Today we are joined by voice actor Hal Rayle, voice of the Predator, Raphael, and so much more!
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Theme music by Ardus
Hal Rayle – Interview
[00:00:00] Jeff: There’s a spoiler country today on the show. We had the fantastic guests, Mr. Howl rail. How’s it going, sir? It’s
Hal Rayle: going great. How’s it going with you, Jeff?
Jeff: It’s going very well. Hopefully then we caught that little stutter I had at the time at the beginning. Apparently it’s gonna be one of those days.
Hal Rayle: Never acknowledge a glitch.
Just move on.
Jeff: That’s probably perfect advice from a, from a seasoned professional. So anyway, sir. So when, when did you discover your love for him?
Hal Rayle: My left were acting discovered me my love for voices. I discovered when I was about a three or four, when I found that I could do a lot of animals, squirrels and you know, farm animals, pigs, and things like that.
Plus I was doing a lot of different kinds of birds. And then my friends started asking me if I could do impersonations of people on television and that’s kind of where that all started. And then advertising found me and. [00:01:00] Through advertising and making money, doing voiceovers for commercials and then writing and voicing and producing and creating commercials.
Then I got into doing voices for acting. So
Jeff: the ability to do all those voices and, and mimics mimicry of like animals, things of that nature that more have to do with a great ear for sound. Or is it the dexterity of your voice box as it were?
Hal Rayle: I think it’s it’s an inherent thing that I, I have a predisposition towards.
I can’t actually honestly tell you how to do what I do. I can tell you how it appears to me that I do what I do, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can connect the dots and do that yourself. For me. I had an ear that. Allowed me to be able to figure out where the placement of things were. And then I’m a, I’m a very visceral person.
You know, [00:02:00] when I was raised, which was beginning of television back, I was 1955. I was born. So that was the first year of television. So I grew up with television where you’d see something once or twice, and you’d do an impersonation based on seeing it that one time. But you didn’t have the ability like you do now to go online and, you know, watch it over and over and over and work on all the nuances.
You just had to kind of pick it up on the fly and run with it. See if you could then write for it and do lines that the character didn’t say, for instance, you know, like if you were going to do Jimmy Cagney and you might learn you dirty rat, but what if they want you to say like, something like. This is not the place I wanted to live in and you’d have to be able to come up with, this is not the place I’ve wanted to live with, not at all.
So you have to be able to take [00:03:00] the essence of the character and take it further. You know, it’s like being able to do one or two lines of a character, but then all of a sudden you’re in a whole new show and that character that, you know, those one or two lines of has a whole different speech and you have to be able to princess when I was doing miss piggy.
You know, I, I knew like the kissy kissy, but then there were so much more of it that you had to do when you’re in pigs, in space and all these other stuff. So you had to be able to have the elasticity of working with where the writer took you and then trying to still encapsulate the character that you are being hired to do.
Jeff: Now, and, and you’re saying that is something that’s innate, like when your ability to, I mean, I can kind of see how you’re mimicking a line of an actor or, or let’s say an animal that you’re hearing and mimicking that for the ability to produce that, the essence of that into other types of dialogue [00:04:00] and other phrases, if you, it feels like that’s a whole nother skill that you have.
Is that also purely an AWS? Well,
Hal Rayle: I don’t know if it’s innate, but it’s something that I can do. It’s called voice separation. And it’s the ability to be able to throw your voice into different areas of your bodies and change your articulation pronunciation placement. So that it doesn’t seem like it’s the same person doing yet another voice
And how do you hone that, that ability? Like, how is it like, is there a way to practice that and hone it and Excel at it?
Hal Rayle: You know, when I, like I said, you know, I came up through all of this stuff in the the internet came about after all of my career and, and stuff. So, you know, you can look up all kinds of stuff now, and you can see me on YouTube and I’ll show you how to do the, you know, the predator and, and various other things.
It’s [00:05:00] called how to, and you know, you can either do it or you can’t. I can tell you that there’s a little flap hanging in the back of the voice and, you know, you want to be able to in the throat, you want to be able to just go
and then, you know, then you can either do that or you can’t, but it’s, it’s a gentility of me placing the air where I wanted and making that particular flap of my voice. Vibrate, not saturate, not, you know, be just filled with phlegm, but to actually have its own vibration, its own pitch. John Conti, when he did the soundtrack for predator to used my, as the actual vibration and tempo of the soundtrack.
Oh, I got nothing for that, but they sampled my trill and that’s what it became. [00:06:00] So it kept up with that. kind of primitive thing in the urban jungle, so to speak.
Jeff: Well, I know I probably could never do anything like that range of voice. I mean, it, I wouldn’t even understand how you, how do you do that?
And that is just truly
Hal Rayle: amazing to me. Well, I will tell you this, there is something between three, two and the finger point that when you’re doing, or at least for me, I made a sin apps change where I actually, for years, I’ve had to wear TMJ and other kinds of things, because I gnash my teeth. And for years I was stalking and I was, you know, being a predator.
I kind of opened up this little primordial box in my psyche to allow me to connect with the primitive nature of the character. And if you get what I’m [00:07:00] saying, yeah. You know, it’s because it’s a psychological thing because I have to, it’s the same thing as like, if you’re doing an animal, you want to give them an, a human register that humans will go, Oh, okay.
It’s sad. Oh, it’s happy. Oh, I get it. It wants to be close to you. You know, that’s what I’m hired to do is to give the human ask to the animal. So that the human listening goes, Oh, okay. I mean, when I was virtual and in project X with Matthew Broderick and Helen Hunt you know, the baby Virgil was one thing.
And then, you know, the Virgil, when it grows up and Goliath gets radiated and it comes in to tell everybody that’s, you know, that it’s friend that, you know, we’re going to be killed. You know, that was another moment where you have to, you have to touch into a primitive rage to, to get a tonality out of the voice that it, the voice [00:08:00] doesn’t necessarily want to go to.
It’s not part of my, you know, that’s not me, that’s just me putting on a chimpanzee, but then you put that with a scream, which I won’t do now. Cause I don’t want to rip myself out. But you know, then you do that and you, you, you get one, then you’ve ripped that area out. Mm. So I got, while I was doing Ghoulies and I was all of the Ghoulies and there’s there’s one scene where in Ghoulies too, where the Ghoulie the big Ghoulie eats all the other Ghoulies and he does this roar.
