Maile Flanagan Interview

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On October 9th, 2006, Naruto2.com interviewed Maile Flanagan about her work as the voice of Naruto. Maile started out doing improv in college, then later was in an improv/comedy group, did plays, some stand-up and started working in film and TV. Now she does plays, animation, film, TV, and commercials!

Maile Flanagan

How did you first find out about the Naruto series?
My agents had me come in and audition for it at their agency; when I got the callback, I read about it on the web. When I went to the callback, it was with a bunch of the creators and Viz people - and I realized how huge it was.

Are you familiar with Junko Takeuchi's work as the voice of Naruto in Japan?
I'm familiar with her voice because I hear it a lot! I listen to it almost before every line I say.

Have you ever met or spoken with her?
No, I've never met her or spoken to her. I sure like her work, though.

Can you tell us what your day is like when you go in to do your voice work?
I usually do Naruto in 2 hour stints. I go into the studio and there is just me, the engineer and the voice director (unless it's a game, then there are more people).

How many episodes do you do at a time?
Depending on how much I talk, I do about one episode per recording -- but sometimes if I talk a lot, I'll do a partial one. The other day I did 2 because I didn't talk much in that one.

Do you get to see the video as you record?
Yes, I watch the video clip of my scene and then record my line or lines. Most of the time I do several takes.

Cartoon Network just aired episode 54. How far ahead are the recordings done before they air on TV?
I think I just completed 71 or 72. I'm not sure of the exact timeline before it airs, but it's at least several weeks.

Did you have any dialogue coaching before you began work on Naruto?
I didn't have dialogue coaching for this - I have in the past for shows. I grew up overseas, so I've been exposed to different languages and I speak a little bit of German, Spanish and when I was a kid, I could speak Thai (now I know only a few phrases).

There are a lot of unusual words (for the average English speaker) in the series. Did it take very long to perfect their pronunciation?
No - we have Japanese advisers who tell us how to do it and also a libary of names and phrases recorded by one of the Japanese employees of Viz.

Do you ever watch Naruto with your friends and family?
I don't watch it too much because I don't really like listening to my voice on TV or seeing myself on TV too much - it makes me really self-conscious. This is pretty common with many actors that I know!

What happens when you voice for parts of an episode that are different in the edited and uncut versions of the show? Do you record both versions in the same session?
Yes, I record both versions at once! (the series has been released in two different versions on DVD: uncut and edited - each with slightly different dialogue)

Thank you for your time.
Thanks a lot!

END
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