Debi Derryberry Voiceover Artist, Actress, and Singer

Interview on the Jason Hennessey Podcast 11-24-2021 - Episode 6
Debi Derryberry

Debi Derryberry Voices her Remarkable Roles & Career

Debi Derryberry is a master voice actor, vocal coach, and mentor whose impressive 35 years in the business has helped create countless recognizable characters for TV, film, and video games.
Best known for voicing the iconic cartoon character, Jimmy Neutron, Debi’s a pretty big deal or, shall I say, “Little Deal” as they affectionately call her in the industry, considering that she stands at just 4 feet 10 inches!
Her voiceover talent has garnered her characters in movies from Toy Story to The Incredibles to Wreck-It Ralph and even Trolls, and on any given day, she can be found going head-to-head with talented 12-year-olds, competing for the very same vocal roles.
We welcome you to today’s episode as Debi sits down with us to chat about the wide range of characters she has voiced, the music she has helped create, and the lasting impact she has made on those close to her and those who are able to hear her incredibly versatile voice. Thank you again for tuning into our podcast and learning more about the amazing Debi Derryberry.

In this Episode

[01:15] Jason introduces Debi Derryberry and they give us the background of how each of their kids go to the same school and are great friends.

[02:57] Jason digs into the archives and asks Debi about the “First Day of School” song that she sang to her son back in kindergarten, which has become a tradition every year. We also get to learn more about Debi’s friendly family.

[05:09] Jason compliments Debi on the iconic roles she’s had throughout her career. Debi and Jason also “geek-out” over some of Hennessey Studios‘ top-notch recording equipment.

[07:13] Jason and Debi play a voiceover acting/charades game with a couple mason jars & slips of paper. Debi chooses a card with a character and emotion out of each jar, and acts out the character and how they feel. Jason tries to guess who she is portraying, which calls for some laughs.

[12:37] Debi mentions how the game is similar to an exercise she teaches in her latest book. Jason trades off doing the voiceover acting and picking papers out of the jar while Debi guesses. He discovers a new talent in the process and vows to get her book to continue improving.

[15:04] Jason asks Debi if she ever envisioned herself becoming a voiceover artist when she was young. Debi gives us a little more about her music and stage theater background, and about growing up in Indio, CA.

[17:00] Debi tells us about her career path and the distances she has had to travel, only to end up right back in Los Angeles. She reminisces on her busking days in Westwood, to eventually finding her big break singing country in Nashville.

[21:36] Debi asks Jason where he’d like to live after he mentions that he never expected to end up podcasting in LA. He expands on this and shares how he hopes to build something great.

[22:45] Debi mentions the parties around the studio’s neighborhood when Jason asks her about how well she knows the area. Jason is disappointed he hasn’t been invited.

[23:49] Jason asks what is something that people don’t realize about the life and career of a voiceover actor. Debi gives us a quick course about the nitty-gritty of voiceover acting: techniques, terms, and requirements; and helpful tools to be successful.

[27:54] Debi talks about on-camera actors and how she coaches them for voiceover work, in addition to coaching kids, and also competing against them for similar roles. She also shares how she’s helped and recommended students she’s coached to land voiceover jobs.

[30:03] Debi explains why voiceover actors are humble. She tells us you’ve achieved big-time status when it’s hard to navigate through events such as Comic-Con and Dragon Con. She also encourages people to get vaccinated, so it’s safe to return to these fun spaces.

[31:27] Jason talks about his first Dragon Con and meeting Patrick Star, and Debi tells him about the hub of actors, including Bill Fagerbakke, and animation studios in the surrounding areas.

[32:56] Debi reflects on the life of a voiceover actor before the pandemic, and the recent shift to home studios given the current climate.

[33:54] Jason is interested in what kind of microphone Debi uses. She lists the ones she’s used and compliments our great engineer, Josh Fisher, on the sound quality of our podcast.

[34:50] Jason asks Debi about other creative projects she has worked on, which include major motion pictures, television shows, and music albums.

[37:46] Jason inquires when she realized she was a voiceover artist. Debi says that she works on whichever projects she can get involved with, and how it is still a job in itself, getting cast for roles.

[39:35] Jason and Debi discuss Jimmy Neutron and the impact it has had on her career, entertainment culture, and on subsequent generations. Jason is also curious if she auditioned for another influential animated character…

[45:09] Debi goes into more detail about the various famous characters she’s had the pleasure of “bringing to life” that include characters in: F is for Family, Curious George, and Toy Story. Jason wonders if all these roles she’s had to play affect her personal life, and Debi gives some advice to actors trying to land their next role.

[48:31] Jason asks Debi which character voice has been most challenging to work on. Debi explains how her experience has taught her how to adjust and develop voices for different roles and voice tones.

[51:26] Jason mentions Debi’s big TikTok presence, and she sends love out to her followers. She wishes she could go online and interact with her fans more, but she also has a busy family and work schedule.

[52:50] Debi has the inside scoop sharing that Jason does a lot of the cooking at home. Jason confirms the possession of a grill and that he cooks a mean steak!

[53:20] Jason and Debi play “Two Truths and a Lie” and attempt to stump each other about their childhood years and foods they may or may not like, along with a hint of voice acting work from Debi.

[56:04] While on the subject of foods they like, Jason and Debi exchange a couple of favorite menu items to try from a couple of restaurants on Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake.

[57:34] Jason and Debi finish the game of “Two Truths and a Lie” and Debi reveals some shocking truths about her past.

[59:13] Jason wants to know about what projects Debi has going on at the moment and she updates us on her latest book, television appearances, and video game voice,over she’s worked on.

[1:00:44] Jason thinks Debi deserves a Hall of Fame nomination if there was a Hall of Fame for voiceover actors. Debi references other honors, such as The Annies, within the voiceover acting community.

[01:01:41] Jason concludes the interview by listing ways listeners can keep up with Debi, and they thank one another for the awesome, informative interview.

Transcript

Jason Hennessey: It’s an honor to have you. You’re kind of a big deal.

Debi Derryberry: Well, gosh, thanks.
You are.

I’m not very tall really, I don’t know. I’m pretty short. They call me “The Little Deal.”

And I don’t think you would be sitting here right now if I did not put my kids in a certain school in Toluca Lake.

Absolutely. Well, I get a lot of requests for podcasts and interviews, and I have to pick and choose because there’s only so many hours in the day and, of course, when it comes from your kid’s kids, then you have to do it.

My son and I, and my other son, we all moved out here, and my wife, before we even had our little girl, Brooklyn, who you know.

Who doesn’t know Brooklyn?

Who doesn’t know Brooklyn, yeah. That’s my little five-year-old princess and we put our kids in a school right here, in Brighton Hall. I guess it’s kind of Toluca Lake, right?

Yeah, it’s got to be five minutes from here maybe, no freeways.

That’s right.

You have to say that when you live in L.A., “Five minutes, no freeways.”

Uh-huh. And so, my kids met an amazing best friend that they made, River.

Totally best friend. I mean, my kid has never had a couple of buddies like your kids that he always wants to go stay at when he comes home and I feel inadequate. “Mom, they play a lot, they eat good food, they have such a fun house. How come you’re not like that?”

But, meanwhile, you’re the cool family. We don’t go to movies and hear my voice.

Yeah, I show up in a lot of peoples living rooms too.

The best thing that I love about you and your relationship with your son, it’s a great relationship, first of all-

Thank you.

But I love the “First Day of School” song. I know all your credits. I’ve seen you on movies and everything else but the thing I love most about you is the “First Day of School” song. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about that?

I would always do little funny messages for my outgoing message that I thought were cool and people didn’t want to listen to, but it was just a little ditty and I thought, “Well, it’s his first day of school, I’ll bring out my guitar and just make something up on the spot.” And I think it was back in kindergarten maybe, and I sang him the song, that’s on YouTube, that gets more hits than the ones I really invested in.

