Adam: Hey guys, we have a really cool interview today, we are going to talk to Diego Rivas, who’s an Argentinian voice actor and he works really closely with unilingo, he is the voice of our Evan Carmichael in Spanish. He’s a really, really cool guy with tons of voices in his head, so here is the interview, hopefully, you’ll like it, enjoy.
Diego, welcome to the unilingo podcast/YouTube show, if you could introduce yourself, tell us who you are.
Diego: Thanks Adam, my name is Diego Rivas, I am an actor, at the moment, I am working for unilingo, I am the voice of Evan Carmichael: “Hi friends, my name is Evan, my word is “Believe” and I believe in YOU!”, I am very happy to work here and to meet you.
Adam: What’s your favorite alcohol?
Diego: Whiskey, 24 years old.
Adam: That’s awesome. Let’s get back on track. What I really want to know, is that obviously everybody has a different way of how they end up as an actor, almost homeless, just kidding, the real question is “How did you get into acting/voice acting?” Did you always make voices when you were a kid or did somebody just say “Hey you have a really nice voice”, or how did it happen?
Diego: When I was a kid, I used to use my acting skills to get “A”s at school because the teachers were usually older ladies, I am talking about elementary school, and I got good grades by making funny cartoon character voices and making them laugh. This happened when I was 9 or 10 years old.
Adam: Oh, do you remember any specific voices that you did? Is there anything stuck in your mind from your childhood that was the thing that you did?
Diego: Yogi the Bear “Hey Boo Boo!”. My teachers used to say “oh, you are a lovely child, I don’t know if I am doing the right thing, but well here’s an “A” for you. The same thing brought me a lot of problems later, lots of problems in high school, serious problems, I repeated the school year.
Adam: Yes, but it brought a lot of joy to other people, so maybe that’s more important.
Diego: Yes, and it also helped me to improve my acting and the way I use my voice now, so thanks to that I am doing this right now.
Adam: That’s really funny, I never thought that the voices would help you get away from real-life situations, so I am just thinking, have you ever had to use the voice, when for example police called you and you were pretending you were somebody else or something like that?
Diego: No, but several times, I got a call from the debt collectors, and I answered the phone as an old lady that didn’t understand what they were talking about.
Adam: My next question would be, do you think voice acting is harder than normal acting? Are you also a “normal” actor, on-screen or theater, or are you only doing voice acting?
Diego: For me, it’s not because I like to create characters. I don’t imitate voices, I create characters. And every character that I create has a background, has a personality, it’s a person to me. When I make a character, I think like that character, I speak like that character, and I live like that character while recording lasts. And that’s why it’s not difficult for me, but if I had to and I wouldn’t be ready for it, it would be hard.
Adam: Yes, I completely understand and I remember when I was taking some acting classes and they would say that acting is a muscle, so if you exercise it, you’re in good shape. So a little bit about that, since it’s a muscle and you do all the training and you prep like a professional, what is your creative process? Let’s say you book a part and what do you do to prepare yourself and then what do you do in the studio?
Diego: If we are talking about voice acting, one of the things I do to prepare is to create an infusion made of Tea, “Anacahuita”, “Ambay” and “Barba de la Piedra”. Those are the three herbs that help to tune your voice and help you clarify the throat so you don’t have and “ups and downs” in your voice.
Adam: Interesting. Once you get the copy of the script, how do you work on that? Do you just improvise or do you analyze or what do you do?
Diego: Well first, I put myself in the character’s situation and analyze from that position. I analyze the profile of the character, “What would I do if it happened to me, what would I do in that situation?”. I try to ground myself in that and not just read without thinking about it. First, I read it several times and then I put myself in the situation and I ask myself what do I feel? If there is something that contradicts what the director is looking for, I change it. But I try to place myself in a place where the character has to be, if I don’t do that, it’s an empty performance.
Adam: And is there anything technical, once you get in the studio, do you do 50 pushups or you do lip rolls or any other voice exercises, do you still do that to keep yourself in shape?
Diego: I am a bit lazy, I am not used to exercising, but yes relaxation is very important, relax the neck, head, shoulders, all those elements affect the voice a lot. If you are tense, or these muscles are tense, the voice does not have the range it should have. I really like to vocalize a little earlier, maybe do some exercises with the pencil in my mouth, you use it to relax the jaw and improve the diction.
Adam: That’s really cool and what I would like to ask you is: What is your favorite part that you played so far? And it can be something funny or something that you are really proud of or maybe something that made a really huge influence on people?
Diego: Besides being an actor, I am also a singer and I did some musical performances that were my favorite. I made some singles that I am really proud of. I recorded all the instruments and vocals. As for acting, I can tell you about plays that I did and of which I am really happy - there were many dramatic and funny scenes and I cherish all of them, especially when you see the audience’s reaction, as an actor, it really pleases your heart.
Adam: Is it hard being an actor in Latin America and are you able to be an actor full-time and do nothing else and just commit yourself to this?
Diego: There are times when it gets a little bit more complicated and times when you can be more relaxed. But in general, it is difficult, Argentina is not really an actor-friendly country, very often there is no work and you have to come up with your own projects.
Adam: Yes, I guess it can be like that for actors anywhere. Do you have any dreams to go to Hollywood or maybe you are already working with some studios in the US?
Diego: I do not have the dream of working in Hollywood, but it would be great to have the opportunity. But it’s not something that I have thought of or dreamed about. I would love to be in movies, some role to see myself on the big screen. Although movie theaters are threatened by the pandemic, unfortunately.
Adam: Great. Any last words?
Diego: I would like to tell people to stop being afraid, to turn off the TV, do not watch the news. We live in times where information is manipulated and people are terrified sitting and watching TV in their houses and I think that is doing a lot of damage and we should change it. Go watch “Tomorrowland” with George Clooney. That movie left me with a clear message of what’s happening.
Adam: And would you like to say hi to anybody or give a shoutout to anyone?
Diego: I would like to say hi to my Mom, but she’s dead since 1983. Just kidding, don’t put it in the interview please.
Adam: That was a lot of fun, so thank you for taking the time to talk to me today.
Diego: Thank you.