Voice Acting is critical in all forms of media, as in order to breath life into a character in video games or animated productions, you need them to speak. A voice can do so much to make a character unique, interesting and all the more engaging to interact with. Dr. Eggman is a character in the Sonic series that I continue to enjoy to this say and the man behind the evil doctors voice is here with me today.
Mike Pollack was kind enough to spend some time answering a few questions I had about past work he produced and it was such an honor to speak with him. I hope you all enjoy this interview!
RK: Can you introduce yourself?
Mike: I’m Mike Pollock. I’m a voice-over actor. Most people know me as the voice of Dr. Eggman in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, but I’ve done lots of other character and commercial work over the years.
RK: It is a huge honor to speak with you and thank you for doing this interview with me. My first question would be what was your first introduction to gaming and media (movies, TV)? Did you enjoy them?
Mike: As a kid, I watched cartoons, like Rocky and Bullwinkle and Looney Tunes. Since Home Video wasn’t really a thing, the best way cartoon producers could extend their brands was to issue kiddie records featuring their voice cast acting out stories in character. I had several of those and played them over and over, focusing on just the voices. I’ve never been a gamer.
RK: I remember growing up with animated cartoons like Looney Tunes and Disney as well, so I completely get why you enjoyed them a lot. My favorite cartoons growing up included characters like Bugs and Goofy being really funny! When you first got into voice acting, what were some challenges you faced early in your career?
Mike: The challenge for an actor is always getting work. I’m constantly auditioning for, and occasionally booking, new voice over gigs in animation, games, commercials and corporate narrations.
RK: I understand where you are coming from; finding work in voice acting must take a long time. But with how many roles you have done over the years, it is clear many love the work you produce. When it came to originally voicing Dr. Eggman and other characters on Sonic X, how did you approach the roles? What were some inspirations for the voice behind Eggman?
Mike: I was given clips of Deem Bristow to voice match. After the first few episodes of Sonic X, the producer, director and I realized we needed to morph the voice to fit the comedy, so we added more highs and lows to it.
RK: Interesting how you started out replicating another voice actor but over time, developed the voice to fit the role you wanted to preform. It shows how adaptable you are as a voice actor Dr. Eggman has had many voices over the years before you took the role, so what was it like playing a character with such a iconic legacy?
Mike: I treat all my gigs as the most important gig in the world. That’s why clients hire me. And Dr. Eggman is no exception.
RK: Your take on Eggman is so iconic, that many love the character based on your voice alone. When you signed on again with the other voice actors for the posts Sonic Colors titles, what direction did you take Eggman in? What do you feel ‘changed’ with Eggman after games like ‘Sonic Unleashed’?
Mike: The writing became more clever and comedic; I was delighted to take Dr. Eggman in that new direction.
RK: I personally love Eggman as a character a lot, as he is personally one of my favorite Sonic characters in many ways. What is it like interacting with the other voice actors, specifically Roger Craig Smith (Sonic)?
Mike: I usually interact with them long distance, as I’m in New York and they’re in Los Angeles and we’re in each other’s headphones. That’s tons of fun, but the rare times I get to visit LA and we all record live is more fun than humans should be allowed to have.
RK: Interesting to hear that you do the voice work for the series across different locations. The dialog sounds so natrual, so despite the long travel distance, the performances are still dynamic and strong. Can you explain the origins of the Eggman P.A. Announcements that was scattered about in ‘Sonic Colors’? I loved those bits a lot and it gave a lot of character to the interstellar amusement park.
Mike: All I know is they were in the script I was given. I have no idea how or why they got there. Glad you enjoyed them.
RK: Thank you for answering my question! You did other voice work outside of the Sonic series, so can you explain some of other roles you voiced in the past?
Mike: As freelancers, voice actors are always working on multiple projects for multiple clients. A video is worth a million words, so the best way to learn more is to see some samples:
RK: In recent years, SEGA has been much more open with the gaming community and is willing self-reference past elements of the Sonic series. Can you explain what was it like to take part in things like the infamous ‘Sonic & Eggman Twitter Takeovers’? I personally greatly enjoyed those a lot.
Mike: There was an electric energy in the conference room that served as our writer’s bunker. We combed through the Twitter feed until we found tweets we could have fun with, then we set to writing and recording.
RK: I remember sending a few questions to you guys when that happened! Was so happy to see people like SSF1991 and others get their questions answered. With ‘LEGO Dimensions’ Eggman joins Sonic and friends on a new adventure. But it was stated that new writers wrote for the Sonic content in that game. What was it like working with Travelers Tales on the story of LEGO Dimensions?
Mike: It was four hours of laughs in a studio, like most gigs.
RK: I can see that quite clearly; the writing for LEGO Dimensions Sonic Content was so enjoyable, that I would imaging you and the other voice actors having a blast voicing the characters. Sonic Boom is the latest aspect of Sonic’s history and by far it’s most successful venture was the cartoon. Can you explain what it’s like to work on a cartoon with Sonic again since Sonic X?
Mike: It’s a different experience, since Sonic X was a dub, and dubs are recorded separately, with just a single actor working with a director and an engineer so they have time to get each line to fit just right. The writing in Sonic Boom is a little more like the classic Looney Tunes shorts in its tone, and I’m delighted to get to perform the scripts.
RK: With Sonic Boom (The TV Show), what is one of your favorite moments or episodes of the show? I loved the episode where Eggman and Sonic switch bodies personally.
Mike: I don’t play favorites. I love working!
RK: I understand that! I love many of the episodes of the show and overall find it really funny. With the future of Sonic looking quite bright with ‘Sonic Mania’ and ‘Project Sonic 2017’, what are your overall thoughts on the series after voicing one of it’s most infamous characters for such a long time?
Mike: It’s been 13 years since Sonic X premiered on August 23, 2003 and I’m honored to be a part of it; hope I can continue for as long as they’ll have me.
RK: Any final thoughts you would like to say before closing this interview? It was a huge honor to speak with you and thank you for doing this interview with me!
Speaking with Mike was such an honor and I hope you all enjoyed this interview. It was a lot of fun asking him various questions!