Well, I, you know, I’m, I’m using all these things to keep the phlegm up and to keep my voice from, you know, getting ruined after five, eight hour days of doing monsters. And I do this incredible roar and the guys just, Oh shit, this was open reel tape days. Oh shit. We slipped out a record. Can we do that again?
We can do it again, but you’re not gonna get that. Yeah. [00:09:00] And so we did it again and it got something, but it wasn’t that, that was that’s the one passage that’s where it, it rips its way through all the shit. And you only get that once after that, all that’s just been ripped away.
Jeff: So, I mean, the toll on your, your throat must be horrible.
Hal Rayle: I have so many notes and I’m sorry to the listener. Pardon my vocabulary. I, I should have a much better vocabulary. I’m just, I think I’m just being expression very for you to understand it. Even sometimes when you’re doing it right, it can hurt your voice. W what you have to do is you have to learn how to wrong the pain, if you will.
So that as your, as the pain is going along, it’s not, it’s not constricting and not allowing you to move on. You’re maintaining and controlling how much plasticity you allow your voice to have.
[00:10:00] Jeff: So when you are performing the voices and the sounds in the studio, are you acting out the part as well at the mic, or is a purely voice that you’re projecting out?
Hal Rayle: Well, I’d have to say a six to one half dozen or the other. I mean, if you know how to use a microphone, you’re using the microphone. You’re, you’re, you’re leaning in when you need to leaning back. When you, when you need to, you’re turning to the side when you need to see or not sibling or your P pops and things like that, you’re, you know, you’re working the mic and you’re letting the mic do all that you can do.
So your job is to allow the microphone to work for you. So you can get in really close and you can speak like this, or you can get back here and you can start shouting answers, but you can’t do that from the same place. You have to know where you want to be for your energies. And some voices have [00:11:00] different you know, some voices are softer than other voice.
Some voices are a reference tough, you know, And then there’s the three. What I like to say, there’s the, there’s the, the three facets you’re either observing, participating, or reflecting. So if the scene is going on and you’re in the scene, then you’re participating. If the scene is going on and you’re off to the side, then you’re in an observation.
If there is really no scene going on, but you’re talking about a scene you’re in reflection, all of those take different tonalities to allow the listener, to note that those three different tonalities are going on, then they’ll go, Oh, he’s reflecting. Oh, he’s involved in it. You know, you have one tone of voice when you’re, when you’re on comms and you’re going 20 minute, get ready [00:12:00] sniper on the left.
You’re doing just, you know, you’re having your voice real tight. Cause you’re having to remember that everybody else has comes on too short. Sweet, very pronounced, very pronounced, very articulated, but very quick. And you know, every character and every writer has its own delivery method and its own stratum of, of character identity, you know, it’s you the voice actor who tapes the written word and connects the dots that make the reader go, Oh God, that’s exactly what I imagined.
Or even better. Holy crime, a net lease. I never saw that. That’s amazing. That’s what you’re striving for. You know, this is for me, this is like old radio. This is where voice acting and, and all of that enters the theater of the [00:13:00] mind, where I get to be able to, you know, it’s different than sales and sales.
You’ve got a product and you’ve got a problem solution, and that’s all you’re trying to do with, with acting. You don’t know what the writer has thrown at. You, you don’t know, you know how deep you have to go into yourself, but to be able to do this, you need to be able to pull it all of your emotions at any given time.
You need to have a characters that can laugh and cry and have a variety of variety of both different kinds of laughs for different kinds of reasons and different kinds of crying for different kinds of reasons. You don’t know. What you’re going to be called upon to do. And whether that character is going to be strong in their convictions or extremely fragile in their mental state.
Jeff: Now, when you are these characters and the voices for these characters are, are [00:14:00] you experimenting with far more than what’s going to be on the page or are to make sure that you have that perfectly realized character? So you are going beyond perhaps either the lines, the emotions or whatever’s is going to be actually provided to make sure that it sounds real on in a three-dimensional way.
Hal Rayle: Yeah. I mean, you know, you, what you want to do is you want to track yourself and know where, where your strengths are. In other words, let’s say you’re going to go into the transformers and you know that, okay, Peter, Colin’s already cast and Frank Welker has already cast. So, you know, you know, you don’t want to be doing anything like this.
You want to be doing something, you know, so textures, you have a place for your voice to sit. So a lot of times what you do, or at least what, what I try to do because I had quote, unquote, voice vocal separation is I’ll have I’ll look at the [00:15:00] character and then I’ll write down three different names for impersonations.
One impersonation will tell me what the eyeline is. You know what, where their attitude is. Another impersonation will tell me where I might place my voice. And a third impersonation might just tell me how to change my cadence in case they’re saying, well, that’s a little bit close to somebody else who’s doing this.
What else you got? You know, and what you want to be able to do is blend not just be like, you know, like for instance, I did on a GI Joe I did not blend. I actually did the straight on character of Charlie Bronson as deep six, which was just going down 50 fathoms, a few steps. They make a ton bumps and just doing this, I work alone and taking their whole Slavic thing and utilizing it, keeping it right here in my face.
And then, you know, that allowed me to be able to be somebody else from the desert [00:16:00] or, you know, to be able to play opposite him. Because up here I am here the only year I’m here,
Jeff: that, that, that is absolutely amazing that you can do that. And, you know, it’s, it’s one of those things that I can’t fathom how that happens, but it sounds, it, it just, it, it really is amazing that you can do that.
And you’re not alone.
Hal Rayle: It’s a practice, it’s a learned skill and It’s also being lucky enough that I got to work with the greatest of the greatest in Hollywood. I, I saw how it came together. You know, I’ve, I’ve been part of, you know, majestic pieces and I, I know how it comes together. And I know the fiction from the fact and a lot of that enters into then, you know, then you, then you can separate yourself from no, no, you don’t because you’re going to get no, all the time.
I was telling a group that I was on a podcast not too long ago. And they were asking [00:17:00] me about, you know, how do you take the word? No. And I said, I take the word. No, and I take the N O and I put the K on the w on the beginning of the end and I turn node and no. Hmm. No, no. Why you didn’t get the job? No. What you need to do no as many skills as you can.
