From The Vault: An Interview With Sam Vincent

Minka Praising Russell's Style

When I began the “Outside The Box” feature on my defunct fashion blog, 33 avenue Miquelon, one of my goals was to interview every voice actor involved with “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” I managed to publish four such interviews between April 2012 and March 2013, and would have had one more if fate would have allowed.

So here it is: the last such interview from the defunct blog, pulled from the vault for all to enjoy once more.

This interview of Canadian voice actor Sam Vincent was first published 28 March 2013. Vincent is best known as the voice of Russell Ferguson from the 2012 version of “Littlest Pet Shop,” as well as Flim from “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” and Edd of “Ed, Edd, ‘n’ Eddy.”

Vincent’s interview also marks the first and only time I had a chance to interview a man about men’s fashion, a subject which sees little time in the spotlight outside of Details and GQ.

What you are about to read has not been re-edited or cut (original introduction aside); however, the images have been replaced, as I no longer have the originals from when the interview was first published.

(Image credit: My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Wiki and Littlest Pet Shop 2012 Wiki)

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Studying Is The BestName: Sam Vincent

Profession: Actor

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

A brief summary of you and what you do: I’ve been performing as an actor for 25 years in the film and television industry based out of my hometown Vancouver, B.C. I’m best known as a voice performer for animated programming, particularly the role of Double D on the much beloved series “Ed, Edd ‘n’ Eddy.” I also had the distinct pleasure of singing and acting on “My Little Pony” as Flim, one half of the huckster brother duo on the episode “Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000.” I’m currently performing the roles of Russell Ferguson on “Littlest Pet Shop” and Eli Shane on “Slugterra.”

Your résumé ranges from live-action roles on “21 Jump Street,” “Lonesome Dove” and “Millennium,” to voice acting roles on shows such as “Ed, Edd, ‘n’ Eddy,” “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” and your current role as Russell Ferguson on “Littlest Pet Shop.” How did you get your start in acting, and what brought you from the set to the studio?

Vincent: My brother Gabe Khouth, who is also an actor, and myself were both born with a healthy hambone. Dinners and family functions were always filled with a healthy dose of comedy skits and general tomfoolery. I also had a predisposition for drawing and an obsession for cartoon strips, particularly “Garfield” and “Peanuts,” so I thought my career would go in the direction of a Jim Davis or Charles Schulz. However, when high school came along, I joined drama and got involved in the theatre program at Gladstone High. I loved theatre, sports and improv, which was also part of the curriculum.

My progression as an actor from the stage to television and animation work really coincided with the development of the industry in Vancouver. In the mid-Eighties, the film industry was burgeoning here, and my first experience with it was when I signed up to be an extra on an episode of “21 Jump Street” that was filming at my high school. I soon realized that it was possible to be a professional actor, and had the good fortune to acquire an agent through a fellow actor friend. I started auditioning and booking bit parts on shows such as “Wiseguy” and “21 Jump Street.”

Up to this point, animation was not something that was even on my radar. I never imagined voice work to be a possibility. Then I got a call for my first voice audition. It was for an anime series called “Dragon Warrior.” I booked the part, and it involved dubbing and matching mouths flaps which can be tricky at first but I got the hang of it pretty quickly.

In my early twenties, my career was a pretty even mix of live on-screen and animation work, but I always felt an affinity for voice work. I seemed to have the most success in that area. I really enjoyed the people I was working with and the freedom involved in not being limited to your “look”

When I booked the role of Double D [Edd of “Ed, Edd ‘n’ Eddy”] as well as the roles of Baby Bugs, Daffy, and Tweety on “Baby Looney Tunes,” that really cemented the idea that I was truly a voice performer first and that’s where I put my focus and effort.

I noticed in your Twitter userpic a guitar in your hands, and discovered you were a singer as well as a voice actor. Could you tell us more about your music career, if you had recorded anything or plan to do so, et cetera?

Vincent: Singing, guitar playing and writing music have been a part of my life for many years. It always has been more of a form of therapy for me, a way to explore life and relationships rather than something I’ve taken seriously as a career possibility. It’s been years since I’ve recorded anything, but I always toy with idea of putting something down. For now, it still remains pure catharsis. However, I have had the opportunity to sing in animation, albeit in character for shows like “Sonic Underground,” “MLP” and “Littlest Pet Shop.”

If any of my readers were to visit Vancouver, what would be your personal recommendations (lodging, dining, attractions et al)?

Vincent: Vancouver is such a beautiful city. I’ve been here my whole life so I’m a bit biased. Summer is such a great time to come. Lately, I’ve been exploring the restaurant and bar scene in the Gastown District downtown. One of my favourites is Pourhouse. Great atmosphere with such a friendly and knowledgeable staff.

The Vancouver Aquarium located in Stanley Park is a place I have to visit once a year.

I love the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge in North Van because there are great hiking trails and there is no admission.
For those who are up for more of a physical challenge, there is the Grouse Grind, which is a challenging hike straight up Grouse Mountain. Very popular and the view at the top is worth it.

