Q and A: Jeff Nimoy

23 Jan 2009 by EZ-52 in Exclusives, Featured, Interviews

Do we really need to introduce Jeff? In the UK, Jeff most prominent work would be serving as writer and director for the hit anime series “Digimon: Digital Monsters” (1999, originally airing on CiTV), and its feature film counterpart “Digimon: The Movie”. Jeff’s other anime works include writing and directing for “Naruto”, “Zatch Bell”, and “Bo-Bobo”, and more recently wrapped production on “Digimon Data Squad”, the adaptation of “Digimon Savers”, which aired in the USA from October 2007 till November 2008. Jeff can also be heard as the voice of “Wolfwood” from “Trigun”, “Tentomon” from “Digimon: Digital Monsters”,  and as “Spencer Damon” and a host of other characters from “Digimon Data Squad”. Jeff has also won an Emmy Award for his comedic work as a writer for “NFL FILMS PRESENTS”, and thanks to the modern wonders of the internet rather kindly agreed to a quick Question and Answer session for this site.

The Anime Lodge: When did you know you wanted to be an actor?

Jeff Nimoy: After a school play I did my junior year in high school. The reviews for me were very complimentary. I actually got talked into it by a teacher that told me I’d be wasting my talents if I didn’t go for it. They forgot to tell me how hard it was to make a living as an actor.

AL: How did you get involved in writing, producing, and eventually directing?

JN: I did it in part because I couldn’t make a living as an actor, so I started writing and producing things I could act in! It started by pitching an idea to NFL Films, where the premise was I would dub my voice, and others, into their existing footage, and turn them into comedy pieces. They bought the idea, and set me to work producing a weekly segment for them. I co-wrote, directed, and played many voices in those segments. I was nominated for an Emmy as a producer and won my first time out, followed by two more nominations in the 5 years I worked for them.

After that, someone at Fox Kids saw my producing reel, and asked me if I would do the same thing to some foreign cartoons they had. I would take away all the sound, and create a whole new comedy show, based on the footage. We made two pilots of that, called “Chimp Lips Theater,” where the premise was two chimps making cartoons in their garage (which wasn’t far from the truth!). After that, and other producing, directing, and writing gigs for Fox Kids, they asked me to jazz up the comedy aspects in Digimon. The rest is history.

AL: Is there anything that you’ve produced, directed or written that, looking back, you’d change or do differently?

JN: I would have liked for them to use the director’s cut of Digimon: The Movie, which didn’t include the last 20 minutes of the actual released movie, but I lost that battle with the producers.

AL: Suppose you had a mid-life crisis and quit the industry. What would you do career wise?

JN: I would teach. It’s little late for me to start a new career where I would have to learn something new.

AL: What was it like to win an Emmy (even if it wasn’t anime related)?

JN: It doesn’t suck!

Quinton Flynn and Jeff Nimoys Adventures in Anime has proved popular with fans

Quinton Flynn and Jeff Nimoy's 'Adventures in Anime' has proved popular with fans

AL: Who would you consider to be the biggest influence in your life, either career wise or even in your whole life?

JN: I would say the man who gave me my first opportunity to be an Executive Producer at Fox Kids, Sean Roache, was the biggest influence and gave me great insight into how show biz works.

AL: What would you consider to be the pros of working with anime? What do you consider the cons?

JN: The pros are it’s given me the opportunity of having a hit show on TV and writing and directing a major film release. The cons are I am very limited to what I can do creatively because most of the anime I work on has already been done in Japan, and I’m married to whatever footage and storyline I’m given.

AL: When directing, producing or writing a season (for example Digimon, Naruto etc…) do you aim towards a specific goal or do you tackle each production differently? If so, how?

JN: Well, each show is representative of a particular network’s style and branding, so I have to write/direct that show in their style, otherwise it won’t air.

AL: Have you ever been so tired of what you do that you’re ready to quit, and then something happens that made you realized that you actually really do love your job? If so, what was it?

JN: Well, I wouldn’t put it quite that way. I’ve quit anime many times to pursue a film and television career as a writer/director, but the love of an actual paycheck has always brought me back to anime, where the huge success of Digimon has carved me out quite a nice little niche in the industry.

AL: What do you love about the fans? What do you dislike about the fans?

JN: I love their passion. It’s really touching to hear that people enjoyed my work so much when they were younger, that anime has become their whole life today. What I don’t like is, some fans don’t understand that all celebrities, big and small, need their privacy, and we were not put on this Earth to be their personal entertainers.

AL: What is the most fun part of your job? What is the least fun?

JN: The most fun is seeing a show completed. It’s a great feeling knowing that there was nothing there before you started, and now there’s a whole universe created because of you. The least fun is taking notes from networks and studios you don’t agree with.

AL: What did you want to be when you were little and how has that transformed into what you are now?

JN: I wanted to be the center fielder for the NY Mets, and that has not transformed into anything.

Jeff Nimoy and Quinton Flynn promote Adventures in Anime

Jeff Nimoy and Quinton Flynn promote 'Adventures in Anime'

Along with Quinton Flynn, Jeff has produced and launched the new webisode series “Adventures in Anime“, which follows Jeff and Quinton’s popular Q and A panel of the same name at various anime conventions around the world. “Adventures In Anime” and it’s format has proved popular with fans of Quinton and Jeff, and with the ability to forward questions to Jeff and Quinton via the message boards it gives a unique insight to both Jeff and Quinton’s life at work.

AL: When and where did the idea for ‘Adventures in Anime’ come from?

JN: It started with our first convention. We couldn’t believe the overwhelming response fans had toward our panel. We knew there had to be a show in their somewhere, so we kept doing conventions until all the ideas fit into place for “Adventures in Anime.”

AL: How does producing your own production working with friends differ from producing TV shows working with large teams? Do you tackle them differently?

JN: The tackling is the same, but when you don’t have a big team, you have to do ALL the work yourselves!

AL: Is Adventures in Anime coming along as you expected it to be?

JN: Absolutely. Better than I expected. I wish the sound quality was better, but it is what it is.

AL: What does the future hold for Adventures in Anime?

JN: Hopefully we’ll all find out together!

AL: And finally, what does the future hold for Jeff Nimoy?

JN: Right now I’m writing and directing “RoboDz” for the new Disney XD network. After that, we’ll see.

Let’s keep an eye out for RoboDz then! Many thanks to Jeff for taking the time to answer our questions. In the mean time, why not visit the Adventures In Anime website. Thanks also go to Mercy and Relic who provided most of the questions! ;)

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