Learning the "making-of" and "behind-the-scenes" stories of my favorite films and shows has always fascinated me. I love to learn the stories behind the story, as it were, and learn what influenced the creators, the funny and interesting antics that took place behind the cameras, and the hows and whys of what we see onscreen. So "The Art Of..." and "The Making Of..." books are always fun reads for me, as are other behind-the-scenes books such as Once Upon a Galaxy: A Journal of the Making of The Empire Strikes Back.
So when I learned that one of the voice actors of the original Transformers cartoon had written a book about his experiences, I knew I had to give it a look.
Dan Gilvezan's book is NOT a biography, nor is it an all-inclusive book about his experiences in show business. It focuses primarily on his work in the sound studio, providing the voice of Transformers icon Bumblebee. He describes some of the perils of the voice-acting business, the challenges and rewards of his work, and his experiences with other voice actors -- including such iconic names as Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Scatman Crothers, and Chris Latta. And of course, he shares some of the funny and crazy behind-the-scenes moments that one has to expect when they cram half-a-dozen madmen into a cramped studio and turn them loose.
This book is a short read, padded in length somewhat with a complete cast list and episode guide in the back -- though these are handy references, so I don't deduct stars for their inclusion. But it's a must-have for anyone who is a fan of the original Transformers cartoon, or for anyone who's interested in the process of bringing cartoon characters to life. Dan Gilvezan has given us a unique and often hilarious look into the world of cartoons, one I think anyone who likes cartoons -- not just Transformers fans -- will enjoy.
In the introduction of the book, Dan Gilvezan says that if any of the other Transformers voice actors have different views/memories on what happened than he does, "tough, write your own damn book." After reading "Bumblebee and Me," I actually hope one of them takes him up on it. It would be interesting to see the other voice actors' takes on what happened behind the scenes, and see if they have any fun and interesting stories to share.