And keep knowing how to be independent, have your own studio to write at a voice side, to produce how to create, how did it go from concept creation to delivery because that’s where the world’s headed and that’s, what’s gonna make the stars of tomorrow is being able to facilitate the full picture and you’ll have everything, all the digital energies and all of the technology at your disposal to be able to do it.
I mean, boy, if I was had what I had in, you know, as a child today, I mean, it’s a [00:18:00] whole different world from the standpoint of the business. The business model of Hollywood is completely fractured and broken. But. You know, the ability to Justin Bieber yourself to come out of nowhere and build your own audience and command your own destiny.
It is out there as it’s never been before the ability to be able to save a nominal amount of money and put together a killer studio is available. I mean, when I started in the business to just to have a, a reasonable realtor real open real setup, you know, you’re looking at a cool, a hundred thousand dollars just to have all the different kinds of tube amps and everything else, you needed to be able to have the ups and, and everything that the NAB standards would, you know, would require.
And, and then, you know, you had to have the, the speed ability to work [00:19:00] open Mike on a large console dropping. Mike’s raising mikes on, you know, one take artistry it’s these are lost skills and lost times, but now with the ability to just go over and over and read up and reach a, you know, it’s like, God, you could figure, spend a year on a song.
I loved it, the Beatles, their first album they did in one day. And they asked George Harrison, Harrison about it. And he said, yeah. And the next album took even longer.
Jeff: Yeah. And I also wonder, especially nowadays with the way CGI is in the motion capture of CGI probably must open so many more doors to, for voice actors because not only do you get to do the voice, but you are now. Literally developing the character as well as three, as in three dimensions. Is that, does that, is that better?
Hal Rayle: Very closed corporation you know, because usually the [00:20:00] studio houses that have the money to put that together are doing gaming. And a lot of that is non-union gaming. So they’re doing, they have their own stable of people that they work with so they can keep their doors open. And then when they have, you know, a big union gaming or a big high profile thing, then they bring in people and you know, in that.
But most often all of that kind of stuff is reserved for celebrity people. Hmm. Well, you’re not happy. I would love. Nothing more than to put together a group here in Denver, working with improv people and with the, you know, Comcast and put together all the technology that it took to be able to put together something like that have a CGI improv group that can work with the inner city and work with kids on, you know, finding new skillsets and new outlets for their creativity and just new knowledge for the future new, new ways of being able to, [00:21:00] to demonstrate who they are to the masses or who they are, even to themselves to discover who you are is, is going to be prime.
I think that the hard part is giving your permit yourself permission to fail. A lot of times I note that my daughter’s 26 and I noted in her, her. Her age group and even beyond there’s a a lack of risk taking there’s there’s this, this fear of a being wrong and B wasting time and energy.
But I can tell you, there is no such thing as wasting time and energy, because what happens is you start doing one thing, Oh, let me, let me liken it to just saying, I’m going to head to a mountaintop there on that far side, I see a tip of a mountain. I’m just going to start walking to the tip of that mountain.
Now, as you keep walking to the tip of that mountain, you’re going to discover [00:22:00] valleys and you’re to discover Hills, and you’re discovered rough areas and fertile areas. And you might just come into an area where there’s just this beautiful Delta of grass and all this beautiful area of game, and you may decide you didn’t need to make it to the mountain.
But heading towards the mountain, got you to where you needed to be. So it’s, it’s all about focusing on a point far down the road, because fate is going to interject itself. Something’s going to happen. You job’s going to, you know, you’re going to lose a job and you’re going to go, Oh shit. Now I need to spend five months digging myself out of a financial hole before I can get back to my dream.
Well, you do that because you know where the mountaintop is, you know, where the peak is that you’re heading to, you’re not lost. You’re just gathering what you need to keep your journey forward. So it’s, it is all about risk. If you don’t risk, you will have [00:23:00] no reward risk from the standpoint of, of putting yourself out there and, and, and, and being told no.
I I’ve got a whole dossier of rejection letters and agencies that said no leading right up to where you know, they said yes, and everything just kind of went, boom. Well, but you know, mediocrity is going to be at the desk in front of you. So just work past mediocrity as as uncle Milton Berle would say just keep doing the work.
So when the phone rings, you can do it.
Jeff: Well, let’s say you remind me of a story about you, that, that that I read. I read that, I read that you earned in addition from, by sending a demo tape of Jim Henson and that the additional offer came five years after you actually sent it in. Is that true?
Hal Rayle: That is correct now.
Jeff: I mean, First off with the addition just like you just get an [00:24:00] open audition, just sent it in. Was it something they were requesting from you?
Hal Rayle: No, I could probably, this is from a different you’re roving Sesame street reporter reporting right here. Right now. I had this, this affinity towards the Muppets.
So when the Muppet movie came out, I just took all them up and said I could do. And I wrote this thing called Muppets dress rehearsal. We’re a Kermit is going around to all the different dressing rooms, talking to everybody about, you know, you you’re ready for tomorrow, you know, we’re going to, it’s going to be this.
It’s going to be that. Yeah, no. Oh yeah. If I don’t find the right thing, I won’t be able to deliver it to myself. You know? So I’m just doing all these things, different voices, all talking back to Kermit about, you know, about the movie that they’re going to start filming the next day. And I sent that to the Muppets and five years later, I sent it to Dave galls and Dave Goelz got it into the Muppets and he sent me a letter back [00:25:00] saying, thank you.
I’ll, I’ll put that in the, in the file. And you know, we’ll put it w if we have a need, we’ll let you know. We’ll five years later, they called me. And I was one of 50 people called in from around the country. I had just had cancer and wow. I was about 140 pounds. I was pretty thin. I was well, I was 19.
It was so, you know, a lot of people mistook that as AIDS. And I I went to New York and after out of 50 people, I made it to the bottom fives out of four days of, you know, no, you go home, you go home, you stay, you stay. And you know, was one of those deals where I went to college and I said, I don’t want a credit card.
So then after college, I couldn’t get a credit card. It took me years to get a credit card. [00:26:00] Literally the day the credit card came, the Muppets said, would you like to fly to New York? And I maxed out that credit card that morning climbing trip to New York and back. Yeah, there are no accidents pal. You got to put yourself out there, you know, did I think that the Muppets were going to call me?
