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Jacob Hopkins: The Self-Proclaimed Voiceover Master

Words + Interview By Tyrone Davis 

Jacob Hopkins is a young actor most known for “The Amazing World of Gumball” and the sitcom, “The Goldbergs”. The self-proclaimed voiceover master (title and degree still pending) and I spoke about his acting experiences, the work that goes into voice acting, his love for martial arts, keeping busy during quarantine and more.

First off, Happy Belated Birthday! How did you celebrate?
Thank you! How else would you celebrate an 18th birthday than six hours of paintball with the boys?

How has being active in the entertainment business at an early age influenced your viewpoint on life?
I’ve been acting ever since I was just shy of 5 years old. I had to adapt to an adult world and business at such a young age (while being guided and educated about said world by my parents, of course). I built and formed effective social skills, learned what hard work really meant and was able to speak and perform in front of large crowds early in my life. I got to experience years of work that my peers wouldn’t experience until years later in their lives. I definitely mentally matured earlier than most.

For those who don’t know, tell us about “The Goldbergs” and your character, Chad Kremp.
The Goldbergs is a sitcom that follows the 80’s lives of the Goldberg family. I play Chad Kremp, Adam Goldberg’s best friend. Chad is the cooler and more confident out of the two but he is definitely a huge film and video game dork like Adam. He’s seen Tron 16 times and loves Star Wars and Nintendo to death…his mom’s actually kind of worried. He’s kind-hearted, a tad goofy and loves Adam like a brother.

What was your most memorable moment on set?
I remember every moment of the very first episode I worked on: The Kremps. It was the entire Kremp family introduction, focusing mainly on Virginia Kremp and Beverly Goldberg’s rivalry and Chad Kremp and Adam Goldberg’s blossoming friendship. Meeting Sean Giambrone for the first time is one of my favorite times on set. We hit it off instantly and remain tight friends to this day. And Wendi McLendon-Covey…oh boy. She is a riot. One of my first scenes I shot on set was with her and I totally was not prepared for her masterful improv skills. I didn’t get most of her jokes until years later (I was 11 at the time) and I won’t repeat them here, but I was completely caught off guard. I was in awe at how much she could come up with on the spot and it actually taught me how to just go with your instincts in comedy. You never know what you’ll come up with.

A few years ago, we interviewed Sam Lerner who plays Geoff Schwartz on the show. Have you shared any scenes with him? If so, what was that like?
I haven’t had any scenes with Sam yet but I have met him many times on set. He is a cool dude and really funny on camera. Rock on, Sam. Until Chad and Geoff cross paths…

Tell us something about yourself that most don’t know.
I am actually insanely close to a third degree black belt in Taekwondo. I have been doing martial arts for half of my life and I don’t ever plan on stopping!

Explain the difference in preparation between physically acting on camera and voice acting.
Acting on camera requires more skill in your body language and facial reactions. You really have to be in the moment and be natural. Voice acting, however, requires an advanced and skilled vocal range. You have to have complete control over your voice (range, volume, tone, pitch, speed, articulation) and portray every emotion solely through your voice. It’s so fun to use your creativity through your voice and make it real for the character portrayed.

Which of your voice acting roles are the most challenging and why?
There definitely can be challenging times.  For example, when I needed to sing opera when voicing Gumball Watterson.  I’ve never sang opera before but I trained with my vocal coach to do so and worked with a big time opera director in London as well – and low and behold I was singing opera!  Gumball Watterson has so much color and personality to him. Sorry, I meant personalities. In every episode he always becomes a different person, whether it’s very brief or for the entire episode (bad mood Gumball, Beetlejuice, the entire Watterson family). He talks insanely fast, yells A LOT and has impeccable comedic timing. Gumball is the most fun I’ve ever had voice over wise so far. 

Explain your relationship with martial arts.
As I previously mentioned, I’ve been doing Taekwondo for half of my life now (9 years to be exact). It is a staple in my livelihood; I can’t imagine being me without it. Taekwondo not only makes me strong but it makes me feel strong mentally. It also creates confidence in my other abilities. I always think to myself, “If I can punch through 20 inch and a half boards with the same hand nonstop, fight three black belts at once and run and double kick off of a wall, then what is to stop me from accomplishing this?”

Who are your “Top 5” martial artists of all time?

5. Chuck Norris
4. Bruce Lee
3. My Grand Master Lee
2. My Master Hector
1. My Master Shane

I’m going to throw a few names out there. Say whatever comes to mind.

A. Gerad
Best musician/brother in the entire universe.

B. Terrell Ransom Jr.
Goldfish with legs/coolest bro.

C. Boot Crew Drew
     “The Boot Crew is here to teach you a lesson!”

What are your thoughts about the current COVID-19 pandemic and how has it affected you in your day to day life?
It is definitely difficult to isolate myself from all my friends and adjust to a new life of quarantine but if there is anything I’ve learned from Desmond Hume on the TV show Lost, it is that quarantine is a chance to reflect on yourself and become more productive than ever. We need to use this time of isolation wisely by working, exercising, finding ways to enrich our lives and connecting with friends and family the best that we can. Don’t just lie in bed all day: find activities that genuinely make you happy and better yourselves. We’ll get through this. Just have hope!

What are you currently doing to stay busy during this quarantine?
As a senior in high school, I usually spend my mornings doing school work, Zoom classes and researching all my college acceptances. After that, I do a 45 minute Taekwondo Zoom class and shower. Then, I draw, play my drums, lay down some voice over demos, spend time with my family,and when all is said and done, I sit back in my chair and play some Animal Crossing.

Name 2 things about yourself that this situation has caused you to change.
I’ve drastically had to change my way of education. More than ever, I have to teach myself my school work…I don’t have the luxury of just walking up to my teachers to ask them questions. I also can’t go to my dojo to train, which has caused me to get creative and set up a personal dojo in my garage for my Zoom classes with my masters.

What is the first thing you are going to do when all of this is over with?
Ride my bike, take in some fresh air and train at my dojo. Nothing too dramatic. I just want to resume my regular life.

Lastly, how can people connect with you via social media?
*Read this in a 50’s announcer’s voice*. Tired of celebrities ranting about mumble rap? Want something new, fresh, but classic? Then you’re in luck! Follow Jacob Hopkins, the self-proclaimed voiceover master (title and degree still pending) on Instagram at @hopkinsjake and Twitter on @hopkinsjacob5! The only thing this young lad rants about is how much he wants Green Lantern: The Animated Series to return! See you there and stay safe and healthy!

 

Photo: Tim Schaeffer at Cellar Door Studios 

    

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