It’s just a, “It’s the first day of school, it’s the first day of school, the first day of school, it’s really, really cool.” You can hear the rest on YouTube. You know, and I wake him just rudely and opened the windows, and I had my husband at the time, filming me, and it just became a thing. I didn’t know people were going to love it like they did. And so, I’m obligated to do it every year and this year, he was in college.

Well, who doesn’t love it though is River at seven o’clock in the morning when you barge into his room with your guitar.

Yeah, exactly. But I think he came to expect it and love it and the one year I thought, “He’s too old.” You know what he did the night before?

What?

“Are you going to sing the song, Mom?”

For college?

For college, “You going to sing the song, Mom?”

He wanted it now.

His buddies, where he was staying in college, wanted to hear it too after they found out who I was and perused the YouTube, they’re like, “She better do it.”

So awesome. So awesome. And he’s where? In Colorado now, right?

He is. He’s in his third year in Colorado taking really hard classes.

He’s a smart boy.

He is.

Yeah.

He is a smart boy.

He always knew, he kind of always had a good head on his shoulders and I know that that kid’s going to go places, for sure.

Thank you. You know, I’ve been really lucky, he’s done good things and he hasn’t strayed, and I’m trying to be the best mom I can be but, you know, boys, they want non-helicopter moms, not me. I’m a helicopter mom.

And congrats, I hear you just celebrated a second anniversary with Ian.

Yes. My “third-times-a-charm husband.”

Okay.

Yeah, two years and I’m so happy. You know what? When you find someone you can laugh with, that’s the bomb.

That’s right.

Yeah, we’re pretty much laughing all the time.

Good. Yeah, and he’s not from the United States, right?

No, he was born in Scotland, raised in England, so I get to practice my British accent with him and he tells me when it’s not good, and people who speak with a British accent, they’re just naturally smarter and sexier that it’s just the way we think about them.

For sure.

I got him walking around the house all the time. It’s pretty cool.

For those that don’t already know who you are, we’ve got an icon here. Why don’t you kind of share a little bit more about you?

Wait, did you say icon?

You’re an icon, for sure.

Icon.

Yeah. Oh, 100%, yeah.

That is so funny to hear those words come out of your mouth because I don’t even see that. I walk my dogs, I pick up the poop in the morning.

Yeah, see? You’re humble.

Being a voice artist, you’re invisible.

I can see that.

You know?

Yeah. But you’re not.

Thank goodness for social media but thank you. That’s nice to be called that. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with that but-

You’re here, you’re in your element, you’ve got your headphones on, you got the microphone, this is your whole world. You’re a voiceover artist.

Yes, I kind of wake up and go straight to my headphones and mic, whether I’m auditioning or coaching or recording, and I have gone through a lot of different mics and headphones and I’m here with my favorite headphones and you have a really nice mic and if you guys can’t see this, he has an amazing mic arm with two elbows if you know what that means. It’s very exciting, I can put it anywhere I want.

I bet you’ll be my only guest that will appreciate that.

Really?

I think so.

Unless they have their home studio. People come to my studio and they’re like, “Where did you get that arm? Look at that arm.”

You called it the Tesla of mic arms.

It certainly is, yeah. Beautiful.

All right. Before we kind of get into learning a little bit more about you and your origin story, we’ve got an exercise. What you’ll notice, Debi, is that there are two, you can-

Two mason jars right in front of me with little pieces of papers in them.

Yeah, we’ve got these two jars, mason jars, and then what you people can’t see is that there’s little pieces of paper in there that have words on them, right? And so, the words in one jar has “Moods or Emotions,” okay? And then the other jar, we’ve got “Careers or Characters.”

Okay.

If you picked “sad” from one jar and you picked “musician” from another jar, well, you’re going to create a voice that sounds like a sad musician.

Yeah, okay. I’m barking for my supper, is that what you’re saying?

That’s right, yes.

Okay.

And so, to make it even a little bit more fun, I’m going to get to see you in action doing your spontaneous voice acting, but then I’m going to have to pick like are you a happy clown or are you-

Oh, like charades?

Yes.

I’ll know what I’m doing but you won’t.

You can’t show me what you pick is basically what I’m saying.

Gotcha, okay.

Go ahead and pick one from each jar there.

All right, I’m reaching and okay. “Yay, you know what, there’s too many. I don’t know which one to pick. There’s one that’s too much information. I don’t know. Daddy, this- It’s just too much. I can’t figure it out, there’s too much.”

Okay. You’re indecisive or confused. I’m going to go indecisive. There’s too much, I can’t figure it out. There’s too much, I can’t figure it out.

I’ll let you peek at the paper.

I can peek at the paper?

You can peek at the paper, like…

Oh. Well, that’s kind of… Okay, overwhelmed. I kind of cheated there but that’s okay. You’re-

It’s the first one, we’re both getting our feet wet.

Okay. You’re overwhelmed, give me a little bit more, overwhelmed.

“Oh, there’s too many candles on my cake, Daddy. Daddy, uhh.”

You’re a kid, you’re an overwhelmed kid.

Good.

Is that right?

Very good, I’m an “Overwhelmed Toddler.”

You’re an… See? Wow.

See, and toddlers can’t really speak that well.

That’s why I’m like, “Give me some more, give me some more.”

Toddlers can form some words, they can do “Mom, Dad,” they can count a little bit. Younger than that, they make more sounds. Younger even than that, it depends on the syllable and the consonant. I do a lot of babies, through the ages, kind of thing.

You should write baby songs.

Oh, oddly enough.

That’s a tip, right?

Let’s do another one.

For those listening, she does. You want to do another one?

Mm-hmm.

Okay, let’s do another one. Yeah, because you really didn’t get a chance to flex your skills here.

Let’s see here, picking another two.

Okay.

“Yeah, okay, Dad, I get it. I get that you don’t want me to go to the prom with Josh but he’s just so cute and I wanted to go to the prom for so long. Man, I can’t believe you’re not letting me go. I was going to be happy and now I’m not. You totally suck, Dad.”

You are, wow, that’s a… You are a angry or an upset, sad-

Good, good. Tears, good one.

You are a sad teenage girl.

So on the money. Yay, 10 points.

“Sad Teenager.” Wow.

10 points, good one there.

That’s you making me look good.

Well, you me, we’ve had each other’s back.

Let’s do another one, yep.

Here we go, another one. I’m drawing a piece of paper, there we go. Oh, that’s a big word, that’s a 10 point word right there.

Okay.

Okay, all right. “I finally got it. Okay, I’ve been feeding the ferals for like a month now, right? Every day at 6:00 AM and this one finally came out. I got her in the cage, I’m going to get her spayed, I’m going to spay an entire colony. Maybe I can tame her and bring her in the house with the rest of my babies. Ahh!”

You are an animal lover that is excited.

Really good. “Ecstatic Cat Lady.”

Ecstatic cat lady.

Super on the money.

One more and that’s it. Let’s see here, this is fun.

“Of course I can spell that. Okay, cat, C-A-T. I’m ready for the next word. Okay. Of course I know how to spell that one. Bridge, B-R-I-D-G-E. Thank you very much. I know I’m good at it, I’m the spelling bee champion.”

You’re very confident.

Bing-bing-bing-bing-bing.

Okay. And I’m not seeing this, I’m not cheating, right? You’re very confident and you are a confident speller or a confident child?

Okay. Yeah, just child.

Child, got it.

Yeah, that was really good, that was fun.

That was a lot of fun.

Yeah, I have this game in my voiceover book where I have people fill a jar with accents and then fill another jar or cup with speech impediments, and then another one with age and another with gender or animal or whatever, and you need to put them all together and read this passage, and everybody reads the same passage in there. Yeah, voiceover tricks, you know.

I’m so fascinated. Okay.

