Hi reddit, I'm Tom Kane. My job is talking for commercials, movie trailers, cartoons. I do 3-5 recording sessions every day. You hear me on network television every day, in movie theaters, I'm just one of those voices you hear on TV and in theaters and on the radio. Among many other characters (like Professor Utonium on The Powerpuff Girls, I'm Takeo in Call of Duty, I'm a smurf in the Smurf movies, I'm Darwin on the Wild Thornberries), I also do the voice of Yoda in Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Netflix. I'm here to take your questions, so ask me anything!


Comments: 190 • Responses: 49  • Date: 

mrw42347 karma

You seem to voice the 'old yet wise' kind of characters. How does it feel taking over the role of voicing Woodhouse on Archer? Does it feel like a huge departure from your normal roles?

Tom_Kane50 karma

He's the OLDEST I've done. I think he's 100!

Tom_Kane31 karma

He was an existing character, so I had to match it pretty closely. I had done a few Archers before that, small supporting characters. Lots of Russians.

Tom_Kane21 karma

Hey everyone, thank you SO much... This was fun. But work beckons. I'm doing spots for a Bank here in town for the next hour, then TV Spots for "Mr. Peabody & Sherman". Thanks to Netflix for putting all this together, and go there and watch The Clone Wars!!!

Frajer21 karma

Why was Professor Utonium trying to create perfect little girls in the first place?

Tom_Kane42 karma

Now that's a creepy thought that hadn't ever occurred to me... My wife & I just adopted ours. Hmmm.

NandoStevens20 karma

You've voiced a lot of powerful characters (Magneto, Yoda, Ultron). Out of all of the characters you have voiced, who do you think would win in a fight?

Tom_Kane46 karma

Yoda. Hard to compete with The Force, it is. And a Light Saber? Coolest. Sci-Fi weapon. Ever.

MONKSFTW16 karma

Hey Tom Kane, thank you so much for doing this AMA, you're truly a legend of voice acting, it's 4 am here in Australia so hope you get to my questions

  • What has been one of favourite jobs to voice act for?

  • What made you interested in voice acting?

Thank you again for taking time out of your day for this, on behalf of this AMA I'd like to commend you on your amazing talent and wish you luck on your future projects

Tom_Kane16 karma

Geez, thanks for staying up! Cartoons are my fave, because it means so much to my kids... And all kids, I guess. I was the class clown, and now get paid for it. Today they'd have me on ADD medicine up to my eyeballs. My first grade teacher actually tied me to my chair with jump ropes more than once. I just was a good mimic, and applied it to acting. I started getting paid to do VO when I was 15.

JohnWad15 karma

Answer questions, you will?

Tom_Kane34 karma

Have been for an hour, I have.

freedumofspeech14 karma


Tom_Kane22 karma

LOL! Not usually. The voices in my head are still under my control, fortunately!

Tom_Kane79 karma

I DO still find myself walking thru the grocery store and repeating the TV commercials as I pass the products. The Lucky Charms guy, Tony the Tiger... People sometimes pull their kids into a different aisle.

Thoraxekicksazz12 karma

What is your favorite impression of a famous person you like to do?

Tom_Kane18 karma

I like JFK. I've been hired to do him, Churchill, Hitler, Nixon... I was Clinton in Duckman a few time. And Carter.

arunat5star12 karma

Which character is easiest for u to do?

Tom_Kane25 karma

Prof. U. It's close to my actual Voice

Tom_Kane23 karma

British dialects are really easy for me as well. I book a LOT of those.

Kurohime10 karma

Hi Tom! Just one question, which voice is the most fun to do?

Tom_Kane15 karma

Fun? Well, the silly ones... HIM on PPGs especially. Yoda's my fave.

FabulousFaceRape7 karma

What was your least favorite character to play?

Tom_Kane9 karma

Hey, I'm an actor... ANY part is a good part! I don't honestly recall many I hated. I have turned down things I thought were just not decent or were mean-spirited. Only two times, maybe three in thirty years have I stopped a session in the middle and said, I'm sorry, I just can't do this.

choboy4567 karma

Who was your favorite character to voice and why?