I hoped, but I’d never really in my heart of hearts. I never thought they would. I just thought I’ve just got to put myself out there and see if, you know, if, if anything comes back
Jeff: now in those five years, I mean, did you, when, when they finally called, did you forget you had even sent or in back of your mind, was that always that hope still lingering thinking this could happen at any time?
Hal Rayle: I have a list of all my voices and I knew what I had sent them. So that morning, before I went in to the Muppets, I went over that entire list that I sent them along with that audition, [00:27:00] which was lucky I did because in the audition Richard Hunt. Who was Janice and several other Muppets for the Muppets.
He S he was in charge of interviewing everybody. And he had me do every voice on that list. Ran it. I mean, you trust me, you got to have cast iron constitution because you can’t, you can’t be shy. If you’re shy, then no, one’s going to want to give you power. You have to, you have to believe in yourself because if you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else is going to believe in you.
Was I nervous? Oh, hell yes. I just put my, I just maxed out a credit card for Christ’s sake. Yeah. Yeah.
Jeff: It, it must be a skill as well to learn how to control that aspect of you. I actually had mentioned a little bit we had interview, I interviewed Neil Ross last week and I know you know him from bionic six
Hal Rayle: and Ross from the beginning, [00:28:00] we were in the same agency.
Jeff: Wow. All right. Yeah. And, and one thing I asked him, I’m going to ask you as well, is that the problem with nerves is that when the first places that nerves become, obviously other people is in your voice and as a voice actor, obviously that’s your one tool. And I, and I was, and you know, how do you learn to hide that part of you that nervousness, that part that is maybe anxiety, the parts that’s freaking out while you’re doing these interviews and PR and performing for other people
Hal Rayle: where it comes out is in the hands.
Okay. You have to lock off everything else in your body because you’re using your voice. You know, right now,
Hal Rayle: well, you know, you lock your body, so you’re, you’re too busy doing the character.
You’ve got your face locked in. You’ve got your, your larynx locked in, you’ve got your chest and your breathing locked in. So with all that locked in, and then your eyes focusing on the [00:30:00] words and your mind messing with your cadence and your you know, your accentuate, where you want to put in a diphthong we’ll exchange, where you strengthened, you lengthened a syllable, your shortness, syllable, whatever you want to do.
All of that’s like I call that running the tires and tomahawks, you know, you don’t, you don’t wanna miss a word, but you have to hit your feet in every tire and you have to Dodge between every swing of the Tomahawk. And you have to get from point a to point B in this amount of seconds. Okay. So, you know, so what you do is you don’t have time.
You don’t have time to be nervous. Nervous is before you walk in the room, once you’re in the room, Hey, you’re in the horse race. You don’t have, you don’t have time to think about that. The only thing you’re doing is you’re looking at your next line, trying to think how you can articulate that to get the most out of that [00:31:00] line when they only have four words.
Jeff: So what, like, sort of like with that audition tape, where you had that huge gap, but between sending it out and getting your feedback and getting the extra in your success in, in taking the job. The thing that I think is hard for a lot of people. Is maintaining faith in themselves during that interim period of time where things aren’t happening for them.
Hal Rayle: Yeah. You know, see, this is the thing, I mean, I, because I had cancer, I was motivated by different things. I was kind of like, you know, everybody walks in their own moccasins and has their own story to tell, but my father died of cancer. When I was 13 months, his father died of cancer. When he was three years old, I got cancer [00:32:00] at 26.
I didn’t see myself as having a, you know, this long life. So I decided after I had cancer, that ethic, I was going to just do life on my terms. And I wanted to be a voice actor. I’d always wanted to be a voice actor. And I was never, I was always discouraged from it. Discouraged Tremont. I was. Not allowed to do plays or, you know, I always had to have a job cause I didn’t have a dad and we had to go to college and yada yada yada, and all of that stuff, you know, and you’re from a small town, 1200 in the Midwest in Indiana.
And the nearest movie theater is 30 miles. And you know, your chances of going from there to Hollywood are pretty insurmountable. But you know, I had set my goal by 30 and I, I achieved, so, I mean
Jeff: maybe, I don’t know, kind of the best way to phrase the question [00:33:00] did having dealt with cancer, do you think that made you more able to handle the pitfalls and the issues of trying to be successful in
Hal Rayle: Hollywood?
It also allowed me to be able to walk away. Yeah. I mean, what happens is. You know, it’s, it’s an individual journey. Of course, what happened for me was I just committed myself. I got angry, you know, and I just said, I’m not going to accept no. And these people don’t know what they don’t know who they’re saying no to.
And there’s an X, there is a Jack Kennedy when when they were trying to land a mine man on the moon, he told the NASA scientists, when you reach a wall, take your cap from your head and throw it to the opposite side of the wall. And don’t stop until you’ve put your cap back on your head, meaning, you know, [00:34:00] get through this and still maintain being who you are and get through this obstacle, figure your way through it, maintain who you are all the way through it to the other side and know that there’s always going to be walls.
And there’s always going to be obstacles, but just figure it out. No. His is a temporary occurrence. It’s not a lifetime sentence. It’s an individual saying no right now to this doesn’t mean no forever. You know, you may get a no from Walt Disney. Does that mean no forever? Well, if you say it does, yeah. If you never go back, that’s no forever.
But if you keep going back and you keep going back and you keep taking lessons and you keep bettering what you do and you keep perfecting your craft, then you turn no to no. You see what I’m saying? It’s like [00:35:00] cancer. We’re allowed me to be able to just suffer no fools and just say, Oh, F this and F you, I, this is what I’m going to do.
I don’t, I can’t, I have no room for negativity. I have no room for anybody to tell me that I can’t do this and it won’t happen. I don’t have room for that. I weeded those people out of my life. I changed my name. I was raised to Joe and I changed my name to how cause I was always had, Harold is my first name.
And I liked how Perry who was the great Gildersleeves and his name was Harold Perry. So I chose to name myself how after Harold Perry and you know, so you change your name, you change your outlook, you change your disposition, you change how you accept people’s. Perception of you when they shake their head and you can see the doubt in their eyes and you, you get that spring in your step.