I think you should try it. You want to do that for me, Jason?

What she’s doing right now is she’s passing over the two jars to me-

Oh, we want to let Jason do this.

And now I’m going to turn into a voiceover artist here.

Drum roll, please.

Okay, let’s see here. Wow.

He’s shaking. You got it, I don’t know if you can see his hands but he’s shaking, the paper’s rattling a little bit. I’m kidding, he’s so confident.

All right. “Oh, I had a rough night last night but, you know, here I am biology class, I just want to rest and close my eyes because it’s been such a rough night.”

Like a tired student?

Yes. You got it pretty close, it’s a “Sleepy Student.”

Sleepy Student. Bing-bing. You know what? I got it a lot faster than you did.

You totally did.

Maybe you should be the voiceover?

Let me try one more. Maybe I’m going to take some classes. I’m going to pick up your new book, which we’re going to talk about.

Yep, it’s on Amazon. We will talk about it. Yeah, the second edition is out.

I’m going to go from the bottom here, let’s see.

See his wheels turning, his mouth is taking shape.

“Man, my day’s just going so bad. I’ve lost my cape, I can’t fly across to the room to save other people, it’s just been the worst day ever. Where’s all my other friends that we’re going to save the world together?”

Lonely or depressed superhero?

Let’s see what it is. If I pulled that off, I’m a “Disgusted Superhero.”

“Disgusted Superhero.” Did you guys have so much fun coming up with all these pieces of papers? Nice job, Jenna.

Oh, she did a good job.

That was fun, thanks for that, you guys.

I might have missed my calling in life, right? You never know.

Well, it’s never too late to start, is it?

That’s true. So, flashback, you’re seven years old, okay? You’re in school. Is this what you wanted to do with your life when you were young? Did you envision yourself ever kind of being a voiceover artist?

No.

No?

I didn’t know that was a thing. I never knew it was a thing.

But you liked cartoons, right, as a kid?

Yeah, but I had an older brother so I didn’t have any control over the remote. I watched what he wanted and that was when we had a clicker, right? First, you had to turn it by hand, then you had the clicker. So when I was seven, I just wanted to sing songs with harmonies and play with my Barbie dolls.

Yeah.

Yeah.

You had a passion or a calling for music, it sounds like.

I’ve been writing songs and singing my whole life, and doing harmonies.

Yeah. We always sang and my dad was in the community theater so we always do whatever show they were doing at the time so I did a lot of stage, got a guitar when I was nine, and taught myself how to play it and started writing songs and singing, and I had a singing partner down the street. I’ve been writing songs and singing, and I had an singing partner down the street. So I’ve been writing songs and singing my whole life, and doing harmonies.

Where’d you grow up?

I’m the one person that you’ll ever meet, from Indio.

Yes, Indio.

It’s right next to Coachella.

Is that right?

Yeah. In fact, no one had heard of Coachella, until there was Coachella, the music fest, but they heard of Indio, because it was where your car broke down, on the way to Arizona.

Okay.

Or going to Blythe. It’s like when the news would say, “Hot spot in the nation.”

Yeah?

“Indio, California, 121.”

Wow, desert.

Yeah, through there, smack dab in the hot, hot.

Yeah. I thought Vegas was hot. Well, I can’t imagine growing up there.

Yeah, it’s hotter in Indio. Not that Vegas is cold.

No.

Vegas is brutal.

Yeah.

All hot can be brutal.

So this is a small town, probably.

It was then, and it kind of still is now, yeah.

Yeah.

Little bitty town.

So you went to high school there, and everything, you graduated?

I went to three schools my whole life. Well, four, including UCLA. I went to my elementary school there, and my middle school there, and my high school there, Indio High School. Then I went straight to college, and that’s all I ever did.

Went straight to UCLA?

Mm-hmm.

Is that right?

Yeah. I stayed there for 4 and 1/2 years, and graduated, and applied to medical schools, because I was a premed.

That’s what I saw.

Yeah, I was going to be a doctor. And then, I was singing the whole time through college.

I’d be down busking in Westwood, with my guitar, and singing in the coffee shops, and had singing partners. I guess, when I realized I didn’t want to go to med school, I moved to Nashville, to be a country singer.

How old were you? So, right after you graduated?

Yeah, I guess I was… Let’s see, how old was I, graduated? 22? 23, something like that? Yeah. And then…

Moved to Nashville by yourself?

I did.

That’s a bold move.

they introduced me to the guy I married and divorced, but got a really cool name from it.

I moved, I knew one family there, and they let me stay with them. Then they introduced me to the guy I married and divorced, but got a really cool name from it.

Oh, so that it’s the name you kept?

Yeah, yeah, it was Greenberg, and then it was Derryberry. So then I kept wanting to sing country music. And I got jobs as a jingle singer, as a session singer, but never as a grownup. I always got hired to sing like a kid. Then I was doing stand-in work for little boys, 12-year-old boys, on these movies called, there was this movie called Ernest Goes to Camp. Have you ever seen those movies?

Yeah. Uh-huh.
 
And Ernest Goes to Camp was the one I stood in for one of the 12-year-old boys, and his mom was like, “You should do voiceover for cartoons.” And I’m like, “I don’t even know what that is,” right?

You didn’t have an agent, or a manager, or anything? Or you did?

I had an agent in Nashville, who gave me auditions. I booked a couple “Christmas Elf” on camera spots. Because I’m really little, they can’t see me, but I’m 4’10”.

Yeah.

I’m pushing 100 pounds. I’m, I’m pretty little. My head, my mouth, were all the same size as a 12-year-old boy. I know that, because the dentist has used children’s X-rays on me. And so I had a cassette of some jingles I had recorded. Actually, the way I got that is because, they have this show in Nashville that’s, I don’t know, it’s like a Jay Leno show, kind of, except it was called Ralph Emery.

And it’s where everybody watched the five o’clock Ralph Emery Show. Everybody, and anyone who’s…

He was a local celebrity?

Yeah, a little more than local, regional.

Okay.

Kind of enormous, huge, there.

Yeah.

It was Christmas Eve, it was 5 in the morning, it was snowing outside. But gosh, darn it, when you want to do something, you show up.

I wanted to sing on the show, because they always let new talent sing on the show. I sat in the audience every day, and they had my little cassette of me singing, and I didn’t, I wasn’t a big name. But one girl didn’t show up, and she was a big record label girl, and they didn’t know who to get to sing. And they came out into the audience. They were like, “Debi, you want to sing today?” I was like, “Yes, it’s my chance.” It was Christmas Eve, it was 5 in the morning, it was snowing outside. But gosh, darn it, when you want to do something, you show up.

You sure do.

So I got to be on there, and the sax player loved my voice. He connected me with his agent, who got me the jingle tape that I sent, from this kid in the movie. His mom gave me the names of casting directors in LA. I sent my cassette. Cassette?

Your cassette? Yeah, I heard that.

A cassette. And they all responded, “Great voice, but you really have to live in LA.” So I divorced and moved to LA again.

Well, you were used to that area, I guess, right?

Yeah.

It wasn’t foreign to you.

So I signed with a big agent called ICM, and started working two weeks later. And that was 30 years ago.

When a door opens for you, You have to notice that it’s opening, and run through it. You don’t always get opportunities.

Wow. So you had to go out to Nashville, to catch your big break, here in LA?

Very succinct.

Yeah.

Yes. I talk about this a lot. When a door opens for you, which they don’t open that often, right?

No.

You have to notice that it’s opening, and run through it. You don’t always get opportunities.

No.

That was my opportunity, and I’m grateful I took advantage of it, and that things happened, and the microphone liked my voice, and that I had the acting training, from a kid, all through, I guess, all through high school. And I did drama in high school, with-

I’m grateful I took advantage of it, and that things happened, and the microphone liked my voice

Gymnastics, I saw.