Tom_Kane10 karma

Yoda. I'm a Star Wars nut.

CujoCreepShow7 karma

Have you ever temporarily lost your voice while voice acting? Perhaps due to over straining, etc... Or are there exercises that you do to prevent that from happening?

Tom_Kane15 karma

Maybe four or five times in 30+ years. Never done any exercises... Wouldn't even know what they would be. General with men, the more you abuse your voice the richer it sounds. I draw the line at smoking though.

kingfishcoons6 karma

How did you get your start in VO? Does it parallel other entertainment industries where knowing someone is particularly advantageous?

Tom_Kane10 karma

The getting started story is too long to type... Knowing people is good to get you in front of an Agent, but if you don't have the talent, you won't go anywhere.

Skip_Ransom6 karma

First off I want to say thank you for the AMA. I always imagined voice acting being like the opening scene from Mrs. Doubtfire. So my question is out of all the voices you have done and characters you have played over the years. Which character and personality can you most readily identify with?

Tom_Kane10 karma

Professor Utonium from The Powerpuff Girls. He's a dorky dad who loves his kids. That's pretty much me.

bsus14126 karma

What do you see as the biggest difference between performing for commercials and voice acting? How do you feel when switching between the roles?

(I'm asking this because I attended a panel at an anime convention with Todd Haberkorn and this was brought up)

Tom_Kane9 karma

For me, it's all the same. Almost nothing I do is in my real voice, even the "real guy" VOs are just another character to me. Actually, learning to not sound like you're reading off a script is one of the hardest things for people to learn, especially considering when you do cartoons and VGs, you're reading the script cold. No rehearsal at all.

Cherry__wine6 karma

How much money do you make in an average year?

Tom_Kane18 karma

Well, I am not typical, so it's of no real value for you to know... But a VO person in LA who works several times a week will make $50-100k a year.

pc146 karma

Hello Mr. Tom Kane, Ima big fan and wanted to thank you for responding to my fan letter and autographing my Yoda Clone Wars trading card. Youre the best!

Tom_Kane5 karma


PandoraBlackBox5 karma

Do u like ur voice? Probably the most foolish question ever!

Favorite kind of : music/movies/novels?

Tom_Kane4 karma

Well, yes I do. I nitpick about some of the way it changes as I get older, but overall so far, so good.

Space_Hipster5 karma

I loved your work in the Arkham series as Quincy Sharp. Your voice had just the right mix of pompousness and insanity. Can you say if you're returning for Arkham Knight?

Tom_Kane6 karma

If Quincy is in it, I'll be there!

Velorium_Camper5 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA Mr. Kane. I've been a fan of yours since Darwin (from the Wild Thornberries) and Professor Utonium/Him (from the Powerpuff Girls). Who has been the most difficult character you've voiced?

Tom_Kane17 karma

Burger King had me do voices for Star Trek toys in six other languages. Scotty doing a Scottish accent in German is ridiculous. Kirk in French was impossible.

PhantomZombieWolf5 karma

What is the voice role that required the most preparation to do?

Tom_Kane9 karma

I've never really had to do that. I am really lazy... I have never taken a class or instruction. If a voice is there, great. If not, I mix and match a few elements together to see if that works, and if not, I recommend someone who can.

harleyq01034 karma

Hello Tom,

If you have one, can you post a picture of yourself with Yoda from the Star Wars set?

Tom_Kane8 karma

I don't know how to do that here, but there are some on my FB page, I think. I add some from the Netflix/Lucasfilm event last week.

Amadeus30004 karma

Are you pleased with the new season of The Clone Wars and its storylines? If they asked you to do more, would you?

Tom_Kane9 karma

CW got better every season. It's probably good we didn't go to more seasons, or your TV would have exploded. Seriously, though, It is AWESOME that Netflix and Lucasfilm and Disney worked out the deal they did. The episodes they finished in Season 6 are incredible. The four-episode "Yoda Arc" is some of the best work I have done. Would I do more? In a second. I'm pestering Dave Filoni to throw me into "Rebels" a few times... He will.

browneyedgirl793 karma

If you could be anyone else for one day, who would that person be and why?

