Joe Brogie got the chance to check being a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle off of his voice-over bucket list. A part he says is "hands down" his favorite so far.

Wayne native pursues passion in voice overs, lands bucket list part

While some of us were simply enjoying cartoons on Saturday mornings during our childhoods, Joe Brogie was studying them.

"Ever since I was a kid I was always listening to things and copying them," Brogie said. "I would say I have a natural ability to mimic voices but I took classes to continue developing characters when I moved to LA."

That move happened only a year and a half ago, but this career has been in the works for Brogie since at least 2010, he said. 

"I've been doing voice acting since 2010. It's been a passion of mine like magic is but I didn't have the resources to really get into it."

Prior to his move to Los Angeles, Brogie, a Wayne native, lived in Omaha. His "other job" often took him around the country and even further.

"I kind of have two jobs," he said. "Voice over work is usually during the normal office hours while my shows are almost exclusively nights and weekends."

If you're from the area, you've likely heard about or seen a Joe Brogie magic and mentalist show. If not, you should.

Last week, Brogie was in Omaha for a brief stint before flying back to LA for the week. He'll fly out to Texas this week and have about five hours to sleep between getting back from Texas and doing another event in LA.

"I travel all the time. I feel like I'm gone doing shows every weekend, but I'd rather be busy than twiddling my thumbs."

So when he's not jet setting to blow the minds of innocent audience attendees, he's auditioning for and working on voice over projects.

"I audition almost once a day. When I first moved out to LA, I did auditions every day and drove myself crazy. It was hard in the beginning because there's a lot of talented people here but at the end of the day it's very subject and you have to learn to throw it away after you audition."

Voice over is a difficult niche to break into in LA. Even though you can do it from all over the world with the help of technology, the hot bed really is LA and that makes it hard to get started with so many others interested in those same parts. 

According to Brogie, there isn't ever a call to say you didn't get it. You simply turn on the television to see a commercial you auditioned for with someone else's voice. And some times the call to say you did get the part is months later.

Such is the case for what Brogie describes as his 'hands down' favorite part so far.

Donatello of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT).

For those of you not familiar with the four turtles mutated by radioactive ooze who live in a sewer system fighting crime thanks to being trained by their equally mutated rat ninjistu master, these characters come from a set comics and cartoons that once were common place in households across the nation.

Brogie grew up with those turtles so when the opportunity to audition for Donatello's voice in a popular video game came up, he couldn't pass it up.

"They (TNMT) were a comic before the show and did a couple cross overs with Batman in the comics. This is the first cross over outside of the comics."

The game, Injustice 2, was actually released in May of 2017, but gamers were told there would be downloadable characters coming in the future that they could access. 

Those characters included the TMNT, which become available this month to access. The process included an audition last February and not knowing until months later that he landed the part. 

Once he was contacted, Brogie spent a few days in the booth in four hour stretches working on the lines for Donatello. Four hours may not seem like much, but when you have to realistically sound like you're fighting, being hit and yelling, it takes it's toll he said. 

In addition to reading lines, Brogie wore a motion-capture (MoCap) camera during his time in the booth. Technology makes graphics more realistic and the MoCap is one way companies achieve that.

"It's a helmet that records your facial expressions so the turtle is doing my facial expressions. It's harder to see on me, being a turtle, but for people who play humans, you can really see it."

This game, Brogie said, is a pioneer in the facial technology and that was a huge bonus for him to be a part of such a project. 

"I think the coolest thing for me is that it's a piece of video game history with the turtles mixing in with the DC characters. It's really cool to be a part of that and nerd out a little bit."

It was difficult to keep the secret of who the characters were because so many in the gaming community were eager to find out who these downloadable guests were going to be, but it was worth it.

"It was definitely on my bucket list," he said. "I'm a huge TMNT fan and it was a big deal being such a secret. It was great to be a part of."

The Wayne Herald

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