An interview with Terri Hawkes
All right, there you go. Sailor Moon the display, Sailor Moon the doll, Sailor Moon the voice, Terri Hawkes - the voice of Sailor Moon.
How are you?
Terri: I'm great. How are you Paul?
Good. Now, first question that is going to be out of my mouth is the first question I get asked in letters we get at YTV all the time...
Terri: What's that?
What is going on with the new episodes?
Terri: New episodes or Sailor Moon? Well, as you know, there are a number of episodes in Japanese (versions) that we are hoping to be able to adapt to English speaking audiences. It's in the works. The producers are working very hard on it, but nothing is definite, so we will let you know as soon as we know.
Is it a lot of fun for you? Is it something that you jump right back into?
Terri: Yeah, it's great fun! I mean it's such a great group of people... all the other Sailor Scouts are great to work with, and we have a lot of fun. And we've seen each other at various events - occasionally there are Anime conferences and appearances that we go to - and we really have fun spending time together. Working together is just a joy, we really enjoy it.
Now you talk about the Anime conferences and stuff like that - is this a part of culture that you weren't exposed to before working on Sailor Moon?
Terri: Absolutely. It's really... (laughs and holds up a Tuxedo Mask doll) ... now here I am holding Tuxedo Mask - whenever I get an opportunity to get close to this guy! (laughs and hugs doll)... Yeah, the Anime conferences are really interesting because there's a real broad spectrum of people that go these conferences. They're mostly adults, so they're people who have been following the history of animation, the development of animation, people who are much more familiar it seems with the Japanese version than we are and can tell us what happens in future episodes, so it's really quite educational as well... people who are just really into the art of animation, studying, and some of them are involved in working in animation themselves. So it's really an interesting experience, for sure. There's a big group of people out there who are interested in this - I had no idea.
It's a pretty advanced form of animation as well, it's not just a regular cartoon, you know, Anime in general.
Terri: That's true. That's true. The technology kind of comes up with advancements in that area everyday so...
So does the magnitude of Sailor Moon kind of freak you out?
Terri:- Well, you know, when we started, we had no idea what a phenomenon it would become, we just really enjoyed the show, we really liked the characters, we really had fun doing it, and then when it started airing, as you know, people, especially Canadians, really keyed into this program. The response has been really warm, we really appreciate it because we think it's a nice show for everyone, but for kids in general it offers some pretty good roll models for young people because we have girls who are super hero's but usually it's boys, you know? But in this case, the girls become empowered and they fight for rights and they fight the Negaverse, and not only are they super heroes, but they're human as well, and they have human weaknesses. You know, Sailor Moon is klutzy and a little bit boy crazy and it's all part of who she is. And what she learns is how to draw on that strength in herself and to really fight for what she believes in. And she and the Sailor Scouts really learn lessons in every story. I think that's great and if people are having fun with it too, then, what could be better?
As an actor, is voice work a lot different? Do you need a different energy for voice work? Sitting in a studio talking into a microphone... obviously it's very different from acting on a stage or acting in film or in television. Is it a totally different thing?
Terri: Well, everybody has a different technique. For me, when I'm working in a studio, it's not just my voice, I'm in front of a microphone, and we have what's called a rhythma-band, which teaches us how to synch up the words with the picture, because we're dubbing form another language,... so we're kind of watching this rhythma-band with the words, and the picture with all the characters, and we're behind the microphone, I just kind of get into it, and when she does you know, MOON PRISM POWER (yelling), I'm there doing exactly what she does, because it affects your voice, but it gives you the energy that she does, because I really relate to her when I watch her on the screen, you know she's (in a high Sailor Moon voice) "tripping over things", "tripping over things because she's late for school".... (normal voice) kind of like this... because I want to get into her as much as possible... so if you sat in the studio and you watched me doing the voice you'd see me recreating everything Sailor Moon does, so it's not just the vocal energy, it's the whole physical energy that goes with it. And at the end of the day, I'm as bagged as she is because I had a rough day at school.
But you actually do have a huge background in studying as well.
Terri: In studying acting?
Terri: I do, yeah. I went to the University of Calgary. I have a minor in drama from the University of Calgary, then I started in acting in theatre, and I moved to Toronto and started acting in television, film, and radio drama, and then I moved to New York and I studied there some more, and worked in theatre a lot. Then I moved to Los Angeles, and I've been doing more film and television and then I went back to school. I went back to UCLA and got my masters in fine arts in play writing actually, and along the way I've taken lots of different acting courses and workshops, and whenever I'm not working, I like to keep learning, along the way, so as much as possible, I go to school - take classes. I think it's important. Not just for actors, but kind of for any craft, 'cause there are always new things to learn and people that you can be learning new things from, and it all kind of works together to help you to become the best crafts person you can.
And it probably keeps you interested in doing what you do, as well.
It renews your interest every now and then.
Terri: That's true. That's a good way of looking at it.
Some actors, I think , you read interviews with some people and they just do it, they're not into it, they show up and they just seem to be personalities, not actors. Then there are people who have the personality as well, but they have the training, like yourself. You discover that you'd like to direct. And that you get a little bit more involved in the production side of things as well. Is it all interesting?