And gymnastics, I did a lot of gymnastics, back when we didn’t have the spring-loaded floors, when we did it on wrestling mats?

Mm-hmm.

Yeah. That’s my visits to the back doctor.

Yeah, you’re right. Because, I mean, your whole life could have been different, if you just stayed in Nashville, right?

Right.

All roads lead back to LA, huh?

Pretty much, yeah.

Right. I would have never imagined me living in LA at all.

Where did you want to live?

So I grew up in New York, and it’s a little town where most kids end up back in the same town.

Okay, like Indio.

Yeah, the kids go to the same high school that you went to, and maybe you get a job working as a gym coach.

Yeah, yeah.

And if you would have said, “Jason, hey, you’re going to end up in LA, and you’re going to have a studio, and you’re going to be on a podcast,” I would have been, “I’m going to be a professional baseball player. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Right? That’s kind of…

And you guys got to see this studio. I don’t know if you can walk around it, but boy, howdy. This is a really pretty place.

Thank you.

It’s all state-of-the-art, it’s very nice.

Yeah.

Congratulations, Jason.

Thank you.

Swanky space.

She’s funny when she comes in, she’s like, “I see all this expensive equipment, you’ve got this big green screen.” She’s like, “But I don’t know what you do here.” And I’m like, “That makes two of us.” We’re still trying to figure it out.

Your door will open, Jason.

The door will open.

Yes.

It’s Field of Dreams. “If you build it, they will come.”

There you go.

And I built it.

You did.

Now, we’re just waiting for people to come, and you came.

Yeah. It’s on the ground floor, and it’s right next to a ton of really awesome restaurants.

I’m sure you’ve been to the theaters many, many times here.

Many times, yeah.

River has said that, actually. He’s like, “I know this area very well, because I’ve been with my mom here for all kinds of events.”

Yup. Before the pandemic, there’d be a lot of inside parties, and now, they just wall off the outside here. And the whole Emmy season, the whole, For Your Consideration, FYC season?

Yeah.

Is all in parties out here. And they’re the most amazing parties, and they check your COVID card on the way in.

For sure.

And it’s pretty hobnobby. It’s really nice.

Oh yeah, they just had some, well, I guess, obviously, the Emmys were just a couple weeks ago, and they had all kinds of parties roped off, and…

Yup.

And we’re like, “Ooh.”

I’m in the TV Academy, but you have to apply to the lottery to get in certain events. Because they’ll only let in a certain number of people.

Ah, I didn’t know that.

Then, when they start doing the screeners here again, then it’s another fun time.

Yeah, that’s why they were not letting me anywhere near that party.

Yeah.

I’m like, “My name’s on that building right across the street. Let me come check this out.” They’re like, “Nope. Nope, nope, nope.” So, you have a very interesting way of making a living. What is something that the average Joe or Jane doesn’t realize, or think about, when it comes to voiceover acting?

That it’s an acting job.

Yeah?

That it’s not just, “I have a cool voice, I bet I could do that.” It’s an acting job. It takes a lot of acting training, but in addition, there’s the specifics of the voiceover world. How to work a mic, how to fill a pause, how to spell, when you trip, when you fall, when you’re launched from a cannon, when you kiss, when you “raspberry,” when you “boat,” when you “elephant,” when you “goose.” These-

I don’t know what you’re talking about right now. These are all words I don’t even recognize, see?

It’s not just, “I have a cool voice, I bet I could do that.” It’s an acting job. It takes a lot of acting training, but in addition, there’s the specifics of the voiceover world.

Right. Because it’s all voiceover stuff.

I’m the Average Joe here, yeah.

Here’s your “boat.”
Here’s your “raspberry.”
Here’s your “elephant.”

So, if you’re in a room with three other voiceovers, they’re like, “Give me an ‘elephant,’ and everybody’s doing the same thing,” they know what that is?

Pretty much, yeah.

Interesting.

“Give me a ‘goose.'” [yelps]That’s a goose.

Goose?

Yeah, like you sit on a pin.

Yeah.

Or say, you’re shot out of a cannon. Okay. “So Jason, your character is shot out of a cannon, and you do three flips, and you land on your face.”

Ba-boom. That’s my sound.

Is it?

Was that wrong? [laughs]

It’s not wrong for, if I asked you to make the sound of touching your drum.

Da-dum

Okay.

Yeah?

This is what I’d do, if they said, “You’re launched from a cannon, you do three flips, and you fall on your face.” I would be, “Waahh! Ugh-ugh-ugh.”

Wow. That’s talent.

People don’t realize that voice acting requires immediate change.

Isn’t that, though? I swear, I amaze myself. I’m all right, Jack. It’s just that people don’t realize that voice acting requires immediate change. It’s like in video games, when I book a video game, and you go in. You don’t see the whole story or the script. There’s 600 actors, eventually, in the game. It’s a huge story, and you get to see just your lines.

Yeah.

And the director says, “Okay, your dog just died, and these are your lines. Okay, now you’re at an amusement park, and you’re running and running. Okay, now you’re getting shot in the belly. And now, you give me three punches.” And those are all certain things you know how to do.

Yeah.

Like if you’re slugged in the stomach, and the script says, “U-M-P-H.” What would you do?

I’d probably say, “You need a different voiceover actor.”

It goes like this. [grunts] Right? Or if you trip.

Yeah.

It’s like: [pants] “Umph!”  All these little things add up, and you pepper your scripts with them. And it moves quick, and your director is telling you what to do. And you’re like, “I can do that.” So, I teach it, also, because it moves so quickly now. And it didn’t always move that quick.

Well, you’re building an argument, right? Because obviously Zach was pursuing the whole acting thing, right? His challenge is memorizing lines, and going into auditions, and trying to deliver it in person, right? And you think, “Oh, voiceover is so much easier.”

Well, you don’t have to memorize lines.

You don’t have to memorize lines.

That’s good.

But there’s a lot of other challenges, right?

Yes, yes.

Because if you don’t have the chemistry, you don’t, right? Yeah, yeah.

Well, you also have to be a super good reader.

Sure.

There’s singers, people who can sing, usually do a little better at voiceover because you can hear the melody.

Which, you’d be surprised how many people cannot read, by no fault of their own. We don’t practice it that much. And there’s a lot of dyslexics, and you learn to live with it, but it doesn’t make it easier in voiceover. Then there’s singers, people who can sing, usually do a little better at voiceover because you can hear the melody.

Sure.

And there’s some people who are not singers, it doesn’t mean you can’t do voiceover, but it’s a little harder than if you were a singer. So being on camera, and hating to memorize lines, and transitioning into VO, voiceover is totally possible, but there’s a lot to learn.

Yeah.

I coach a lot of on-camera actors.

You guys get a lot of cartoons, let’s just say. Let’s just go there for a second. We go to a lot of events and we meet kids, and some of the kids are voiceover actors. That’s all they do. They’re voiceover actors, right? Based on the industry, how many adults are playing kids, versus how many kids are actually playing kids, when you watch cartoons, and stuff?

It used to be that most adults played the kids.

Okay.

But now kids play kids in the G-raters, but in an Adult Swim, in anything that’s raunchy or off-color, it’ll be adults playing kids, which is where my opening is now.

I see.

But pretty much my entire career, I’ve been playing a kid.

Yeah.

Although they weren’t using kids as much then. Now they want the natural kid voice, and it’s good and bad. No, it’s bad and bad. No, it’s good. It’s good for the kid. It’s harder for the director. It’s harder if your season gets picked up, and that kid goes into puberty, and then you have to recast and try and find a, not only…

Good point.

If you know you’re going into a show, that’s going to be multiple seasons, it might behoove you to cast an adult, so that you don’t have to deal with puberty.

A voice match, but a person who can act like your first actor. So if you know you’re going into a show, that’s going to be multiple seasons, it might behoove you to cast an adult, so that you don’t have to deal with puberty.