Tom_Kane3 karma

God. By the end of that day, a LOT would have changed... For the better, I hope.

Short of that, Superman... The President... Hmm...

daniel_decrissio3 karma

Do you ever marvel at your own voice?

Tom_Kane13 karma

LOL! No, I'm not that full of myself. I DO marvel at some of my fellow VO folk, though. Corey Burton is amazing... Tom Kenny's work as The Ice King on Adventure Time is just breathtakingly good. Too many talented people to list.

verbl3 karma

How often do you do your job in pajamas?

Tom_Kane7 karma

Seriously, almost never. Maybe 10 time in 30 years. But basketball shorts and a t-shirt? All day.

PandoraBlackBox3 karma

Hi Tom, or should i call u the voice!?lol Waw, ur life is a big achievement ;-)

Do stranger People who u r talk to, say u ve got the voice of... Or u voice sounds like...one of ur characters? What do u like to do in ur freetime? Do u consider urself as a positive man?

Tom_Kane8 karma

I'm 6'5", which I think is intimidating to a lot of people, so they don't talk to me much. At a convention or something, it's different, because they're used to talking to us.

Free time? I have 7 older kids and two 4-year-olds, and I do all the grocery shopping and cooking. So no free time, really.

And yes, I think I'm pretty positive. I have my down moments like everyone, of course.

NoGodot3 karma

What's a normal work day/week like for you? For us with office jobs, our 9 to 5 routines can get tedious. I get the feeling you have more flexibility and fun with scheduling in your industry.

Edit: Thanks for doing this AMA!

Tom_Kane7 karma

I live in the Midwest now, so most of my clients are two hours behind in LA. I start working at 10 or 11am, occasionally go to the kitchen to get a soda or sandwich, work until 7pm or so, sometimes later.

Leo43 karma

Favorite Mexican food?

Tom_Kane8 karma

Steak Fajitas... Closely followed by Baja shrimp soft tacos. Cabbage...a little white sauce... Hey, it's noon here. Now I know what I'm doing for lunch after this is over! Thanks!

Buster__Cherry3 karma

What voice are you asked to do most?

Tom_Kane7 karma

Yoda, then Prof U. Recently Takeo from COD is being requested.

hmac22xx3 karma

Hi Tom! You've done work with Toteman Epilepsy Awareness Project. Thats awesome! Would you encourage individuals with Epilepsy to sign up for health insurance? Thanks!

Tom_Kane4 karma

SOME kind of health insurance, of course. If you mean Obamacare... Well unfortunately, any discussion of Health Care is now also about Politics, so I don't go there.

0chickenwaffles03 karma

So is there a really close society of voice over actors that hang out regularly? Much like it seems actors and actresses run in the same circles. If so what "characters" are good friends of yours?

Tom_Kane6 karma

No, most VO peeps don't hang out regularly outside of sessions. Most have their own circle of friends, and the ones with families are pretty busy with that. Like most middle-aged men with a busy career and a family, I don't have many "friends" like you do when you're younger... But I consider some of the Clone Wars actors and Lucasfilm staff friends... I still have one good friend from all the way back in 9th grade.

Toyou4yu3 karma

Have you ever thought about going into the phone sex industry with your vocal abilities? Also will you be my friend and can I get your autograph?

Tom_Kane3 karma

Uh... Phone sex, no. Why would I take a 99% pay cut? Will I be your friend? Sure, in a say Hi at a Convention sort of way... An Autograph? Sure, send a SASE 9x11 envelope to my Agent or Manager.

Ewwiikk3 karma

Have you ever ordered a pizza(or anything else over the phone) in character?

Tom_Kane8 karma

Oh, many time when I was young, but I quickly learned they assume your full of BS, and don't actually make or deliver the pizza.

kotodrome3 karma

ive always wondered how someone gets into voice acting, so how did you start off?