This is, [00:36:00] or just wait, let me show you. But then I, but then I, I got success in Hollywood and I, I did the things that I wanted to do. I grabbed the brass ring. I held the brass ring. I, and I let go of the brass ring and the reasons why I let go of the brass ring, where the same reasons why I went to success in the first place.
It’s about my life, who I am and the quality of life of what I want to live. I won. I won, I have my own studio. I can produce my own books. I can, I can do anything. I have all the sound effects and everything I need to do whatever I want to do from this time forward. The rest of my life. Now, all I have to do is just figure out what is it I want to do?
What excites me, what keeps, what keeps ringing my bell and making me want to come back and suffer more from my aunt.
[00:37:00] Jeff: Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s, it must be an amazing thing to know that you now have control over your own destiny.
Hal Rayle: Well, I’m lucky. I lived long enough, you know, there were several decades where it, it, it Tiffy, especially with children, you know, college together and things like that, you know, and, you know, leaving Hollywood, moving to Colorado and.
And building a fiber optic bridge to, you know, the Simpsons from our house so that I can facilitate Maggie. And, you know, w we’ve been doing the Simpsons from our house for at least 15, 16 years.
Jeff: So I want to kind of go backtrack a little bit too, because you mentioned you did a voice for one of my favorite shows growing up transformers.
And I that’s one of those shows that just as like those formative shows, that just mean a lot to you and you always hold onto it. [00:38:00] And for anyone listening, I will admit as an adult, I still watched the cartoons from the eighties. Yeah. Well, I would say, I do think one nice thing about current generations is that we, we pass the point where you feel full as watching kids shows as an adult, that.
It seems like normalized
Hal Rayle: culture a long time ago,
Jeff: but yeah. So one of the characters you voiced was shrapnel on transformers, and I just wanted to know how that came about. And did you, were you aware of transformers as well prior to becoming a shrapnel?
Hal Rayle: I was only aware of the fact that there was a show called transformers.
I had it, I had not seen it. I got an audition. My agent was excited for me to go and audition for this thing called transformers. I was excited to go and audition for Wally Berg. Cause I knew he did cartoons. He was not only doing transformers. He was also doing GI Joe. So [00:39:00] I had gotten a job on GI Joe.
That’s how Wally Berg knew about me for me to get into transformers and shrapnel. Was align. I am shrapnel shrapnel, insect con insect con. And it said we’d like to have a sense of repeat. So, and I’ve told this story before you know, I said, I like to blend characters. So I was thinking about something that would be kinetic and filled with a lot of energy and you know, electrons because the picture was these things sparking from his horn tips on his, on his, you know, his framework for lack of anyway.
So I just went and I, what I did was instead of doing the full insect ICAN and [00:40:00] shrapnel shrapnel, I. Echoed it. So I just went,
Jeff: that is also that, that the character is so unique in his, in the way that speechwriter and that sound, I always thought it was that echo. We thought that was artificially in you know, they put it in later.
Hal Rayle: Oh, many people have asked me about that and said, you know, did it bother you that they did that?
And I said, no, because that was me. No, that was just supposed to be something eccentric that the character had. My, my audition for snarl was just, I am snarl, dyno bot. So.
And that was a week roar. Sorry about that. But my hours, I need more. I need my mice.
[00:41:00] Jeff: It’s so cool to hear you do the voices from these shows that I remember from like so many years ago. And like I say, I always, and especially considering, like, I always thought when I, those, especially with both those characters, that there was the voice, I always thought it was seriously computer like enhanced in some weird way to change it.
Hal Rayle: you as well, when you watch the show, I can see why you would think it would be, you know, computer and they have lots of special effects and computer generated sounds manipulation on the voices and all kinds of things. So yeah, I would see why you would think that, but no, they just gave it a tiny arc of reverb you know, to, you know, give the voice just a little bit more.
I wanna say. Presence and power, but short of that, it was all me.
Jeff: I really think, especially those characters. Do you think you are given the opportunity to do as much with those [00:42:00] characters that you had wanted as
Hal Rayle: you wanted to? No, not at all, because it’s all about toy marketing. It’s all, it was all toy marketing.
So, you know, the popular toys got longer lines and bigger scenes and storylines and like the dyno bots, you know, we were introduced we had a couple of lines here and there. You know, Grimlock got all the I think a lot of the attention simply because he was a Tran of Saurus Rex and that Tori that’s, you know, that toy was, you know, appealing to kids.
I was a stegosaurus, not, you know, it’s stability, but it’s not the same kind of, you know, saunter is the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Let’s say, you know, but it, but that was, you know, That was part of it. You know, it was the Greek, the reasons why those shows made such an impact is because it was toy marketing. And because you could enjoy watching your toys on television, [00:43:00] you know, it’s like I grew up with GI Joe, well, being part of GI, Joe was great because then it was able to take my energy of being a kid and having that doll that looked like a candle with a scratch on his face.
You know, and, you know, and, and being able to, you know, all of a sudden play GI Joe on television, that was a big thing for me and transformers. I had no idea that it would be this big, but I can see the appeal of it, especially when I’m looking at this. Changing evolving world. So many people are transforming.
So many attitudes are transforming. So many nations are transforming. And yet, you know, just as there are auto bots, there are just SEPTA cons. You know? So we, those two sides of our nature are still ever present around us
Jeff: or the writers on the show open to suggestion that were you able to [00:44:00] say, have ideas for these characters to do this or that with them?
Or was it basically the, this is the script and you, you know, you, you, you read your line, Ryan w and did you have no,
Hal Rayle: no, no, no. And no, Wally Wally Burr. I did not love Wally Burr. He’s a great man. And may you rest in peace while Heber. But Wally had a certain style and he had an approach and, you know, he didn’t stop until you did it the way while he wanted you to do it.
So you got pretty good at understanding how Wally wanted it. And in all respects, Wally was the youngest tank commander in world war II. So he had he had the advance of knowing what, what the ground was like in a war, you know? So he brought that into his directing and into his interpretation, but that script was gone over by him.
So, I mean, we showed up and there was, they [00:45:00] gave us a piece of paper that told us what pages we were on and how many lines we had.
Jeff: And, and the cool thing is the character like shrapnel. I mean, he sounds fantastic. He’s visually fantastic. I, I really felt the insight to cons needed way more stories. I mean, they were such a phenomenal character.
