. I’ve been teaching voice for over sixteen years now, and I’ve seen many, many students who bring completely different skill sets to school with wildly varying results. The one constant with the ones who succeed is that they want it really badly. So, if you really want to succeed and there are no other physical barriers to your progress, immerse yourself in the process. At times it will seem futile and pointless. Keep your eye on the goal. This is one activity where if there is no pain, there is no gain.

As far as auditioning for voice acting goes, heed the previous paragraphs and the rest will take care of itself.

Ismail Saeed : What aspects of the handling of Sailor Moon in the American version were your calls? For example, terming it “Crossroads Junior High” or specifying Darien as having a modeling stint which Serena then referred to in a later episode? Were you just provided the scripts as DiC desired them and then did the directorial job with the actors, or did you get to influence the production more than that?

Roland Parliament : Your question addresses one of the major misunderstandings from the audience about the production team. There is a hierarchy here, and the protocol is strictly followed.

Those with the money make all the rules. The rest of us are employees. I had some influence with the actors’ performances, but that’s about it. Scripts, episodic development and other plot developments are completely in the hands of the producers. I may have made the odd script adjustment, and hoped they went unnoticed. That’s about it.

Ismail Saeed : Forgive some ignorance here… when Cloverway handled season 3 and 4, did you just continue to reprise Melvin (in his few appearances or did you continue to direct? Either way, how did you feel about the manner of the production imposed on you by Cloverway as compared to that of DiC?


Tuxedo Melvin
Roland’s favorite episode!

Roland Parliament : It’s been a while now, but as I recall John Stocker directed seasons 3 & 4. I was apparently too much of a renegade to carry on. Again, there is a hierarchy here, but I did complete Melvin’s roles.

Ismail Saeed : What was your personal take on season 5 (Stars) of Sailor Moon, not now, but back then maybe around the time you all were wrapping the dubbing of season 4 up? Were you wary of pursuing it further or were you hopeful of pursuing it further? Or, perfectly reasonable, were you in fact unaware of the fifth season at the time?

Roland Parliament : Sailor Moon was one magnificent experience. I met some of Canada’s greatest voice actors and I reveled in the time I spent with them. But I think it’s time we all moved on to other things.

Venus Knight : Hi Roland,
It’s nice of you to take time out to do this interview. So…. First question which may be a little loaded, with the edits, cuts, etc. Do you think Sailor moon got a fair shot in the US?

Roland Parliament : No. But I’m not the person to ask.

Venus Knight : second question, What has been the most memorable thing that’s happened to you because you were involved with the NA production of Sailor Moon?


Melvin has a bit too
much love for fried
shrimp!(animated by

Roland Parliament : Two things. I met some of the most amazing voice actors I’ve ever known, and I’ve met some of the most amazing fans I’ve ever known. Without the fans, there would be no reason for the actors. Bless you.

Ditchdigger : What were your first thoughts when you were first told you would be directing the English dub of Sailor Moon and when you heard what the show was about?

Roland Parliament : I first thought I could get my SAAB car repaired. Or maybe that it was I would be working with Terri Hawkes again. But then again, maybe it was my dream of directing an animation series.

I didn’t really think about what the show was about. But I certainly got into it soon.

Kryten : Apart from rabbits, ferrets are my favorite animated characters. When does Ferretina come out and who might we recognize from Sailor Moon in it?

Roland Parliament : Soon, I hope. Animation features often take a lot of time, but this one seems to be taking a lot of extra time. I got a call today that indicates things are moving forward quickly. Let’s hope.

Kryten : What were your recording sessions like? Did everyone just come in and read their lines or was there a lot of friendly banter back and forth?


He’ll do anything
for Molly/Naru!
(animated by

Roland Parliament : The sessions were grueling, but ultimately rewarding. At first as an actor, I was only there for 1-3 hours at a time.. As director, I was often there for 14-16 hours a day for 22 days in a row or more, and this continued on for several months. Yes, there was a lot of friendly banter because the actors all knew the stress we were under, and all behaved as professionals.

**********: How do you feel about your legacy as it pertains to the show?

Roland Parliament : I have no idea. That’s for history to answer.

Jenny : Out of everything you have directed (movies and TV shows), what makes Sailor Moon special?

Roland Parliament : That I spent several months working with very, very special actors whom I love dearly. Terri Hawkes deserves special mention here.

starcat : I made this AMV , and it sorta features Melvin. Maybe you’ll like it! Anyways, here are my questions:
Who’s the most important/famous person you’ve met?

Roland Parliament : My father. He’s not famous, but he’s important. Next to that is my wife Tamara.

starcat : Do you still keep in touch with the other Sailor Moon staff?

Roland Parliament : As much as I can. We all have separate lives, and we try to respect each others’ privacy.

Box : What’s the most amusing outtake that you remember?


Trivia: Roland also served
as the voice of Zellers
Mascot,Zeddy Bear!

Roland Parliament : There was a scene with Terri Hawkes wherein I asked her to put on a false nose to get a nasal quality to her sound. She obliged willingly, and it worked!

Box : What was the most difficult part of your job?

Roland Parliament : Putting up with the BS from the producers.

Box : What’s your favorite project been in recent years?

Roland Parliament : Raising two beautiful dogs – Atticus the Golden Retriever and Justice the Norwegian Buhund

sailordees : Many years ago it was suggested that Sailor Moon could be dubbed in both uncensored and censored versions to satisfy both groups of fans. Do you think given your experience with the show this could have been possible and would have worked? Why or why not?

Roland Parliament : No. They are disparate groups and neither will be satisfied with the other’s different agenda.

sailordees : Out of all the voice actors you have worked with whose cartoon voices are the most different or interesting compared to their natural voice?

Roland Parliament : Most of the actors involved in “Sailor Moon” have a wide range of voices, but I have heard so many other voice actors who are brilliantly versatile in so many roles, that it would be impossible to determine..

sailordees : Looking back on how Sailor Moon was marketed back in her “glory days” (The English version was aimed more towards a younger audience) would you have done anything (knowing which audiences were really watching it) different and why?

Roland Parliament : I may have been smarter about identifying the target audience, but I doubt it would have had any impact on the marketing. These responsibilities are left to the high foreheads of the organization, and they rule supreme. End of story.

Postscript To All

“Sailor Moon” was a benchmark for many of us. You, who were and are fans, are so much appreciated by those of us who toiled on this series. Without you, we are nothing. We, the actors, are eternally grateful for your support. Remember, we all need each other.

God Bless.
Roland Parliament

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