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Voice Actors Create Home Studios So They Can Work During Pandemic

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

If you've been playing video games or watching cartoons recently then you've been enjoying the work of voice actors.

ERIC BAUZA: (As Bugs Bunny) What's up, Doc? I bet you never talked to Bugs Bunny during a pandemic.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Eric Bauza is the official voice of Bugs Bunny and his Looney Tunes pals.

BAUZA: (As Daffy Duck) Listen, rabbit, it's me, Daffy Duck, that they want to hear from.

(As Bugs Bunny) You're spitting all over them, Doc. No one wants to be spat on during a pandemic.

INSKEEP: Bauza is still working from home. He's converted a closet into a recording studio.

BAUZA: Although it's a nice soundproof environment, without the air conditioning in here, I'm getting - it's like a sauna.

(As Bugs Bunny) Oh, well - when in a pandemic.

MARTIN: Bauza says if he's working, that means he's helping other people keep their jobs.

BAUZA: I feel like I'm part of a chain of other artists and editors and writers, animators, musicians that can still work.

MARTIN: Bauza is one of the top voice actors in the business. But for lesser known artists, the story is different.

JAN JOHNS: If anybody comes to me and they say, like, how do I become a voice actor? I'm like, I don't know. I'm still trying (laughter).

INSKEEP: Jan Johns does voices and monster sounds for video games.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHNS: (As character, snarling).

INSKEEP: She was also the voice of a Fisher-Price toy blender.

JOHNS: So it's this cute little blender. And you push down on it.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHNS: (As character) Blender's on.

Blender's on (laughter).

MARTIN: Johns says job offers have slowed to a trickle. But she's been able to work because she has a home studio.

JOHNS: Everybody's scrambling. I'm lucky that I already had a setup. And I've done a couple tweaks. Like, there's this guy called George the Tech (ph) in LA that everyone is calling. He'll advise people on what kind of equipment to have for particular voices.

MARTIN: Johns is used to working from home. But she says the pandemic has made her job more solitary.

JOHNS: Artists spend so much time alone to create. But then the goal is to collaborate and connect and to finally be in that room with the other artists and creators to be able to come up with something together. And that is the joy of it. And it's so hard to get in the room. And now the room might not even be there.

INSKEEP: Johns and Eric Bauza say they're looking forward to saying this to the pandemic.

BAUZA: (As Porky Pig) Th-th-th-that's all, folks.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUGS BUNNY'S "OVERTURE (MERRIE MELODIES MAIN TITLE MUSIC)") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.