Are Dub Crew Members Taking Over Voice Actors' Jobs?

by Justin Sevakis,

Tess asked:

Looking at the dub credits on various anime, I noticed that a voice actor (who is often a lead) may also be credited as a producer. Because they're a producer on a series' (or an episode's) dub, is this a factor in them getting lead roles? Or, is producing a potential perk of being voice actor? Are they paid royalties?

There are a lot of people working in anime dubs that are "multiple threats" -- they do more than just act. Some of them write, some direct, some sit there and stamp timecodes for every grunt and mouth noise that needs to be dubbed. The more active a particular actor is in a dub, the better chance they will get cast in a major role -- they're right there, after all. Casting choices are all subject to licensor approval, but there's a good chance that, if they're doing something else on a dub, they'll be cast in a major role.

Before you cry "unfair!" it's possible that the decision to cast the dub's director or producer is often a monetary one. In many cases, they're already getting paid to do one job and won't get paid to do double duty, which saves the overall production the expense of paying another actor. If time is an issue, it can save a lot of time for the director of a show to jump into the booth and do exactly the take he or she has in his/her head.

Also, "producer" is a very nebulous term that could mean just about anything. Honestly, anime dubs don't really require separate producers for each episode. The credit could be given as a favor, or it could mean that person was in charge of walking the entire production through the whole process. We just don't know.

Nobody involved in dubs gets any royalties whatsoever. It's possible that royalties may enter the picture if a big Hollywood star gets cast in, say, a Ghibli dub, but if that does happen, it's exceedingly rare.

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    Justin Sevakis has worked in the anime business for over 20 years. He's the original founder of Anime News Network, and owner of the video production company MediaOCD. You can follow him on Twitter at @worldofcrap.

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