We have another special interview for you guys! We recently got in contact with Pat Cashman, the announcer for Brawl. The interview was conducted over e-mail. Please note: some slight formatting was done to increase readability, and the media (including links) was added by me. Huge thanks to Mr. Cashman for answering all of our questions!
How did you get involved with television and acting? Any advice for people who would want to follow in your footsteps?
I don’t really consider myself to be an actor—and I’m sure most real actors would agree after watching me. But radio and tv was always a love of mine ever since I was little kid. I would pretend to do radio in my bedroom—sometimes setting up down in our basement and speaking through the furnace ductwork (making it possible to hear my “radio show” by putting your ear to the heating vents in any room in the house.)
I did major in communications in college—but I tell young people to pursue something else: Political Science, History, etc.—to get the best-rounded education you can so that, for example, if you want to become a TV or movie writer you have a reservoir of knowledge to draw upon. When you’re watching movies or TV, pay attention to the things that work…And try to figure out why they work. Even writers and performers that would generally be considered “totally original” are actually amalgams of many other people who influenced them along the way.
Meanwhile, my advice for people following in my footsteps would be to walk knock-kneed—and wear either comfortable boots or galoshes.
What was it like working on Bill Nye the Science Guy as the narrator? How did you get involved with the show?
I was brought in as the announcer on the show without an audition—which was lucky for me because I’m terrible at auditioning. The producers of the show, longtime colleagues and friends, simply gave me the gig because they thought I was right for it—and I’ll alway be grateful.
My announcer parts were the final step of each produced show. When I came in to the recording studio, the show was pretty much completed…Edited, graphics added, music done.
The producers would then say things like, “It seems like there’s a lull in this section…Maybe something needs to be said here…Or, there should be a comment after Bill blows something up.” very often I was given liberty to make any comment or reaction I wanted. I did a number of other voice parts on the shows too: announcers for fake commercials, somebody yelling, dog panting, etc…
But it was as the primary the announcer voice that I was most consistently heard.
I also appeared as various characters on camera in many of the shows too. And while Bill is a longtime friend, weeks and months might go by that we actually saw each other face to face…
What episode was your favorite to work on?
I really loved a lot of them. One favorite was getting to work with my daughter…Who was part of a staring contest in a show about the human eye. But perhaps my very favorite was the final episode…Where I got to sing and dance a bit in a very fun street scene.
How’d you get the job to be Brawl’s announcer? Was there an audition process?
To be honest, I don’t remember. I think I was just hired and called in without a real audition. I also have to admit that I had no real idea what I was doing…how the game worked…who’d be using it, etc…
It looked nice on my resumé to say that I was the announcer on what was one of the most popular video games on the planet—but had never actually seen it myself. For awhile I would get requests from gamers to do customized versions of the announcer for birthday greetings, etc…But I had to stop doing that because I was getting too many requests…And also I wasn’t sure I really had the right to be doing the character that fundamentally didn’t belong to me, but Nintendo.
What do you think was Nintendo’s reason for contacting you and asking for your talent? Do you think they might have known about you because you once made a local commercial for Seattle and the Seattle Mariners? (Nintendo of America used to own the majority of the stock.)
Actually one of my first Seattle-area tasks was producing a series of funny TV commercials for the mariners. But it pre-dated the Nintendo ownership of the team…So my participation in ‘Brawl’ was likely coincidental.
Do you remember when you recorded the lines?
Not an exact time…But I remember I was in an isolated recording booth about as big as a coffin. I tend to get a bit claustrophobic, so I remember getting some mild panic from time to time—and would ask to step out under the pretense of getting a drink of water or going to the bathroom. Frankly, I wish we had recorded in the bathroom—the echo in there was kind of cool.
Xander Mobus, the announcer for the newest Smash, explained to us that he had to announce characters that didn’t end up in the final game. Do you remember a similar recording session like that, too? Did you have to announce more than the 39 characters in Brawl?
Yes, I recorded much more than was actually used. The final product is pretty fun—but the process of recording can get pretty tedious. Generally, you’re asked to do the lines multiple times…different inflections…etc…And the session can get pretty long and grueling. After a period of time, you can sense yourself getting hoarse…So you try to stay hydrated and keep going. For other projects and video game makers, I also did voices and characters—with the toughest being a one-eyed parrot that needed to sound like a pirate. I remember having self-induced Laryngitis that lasted several days after one session like that….
There are some characters that were cut from Brawl’s roster and the game’s director has stated that if there were more time we might have seen an extra character or two. Did you remember recording any unused character lines?
Don’t recall. It has been quite awhile, after all. But, I’m certain I did record announcer parts for announcers that didn’t make the cut.
Did you bring any of your comedic talent to the role?
I hope so. With mostly short lines, comedic inflections and asides are pretty key. And certainly a big part of the appeal of all video games is keeping the player entertained. And humor is an important element of making that happen.
What kind of guidance were you provided for the role of the announcer, Master Hand and Crazy Hand?
Just to make the announcer big and bombastic—even sort of old school, drawing on the over-the-top announcers that would announce pro wrestling and roller derby in the 1950’s and 60’s….And the goofy way some radio announcers would do their thing on music radio.
Any funny stories from the recording session(s)?
I remember one time when I was really going for it…Way, way over the top. I remember thinking, “Man, I am really killing it! This is the best I’ve ever done!” my arms are waving…I’m jumping up and down…Spit flying all over the mic…My shirt’s getting sweaty…
Then, I look up and notice that there is nobody in the next room. The producers, the engineer—everybody had taken a break and were gone. What I thought might have been my best “Brawl” announcer performance ever…Had an audience of one: me.
Did you listen to Smash 64’s (Jeff Manning) and Melee’s (Dean Harrington) announcers before recording? If so, did you notice anything you wanted to do differently, or that you wanted to emulate?
Didn’t hear either of the other announcers before I took a swing at it.
Do you regularly play video games? Were you familiar with the characters in Brawl?
No…And no. Isn’t that awful?
What do you think of Brawl once it was released?
I loved it. I thought I was pretty lousy though at first. But then, in the context of the actual game action, I finally thought it worked pretty well.
Who’s your favorite character in Brawl?
Pit. He can [fly] anywhere. Even to the mall. Plus Pit has nearly the same spelling as Pat.
What have you been working on lately?
For the past three years, I’ve worked on a tv sketch comedy show called “Up Late Northwest”—previously called “The 206”. Type either of those titles into YouTube and you’ll see some stuff come up. Otherwise, type my name into YouTube and other videos will show up…Including a ton I did with an earlier show called “Almost Live.”
I do lots of public speaking events…Auctions…and commercials….
If you’ve missed it, we have also done interviews with Xander Mobus (Announcer for Smash for Wii U/3DS) and Dean Harrington (Announcer for Melee). It’s been an incredibly humbling experience to talk to all of these wonderful voice actors. I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to everyone that has supported Source Gaming for the past two years. Make sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up to date with more Smash news.
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