So do you find yourself auditioning and going against kids often, or…

Every day.

Every day?

All the time.

Really?

Yeah.

Huh.

All the time. I coach them, too.

And you coach them with the kids you’re competing against, huh?

Oh, not always that I’m competing against. I don’t always.

Yeah.

Sometimes I do, because it doesn’t interfere with me. For me, I want the best actor to get that job.

Yeah.

Whether it’s me or someone else. Sometimes I’ll get an audition, and I’ll do my best job, but I’ll think to myself, “You know who could really knock this out of the park?” And I’ve done this numerous times, I’ll call them. I’m like, “You have got to ask your agent for this audition.” I didn’t say that. And they’re the ones that end up booking it.

Yeah, uh-huh.

Yeah.

Because you hear it. You know what it should sound like.

Now I do, yeah.

Yeah.

There’s so many amazing voice artists out there, and we’re really friendly.

And I know so many people, and there’s so many amazing voice artists out there, and we’re really friendly. I see a lot of on-camera celebs, and it’s hard to be on, on-camera celeb, because there’s people at you all the time.

Yeah.

But maybe it’s because we’re invisible, that keeps them humble, voice artists?

You’re invisible, until you go to Dragon Con.

Yeah, yeah.

Or someplace like that.

Right.

Then you’re kind of a big deal.

Yeah. Then you need escorts.

Right? Oh yeah, you do.

Yeah.

For sure. Or Comic-Con, in San Diego, right?

Yeah. I mean, it depends what show is hot at the time. Like Mark Hamill always needs a full crew of bodyguards, to try and get through. But yeah, at Comic-Con, San Diego, and on a lot of the cons, there are back entrances. So they’ll bring you in the back, and let you wait in the green room, and then you get escorted to your table. And these days, there’s the plastic screens. I haven’t been to a con since…

The pandemic, probably, yeah.

I don’t see myself going back until they make everybody vaccinated.

Yeah.

So it’s safe, because, as a voice artist…

This is what you do for a living, yeah.

Yeah. I mean, we get COVID, we can’t work.

No.

Not only that, but it can cause irreversible lung damage.

That’s right.

Yeah, who needs that when you have to breathe for a living?

That’s right, when you have to breathe for a living, right.

There’s that.

Or just, to live.

So people, please get vaccinated, do your research. I’m right.

So, I remember the first time, because we lived in Atlanta.

Yeah, right, Dragon Con.

Yeah, we lived in Atlanta. That was a big deal. And somebody said, “Hey, you guys should go check out Dragon Con.” We’re like, “What is this Dragon Con?” And the first year we went, we didn’t dress up, and we just kind of showed up.

I did Dragon Con the first year.

Did you?

I did. I think that was in 2001, and that was good.

Okay. We might have went to that one.

Yeah.

I don’t remember.

It was a long time ago. Now, it’s huge. It was tiny then.

Yeah.

But that was in convention infancy. And now, it’s exploded.

The biggest character that I was blown away with was I got, I didn’t get to meet SpongeBob, but I got to meet Patrick. He’s probably a friend of yours, probably.

Oh yeah.

Of course, right? That was kind of a big deal.

Yeah, Bill Fagerbakke, a very tall man.

Yeah. And I got to meet Patrick from SpongeBob.

Well, Patrick lives here.

Oh really?

Bill Fagerbakke lives here, and Tom Kenny just lives around the corner. In fact, his-

Is Tom Kenny SpongeBob?

Yeah.

Okay.

Yeah. In fact his daughter went to Burbank with River, they were both in the choir there. Voiceover’s a very small community, and before pandemic, when we all recorded from home now, we all had to live within a few minutes driving distance. Well, not always, but most of us live right here in Toluca Lake in Hollywood area, because look, Salami Studios is there, CBS or Disney, and Nickelodeon‘s right over there, and Cartoon Network, and Warner Brothers, and LA Studios, and all the ones we record at.

It’s centrally located to everything, the industry.

And they’ll say, “Okay, you have a session from 9 to 1,” and then you start again at 2 to 6 over at a different studio.

So you, before the pandemic, you weren’t doing a lot of work from your home, you were kind of going to different studios to do the work? Is that right?

Yeah, yeah.

And you show up with other people and you’re all kind of working on it together?

Yeah, it was good fun. Or you’d wait your turn in the lobby, and eat food and snacks, and talk to people.

That’s the best part of-

Totally.

That’s the best part.

Yeah, the hobnobbing.

Boy, do they feed you and spoil you, right?

But they realized when actors put on headphones, you kind of cut up a lot and start talking. And you’re actors, so you love to hear yourself talk. So they started recording them individually without other people in the studio with them, they realized they got through the script so much faster because there was nobody to bounce off of. It’s just like, “Stand there, shut up, do your lines, go home.” And so, it’s less fun for me, but so much cheaper for them. But now we just have our home studios.

What kind of mic do you use?

I use a Mojave MA301FET, but I tested out nine microphones with five different auditions each. So I went 45 takes, and analyzed them from Neumanns down to Rodes, and everything in between, and this one made my voice sound the best, so that’s what I use and travel with. But you have a great engineer, he can make all mics sound good.

Yeah, they know, they make-

This is a nice little one. Usually for animation we’ll use a large condenser diaphragm mic and a really good compressor, like an interface with a decent compressor. And then for commercial, if all you do is commercials and promos, you might want more like a shotgun mic or something. And I don’t know a lot about mics, I just know about my mic, and I know people spend a lot of money on them, and you don’t really need to spend that much.

When did you realize, so you moved out to LA. I guess you were exclusively doing mostly voiceover auditions, or were you doing other auditions too at the time?

I still, once in a while, I have an on-camera agent, and I have done commercials on camera. Mostly I just stick to VO now, but I did shoot an episode of a TV show called The Rookie, the Halloween episode, and believe it or not I play a nosy neighbor.

You’re in front of the camera?

Yeah, on camera.

Okay.

And then I did an in front of the camera for a show called iCarly. I played a recurring teacher, or a principal secretary on that, Ms. Marman. And the big one before that was a Duracell battery campaign, where I played a 12-year-old boy in five hours of makeup, with these plastic battery people with batteries on their back.

@debiderryberry

Reply to @rivboyj Weirdest role I’ve played! 🤪🤪#actors #voiceover #jimmyneutron #fyp

♬ original sound – debiderryberry

Huh. Well, here’s one that probably most don’t know that you were actually on camera, was a little movie called Free Willy.

I was on camera, but not as a main actor. I’m a scuba diver. I’ve always loved scuba diving, so they needed a short person who scuba-dived who was the size of a 12-year-old boy. And as we’ve discussed, I am that size. So when these jobs come and they’re right up your alley…I met with Warner Brothers, and they were like, “All right. Off to Mexico City you go to ride the whale and do the stunts for the boy on the whale.” Because he was a 12-year-old boy, and you’re not going to let a 12-year-old boy ride a whale, that’s just too dangerous.

Sure.

So yeah, that was fun. I did all this body double stunt work, but then it turned out that the stunt person they hired was too afraid to drown in the water with the whale. Because I’d been in the whale tank for seven weeks, I was pretty comfortable with the whale.

That’s so cool.

But it’s like saying, “Just go meditate in the lions den.” And so, they said she was wiggling too much, so they asked me to run on the surface of the pool, and slip and fall and hit my head and fall in the tank and drown, which I did and it was awesome.

I’m going to go watch that movie now, and really appreciate it.

Just pause it when he is drowning, and you’ll see he has a butt.

Okay.

Yeah, a little figure there, a little waist. Yeah. So I’ve just always done whatever job comes my way. I’m like, “I’ll take it.” I like to try lots of different things. I did my foray into preschool music, seven years of writing preschool and recording albums, and I had number one hits on the radio, and toured the United States doing concerts.

