There are so many avenues when it comes to bringing our favorite anime to life. I got pleasure to interview Rickey Watkins who is a ADR Engineer at Funimation! He has worked on so many anime from Citrus to most recently the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie.
“What got you into anime and what’s your favorite anime?”
RW: My favorite anime of all time is Dragonball Z. I grew up on the series. I may have been around 8 or 9 when i saw my first episode which was during the Freiza saga if I remmeber correctly. It was the fight scenes that drew my attention and note that at that point I knew nothing about the characters. So you can say it was Dragonball Z that got me into anime. There were also shows that I watched afterwards like “InuYasha“, “High School of the Dead” , “Kill La Kill” etc. but next would be ” Yu Yu Hakusho“. I don’t want to dragon about my anime watch list but that’s a little bit of what types of anime I enjoy as well.
“So what does a ADR Engineer do exactly?”
RW: A ADR Engineer is the biggest role you could have in production right after the Mix Engineer. My role as an ADR Engineer includes creating a session in a program called “ProTools”. You may have heard the term more from individuals who record music and things of that nature but we also use the program to record voice actors. I position microphones for the voice actors to speak into to give you that clear sound and the most important part is lining up the vocals that we record to fit the mouth movements on screen. Without us you would have the classic yet funny antics of those old Japanese movies where the person has stopped moving their mouth but you can hear them still talking. Its definitely not easy but it is fun to know that you made it work.
“What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?”
RW: The most rewarding thing about my job is putting the entire show together then watching it on screen. Also seeing my name in the credits like recently with the release of the “DragonBall Super: Broly” movie. To know that as a kid i watched this series and to see myself now as a person who touched the series is incredible. I had the pleasure of being the ADR Engineer for a voice actor.
“What’s the most challenging part of your job?”
The most challenging part of my job may be keeping up with the directors in sessions. By all means I am not saying that I am slow but I like to stay ahead so that each session runs as smooth as possible. I pretty much try my best to make everything fit that the Director likes because some takes are very very good but in the end it may be too long so I really put my editing skills to the test and try and make it fit the mouth flaps. We work on the fly so we have to be fast.
“What do you foresee in the future with anime and black community? For example the fandom, storylines, animators etc.”
RW: Anime has become more and more popular among the black community over the years especially now with hip-hop community now making references in the the music and with cover art. I also see more African Americans being casted as characters which is awesome. I think in the future their will be more influences from the fandom in anime with all the new manga you see at these Cons worldwide. There are some interesting stories out there that are being told and I encourage everyone to stop and support these artist because they are the future, they are the next big thing and they need us. I think the animation will continue to be better because of the standards from fans as well. At the end of the day we decide how anime will develop with each purchase and each post.