I mean, they, they do capture your imagination when you watch
Hal Rayle: them. They killed us in the movie.
Jeff: Yes. I was about to ask you about that. That was a really piss you off 96, 86 movie, personally. I love the movie, but yeah, they screwed up a lot of fantastic character that killed. Yeah, you got ran over the characters
Hal Rayle: know and then, and the dynabox we’re, you know, we were put out to space.
So, you know, it’s like all of that shit. I mean, that stuff, I don’t know, you know, I’m not in charge of any of that stuff. I’m just lucky enough to be able to have somebody say, man, we want you to voice this character. And for me to stand there with the likes of the people that I worked with and have those memories is that’s a beautiful, [00:46:00] beautiful playground in my head.
Jeff: When, when the movie was being announced, the, the 1986 transformers movie. Did someone sit you down and say, this is what we’re doing to your characters, or it was just, I mean, or was you just,
Hal Rayle: we had no idea what was going on. We went in and did our lines. I remember I was in there and I was working with Leonard Nimoy and it was just he and I, and one other person, I forget who else was in the room.
And it was right after Orson Wells had left because no one was allowed in the studio when Orson Welles recorded, but his snifter was still there with the empty Perrier bottle. And we were in this little tiny booth, the three of us and Leonard Nimoy was doing his lines. And then I did my lines and then we left and nobody’s said, you know, I had no idea that, that we were going to be killed.
You know, you’re doing your line. And then later on the [00:47:00] storyline, it tells you they didn’t give us a script. They said, here’s your lines. This is what you do. So when you got there, I remember in Hollywood, we put our battle plans on CNN, but nobody knows what the next season is going to develop.
Jeff: It w when, when you’re working it sounds to me like Leonard Nimoy, who is better known as an actor, then a voice actor, and you who are an expert in as a voice actor.
Is there any kind of like, I don’t wanna say, I don’t know about friction, but is there a sense of the, you know, looking at him saying, you know, he’s not, he’s not really a voice actor, he’s not doing it. How I would, you know, as someone who’s has all these experience, or is there some sense of discussing
Hal Rayle: with you?
All right. Now, hold on, hold on for just a second, you know, we’re talking about Leonard Nimoy here, right? What I’m supposed to sit here and say, you know, Leonard Nemours just absolutely didn’t approach his characters the way I felt he should. Oh, no. Leonard Nimoy was [00:48:00] genius. He, he was having an off day.
The day I was when with, was there with him. He wasn’t in a particularly a happy mood. But I don’t know whether it was because he was following, you know, being horse and will Wells being in there all by himself. And then he’s in there with him. Well, I don’t, you know, I don’t know what’s going on and all of that stuff, I’m just there.
Happy as that, I was doing my line saying, wow, I’m going to be in the transformers movie.
Jeff: Well, let me, let me get it right. I mean, I’m, I’m a huge Leonard Nimoy fan, but I always do wonder if there’s. Ever a thought between actors and voice actors who do voices, where other extra voice actors would normally do it.
There’s never a thought of, you know, that could be a job of another voice actor who specializes in it.
Hal Rayle: Of course there is, of course there is, I mean, celebrities are put in things so that the, the tendency for people to want to rent them heightens, [00:49:00] you know, nobody’s going to rent it with how rails name on it.
But if Robin Williams, his name was on there, you know, Hey, let’s do that. So, you know, that’s the reason why you use those perks. Another reason why you might have damn or hell in the script is so you can get a PG rating and that increases your your quota of the number of people that will see what you do as well.
So, you know, there’s finesse and every aspect of every project that gets created. And it all depends on who the spearhead is. You know, who’s in charge of pushing it on where and how far it goes and whether it takes a broader approach or just an in depth approach, because you can go wide, but you can’t go deep and you can go deep, but you can’t go wide.
Jeff: Now in Washington, the transformers movie snarl doesn’t hat [00:50:00] is not what the other dynabox is he, was he originally indescript? Did he have lines at all?
Hal Rayle: I did not. I did align as scenario, but I don’t think it appeared in the movie. And, you know, I had no idea. I mean, I’ve gotten asked that so many times.
Why were you in the movie and then they didn’t have you speak, you know, all I can say is, you know, I didn’t write it. Trust me if I have written it. My parts would be somewhat more padded,
Jeff: I would imagine. So,
Hal Rayle: yeah, it’s quite a bit more.
Jeff: Well, you did end up after the movie aired in the season, season three, you did voice pipes.
Yeah. And w was that a fun character to play? Yeah, I mean,
Hal Rayle: I did pipes like you remember the, there was an old show called Andy of Mayberry, not the Andy Griffith show, just Andy of Mayberry. And [00:51:00] one of the characters he had on there was a character named Warren and Warren was this guy that was always like this burns and Allen Avery burns.
I think that was his name. It was either Avery burns or S it was the Allen. I can’t, I think not anyway, burns it down, but I made pipes like that where he’s just like, Hey, you know, I can take care of all this stuff. My problem is. I just need to have the specifics. Right. You know, you never know if this is an old ring and I have to have the right size, no meters.
Hey, you know, you
Jeff: know. That’s awesome. So what were you told about playing by Blake? Was there any direction how you felt the character should be
Hal Rayle: how you’ll be playing pipes today? Okay.
And then you listen to everybody, else’s voices on what they’re doing and you come up with something that’s different than what they’re doing. So that types can have a place in the [00:52:00] Panorama. Yeah. You know, it’s all, so many, it’s like looking at the Simpsons. Every character has a different persona. And it’s the same thing in the toys that of GI Joe and toys of transformers.
Every character was thought out to the ends degree to have a persona, to have a personality. And then they latched onto those personalities and those personas to enhance the storylines that they were trying to push well at the same time, making sure that the toys they were wanting to be pushed, had the main stay of the lines.
Jeff: It like, it, it just it, it’s amazing. Just like how many great characters you played in the eighties that really did define a lot of childhoods. I think, I mean, like I said, it used to play sport one on bionic six and you were on the show with people like Frank Welker and open Heimer. And we, like we said earlier, Neil Ross, but what was it like just all of you [00:53:00] guys who are these legendary voice actors just hanging out with each other?