Terri: Very much so. The directing interestingly enough, partly came out of Sailor Moon. I've been doing some theatre directing and some videos, and Sailor Moon. A company called Optimum Productions , who produces this (Sailor Moon) for DIC in LA gave me the opportunity to co-direct a little with the director for the show, so (they) showed confidence in me, and (they) were really generous in teaching me what (they) knew and all of a sudden I was directing a show and really loved it. So I've done some more voice directing since then, and I'm looking towards directing in the future, in perhaps television and film, that kind of thing. And yeah, it all kind of plays together. You're learning about storytelling, really. If you start learning about it as an actor then you've read a lot of scripts, then when I went into writing, I was writing my own scripts, and then directing is interpreting those scripts, based on what the writer wants to tell, and so it's all kind of inter related. Hopefully, all of those crafts make you better at what you do just by learning little bits about what every body else does, you know? It works together.
It seems to me to ask you what you do in your spare time would be a silly question because all your spare time is taken up with this stuff. You obviously would do it if you weren't getting paid for it...
Terri: Yeah, and often I don't get paid for it! (laughing) You know those occasions where we do workshops or productions for people who are in student programs or benefits or that kind of thing - you don't always get paid for what you do - but if you love what you do and you think it's for a good cause, it's not that important. It is very nice to be able to pay the rent and put food on the table that's important (laughs). But yeah, it keeps me very busy. I do have a personal life as well, so I have time for sports and reading, family, friends and loved ones... it keeps me busy, and challenged, and rewarded.
Is a day in the Sailor Moon Studio really tough on your voice?
Terri: It depends on how long the day is... I think probably the most shows I've done in a day is 4 shows (in a day) if we're really pressed for time. That's a little tough because Sailor Moon goes into a high range of my voice a lot and (in a high Serena voice) she screams a lot and she's late for school a lot... (normally) so yeah, it gives me a good work out, for sure! That can be a long day.
The herbal tea and everything?
Terri: Herbal tea, and you know, well, I cheat a little because Sailor Moon eats a fair amount so I take in little goodies to the studio and I really eat (laughing) when I'm in front of the microphone, so I have her drinking and munching on apples and whatever she munches on. So that kind of soothes the throat too.
So you've done "Traders" here, some episodes of "Beverly Hills 90210"...
Terri: I have.
You're in LA, in Toronto. Canada to the States. Do you find the transition pretty easy?
Terri: Yeah, I do. You know, I've wrapped up a few aero-mile points so that's kind of nice! I love Canada - it's my home. I've been working in the States for a number of years now, and I really like the opportunities that are available there. And I love working here. So it's great to have the best of both worlds. I learn a lot from people in both places. They're very different industries. Canada's industry is growing all the time, which is really nice to see and it's nice to be a part of that. Apparently we have the second largest television industry in the world right now, which is really amazing. I've seen a big progression in television in this country since I started, so it's really nice to be able to go back and forth. I feel very fortunate.
The Sailor Moon gang... have you guys become good friends? Do you have a good time when you're recording?
Terri: We do have a good time, and occasionally we see each other. We all have pretty busy lives. Everybody's involved in a lot of different things so we don't get together frequently, but when we do we really enjoy it. It's a good group of people.
And if some of the fans out there wanted to know where they could see you in the near future?
Terri: The near future?
Or in the far future?
Terri: In the far future? Hmm, well, hopefully there will be more Sailor Moon episodes, so that will be fun. You can watch for "Traders" re-runs on another network, that shall remain nameless at this point (laughing). There's another animated series that I'm involved in... I can't tell you too much about now, but it's an interesting story about a princess from Austria and I'll tell you more about that another time. (I have) a film coming out on video which is for adults called "Paper Trail". It's kind of a deep, dark story and it's very different from Sailor Moon. And let's see... I just directed a translation of a Quebec film from French into English called "Carmina" - originally directed by Gabrielle Peltier - and it's a beautiful film. It's really fun. It's a fun story about vampires who move to Montreal, so you can catch that in your video stores. And that's got my plate full at the moment. I'm writing, and I'll keep you informed.
That sounds good. Some last advice we can end with for people out there who would love to follow in your footsteps?
Terri: Wow. You know, the things that really stands out well in this field? It's a really tough field. If anybody wants to follow in my footsteps, my advice would be : don't do it unless you absolutely have to - and you can't do anything else. It's a really tough business, but if you really want to do it, it's wonderfully rewarding. But go to school first. Going to school, then university, for me, has given me a lot of options, and I'm able to do other things, and especially, at first, that's really important. To be able to do other things. To earn a living and then, when you want to expand into different areas... An education is really important. So that's what I'd say.
And continue to educate yourself.
Terri: Absolutely. In any way possible. Forever and ever.
That's great. There you go. Can you believe it? Thank you very much.
Terri: A pleasure. Nice to meet you.
Nice to meet you.
Terri: MOON PRISM POWER!!!!