Best known for his role as Finn the Human in Adventure Time, Jeremy Shada has spent a large portion of his life devoted to film and television. The young actor, who also doubles as a talented musician, has a filmography that spans numerous television series, films and video games.
Sitting down with the actor in London earlier in the year gave me an opportunity to get to know him beyond the voices and the films, approaching him as someone the exact same age.
CD: Ok, where to start? How did you discover voice acting?
JS: I started doing acting in general when I was about five or six, with more on camera sort of stuff, which I actually still do. The agency I was with when I was about seven or eight had a voice over department, so I started radio commercials and whatever else. One day I landed this little show called Adventure Time, and I guess you could say it just exploded from there.
CD: How are you so easily able to manipulate your voice?
JS: I don’t know exactly how I do it, but for me its just matching tones. For Adventure Time it was much closer to my actual voice, because I was about 12 when I was doing it. During the first season or two my voice started changed completely, so Finn the Human actually started to become more of a character voice. Growing up watching so many different cartoons, I began just copying tones. You just figure out how to do it, almost like doing impressions.
CD: This is one that usually startles me… do characters manage to weave their way into everyday discussions?
JS: Umm, I don’t, because I don’t usually like talking about myself outside of work. Other people, if they are a fan of the show or something and they want to talk about it, that’s totally cool. I definitely don’t introduce myself as that guy from Adventure Time.
CD: Or Jeremy from Makeout Monday…
JS: Yeah that could probably become something; I don’t usually plug my band shamelessly like I am right now. Our first EP is up on Itunes…
CD: You’d go down well in my hometown… everyone is a musician there. Are you a collector of items of the characters that you play?
JS: I have certain things from every character that I have played. I think more so I have special things from fans. Occasionally I’ll get stuff from the networks too, like stuff you cant buy from the stores, so I definitely keep those. Otherwise I would have to buy these things myself, and we know how that goes down.
CD: Do you have a role that got away?
JS: If you ask anyone, there are tons of things that we auditioned for but never got a response from. Sometimes there will be a role you are really bummed about not getting, but then you see the project later down the line and either it didn’t turn out well or something along those lines, so just have to shrug it off. Half the time you realise you get what you’re meant to get, so I try not to look back in anger or disappointment.
CD: This may be a really broad question, but looking back at your time in the sound studio, is there a memory that stands out among the rest?
JS: I think for me it would have to be one of the first records we did with John DiMaggio who plays Jake the Dog, Tom Kenny who plays the Ice King and god knows how many other things in his career, alongside so many others from the cast. Having all these people who I grew up listening to, would probably be one of the coolest things. I was meeting these people who I was a massive fan of, but also having the opportunity to work with them.
CD: Beyond everything so far, what have you got coming up?
JS: I have Voltron; the first two seasons are up on Netflix currently, the third should be out soon. In the band, we have just recorded our full-length album, so that should be released soon, and then I have a show called Mr. Student Body President which will be filming its second season, so that will be aired somewhere eventually.