Hal Rayle: Oh, you know, I wish. That people today could have been a fly on the wall, the jokes you can’t. I mean, for instance, we did a show called glow friends and almost everybody that was anybody in Hollywood was in glow friends, you know, and we were all the class clowns. We were the guys who were the add kids who could never, you could never get them.
They were squirters. They were, you know,
and trying to keep 23 people in a room quiet when we’re all add. And we, and we speak for a living. Yeah. It was a, the hilarity of it all. And the asides, the you know, in those days we carried pagers. So somebody’s pager would go up and you’d go, Oh, I set mine only to nationals and things like that, you know, all these kinds of jokes and you know, Mike placements and things like that, that, you know, that were offered that [00:54:00] You just, you can’t imagine the stories, God sitting there with Scott Mann Crothers.
I remember him telling me the story about if you’re going to, you know, if you’re going to go to a microphone, give the microphone a name and the name should evoke a personality of, of, of someone that you desire and you to do is you should speak to that person in such a manner as to try to get them to want to be naughty with you.
And I said, Oh, because sex sales and he goes, there you are. But basically what he’s saying is the microphone is, is the listener’s ear. Yeah. So create a, create a name, create a confident relationship with a microphone. So you can play the versatility of what the author gives you. And have the ear of a friend and a confidant that you relate it to.
[00:55:00] Jeff: That that’s amazing to think, you know, with like I, all those legends and all you guys just sharing just the knowledge of the craft with each other. I mean, once again, you
Hal Rayle: know, I mean, within reason I will tell you that nobody, Frank Welker is not going to show you how he does anything. But if you watch him and you see how he does it, you pick it up.
And that’s nothing against Frank that’s, you know it, but if you’re like, for instance, I play guitar. When I’m sitting with jazz musicians, jazz musicians, you know, they’ll will, they will show you all the secrets. They’ll show you how you get that core transformation here. Just try this it’s sloppy, but it works really well.
And they will show you how to move your fingers and get those things so that the, you know, the music lives on not so in, in the world of Hollywood you know, you I’ve written a book, right. How I do what I do, and I’m perfectly willing to share what I do. And, [00:56:00] you know, because I don’t know that anybody will be able to read it and be able to do what I do, but in the event that somebody can, I’m willing to put it down on paper and let them.
You know, peruse it at sometime in the future and see if they can do what I did at least have an idea of how I did what I do. That, that doesn’t frighten me at all. I look forward to P people being able to take whatever tricks I had and use that in what they did. I mean, shoot, I can’t tell you how many things I got just off of watching somebody do it once and go, Oh, okay.
I’ll do that. You know how to do rats? I saw this woman say what is, see if we can coax this critter. And she was in Australia and she licks her Palm and goes, Oh, Oh, then, then I utilize that. And I’m doing the rats and total recall with, you know, what’s I, you know, I’m telling me that I have ask [00:57:00] the MAs.
Jeff: So, so it’s so it’s a competitive reason is they’re looking for the competitive edge. That’s why they’re not, they, they don’t share their
Hal Rayle: here. You know, that I’m referring to her, like the stories of what it was like in the old days and the forties and the fifties, you know, things like that with, you know, what the eight, what the big stars, the one take artists, what they were like to work with.
And, and then, you know, working with those people, I realized that I was at the last of the great days now that everything is digital and it’s not, you know, it’s, it’s, you know, it’s not open real and it’s not it’s not what it was, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s an analog world was a simpler world in an analog world.
It was good, fast and cheap pick two in a digital world. They want a good, fast and cheap plus a bump in social networking. So what [00:58:00] disappears in the digital world is quality because people are moving fast, they’re moving cheap and they’re moving. Okay. But their emphasis isn’t on originality, you know, storyline animation, the it’s on.
Okay. Is, will the hook works? Will we get in the demograph that we’re looking for? Okay. Then, you know, what do we need? And then, and even got it even got to the point where like, I know at Fox they were going, yeah, we can make millions, but will we make billions on some of these shows? So you’re going like, wow.
So there is, I mean, the reality of. What I try to tell people is we got to remember it’s two words, show business. People only count on this show. They forget about the business. [00:59:00] Now, the reason why you get an agent is so you can just be the show and then the agent can be the business. Yep. You gotta have to be the business too, because you’re not going to, if you’re not the business, you’re not going to be allowed to be in the show.
So you have to, now you have to have a huge social networking, you know, sushi, social following, because then they then they, you know, like, let’s say you have a a hundred thousand people in your following. Wow. You’re going to get a cartoon show because why? Well, right off the bat, you’re going to say to 100,000 people, Hey, I’m doing this such and such show.
Well, yeah, most social
Hal Rayle: media does. I was in the businessman agents. Didn’t have they went through your agent? Nobody had your number. You didn’t tell anybody what you had for breakfast. [01:00:00] It is
Jeff: it actually kind of funny from, from the point of view of, of, of the, of the podcast? There are a few times I’ve interviewed some people and I’m talking to them.
I was like, okay, well make sure, you know, you boost, you know, you based on yours, what not. And they’re like, I don’t have social media and it’s kind of like, wait, what? I mean? It’s so weird to think that someone doesn’t have any social media nowadays. Well,
Hal Rayle: you know, I like to think about it as being six and one half dozen of the other, somewhere in there.
There has to be mystery. If they know if they know too much about you, they won’t be interested.
Jeff: All right. Let’s
Hal Rayle: interesting point. Maintain the mystery.
Jeff: So, well, one thing I’ve always wondered. So like transformers, once again there’s such a longevity to that show. And then another show like bionic six.
Do you think the show garners the attention that it deserves or the longevity that it
Hal Rayle: deserved? No, I don’t think it really got any longevity, but you know, those were during the days when it was CBS, NBC, ABC, and the three [01:01:00] networks, you know, a lot of good shows just went down the drain. And some of it was because of preempting.
I know galaxy high got preempted by sports all the time, but on the other Chino channels, you had team Wolf and you had the other things that were not getting preempted, so we didn’t get picked up. And that was a great show. But you know, I don’t have control over any of that. Only thing I have control over is what I can do when they bring me in the room to stand in front of the mic and deliver the goods.
Jeff: anyone’s listening who does have control bionic six deserves to be on the streaming so-so, it’s watchable to the new generations as soon as possible.
