MomoCon 2016: An Hour with Steve Blum When Steve Blum speaks at MomoCon, fans hear Spike Spiegel. His natural tone smoothly transitions into the beloved Space Cowboy on a dime. This coupled with his charismatic personality, quick wit and approachable demeanor make everything Blum says during the hour panel engaging. The time flies by. Despite Blum’s impressive resume, which includes Wolverine, Amon, Mugen, Starscream, J.P. Shibayama and literally hundreds of others, he remains humble about each opportunity. “Voice actors are the blue collar workers of the industry. Unless you are a face actor, you aren’t guaranteed anything.” Blum played Wolverine over 25 times and each one of those productions required him to audition for the position as if it was the first time. Blum mentions that he was up late in the morning recording an audition with his travel studio in the hotel. “I have an audition every night.” It is very rare that an opportunity to record is presented to a voice actor based off their resume alone. Often times during the recording process, Blum doesn’t even know what the final product is. Blum will walk into the studio, they’ll slam a stack of dialogue and he’ll perform in the booth – often doing cold readings. When Blum enters the studio to record, sometimes the game is code-named to protect the project, and he has little exposure to the final iteration. This added layer of secrecy made it difficult when Blum categorized all of his work to be recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the voice actor to appear in the most video games. “My agent and I were going line by line on my IMDB page to determine if everything listed for video games was accurate.” Another project shrouded in secrecy was when Blum auditioned for the role of Zeb Orrelios in Star Wars Rebels. It wasn’t until the final callback audition that the script revealed that the character Blum was working on was interacting with Stormtroopers. “I thought to myself, my life is changing right now…and when I finished the recording and had the job, Dave Filoni (creator of Star Wars Clone Wars and Rebels) said ‘you know your life is going to change, right?’” Blum went to Star Wars Celebration shortly after being cast in Star Wars Rebels and didn’t think anyone would care about the guy behind the scenes, but he was overwhelmed by the fan reception. “The fan community is vast and brilliant.” Even while on the show, Blum isn’t exposed to every facet of production. “I didn’t know how Season 2 ended until watching the screeners a couple days before they aired.” Because Zeb wasn’t in those scenes (and he wasn’t allowed to read the scripts) Blum didn’t know anything early and was shocked at the emotional resonance of what unfurled. Blum still watches every episode of Star Wars Rebels, because it makes him a better actor on the show and helps him understand how everything fits together. There is a true feeling of togetherness in the voice acting community, according to Blum. “The community is filled with people I choose to hang out with. It’s a family – we will refer each other for jobs instead of fighting each other over them. We are a generous and loving community.” When a fan of Samurai Champloo asks why Blum wasn’t part of the video game, he shares that it was unfortunately a non-union job and he couldn’t do it. As a union-employee, he is contractually obligated to do union-jobs. Blum asks if the actor did a good job and hopes that everything turned out well for everyone in the project. “I never think of the roles I didn’t play…because I’ve been lucky to have the roles I had.” Blum is working on 2 new shows, which are coming out this fall and may or may not be part of the next Call of Duty game. To find out more of Blum’s insight into Toonami, The Regular Show, meeting Mark Hamill or working on Logic’s album please check out the full panel available on MomoCon’s Twitch channel. For more coverage on Steve Blum, voice actors and the anime industry – read our MomoCon coverage this year and attend next year! Level Up, Friends!