Lastly, I’d have to recommend Science World, located at the Main St. Skytrain station. So many neat and fascinating things to explore.

Flim_talking_to_Granny_Smith_S2E15Aside from acting and music, what other talents do you possess?

Vincent: I like to draw and paint in acrylics. Currently I’m taking stage combat classes which involves learning to choreograph and execute fight scenes with a partner in various weapon styles such as rapier and dagger, small sword, long sword and martial arts. I’m a pretty docile person by nature, so it’s helping me to bring out my inner warrior. Plus, it’s just plain fun playing with swords.

How would you describe your personal style?

Vincent: Even though I love the summer and the great weather that comes with it, I would say that my personal style lends itself to the Fall/Winter season because I love coats and jackets! There’s nothing like a great jacket to bring out a distinct look or personality, and being an actor I love to get into the part. Most of my fellow actors like to tease me about overdressing for the studio, but I enjoy coming in spruced up. Lately, I’ve been working different colour combinations of dress shirt, tie, and V-neck cashmere sweaters. It is a distinctly classic, somewhat reserved style but it works for me. I have a French cousin who came to live in Vancouver for a year. He really helped to ingrain in me some essential fashion dos and don’ts when it comes to mixing and matching fabrics, patterns, and colours so I owe him a debt of gratitude for setting me on the right path.

When the weather warms up a bit, I tend to get really casual with my wear. I get a little more urban with my look. I try to find T-shirts with some kind of original print that catches my eye. I love high tops with some colour. I suppose it’s a bit like those male birds strutting their stuff and flashing the colour. When it comes to accessories I’m not a big necklace, wrist wear type but I have a couple of things I’ll rock for the right occasion. I love hats, the poorboy, fedora/Cuban look, but lately everyone and their dog seems to be working it so I do it sparingly at the moment. A lot of the times my personal style is character-based, and that’s the fun of it. I bring out a type or aspect of my character for the day or evening, and I play with it.

Do you read any fashion blogs? If so, which ones?

Vincent: To be honest I don’t really follow the fashion industry at all aside from trends and looks I absorb through consuming the popular culture that surrounds us all. My fashion vernacular and lexicon is extremely limited. I probably find the history and evolution of the Tokyo fashion/style the most interesting and appealing. It’s probably because it’s so heavily influenced by manga/anime, and it’s really unique to anything else going on in the world.

What has been your favorite moment in your career thus far?

Vincent: Aside from the pure enjoyment of going into the studio with my favourite people in the world, I would say that the greatest moments in my career are those when I hear from the fans and they share with me how the work I’ve done has touched their lives. That always chokes me up a bit. Whenever I tell people what I do, their faces always light up because most of us loved cartoons growing up and the nostalgia of it brings out the kid in is us again.

Flim_suggesting_--animal_Jane--_EG2Why do you do what you do for a living?

Vincent: As my career has progressed I find more value in what I do every day. I feel blessed to have an opportunity to help the world smile and laugh. Staying young at heart is a job requirement, and when I’m front of that microphone all the troubles of the world must slip away so I can deliver the funny. Complacency is a real killer in this job, so I try to keep the creative waters stirring and throw in a healthy dose of gratitude for good measure. I really feel that after over 20 years doing toons, I’ve just begun to feel a real ease and confidence with what I do. I’m hoping that my best years still lay ahead.

If you had to pick one item from your résumé that best represents your career, which one would it be?

Vincent: Probably the most impactful role I’ve played is Double D on “Ed, Edd, n’ Eddy.” He’s the one character that seems to have resonated most with the fans. Danny Antonucci did such a great job creating memorable characters. I think so many of us identify with Double D. I really drew upon so much of the awkward phase of my childhood where everything seemed to be going sideways into adolescence. I think that’s the closest thing I’ve had up to this point in terms of something having a lasting legacy in the world of animation.

Style: I always feel a little tentative in dispensing advice when it come to things such as style. I feel when I see something I like there is so much instinct going on. Something just feels like me and that’s it. That being said, people who know you well can sometimes be helpful if it looks like you’re about to slip off into a fashion faux pas black hole. One thing I have been trying to do lately is focus on longevity when it comes to something I might add to my wardrobe. I try to be honest about whether I see myself wearing the item for more than one season. It can hard to avoid the impulse buy.

Acting (voice, stage, set et al): The greatest advice I can give to anyone when it come to voice acting is never be afraid to look silly, foolish, weird. You will be asked to do some ridiculous things, and you need to be ready to do them.

On a practical note you must always be practicing and working at whatever it is you love to get better. The 10,000 hours rules to mastery applies to everything, even voice work. If you want to be a professional, you will also have to live in a city that has an industry. That’s just the way it is.

Life in general: Acting is a metaphor for life. Shakespeare said each of us must play a part. However, we are not just the roles we play. We are so much more. Our differences will never be stronger than what unites all of us. When we approach our lives with a light heart, we can avoid getting caught up in our little dramas. We’ve all had crappy things happen to us in our lives, but we can still strive to live with courage and not let it define us.

Any final words?

Vincent: [None were said. – Editor]