Hal Rayle: It’s great. You’ll love
Jeff: it. It’s a really, it’s a really fun show. I mean, I enjoyed the characters like the sport one is a fun character.
It’s a, it’s a really well done show. It’s just, I think the issue is obviously right now is on only available on YouTube clips and you lose a lot on YouTube. You lose the quality of the sound, the quality of the picture,
[01:02:00] Hal Rayle: continuity of the story
Jeff: that you exactly.
Hal Rayle: Yeah. Well, you know, that’s, that’s TMS, so hopefully TMS will put that out.
And some other things I’d like, you know, you never know, it might be someday again on you know, Cartoon network someplace. I’m sure it’s probably airing all over the orient. Nobody knows nobody outside of the globe. Anyway.
Jeff: So tell me about audio RNR. It’s your company. Tell me about it, what it does, let our listeners know the details.
Hal Rayle: Well, audio RNR is a studio that facilitates Maggie Roswell and how rail hence the R and R. We do everything from writing, voicing, producing, creating imaging sound effects for web and you know, any kind of commercial use as well as a book narration, facilitating the Simpsons doing animation and any kind of other jobs that come down the road that we’re [01:03:00] interested in.
We, you know, the Simpsons keep us nice and busy and keeps keep us in a place where we can choose the kinds of things would want to do. And I, I’m trying to adhere to that policy of doing the best you can with what you got instead of wasting time. So audio RNR is our way of being able to take humanity and humor and facilitate Roswell and rail in a way that we can work with whoever wants to work with us anywhere on the globe.
That’s the great thing about this planet and this time with digital, as opposed to analog, you literally can be at home as you are right now, talking to me and the audience is all over this world. So, and happened before my friend. My studio is just to be able to tell all those people all over the world [01:04:00] that wants some quality, that they can get good, fast and affordable.
Jeff: So, I mean, how long have
Hal Rayle: you been a satellite took cheap?
Jeff: Well, no, you, you use words very wisely, so, so how long has
Hal Rayle: the company? Since 1989. Oh, wow. Every everything we do it’s, it’s basically, you know, it’s my studio. It’s. It’s how I keep in touch with every other studio in the world, as well as being able to keep in touch with animators and other people that I work with that are web designers and people that are doing, you know, gaming and what have you.
We have a whole list of people that we work with for gaming that I I’ve trained over the years. And you know, I, at this point, I’m not in Hollywood, I’m in Denver and I’m trying to make Denver a Mecca for the [01:05:00] future.
Jeff: So which projects are you working
Hal Rayle: on now? Well, I just finished a top secret project that I can’t tell you about, except I can tell you that it’s it’s virtual reality.
It’s. Huge. And of course the, COVID put a little, a bit of a stamp on it, but it’s been in development for two years and it’s ready to go. It just is waiting for people to be able to congregate again. And that will be something that will be on both sides of the globe. And it’s again, like I, I signed an NDA, so I can’t tell you who that’s for, but I can tell you it’s out of this world
Jeff: that wow.
When you, when you’re able to talk about it, can you come on and discuss
Hal Rayle: it? Absolutely. That’d be shorter that I just finished some animation stuff. I have a book that I just finished called inheritance Which I narrated inheritance the last enclave book one. And I not only narrated it, I did all the imaging [01:06:00] and the sound effects for it because I want to do more with audio education and make it easier and more palatable for the listener.
I mean, I think the days of having drive books should be done. We have technology, we have sound effects. We have, you know, heightened, special effects audiences that are ready to be titillated and have their minds taken places that a drab voice cannot take them.
Jeff: And I will agree. I think it’s great to have a trained voice actor do the narration. I think a lot of sometimes the author does the reads the books and things that you’ve got to have a voice actor.
Hal Rayle: I mean, yes or no. I mean, it all depends on who the theater coyote, you know, it’s a great narrator and a great actor.
You know, there’s so many other people that are out there that are wonderful at it, you know? But [01:07:00] I approach it from the standpoint of being a multi voice actor. And so I take all the characters that are in this novel and I give them all different voices. And I give, because this is an takes place out in space.
I’m able to take some of the AI voices and, you know, give them different presence, values so that you can tell, like when I’m in my space suit, when I’m in the space Room when I’m, you know, in the enclave. And when I’m out in a huge open space, whether I’m talking on coms inside the space, a box, or whether I’m talking on comms outside of the, you know, the facility.
So, you know, I had to develop a voice for six foot seven, 400 pound female alien. Yeah.
Which was fun. And I gave, you know, there’s different than when you’re using [01:08:00] what they call the the, the gyrocompass of characters you can use. There’s big, there’s little, there’s big, little and little big. So you can have a big character with a little voice, or you can have a little character with a big voice, or you can have a big character, or you can have a little character.
You see what I mean? So this big character has a little voice.
Jeff: I was wondering if you could give me an example of it.
Hal Rayle: I sped it up a little bit and compress the timing bats. Yeah. Last year. And what is wrong?
Jeff: That is awesome.
Hal Rayle: You do that. Can you take her up an octave and you compress the timing. So you know that it’s, it’s [01:09:00] shortened and phrasing and you get a really nice different sense of the character, but I gave her A matronly female, I want to say Eurasian, but at the same time I took her out of that mold.
So it wasn’t only that I also put in all kinds of mouth sounds and gerbils because of the physicality that’s described about how she stands and you know, how she has two huge arms, two little arms and things like that, you know? So I gave her a dignity and a sense of femininity, but also a determination and a strength.
So that’s, you know, you have to walk all those borders and, and, and also, I didn’t want to make fun of Asian women. So you have to be walking that line as well. True. It’s a hats off a tip of the hat, but not making fun
[01:10:00] Jeff: is that release or that’s being
Hal Rayle: released soon. That’s already out. Okay. It was released 22nd of December.
Okay. Very cool. If
Jeff: you want to send me a link to it, I will definitely put it onto the under the episode.
Hal Rayle: Okay.
Jeff: And I want to thank you so much. Mr. Rael, for talking with me, you’re a fantastic guest and I want to thank you for helping my childhood with all the great shows that doing. Oh,
Hal Rayle: Jeff. Have a wonderful day.
Jeff: Thank you so much. I’m just
Hal Rayle: all right. Be well. And you