Next week will see the debut of an exciting new animated series on Kids WB! 'World of Quest', based on the Komikwerks graphic novel series by Jason Kruse.
The show tells the story of Prince Nestor, who's parents are kidnapped by the evil Lord Spite. Desperate to find them, Nestor enlists the aid of a retired adventurer named Quest, a hero with the skill and courage to wield the Shatter Soul Sword, the only weapon which can destroy Lord Spite. Only one snag in the plan: the sword is missing. This leads to a desperate chase to become the first to find the weapon.
A hero needs a voice, and in this case, the hero is Quest, and the voice is Mr. Ron Pardo, a former elementary school teacher turned impressionist, turned voice actor. Not only does Pardo provide the voice of Quest, he also provides the voices for up to 12 characters per episode! Truly such a heroic feat could only be accomplished by a master in his field. I got the chance to interview Mr. Pardo via e-mail, to learn a bit about how he honed his craft.
"I grew up in awe of the work of Mel Blanc, Daws Butler and Don Messick. I couldn't believe all the voices they did." Pardo told C2F. "Their cartoon characters were my first impressions, but I never thought I'd be creating characters of my own professionally. It's the best job I've ever had."
Pardo turned his natural talent into a stand up gig, winning Yuk Yuk's Comedy Club's Search For Canada's Funniest New Comic award in 1994. He began to headline clubs and do corporate events, eventually landing a gig on the Canadian comedy program 'History Bites'. His first animated role was the voice of Roy on the 'Ace Ventura: Pet Detective' series.
"Getting involved in the animation voice-over world seemed like a natural jump from stand-up, especially since I do impressions. I've been very fortunate to have worked on some great shows. 'Marvin the Tap Dancing Horse', 'Ned's Newt', 'Bob and Margaret', 'Ripping Friends', 'MedaBots', 'Bakugan Warriors', 'Atomic Betty'… and now, of course, 'World of Quest'."
Even with a wealth of talent and credentials like these, breaking into the voice acting business doesn't mean that the hard part is over. There's a lot of work that goes into creating new characters and maintaining a steady job, and you don't get a lot of time to do research.
"You have to audition constantly, as major roles don't fall into your lap." Pardo said. "Very seldom do you have more than a couple of days notice before audition. A lot of times it's the next day."
"When you go in for a new series, there are character descriptions and designs to peruse along with the script. Sometimes, audition scripts and character images are sent via e-mail a day or two before, so you can get some acting choices in mind. For the role of Quest, I prepared a Clint Eastwood voice with an Adam West delivery. For Graer (Nestor's Griffin friend on "World of Quest"), I did a Cliff Claven/Ray Romano combo"
'World of Quest' sounds like a lot of fun to this writer, and it debuts on Kids WB! in early March of 2008. When asked who he thought 'World of Quest' would appeal to, Ron Pardo responded enthusiastically, "Anybody who's into great adventure, comedy and fantastic characters. This series has something for everybody."
For more information on Ron Pardo, check out RonPardo.com. The man specializes in celebrity impressions, and in my brief contact with him, he struck me as a really nice guy, so I'd like to close this interview by giving him a plug. Anyone interested in having a "David Letterman Top 10 List" performed at a corporate function, having Larry King interview your CEO or Donald Trump facilitate a meeting should check out his site, or e-mail Voicebox Entertainment at firstname.lastname@example.org
'The World of Quest' debuts on Kids WB on The CW March 15th.