Some of those songs are so catchy.

I’ve just always done whatever job comes my way. I’m like, “I’ll take it.” I like to try lots of different things.

Thank you.

They really are.

I know, I love them.

We had your CD in our car, because River brought it over. Thank you for that.

Yes, you’re welcome. It’s on Spotify and iTunes and Apple. Everybody can go put in “Debi Derryberry.”

That’s true. I’m talking CD’s but it’s actually on Spotify. They are.

Yeah, those are coasters.

They are.

Did I say CDs? I meant coasters.

No, I said CDs. Oh yeah, that’s right. Yes.

So at what point did you realize, “Wow, I’m a voiceover artist. This is where my life is going, it’s pretty cool.” Where did you realize that that was where your fate was heading?

I don’t know, yesterday?

Was it one big job, or what? Nothing?

I probably audition 150 times before I might book something.

No, I just, I’ll do whatever job comes the way, but the jobs that came were VO jobs, and specifically animation jobs, and more specifically, kids. And so, I’m still always grateful when I book one. We do a lot of auditions, Jason, for that one job. I probably audition 150 times before I might book something.

Is that right?

It’s a lot. I probably do three to 15 auditions a day, every day.

Wow.

I’m in my booth all the time.

See, I wouldn’t think that. I would think you, with your notoriety, that it’s like people write you into-

You would think so, right?

We need to change that.

Well, for crying in the mud, I was thinking exactly the same thing. No, we audition just like everybody else and pretty much work for scale, and that’s the contract rate. If you’re an on camera star your rate is much higher than the scale rate, but pretty much everybody wants to do voiceover, and there’s a lot of great voiceover artists out there, including me.

Yeah.

I think I turn in excellent auditions, and I’m as competitive as the rest of them. But there’s a lot of us, so we just remain humble, work for scale, do a lot of auditions. And sometimes people… I call it throw me a bone. They’re like, “Oh, I have this role, Debi,” you’re just offered this role. It doesn’t happen that often anymore though. There’s just a lot more inclusivity and trying out new voices.

Interesting. So let’s talk about the big one. There’s a lot of, you have over 300 IMDB credits, right?

Yeah, there’s a lot.

But most would know you from one.

Jimmy Neutron.

Yes.

Most would know me as the voice of Jimmy Neutron. “Think, think, think. Brain blast!” Yeah.

Wow. So when did that happen? What year was that, do you remember?

Gosh, I think it was 1999. Because it was auditioned as an interstitial, which is like a little short. Like when The Simpsons started, it was these 10-minute bits on The Tracy Ullman Show. Remember that?

I remember that. Yes, I totally remember that.

So Jimmy Neutron started out as a few of those, and I auditioned for it. You don’t really think twice about it, because you audition a lot. Back then we went to the places to audition, so maybe I had five auditions a week, on a busy week. I booked it, which was very exciting because it was a little boy’s role and I hadn’t done little boys’ voices before. I was comfortable with little girl voices, like what you’re hearing now. So always sound like this. My natural voice, this is the easiest place for me to talk, right here.

So I gave it my best shot, and I don’t have little boy texture. Texture is when your voice is a little gravelly, you got that kind of little boy texture in there. I don’t have that, but I can put it in there. But I thought for a cartoon, you don’t want to put in something that’s painful because you have to hold onto it for four hours, and you don’t want to shred your throat, so I gave him my clear voiced boy, which was what you hear when you hear Jimmy Neutron. And everybody was up for the role, all the normal biggies. And there were only like eight of us then. And I thought the interstitials, when they came out because you do it and then you wait six months, so you forget about it.

It takes that long, okay.

Because by the time, to go to animation and back, yeah. They get colored and sent overseas, and that was back before everything was digital. They’d have to be like, “FedEx, fix the cells.”

Exactly, yeah.

And then when I saw the VHS of these interstitials, I thought, “Those are really fun,” and next thing you know, they said, “We’re doing a feature film.” So I had my first feature film, starring in it, which was awesome. And then that did well, it got nominated for an Oscar, and then they did a cartoon series and video games and then commercials, and it just kind of exploded. But you never know, you don’t always get more than one of those in a lifetime.

Yeah, that’s the big one, right? That’s what a lot of voiceover artists aspire for, is that one big one that’s going to last. So how many seasons and how many years did that last?

It was just two seasons.

There’s only two seasons? It had that much of an impact on culture, huh?

Yeah. It’s a very well written show with… The chemistry of the cast is something that you get lucky. They cast really good people, but the chemistry was unbelievably funny. And we were all in the studio together, and they’re just amazing, hilarious actors: Rob Paulsen and Mark DeCarlo and Megan Kavanaugh and Jeff Garcia, Carolyn Lawrence, and it was just a good bunch.

And it always helps when you know that they’re going to put money behind the marketing of it.

You don’t know that.

Oh, you don’t, don’t know that, but it always helps when that happens, right?

Yes, yes.

Sure, yeah.

We stroll in thinking we’re God’s gift, and we give them an hour of our time and do our line, and then we get all the credit. It’s pretty sweet.

But no, as an actor, we aren’t privy to any information ever. We are just the actors, and that’s kind of true. People pour their life blood into their projects and their pilots and their pitches, and they’re getting these things off the ground, and then they hire the actor. And we stroll in thinking we’re God’s gift, and we give them an hour of our time and do our line, and then we get all the credit. It’s pretty sweet.

Yeah. It’s funny because I was just… We took a road trip. We were going to go to either Jamaica, which was going to take too long to get there and it would have just been a pain with the baby, so we actually flew to Chicago and we took a road trip. We did a whole Midwest tour. Started in Chicago, we did Milwaukee, and then we went to Minneapolis. And we went to the Mall of America. Have you ever been to the Mall of America?

No. Where the Jimmy Neutron ride is?

Yes.

Yeah, I thought, a lot of fans go there, but I never went there.

So we were there, and we’re like, “That Jimmy Neutron’s a big deal at the Mall of America.”

Just, as a voice teacher, you can’t pound the table when you make a point.

Thank you for the constructive criticism.

You’re welcome. Okay, Mall of America, go ahead.

Yeah. And while we were there, we’re taking photos with Brooklyn in front of Jimmy Neutron, and Erin’s sending them to River, and it was cool.

So do you think it’s still there?

It is.

It is? The Jimmy Neutron?

I’m not sure if the ride was there, it might be. There’s definitely huge pictures in the Nickelodeon store.

Very cool. Yeah, I hope bring Jimmy Neutron back one day. Wouldn’t that be nice?

That would be nice.

Yeah, from your lips to God’s ears.

Could it happen?

Anything can happen.

I guess.

They brought back Rugrats.

Yeah.

So who knows?

And The Simpsons still going, right?

33 seasons, yeah.

Is that ever going to end?

No, silly man.

It won’t?

No. It will be here forever. It’ll be here when the cockroaches rule the world.

Did you audition for The Simpsons?

Yes.

You did?

Yes.

Did you audition for Bart?

Yes.

You did?

Yes.

What does your Bart Simpson sound like?

Like Jimmy Neutron.

Like Jimmy Neutron.

I know it. Here’s something interesting. One of the main writers on The Simpsons, Mike Price, he produced another show with Bill Burr called F is for Family.

Yes.

And I play most of the kids on that show, and season five is coming out November 25th. Thanksgiving Day is our fifth season, and I play Maureen and Philip and Kitty and Brigette, and I play Scott and, oh, Nurse Beatrice. I play a lot of characters on F is for Family.

It’s so cool. Josh is a big fan of that show, for sure.

Are you?

Yeah.

It’s very wrong. I can tell that Josh isn’t easily embarrassed and not easily offended.

Yeah. Brooklyn’s not watching that show, hopefully not, right?

