Day-to-day things keep me inspired and even help develop acting and voiceover ability. I listen to audiobooks; read aloud; watch movies, shows and videos. Playing drums as much as possible, and listening to music is mood changing and inspiring. I’m a regular guy, like most kids. I like video games, LEGOS, Harry Potter, Star Wars. I very much enjoy playing drums and being with my dog.
I started in the industry when I was 9, because someone thought I was an actor. I decided to see what acting was about. My mom set up my account on LA Casting and I soon got my first job, a birthday party photoshoot. The shoot was in Venice, practically down the street from my house, and I got to eat birthday cake. When I look back, I’ve learned so much since then. One of my first leading roles was acting in and narrating I’m Gabrielle. Madeleine Falk plays mother in the film. She is full of talent and also wrote, directed and produced it. Madeleine taught me what it’s like to be on set and introduced me to voiceover. She continues to support and inspire me.
A simple “thank you” goes a long way. By always doing my best, I’m showing gratitude to my family and agent. We share each other’s reputations. I always want to represent them well.
The families I’ve met on set are the best. I keep in touch with some producers and directors too. They remain friends and we cheer for each other. The voiceover community is incredibly supportive too. You can’t help but like the people you have the honor of working with.
I was fortunate to be involved in American Horror Story, shooting promotional material as a vampire kid. My face, hands and legs were covered in makeup, wearing a wig and vintage style clothing for several days and nights at Paramount. I had an incredible experience! I also worked with the Power Rangers Dino Charge at the Natural History Museum. Hanging out at night in an otherwise empty museum, full of dinosaurs bones, with the Power Rangers, was something I never thought would happen. It was kind of eerie. Scooby-doo and the Party Mayhem is a stop-motion animation, playing on Warner Brothers Kids, which I was honored to win a SOVAS Voice Arts Award for Outstanding Narration. I did some fun voiceovers for Paw Patrol’s website, for which I won a Young Artist Academy™ Award. I’m appreciative of every opportunity.
Great all around advice I’ve received is to trust my instincts. Being thoughtful and following your intuition is key in life. Some of the best business advice I’ve heard is to know how to do every job in your business. You really gain an appreciation for everyone involved, by learning each job on set and in the studio.
There’s plenty of disappointment; roles you audition for that you don’t hear about until you see someone else in the production. By mainly focusing on what you’re doing for each audition, being in the moment then moving onto the next and not looking back, it’s easier to persevere. They say even getting an audition is a win. Another helpful idea is to treat the process as an aspect of your education. You’re learning with each audition. There are many factors involved in casting. Trust in the universe. If you didn’t get a role, it’s probably in your best interest, even if it may not feel that way at the time. Know that when it’s right for you, it will happen.
Look for Dogen’s narrating in promotional videos for the Boy Scouts of America and a LEGO Star Wars.
Also watch for Dogen in Soul of a Typewriter, and as Maui Kitty in upcoming animation Maui Kitty’s Play Day