If you’ve ever been to an anime convention, you can probably agree that it’s oftentimes like stepping into a completely different universe, but few of us are actually able to see what it’s like from the lens of a voice actor. That all changes now.
From acclaimed voice actors Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt comes Con Artists, a “mockumentary” with a lot of heart, a lot of laughs, and while you can tell a lot of it is staged, a lot of truth. Directed by Boris Kievsky, Con Artists follows the “Brangelina” of anime voice acting over the course of a year in the anime convention circuit.
Both Lowenthal and Platt play exaggerated versions of themselves throughout the film in an effort to capture a compelling narrative of someone who becomes addicted to the attention that comes with being a voice acting convention guest, and overcoming that addiction.
Last year, I was privileged with the honor of meeting Lowenthal and Platt at Anime Matsuri 2014, so it was absolutely hilarious seeing their alternate personae getting themselves in trouble. But what the film does just as well as it shows off the exaggerated versions of the duo, it also gives a real and honest look into the life of a voice actor attending a con.
Throughout the documentary, you will hear from other voice actors such as Dee Bradley Baker, Steve Blum, Richard Epcar, Maile Flanagan, Kate Higgins, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, and others who provide some really interesting knowledge to the viewer through the scope of Kievsky, who so desperately wants to give his voice-over demo reel to actors and voice directors who only proceed to throw it away or hide it somewhere.
I was genuinely impressed with how seamless the transition was from comedy to seriousness, and never was either overbearing. There’s just enough of both to keep you laughing during the staged scenes such as Lowenthal getting drunk at a panel and eventually having fans walk out on him, or Platt’s family staging an intervention because she’s become addicted to the fame, but then keeping you grounded during the serious moments.
Personally, I heavily enjoyed Con Artists, and when it comes to films about the nature of the voice-over industry, I couldn’t recommend it high enough, especially if you enjoy attending conventions and meeting the voice actors who attend them.