No. Brooklyn can watch Glitter Force, she can watch. I’m Candy and Maya on Glitter Force. And Sailor Moon, I’m Diana, the cat, she can watch that. She can watch Curious George, I play Gnocchi on that, a little kitty cat. Let’s see, what else can she watch that I’m on? She can watch the YouTube version of “Baby Shark.” I play Baby Brooklyn, Baby Shark Brooklyn on YouTube.

Is that right?

Yeah.

I didn’t know that.

But we’re not really talking about that, it’s not a big deal. And then she can watch Monster High, I’m Draculaura on that.

Well, I know she can watch Toy Story, and she can watch… What is the one-

I just have tiny little bitty lines, background type lines in Toy Story, but-

But you were kind of like… Weren’t you, “Mine, mine”?

Yeah, “Pick me, pick me. The claw.”

That’s what it is, the Aliens.

And she can watch Care Bear, I’m Cheer Bear.

You’re Cheer Bear, which color is Cheer Bear?

Pink.

Look at how many characters you’ve brought to life.

I know. Oh, she can watch The Christmas Chronicles, those movies at Christmas time.

They’re great, with Goldie Hawn?

Yes, I’m the elf. [speaks in Elvish] The guy that wrote that language, for the Elvish, wrote Dothraki for Game of Thrones.

I did not know that.

Yeah, yeah. I had to learn a whole new language for that one.

Huh.

And she can watch Loud House, I’m Miss Allegra and Auntie Pam on that. I stay busy.

Do you ever go to sleep and the voices kind of take over in your dreams, and you’ve got all these characters kind of fighting with each other? What happens when you sleep and dream? I’m curious.

In my dreams is when I organize my life.

I’m a big organizer, Jason, so in my dreams is when I organize my life. When I wake up, sometimes I’m frustrated because I couldn’t get the square peg in the round hole kind of thing. My dreams are really ridiculous. No, I don’t go to sleep with my cartoon character.

You don’t?

Sometimes after I’m done with an audition, I think this is true of any actor, you’ll send it in and then you’ll have this thought like, “Ah, I should have done that.” And then sometimes I’ll run back and re-do it and email it to the agent. I’m like, “Pull that audition, use this one instead.”

Yeah, I see. You’re just trying to correct things, maybe.

Well, I don’t know if in acting, is there a correct?

Not really.

There’s sometimes different choices.

That’s right.

You just want to make a bold choice and a choice that’s going to stand out and get you that call back.

You just want to make a bold choice and a choice that’s going to stand out and get you that call back.

What would you say is the most challenging voice that you have had to work on?

Let’s see. Well, Tigtone has been challenging. It’s a show called Tigtone and I play Helpy, this little purple monster right here.

Okay.

It’s on Adult Swim and it’s my old lady voice placement with a creature and an attitude. Yeah, see, “I’m Helpy. I regenerate. A voice like that for me,” that could be a throat shredder. I had to worry about how to place it. And I have it now where I can do a couple hours of Helpy without getting tired or hurting myself. But sometimes when people get excited in front of microphones, they tend to pinch at their throat, and that can cause a lot of problems. I did a cartoon called Taz-Mania with the Tasmanian Devil and I play his little brother, Jake, this little guy in the corner right there.

I see him. Yeah.

And I used a voice that I couldn’t hold and ended up almost giving me a node. It was like, “Ah, you’re the best, man.” Yeah, I don’t even want to go there.

No, because it’s tough.

The minute you feel that. And you can hear it, right?

Yeah.

And when I hear people practicing with voices like that, I’m like, “Uh-uh. Stop. Hold on. That’s not the one for you.” Some actors, like Nancy, Bart, she naturally has a little bit of a texture. Right. And I don’t have that texture, but I can formulate it and I can place my voice to make it that way sometimes.

The problems of a voiceover artist. See.

Yeah. And there are different placements for different voices. Like when I cry like a baby, that’s a different placement from the old lady. And when I’m doing my booming soldier, that’s different than the young boy. And the teenager placement is really the easiest place for me. And I can hold it forever.
And over the years, I’ve just developed ways to do different characters. And just like your game at the beginning. I’ll be like, “Okay, well, that means it’s this place.” “Is it up here?” “Or is it up here?” “Or is it in here?” “Or is it here?” “Or is it down here?”

See. 

And then, “How old is it?” “Or is it really, really old?” “Or is it from outer space and has an accent, kind of thing?” And you have to learn different accents.

I’d love to be on an airplane one day. And Jimmy Neutron comes on the PA and does the safety instructions.

Oh yeah.

How cool would that be?

I need to go on Southwest.

Right?

And say, you know how Southwest has the funniest announcements?

Yeah.

Yeah. That’s what I should do.

You should totally do that. And that would go viral on TikTok probably.

Oh yeah.

And I know you got a pretty big TikTok following.

You see, when I did, I guess three postings ago, it said 1.9 million.

Crazy.

It’s crazy.

Yeah.

I love my TikTok people. So sometimes if people want to tune into my website or go to streamily.com, there’s a store there with all my autographs. And sometimes I go live on TikTok or Instagram. And people go to Streamily and get their autographs and then I sign them for them live on my phone.

Okay.

On the TikTok Live.

Wow.

Yeah. It’s kind of the new thing doing these virtual in-person signings.

Yeah. It’s weird. Right. It’s the new norm, I guess.

Yeah. They figured out some really amazing ways of making it happen.

Yeah, they sure did. Yeah.

Because, yeah, my TikTok, I have a lot of wonderful fans. I think there’s 870,000 followers.

Oh, wow.

I know.

And how often do you publish content on TikTok?

Not as much as I’d like. Right now, it probably is just two or three times a month maybe.

Yeah. Wow.

Just there’s no time in my day between, I have a country band that I’m working on, and then I have my kid’s stuff, music. That I’m really working on the business end of my music and auditions all the time. And then, it’s just so much. Don’t you find that there’s not enough hours in the day?

There’s totally not enough hours in the day. Yeah.

No. And then you still have to eat and swim and work out and do Pilates and walk the dogs and feed your husband.

Yeah.

Or wife. Yeah. I heard you’re the cook at home.

I’m kind of the cook. Yeah.

You’re kind of the cook? River comes home and-

Yeah, I make some good steak. I got a barbecue. River loves that.

Oh, yeah.

Well, when he was vegan, he didn’t obviously like that. But yeah.

Right. But he’ll cheat. He’ll go over there and eat some meat once in a while. Well, Jason made these steaks and they were good and I had a bite. It was pretty great.

Yeah. Uh-huh. That’s right.

Well, I’m the cook at home and I’m looking forward to having him home for Thanksgiving.

Oh, yeah. Is he coming home soon?

Mm-hmm.

The boys are going to love that. Yeah.

Yeah. I hope I get to see him.

They’re going to love that. Yeah.

He’s going to be at your house more than my house.

Awesome. We’re going to do another little exercise here and get to know each other a little bit better. This is “Two Truths and a Lie.” Pretty simple game where you come up, two truths about you and one lie.

Okay.

You’re going to use a different character voice for each of the things that you share. I’ll go first since I’ll let you think about it here.

Okay.

All right. “Two Truths and a Lie.” I once saved a little boy’s life. I was… In high school, I was in a boy band, and, I played the drums when I was younger as well.

I would say the truth is that you saved a kid’s life and that you played the drums when you were little.

You are exactly right. I’m not the boy band kind of guy. Huh? You see.

I don’t know. I had to pick the one that… They all sounded pretty plausible. Okay. I was kind of shooting in the dark here.

And there’s not too many boy bands that came from Long Island, New York either.

Yeah, yeah.

Right. I guess we can go with that.

“Well, my back is killing me from doing gymnastics for so many years.” “You know what? I really, really loved green bell pepper. That’s my most favorite food in the whole world.” “Once I had a dog and it ran in the street, and it got hit by a car.”

