I had been thinking of doing a project for a few months before I finally made the decision to do it. I knew how to do a few things, and if I didn’t, I could figure it out along the way. The next thing to decide which Japanese series to work on. Beast Wars Second and Beast Wars Neo were both two series which had never been seen in English, so they were prime (no pun intended) candidates.
Even though Beast Wars Neo is a sequel to BWII, Neo sounded like the better choice. Fewer episodes, fewer characters, the conclusion of the series… And my cousin Kris Stemmer was excited about the goofy animals. A penguin, a giraffe, a rabbit, what more could you ask for?
I had originally planned to do all of the voices in-house with my family, but eventually that would mean too many characters for only a few actors, so I took the project online and casted Peter Tagtstrom as Guiledart and Stampy, Andrew Short as Saberback, Karen Castello as the ship computers (NAVI and D-NAVI), Mike Hudson as Break and Daniel Ross as the narrator.
Next, Mike Hudson had an idea. Why not rename all of the characters? He had ideas for everyone, Big Convoy would be Maximus Prime, Cohrada would be Cobra or Quickstrike, Stampy would be Springer, Break would be Ice Breaker and so on. I knew many people wouldn’t be happy with some changes, but I changed a few names to make it easier and to reference previous series. Heinlad became Countdown and Guiledart became Ramhorn.
Thanks to help from Makoto Ono sending me the animation, I was able to finish the first episode and it looked spectacular, although the finished episode pales in comparison to what we’re used to putting out now, or even a year ago.
I’m not the only one to think that. When it was released, it got mixed reviews. Since it was the first of its kind, people felt it was a very good effort. However, many people shunned my performance as Big Convoy, partially because I electronically slowed the voice down, making it sound very unnatural. Other problems with the episode were: Effects were missing, some of us had bad mics, they couldn’t understand Countdown (I find that quality funny, so that hasn’t changed). On the positive side of the episode was Aaron Baldwin’s performance as Lio Convoy, in holographic form. We liked it so much, we took him on as Optimus Prime in Scramble City and Star Saber in Victory.
All-in-all, it was a very good learning experience. Still, I hadn’t learned everything, but we improved by the episode. Episode 2 involves some nice interaction between Cohrada and Longrack, and episode 3 we cast Daniel Ross as an alien, who freezes an entire planet due to his cold heart for his older brother, performed by Destin Berthelot. Kris’ idea was to make the aliens Scottish, and I feel it worked pretty well.
Mike Hudson was unable to record his lines for episode 3, so I let my brother Eric Williams take the role of Break, which I had originally wanted to give him for the episode. He delivered a much harder and more emotionally charged Break, which I found preferable and decided to give him the role permanently.
After episode 5 (an episode I am very happy with), I decided to sidetrack and move onto Victory due to the fact that getting animation would be very difficult, and it took a year for episode 6 to come out, for various reasons. However, the series is back on its slow and steady track while I continue to focus on the Victory FDP.
Overall, I must say recording dialogue for Beast Wars Neo is incredibly fun. The series has constant bickering, the characters never get along (kind of like Beast Wars, actually) and it translates into a series that is very fun to write and equally as fun to record for.
Years of Production: 2003-
Total Episodes: 35
Released Episodes: 11
- Episode 1 - Move Out, Big Convoy
- Episode 2 - Chase the Mysterious Capsule
- Episode 3 - Burning Passion, Frozen Planet
- Episode 4 - Hang In There, Stampy!
- Episode 5 - Mirage in the Sand
- Episode 6 - Dinosaur Combiner Magmatron
- Episode 7 - Duel in the Midst of the Labyrinth
- Episode 8 - The Danger of the Black Hole
- Episode 9 - Sub-Commander Longrack
- Episode 10 - Whoa! He Got Eaten!
- Episode 11 - Planet of Time