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Loyola hosts 'The Simpsons' & Cartoon Network voice actors for free, public workshops and forum

Loyola press release - October 17, 2014

“The Simpsons” voice actor Harry Shearer, also Loyola University New Orleans artist-in-residence, will team up with Dave Willis of The Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" for free workshops and a public forum Monday, Oct. 20 on voice acting and directing. The workshops begin at 1:30 p.m. and the public forum begins at 5 p.m. All events will be held in the Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall, located on the second floor of the Communications/Music Complex on Loyola’s main campus.

The voice of 44 characters on the hit animated sitcom and TV’s longest running show, “The Simpsons," Shearer has worked as a writer, producer, director, actor, radio host, author and voice-over talent in a career that spans six decades.

Willis currently has four Cartoon Network series in production and a brand new feature-length “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” movie coming out in spring 2015. He does a minimum of half a dozen different voices on his shows.

The two voice-over actors, frequently heard on TV, will offer two back-to-back workshops live at Loyola. Willis will talk about conceptualizing the characters and the voices to fit them from 1:30 to 3 p.m., followed by Shearer, who will discuss maintaining the voice as an “instrument” and the factors he takes into consideration when creating a new voice/sound, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. For the workshops, Loyola will select 25 participants at random to join the hosts on stage. The performance hall is open to visitors for both workshops.

Shearer and Willis will then come together onstage for the free, public forum from 5 to 6 p.m. with video of their various characters. The duo will demonstrate how to make the sounds, voices and inflections of characters, while getting the stage and audience participants involved. The public forum is will also be streamed live online.

“We think this joint appearance by two international stars who specialize in this incredible niche profession is a huge learning opportunity to both aspiring Loyola students and the community of professionals here in Louisiana. Plus it will be an enormous lot of fun,” said Jim Gabour, Loyola artist-in-residence and extraordinary professor of video technology.

In addition to hosting these celebrity voice actors, the university is also launching a newly approved Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Filmmaking degree—the only such program of its kind in the region—to cater to increased student demand and to prepare young filmmakers for careers in the business of film. Drawing even more on the strengths of New Orleans, Loyola is also simultaneously launching a newly approved Bachelor of Science in Popular and Commercial Music degree—a program that takes advantage of the city’s musical roots, which run deep. Both new degrees will be offered beginning in fall 2015.