“I’m A Cartoon Voiceover Actor”
We interviewed Carlos Alazraqui, a cartoon Voiceover Actor in Hollywood. Carlos is known for his roles with Disney and Nickelodeon, and for his work as the Taco Bell Chihuahua. In this interview, Carlos shares his story, how he got into acting, and what it’s like to be a working actor in Los Angeles.
Carlos Alazraqui: Voiceover Actor in Hollywood
This is the story of Carlos Alazraqui and his work as a voiceover actor in Hollywood.
In his career, Carlos has given life to more than 200 animated characters including:
- Skylar from Elena of Avalor
- Mr. and Mrs Crocker of The Fairly OddParents
- Rocko of Rocko’s Modern Life
He also voiced the cultural touchstone Taco Bell Chihuahua, spawning a nation of people who declared, “Yo Quiero Taco Bell.”
“Voice acting,” Carlos says, “is the art of disguising your voice so that somebody who meets you in person wouldn’t know that it’s you that does the character.”
“Voice actors are like studio jazz musicians.”
A New York native, Carlos didn’t know that he wanted to pursue acting. And, the story of how he landed his first big role — Rocky in Rocko’s Modern Life — is an interesting one. In order to keep that first gig and get new ones, though, Carlos knew he’d have to up his game.
Promptly, Carlos enrolled in workshops and became a student of the craft. “I learned how to take a natural skill,” Carlos says, “and harness it and hone it so that I could get more jobs.”
Carlos also offers advice to aspiring voice actors of all ages: “It’s important for people that are aspiring voice actors to know that it’s a really wonderful journey. And, there’s always room for somebody new.”
Watch the entire interview with Carlos Alazraqui.
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[0:00] A couple of my most famous characters are Rocko from Rocko’s Modern Life, Mr. Crocker from Fairly Odd Parents, Timmy Turner, Skylar from Elena Of Avalor and, of course, the Tacobell Chihuahua. “Yo quiero Taco Bell.”
[0:16] Hi, my name is Carlos Alazraqui. I am a professional voice actor, actor, and comedian. Voice acting is the art of disguising your voice so that somebody who meets you in person wouldn’t know that it’s you that does the character. Most of the time you are acting off yourself, alone in a booth with a director, with nobody else there. Voice actors are like studio jazz musicians that could just riff and give you a different age, and a different dialect and a different sound.
[0:45] Sometimes you’re given a physical drawing of the character which might help to determine where the voice is coming from. When I’m doing Skylar for Elena of Avalor; he’s drawn so majestically with a big chest, but he’s young so that kind of lets me know that he might be confident. And then I work with directors to determine what kind of Latin voice he should have. So, you can either visually get a clue of what you want to do and or work with directors and creators to help you shape that voice.
[1:14] I’ve had a session today on Milo Murphy’s Law where I came in, I really didn’t read the script, but I’ve worked with Swampy Marsh since Rocko’s Modern Life for twenty-something years and we trust each other. So when he told me this character that I did today of Jose’ was sort of erudite, sort of a Spanish version of Jeeves, I’ve got it. I got all those resources in my head. I went ” Ok Jeeves is very posh, he’s very [sound effect], and then he is Latino. He sort of says “You’re very boring to me”. I’ve got it; I can quickly access those resources and shape the character. He listens, we get there together.
[1:43] So your energy, what precedes you, what you grow up with everything goes into shaping a character. When I was growing up I didn’t know that I had aspirations to be an actor, period. I was a kid that just loves sports and I went to Sacramento State and I was going to my degree in Recreation Administration; like I was going to run a ropes course that took corporate employees through trust falls and zip lines. We didn’t get our insurance so I got knocked into doing stand-up comedy.
[2:08] I made a tape in a Kitchen for a project called “Rocko’s Modern Life.” It’s just different voices like “I can’t wait to go to school tomorrow” “Boy, if I see that kid at school he’s in trouble” “you leave him alone” “I don’t want him to come to school” And I handed it in and it got me an audition. I came up with this voice for Rocko; they said you’ve got the gig. We’re going to do a pilot, very lucky but I knew I had the talent and I took a bunch of workshops.
[2:31] I learned on the job and I learned how to take what was I guess a natural skill and harness it and hone it so that I could get more jobs because I was pretty green.
[2:42] In the case of Milo Murphy’s Law today, I knew the character, I knew Swampy could direct me so I was pretty much in and out of there in thirty minutes, signed on the dotted line, get a pay check wait for residuals; it’s pretty golden when it happens. Juxtapose that next to a stack full of auditions that I have in my booth and my success rate out of that stake is probably about 4%.
[3:01] I think it’s important for people that are aspiring voice actors to know that it’s a really wonderful journey at this. There’s always room for somebody new but a part of that is accepting the fact that there is a lot, a lot of copy that you read that you do not get. You have great auditions, you feel that you’re totally right for the character and it does not happen.
[3:20] You can go months or even sometimes half a year without getting a lot of jobs but you stay with it. You get better; you learn that every time you read in the booth you’re getting better, you’re getting closer to perfecting your skills. So, it’s about being persistent and about sticking with it.