Tom_Kane3 karma

Oh, that's WAY too long a story to type! Google my interviews... There should be something up there.

Velorium_Camper3 karma

What's your favorite line you've done from The Powerpuff Girls?

Tom_Kane10 karma

Prof U talking to Mojo Jojo 9And doing a semi Charlton Heston): "Get your hands off her, you darned dirty ape!"

Tom_Kane3 karma

Probably Yoda. Professor Utonium after that

usaokay3 karma

Describe your perfect Sunday.

Tom_Kane4 karma

Nice weather, work in the back yard a bit, go to the store, cook a big steak dinner for the fam, watch a couple hours of TV, read a bit of a book on my iPad, asleep by midnight.

Pew_PewPikachu3 karma

Hello! Do you practice your different voice impressions everyday, so you won't loose them? And what led you to be a voice actor?

Tom_Kane8 karma

No, I have never practiced ever. But that does mean I have to ask clients to play me a piece of something they want me to replicate from the past. I'm doing Ultron again in a couple weeks, so I'll have to refresh my memory for that.

penkster3 karma

Hi Tom, thanks very much for listening to us all yammer away.

I have done several stints doing voiceovers, some online radio shows, and a few commercials. I enjoyed it enormously, and always wondered about "Could I do more of this on my own, and maybe get paid for it?" - I saw another comment where you said 'demo tapes aren't really done anymore'. I made a website that has a bio, about half a dozen demo tracks, and contact information. I sent the link to a couple agencies, companies, and producers, but never heard back. So I guess my question is twofold. 1) What am I doing wrong, or is it just 'there's a zillion people doing VO out there, seriously, go flip burgers.' - and 2) Do you have suggestions for places to send my information to, or is this really the point of an agent? Thanks again!

Tom_Kane5 karma

It could be a lot of things... Talent is not enough... you kind of have to get hit by lightning as well. Unfortunately, it is way too easy for mediocre talents to make demos, websites, etc., so even if you're really good, the people who might rep or hire you get so many contacts, they don't listen to most unless they're referred by someone they know. Again, concentrate on commercials. They exist everywhere, as opposed to cartoons, which you MUST be in LA to get into.

hazcheezburgr2 karma

If there's a show or movie that you wished you could have worked on, what would it be?

Tom_Kane6 karma

Oh, so many! Star Trek... Avengers... Thor...

GaryOster2 karma

So I met this guy making sandwiches at the Publix deli who has the most amazing voice and looks like he could be a Klingon or Orc. I asked him if he ever considered voice acting and he said he has done some voice acting including doing seven voices for a PBS show for Back History Month but hasn't been able to make a steady living at it yet. I suggested looking into voice over for games because he just has that kind of voice I know gamers will love.

But how does someone break into voice acting for gaming? Is working with an agent the best thing or is sending demos an effective approach?

Tom_Kane3 karma

You need an Agent, for sure. But no one makes a living doing just games. And there are less than a half dozen who live on just cartoons. It just doesn't pay enough. You have to concentrate on commercials.

Sending out demos? You mean a CD? I don't think anyone does that anymore, really.

Kknowsbest1 karma

If you weren't in the entertainment industry, what would you do for a career?

Tom_Kane4 karma

I'd still be doing something creative, I hope. I have produced many commercials, and really like the editing process. If I wasn't a VO guy, I'd be an editor, no question about it.

I_Need_To_Go_To_Bed1 karma

If you could put five and only five roles that you've done on your resumè, what five would you put?

Tom_Kane4 karma

Wow, that gets tough after the first couple. Without thinking much, I'd say Yoda, Professor Utonium, Announcer for four (so far) Academy Awards shows, HAL9000, Mr. Herriman.

[deleted]-1 karma


Tom_Kane2 karma

I am really lazy... I have never taken a class or instruction. And to be honest, I don't even know what voice exercises would be. For a singer, maybe, but not a VO guy. If I can do a voice, I do, and if not, I recommend someone who can.