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Specials
Michelle Ruff Interview
Interview With: Michelle Ruff, Voice Actress
Interview Location: Email Interview
Interview Date: Sept 11th, 2002
Interview By: Nukunuku

For reference, all questions asked by Anime Dream will be identified with AD, while Michelle Ruff's responses will be identified with MR.

AD: How did you start voice acting, specifically anime dubbing?
MR: I started working with some directors doing looping and voice work for film and TV shows. I just asked to be remembered when projects came up they could use me on. Richard Epcar, Steve Kramer and Mike Sorich all started bringing me in and basically trained me to do anime.
AD: Can you name some of your various anime voice roles?
MR: Currently, I am playing Fujiko in Lupin the 3rd. I am playing the mom and resident newscaster in Speed racer on Nickelodeon. I am playing Zoe in season 4 of Digimon. Miyao in "Tsukikage Ran". The rest you guys probably remember better than I do.
AD: Were you a fan of anime before you became a voice actress?
MR: No. I didn't even know it existed. But I certainly am now.
AD: Which character that you have played most resembles your own personality in real life? Which is your favorite?
MR: I think they are all facet of my personality. I think I'm most like Miyao from Tsukikage Ran. Though I consider myself to be a bit of a dork and I know Miyao is too.
AD: You tend to be cast as young, spunky characters. Is this a natural quality of your voice or something you have to get in the right zone for?
MR: It's definitely the natural quality of my voice. I think for the most part Directors will cast people in roles that they hear a specific quality in their natural voice. Some characters are definitely a stretch and those are usually the most challenging and fun.
AD: One of your most memorable roles that put your name in the minds of most fans has to be Kiki Rosita from Gundam 08th MS Team. How did you approach that character? And what do you like about Kiki?
MR: I liked Kiki because she was a bit of a Tomboy. That's a part of me that I don't get to show too much in my real day to day life. So it's fun when I get to play that kind of character. I think the way I approached her is the same way I approach all my characters and that's from a very physical place. Not too much logic and thinking. Almost like when I was a kid and had no blocks when it came time to play.
AD: What is one role that someone else got, but you wish that you could have taken a crack at?
MR: Well, there have been a few and I don't want to say because I don't want any of my fellow voice actor friends to be offended.
AD: Do you watch the shows that you have parts in before you record them?
MR: Not usually. But I did for Miyao. Because she had SOOO much dialogue.
AD: What was it like to hear your voice coming out of an animated character's mouth?
MR: It's really cool. I love seeing a character come to life and being the one to give it that breath is an amazing process.
AD: Do you ever feel like you are being typecast as the cute tomboy roles and wish you could play a more feminine lead?
MR: Actually, I've been playing more feminine leads lately. I think I've become more versatile in my vocal range over the last year. It's fun to play the femme fatale.
AD: And on a related subject, so far you've only played the nice girls: a "girl next door" type. If given a chance, would you mind playing the role of a bad girl?
MR: Oh yeah. I love to stretch. And I never get to play the bad girl. Although Fujiko is a bit naughty and she's definitely a fun character for me.
AD: Have you acted on TV shows, movies, or in a theatrical production? If so, do you want to pursue that part of an acting career?
MR: I do voice over for TV and Films. I did theatre in Chicago (Improvisation). But I have no desire to do on-camera acting. I'm actually so busy with my voice over I wouldn't have time.
AD: What kind of preparation do you normally do for a role? On average, how much time do you spend a week recording the given role?
MR: Prep time is usually none. I go in see the character. Hear the Japanese version. Play with the voice and work with the director. Then we record. Some roles are a few hours a month some are a few hours a week. It depends on how big the part is and what the schedule of the production company is.
AD: How much time do you spend a week recording for anime, on average? What work outside of voice acting do you do?
MR: On average right now, I record about 10 hours a week doing anime.  I also work doing voiceover on CSI, Scrubs, Smallville, Boomtown, etc.  as well as commercials and original animation.  I don't have any other source of income besides my voice acting.
AD: When playing a lead role, how long does a recording session last?
MR: They vary.  Digimon will book me in 2-4 hour time slots every week. Other companies will book me for 8 hours (which is really hard physically and on my vocal chords).
AD: Other talented VAs has turned out to be superb directors (Lia Sargent, Bridget Hoffman, Wendee Lee). Are you interested in directing?
MR: Yes.  I think directing would be something I would really enjoy.  I've actually discussed it with a few companies.  I think it's just a matter of time before it happens.
AD: If I recall correctly, you're in the upcoming Tsukikage Ran (Carried by the Wind). What can you tell us about the show, and how have you enjoyed performing in it thus far?
MR: I played Miyao. It was a blast. Miyao was all over the place vocally and emotionally.  It was the first time I could actually have a bit of range with a character.  She is a goofball with a good heart.  And I really did have fun with her.  We're actually done recording her.  The director I worked with, Kevin Seymour at Animaze is amazing and really gave me the freedom to bring what I felt the character needed to the role.
AD: Recently, a popular voice actress from another company damaged her voice while doing a particularly spastic character. Have you heard of this, and if so, has it affected your performances and warm-up techniques? Mainly I'm concerned about this in relation to Miyao in "Tsukikage Ran," who *is* spastic.
MR: I haven't really had a problem.  I usually drink lots of hot water and warm up for about a 1/2 hour before session.
AD: When recording lines, how much is verbatim and how much is improvised?
MR: It's 100% verbatim.
AD: Is there any upcoming anime work that you are allowed to divulge?
MR: I think I already divulged.  There are a few projects I'm sworn to secrecy on.  I think they'd hunt me down and kill me If I actually talked about them.
AD: And finally, do you have anything you'd like to say to your fans?
MR: Just Thank you for being so devoted to anime.  Without you guys, I'd probably be working in a restaurant flipping burgers.  (which is fine, but I prefer doing what I love!)

Thanks go out to Michelle Ruff for taking the time to respond to our questions.

Here are some photos taken during the interview. Enjoy!

Meet  Fujiko, Kaoru, Kasumi, Kiki, Lady Miyao, and Mitsuki Sanada

Meet Fujiko, Kaoru, Kasumi, Kiki, Lady Miyao, and Mitsuki Sanada

We’re not worthy!!! We’re not worthy!!!

We’re not worthy!!! We’re not worthy!!!

Awwww

Awwww

I’m only in the picture only because she asked me…

I’m only in the picture only because she asked me…

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