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July 20, 2020

Meet the Governors: Bob Bergen

Name: Bob Bergen

Peer Group: Performers

New or Returning Governor? Returning

Describe your day job: I'm an actor. Primarily a voice actor, although in my early days I did a lot of on-camera work in sitcoms, soaps, and also hosted the kid's version of Jeopardy! called Jep!.

But my dream was always to do voices for cartoons, which is how I've made a living for over 30 years.

My day begins early with auditions. I have voiceover agents on both coasts. My coffee maker is set for 5am. I pour a large cup (which is the first of many) and hit my office studio.

My New York agents need their auditions in by 9am their time/6am my time. I print up my scripts and hit the studio. Between auditions for both coasts I'm usually done by 8am.

VO sessions begin at 9am. Since Covid-19 all voice actors have had to upgrade our home studios.

We've all been auditioning from home for decades. And many genres of voiceover, such as commercials, promos, audio books, etc., have been recording full sessions from home for some time. But not so much animation.

As often as possible television animation is recorded ensemble. I now have a state of the art broadcast quality home studio. It was a bit of an expense and a huge learning curve. But hey, being a tech idiot if I can do this anyone can!

For those interested in doing more voiceover work, I highly suggest getting your home studio up to speed. My gut tells me for much of voiceover, this disruption brought with it a business model that is here to stay.

Voiceover is really the only acting genre still business as usual since the pandemic. For cartoons the voices are recorded first, followed by the animation. By being able to record from home we are keeping production in production, from the artists to the writers, musicians, editors, etc.

Every show has different tech needs for the home recording. For most, I record on my end on a program called Twisted Wave. I go into my studio, a 4x4 sound proof booth which at one time was the announcer booth for CBS.

I connect on my wall mounted iPad onto Zoom where I can see my voice director, producers, writers, network or studio execs, etc. They have us per contract up to four hours, but it rarely takes that long to record an episode, especially recording solo.

But recording solo comes with challenges. Acting is reacting, and I miss having my fellow actors there to work off of. And for some shows actors are required to slate the takes, which when recorded at outside studios is handled by a script supervisor or voice director. "This is line 35, take 12."

THEN we have to deliver the line, in character and with the proper intent of the scene. It's a pretty quick transition from take number to acting. For one show I make it easier by slating my takes in character, which is kinda fun.

We found out this does not work for Porky Pig. By the time me gets the take out we've wasted too much time. The finished session is then forwarded to a dropbox for post production.

Between jobs I fold laundry, binge on Emmy FYC sites, etc. I just don't have to drive in traffic, which is a luxury! And, more auditions usually come in throughout the day. I am beyond fortunate to be able to keep working during this time, and I do not take any of it for granted.

Credits of which you're most proud: Well, I got into voiceover with the goal to voice Porky Pig, which I've been doing since 1990. I spent five years as the promo voice for Disney Channel, working with some of the finest promo writers and producers in the business.

I have the pleasure to have worked on a variety of characters within the Star Wars universe. The really fun thing about voiceover, and especially animation is the creative diversity.

At 9am I'm a Looney Tune. At 11am I'm a crying baby for a commercial. At 1pm I'm a Marvel villain. At 3pm I'm voicing an original character for a new Netflix animated series. It never gets boring, and it's a heck of a lotta fun!

Why did you want to be a Television Academy governor? I joined The Television Academy in the 90s with a goal to one day be in the boardroom. I love TV! Always have! I can remember being at summer camp excited that the fall TV schedule starts when I get home!

Most kids looked forward to baseball playoffs. I couldn't wait to see what the new season would have in store for Archie Bunker and Fonzie!

I was excited and honored that I qualified to join The Television Academy. I attended every event available to me, and a few that weren't. I'm a born networker, and I have always gone out of my way to meet the players.

Eventually I was invited to serve on The Performers Peer Group Executive Committee. From there I was nominated to run for Governor.

Much of my day is spent on behalf of The Television Academy and my Peer group. You don't volunteer to be a part of leadership if you aren't interested in leading. It's a lot of work, but it is such a pleasure to be a part of this organization.

What do you hope to accomplish as a governor? Since my earliest days on The Performers PGEC I felt it was important to always be aware of and ahead of the trends in broadcast TV. And the trends have certainly evolved.

From three networks to dozens of cable channels, streaming, etc. As a Governor representing performers I've wanted to address the ever changing definition of that word performer. For many years, that meant sitcom and drama.

During my tenure I've been hands-on in recognizing and inviting on-camera and voiceover commercial performers, as well as hosts into our peer group. And, I want to continue to uphold the integrity and excellence that comes with the word Emmy.

As Governor I've enjoyed being a part of other committees as well, from The Executive Committee, to Diversity, Membership, The Governors Award, The Prime-time and Creative Arts Emmys, and Television Academy Honors.

We have an amazing staff, as well as fellow Governors and Officers, all of whom it has been a pleasure to work alongside.

Why is the Academy important to the industry? The Television Academy IS television. Our peer groups represent every aspect of the industry. The Television Academy Foundation represents the next generation, and the history/legacy of television.

What used to be a piece of furniture in the living room where families gathered to watch a one time event or program now fits in your pocket, where you can watch anything on demand between making phone calls.

As vast as television might feel today, it will continue to evolve. It is important that The Television Academy continue be hands-on wherever television takes us.


To meet more of your governors, click here.


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