INTERVIEW: Lucas Grabeel talks voicing a cartoon deputy in Sheriff Callie's Wild West
Lucas Grabeel gives us the inside scoop on his newest role as Deputy Peck in the Disney Channel's animated series Sheriff Callie's Wild West.
Image courtesy of ABC Family
Lucas Grabeel has been keeping himself pretty busy these days. He currently stars in ABC Family's Switched at Birth as Toby, where his character has been going through some difficulties this season. Luckily, his latest role involves having a lot more fun.
Grabeel voices Deputy Peck in the Disney Channel's Sheriff Callie's Wild West. The series officially launches on Monday, Feb. 17 and the actor took the time to chat exclusively with SheKnows about how he got the role, what made him want to do voice work, and much more.
If you're a fan of Grabeel's other work, but also happen to be over the age of five, don't worry. Grabeel says adults will get a kick out of Sheriff Callie's Wild West, too.
"It's adorable," Grabeel said. "The animation is cute and the writing is really clever and entertaining for kids and adults alike. I watch it with my girlfriend and we have a lot of fun laughing at it. It takes place in Nice and Friendly Corners, which is a nice little western town full of all these different animals."
Grabeel's character tries his best, but things don't always go his way. "I play Deputy Peck," Grabeel revealed. "[He] is the over-eager but kind of clumsy deputy who always is hoping and trying for the best, but usually causes more problems than solutions."
Every episode will feature not only original songs, but also valuable lessons for kids and their parents. "Sheriff Callie always comes in at the last minute and saves the day and teaches everyone a really valuable lesson and that's the other great part of it," Grabeel said. "The kids who watch the show will not only hear an original country song every episode, but they'll also learn a very simple but very valuable lesson."
Why did Grabeel decide to do the series? It turns out that having a regular role on an animated series has been a longtime goal. "I've been trying a long time to get into voice over," Grabeel said. "I've always loved making silly voices."
Grabeel has worked on other animated series before, but said this one was a whole new experience.
"This is my first series regular position on any show, so that was definitely a change. Even though I had done [voice over work] in the past, I was still a little nervous about how it was going to go. But the family that surrounds Sheriff Callie's Wild West is such a warm, welcoming group of veterans and very experienced people in the voice over world. They welcomed me in and said, 'You're good, just trust yourself.' They were right. It was really great to be a part of it."
Acting on camera and doing voice over acting are different yet equally challenging experiences, according to Grabeel. "There's a lot more pressure with live action," Grabeel revealed, "because you've got 50 people standing around you that have worked on the sets and the lighting and the cameras and the writing. And they're all just standing around looking at you when you're on camera, hoping that you nail it so that we can move on to the next thing. So there is that kind of a little bit of pressure in that sense."
Voice over work has its own set of challenges, including not having the support and feedback of your fellow actors since most of it is done with one actor doing voices in a booth alone.
"The challenge in voice over is that you don't have the people there," Grabeel said. "There aren't people to react to, so you have to really get inside the head of the character [and] get inside the world that the animation is going to be because you haven't seen the animation."
Part of the challenge includes having to think about all those things that most of us take for granted. "When you're talking to someone close to you, you'll speak differently than you would when they're far away," Grabeel said, adding, "And all the little noises that people make — running and laughing and how your character would do all these things, singing and all that — those are the challenges you're faced with in the voice over world."
But there are definitely some perks to doing voice over work, including a more relaxed dress code should you decide to use it. "I love the fact that I can show up in my pajamas if I wanted to in voice over and make silly voices and crack jokes all day and get paid for it. That's kind of the coolest job in the world."