Okay. The gymnastics, I know. That’s, I cheated, I think. You for sure did gymnastics.

Yeah. I cheated on that. But then again, you know everything about me.

Yeah. And I think a lot of people have had dogs that have gotten hit by cars. I want to say that’s also a truth too. And I’m going to say you hate green peppers.

I hate them so much.

Do you?

I hate them so much. Yeah. It’s like the people who don’t like cilantro.

Yeah.

Get it out. I hate them. I like the red ones and the yellow ones though.

Seriously?

And you know who likes them a lot? My dogs love little pieces of yellow pepper.

Really?

It’s like our treats.

See, I don’t even taste the difference between green peppers and yellow peppers. When they come on a sausage and pepper sandwich.

Oh, yeah.

Cooked with onions and grease.

I won’t even. Everything on that kabob tastes like green peppers to me.

Really?

Yeah. Jen is nodding her head. She agrees.

I didn’t know that was a thing that people liked different flavors of peppers and disliked them. Interesting.

But good job. Yeah. I think we both won on that. Maybe we should go on Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!

I think so. We could do well.

We could win on Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!

I think we would do well. What about, here’s another one? Ranch. I’m sorry. Blue cheese. Love it, or hate it?

Love it. How about you?

Hate it.

Really?

Oh. Yeah.

Oh, yeah. Chunky…

I don’t know. Some people could even put that on their salad.

It’s the stinkier the better. Cheese.

It’s one of those things that you either love or hate. There’s no in between [crosstalk 00:56:02]

Yes, how about cilantro? Love it, hate it?

I could do that.

You can?

It’s not like I crave it or anything, but I can do cilantro. You know what I like a lot?

What?

I’m not a vegan, but-

You made a little face when you said, “Vegan,” like that’s a bad thing.

Well, people who’re diehard vegans. Right?

Yeah. We’re vegan, but not diehard vegan.

Are you vegan?

Yeah. But if I go to your house and you serve me something amazing that’s of the carnage variety, I’ll try it.

Yeah. You will?

Or I’ll eat eggs if I’m feeling protein deficient. Or I’ll have milk in my coffee if that’s all there is.

Yeah.

Yeah. I’m not diehard, but yeah, we don’t really cook it or eat it too much anymore at all.

There is an amazing little place. I’m sure you’ve been there because you live in Toluca Lake, Something Vegan, right there. On River… What is it? River…

Riverside.

Riverside, right?

Right. Yeah.

Boy, they got these vegan chicken nugget strips.

Oh, yeah. The little drummies?

They’re so good.

So good. Yeah.

Right.

I like it with your little orange sauce stuff they have.

Yes, me too.

That’s so good.

Yes. I like that better than real chicken, like…

Do you?

It’s so good.

It’s made with seitan, a wheat gluten.

Okay.

Which is still kind of stringy. It’s pretty good.

Yeah.

Yeah. I like it. But you know what? If you really want to do some carnage, at the Hungry Crowd on Riverside Drive they have deep fried pork ribs, back in the day.

And this is the vegan version?

No, not at all. It’s real pork ribs.

This is like deep fried pork.

But boy are they good, back in the day when I ate those.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to that restaurant.

You need to go and have some deep fried pork ribs.

Okay.

Take me. I’ll have the kale salad.

There you go. Sounds, yeah. Okay.

You made that face again.

No. The kale salad at the barbecue joint. Okay. Let’s do one more “Two Truths and One Lie.” We’re going to play one more time.

Okay. “In my house I have seven guitars.”

Okay.

“When I was little, I would go in the swimming pool and pee in it.” And my third one: “Once I punched somebody in the collar bone and broke it.”

Okay. Let’s dissect this a little bit. All kids pee in the pool, so I think we’ve all done that. I want to say you have more guitars, but I can’t see you punching somebody. I’m going to say the “punching somebody in the collar bone and broke it” is the lie.

I actually punched somebody in the collarbone and broke it.

Are you serious?

Well, it was broken, but it was almost better. And then, I punched him and it broke again.

Oh my.

Yeah. That’s not a lie.

That’s the truth.

That’s true.

You have nine guitars?

I do have seven guitars.

You have seven guitars.

I’d never peed in the pool.

You’ve never peed in the pool?

No.

What?

In the ocean, but not in the pool.

Wow.

No, I get out and go pee in the toilet like a good girl. Now, that was a good one. Right?

That was good.

I win.

You totally got me.

Bing-bing-bing-bing-bing-bing.

Yes. Yes. You win. Do I got to do it now?

I don’t know if I’m going to invite you over swimming though, is the thing.

No. Yeah. Tell me a little bit more about what you got going on in the world now. You’re auditioning a lot. You’re coaching. You’ve got a book. You’ve got so much happening.

My second edition of my voiceover book is now out. And oh, I just got nominated for a SOVAS “Body of Work Award.” It’s a very big honor.

Really? Congratulations.

The Society of Voice Arts and Sciences.

Yeah.

Wow.

I just found out I got that nomination.

Congrats.

Which made me feel really puffy and conceited. Those are the big things going right now, and season 5 of F Is for Family coming out Thanksgiving Day. And then, The Rookie, that’s out October 31st. Thanksgiving and Halloween, I’m big news.

Yeah.

Yeah, yeah.

Oh, going to be a big month for you.

It’s pretty much busy all the time. And then, Guild Wars, the new rendition or the new chapter, whatever of Guild Wars 2, my character, Taimi, on it that I’ve been doing for years and years, she does the promo. Announces the whole thing, when you go and watch the commercial on it.

Okay.

That’s been going on for a lot of years for any Guild Wars 2 fans.

Okay.

That’s what’s going on. And my website always has new stuff on it and my TikTok channel.

What’s your website?

Debiderryberry.com. And it’s spelled D-E-B-I-D-E-R-R-Y-B-E-R-R-Y. Just like it sounds.

Cool. Is there a Hall of Fame for voiceovers?

I don’t think so.

No? 

But there should be, right? There’s a lot of organizations popping up. And in the Emmys, there’s a “Voice Artist Award.” And hopefully, one day in the Oscars they’ll have a voice artist award, but they don’t. But there’s the Annies. The ASIFA organization has The Annie Awards that is just for people in animation. And then there’s SOVAS that has an award show.

No Hall of Fame yet.

But there probably is somewhere with a Hall of Fame. Maybe someday I’ll be in it and you can say, “I knew her.”

That’s right. That’s what I’m asking here because I think that’s where you’re headed.

There’s a lot of cartoons I’ve voiced on. Looking at this picture of me with all these cartoons around it. Good fun. I love what I do.

Yeah. There’s a lot of cartoons I’ve voiced on. Looking at this picture of me with all these cartoons around it. Good fun. I love what I do.

Hopefully, you can leave your autograph for our staff here. They would love that.

Coasters.

And if you want to keep up with Debi, I suggest, A, if you want to get into acting, she is an amazing coach. So look at that. Check her out, debiderryberry.com. And it’s such an honor to have you on this show. I appreciate you making the drive all the way from Toluca Lake to North Hollywood.

Yeah. It took me six minutes.

See? Yes.

And I still have to go to Bed Bath & Beyond. Thank you for having me on this show, Jason. Love your studio. Love your crew. And it’s been a joy.

Awesome. Thank you.

Thank you, you guys.

Important Links

Debi Derryberry’s IMDb Page
Debi Derryberry’s Website
Debi Derryberry’s TikTok
Debi Derryberry’s Instagram
Debi Derryberry’s Twitter
Debi Derryberry Wins SOVAS Award
Buy Voice-Over 101: How to Succeed as a Voice Actor: Second Edition on Amazon
Buy Debi Derryberry’s Baby Banana album on Amazon
Buy Very Derryberry album on Amazon
Buy What A Way To Play! album on Amazon