In June, I got the chance to attend the voice over artist panel at Indiana Comic Con. If you’re not familiar with how these work, the artists come on stage, talk with each other, and then open the microphones up for audience members to ask questions. I was going to pass on asking a question this time, but (lucky me) who should be on the panel but Charles Martinet.
I’ve been a lifelong Nintendo fan, so this was an interesting opportunity. Martinet has been the voice of Super Mario since the Nintendo 64 days, and the rumors are that he does about 6 days of recording per year and then spends the rest of the time doing… whatever he wants, I guess? It would seem to me it’s pretty easy to get jaded.
The audience questions for the panelists are always hit or miss at these things. Many of them are several minutes of introduction, with an audience member attributing their entire happiness to the panelist before one (or all) of the panelists is asked something they literally cannot answer, like “what episode of [your show] did you hate” or “what are you working on that hasn’t been announced?”
So I swallowed my fears and walked up to the microphone. I meandered through my question the way one does when they’re in front of a crowd of people, but I’ll sum it up as “What is Shigeru Miyamoto like?” His response was kinda epic.
He is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life. Shigeru Miyamoto is (the creator obviously of Mario and Zelda) and took games from being this simple place, from being non-existent to existing with a plot, and a character, and a through-line for the first time, and then brought on side-scrolling, and then three dimensions.
It’s remarkable the amount of joy and happiness and work and fun he’s brought to the world. And he’s the nicest most kind considerate thoughtful wonderful human being you could ever hope to meet.
It’s obvious he thinks very highly of Shigeru Miyamoto, and despite the low time-requirement, Martinet appears to clearly love his job as he was bouncing off the walls with enthusiasm after hours of meeting and greeting total strangers. He continued:
I’m the luckiest guy in the world cause I get to work with people that I absolutely love working with. And then I get to come and meet wonderful people who enjoy the things that I do. I’m speaking for all of us, cause it really is true: there are just people that are just magical in our profession. It’s people who have a passion and a love for what they do.
And then, as if he was speaking just to me, he talks about getting rid of the voice in your head that is holding you back:
It’s always the thing, it’s a great question: “Did you know it was gonna be big? Or did you know? I had never heard of Mario, I had never heard of Nintendo. I just walked in the door and crashed an audition ’cause I wanted to go play. Somebody said “go play” and I said “I’m not going to play in the sandbox without being invited… where should I go?”
It’s playing in the sandbox. It’s just giving yourself completely to that moment. And it’s a hard thing in life, too. If you want to love, love. If you want to care, care. If you want to be cared about, care. And if you want to act, you just act.
You go in there and the analogy of a dog chasing a ball on a beach is really everything. Cause they’re not looking from that critical third eye that all of us have. They’re not using that internal voice that can be cruel or mean or super super vigilant of ourselves that stifles ourselves. It’s “there’s a ball, there’s a beach. Let’s go!
I love that quote. “There’s a ball, there’s a beach. Let’s go!” – Charles Martinet.
For the “video or it didn’t happen” crowd: