Exclusive Interview with Porky Pig Voice Actor Bob Bergen
Please tell us about yourself and what you do?
Well, I’m a voice actor probably best know as the voice of Porky Pig for WB for the past 25 plus years. But my career covers all aspects of voiceover, from commercials to cartoons, narration, promo, etc.
Can you tell us a bit about any upcoming projects or events that you are working on?
There are several upcoming projects I cannot talk about yet as the studios often prefer us to keep hush hush in the early stages. I’m currently recording season two of Wabbit which is a Looney Tunes series. I did some work on The Secret Life of Pets which comes out this summer. Recent work includes Robot Chicken, Mr. Pickles, Trip Tank. That’s off the top of my head. I’m sure there’s more, but I’ve only had one cup of coffee so far.
Do you find the pressures of working in your industry significant with regard to feeling the need to have a “perfect” body? If so, how do you navigate through that terrain? How do you “not” judge yourself when others (critics, audience members, producers, etc.) “judge” you based on outward measures?
Actually, I don’t. Being a voice actor what you look like is pretty much a non issue.
But from a personal standpoint, I am pretty health conscious. I lost 100 pounds over 30 years ago. Losing weight is actually easy. Keeping it off kinda sucks. And, I love food! I’m not at all an emotional eater. When I’m down I have no appetite whatsoever. I cannot imagine anyone would choose drugs when there’s chocolate.
I do like to stay fit and I am pretty disciplined with the gym. For me, it’s not about looks or having the perfect body. It’s all about health. But I’m like everyone else. I hate the idea of going, and I love how I feel after. And, it’s 100% what has allowed me to keep that weight off.
As for others judging me, to be honest I really don’t care what others think about my work. Actually, I’m worse on myself as I’m such a perfectionist when it comes to my acting and my work. But others? I really don’t care if something I do doesn’t float someone’s boat. I don’t work as an actor to please others. I work as an actor because acting feeds my soul. And it’s not booking the work that feeds my soul. It’s the acting itself. My happy place is at the mic creating. Be it an audition or a job, I get the same high at the mic. I think everyone needs to pick a career that fulfills them this way.
My job is to audition. I audition for far more jobs than I book. But that’s just how it is. After the audition, it’s forgotten. If I end up booking it I need to go back into my files and refresh my memory. After the audition I let it go.
Actors are not rejected, they just aren’t chosen. There are many reasons why an actor doesn’t get a part. Perhaps producers want to go with a celebrity, or someone who sounds older, younger, deeper, etc. But today’s audition is an insurance policy for another. If you are talented they will remember you when you are right for the part.
To follow up with that question, how do you deal with bullying or people talking negative about you? Can you give any examples of bullying in your personal life and how you handled it?
All kids get bullied. This is not a new phenomenon and I was certainly bullied as a kid. I was born with a good part of my foot missing, so I was a perfect target for getting picked on. My parents were awesome, and I know it’s old fashioned, but the old “sticks and stones may break my bones” saying did it for me. I know this philosophy is not common today, but I gotta tell ya, it worked for generations. And, going back to your previous question, this absolutely helped me as an actor and an adult. Ya can’t let a negative review hurt you. And, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I can choose to wallow in the negativity or I can choose to ignore it. Like the bullying as a kid, I ignore.
But I gotta tell ya, being bullied made me a stronger person and gave me empathy. Perhaps I’m an anomaly.
What made you want to get involved with Mental Fitness, Inc. and what it is about the mission of Mental Fitness that speaks to you?
Well, you asked me! 😉
Who were the role models in your life?
Certainly my parents. My grandmother. I also had many in the animation and voiceover industry who were career role models, but my family were my moral, life role models.
What do you define as beautiful?
Well, I wish I could take credit for this answer, but I can’t. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
How do you define inner beauty?
I think you can substitute the word “character” for inner beauty. A person’s character is a reflection of their inner beauty. Who they are as a person, how they treat others, and what they do for others when no one is watching or knows. Inner beauty is a personal satisfaction, acceptance, and application of their character.
What is happiness?
I think happiness is a choice. No one is happy all the time. And on those occasions when we aren’t happy, we have the power to at least express happiness. No one wants to be around a sourpuss. As an actor, I need to check my day at the door when I go to an audition or a job. If I’m having a bad day or I’m depressed, I don’t take that with me to work. I can’t. It’s unprofessional and it’s counter productive.
I have a special needs older sister who was injured in a car accident when she was three. My Mom used to tell me that during those days when things were so bleak, when it wasn’t clear if my sister would live, would be a vegetable, etc., my Mom made a conscious effort to put a smile on her face when she went out into the world. Yes, she faked it. She chose to go out into the world happy. And she told me that she remembers that moment when her fake smile was real. That moment where she wasn’t putting it on, she was honestly happy at least for that moment. It wasn’t easy. Life is not easy. But we are more in control of what we want out of life than most think.
And my sister is doing great today!!! 😉
How do you manage your stress levels in daily life? Do you use music / art / dance, etc. as a coping tool? Are there other things that you do to live mindfully?
Certainly the gym helps me. It’s kinda my meditation. For 90 minutes it’s all about me. During that workout I push myself, I’m thinking, contemplating, reflecting.
How do you find a work-life balance — as a man, relationships, a professional — what are keys to balance?
I’m good at letting things go, especially if they are out of my control. But I also strive to be better. I’m a big scheduler and one thing I make sure to schedule is to do nothing. If I have a free night or a free weekend day I literally schedule to keep it free. If I don’t, I’m such a goal oriented person, and so career focused, I know I won’t have any down time. The ironic thing about all of this is, I’m also a very lazy person. Go figure!
It’s also important for me to go through life really knowing that it’s not all about me. It’s important to give back. Volunteerism, anywhere, this helps with life balance. I was a volunteer big brother for 2 kids over 25 years. That was probably one of the most fulfilling things I ever did.
If you can go back and talk to your younger self, what would you tell yourself and what would you tell others reading now?
Don’t change a thing! The good, the bad, it’s all going to turn out great!
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