3 things about Ratchet & Clank’s James Arnold Taylor
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be part of a Q & A session with the director and cast of the new Ratchet and Clank movie. Here are three things I learned about the amazingly talented voice of Ratchet himself, James Arnold Taylor.
1. James Arnold Taylor enjoys inspiring others
Q: You encourage people to follow their dreams. That’s a theme in Ratchet and Clank, too.
A: I think it’s pretty awesome; it’s this wonderful thing – the underdog. I kind of look at myself like that too, as I’ve always wanted to do these things. It’s been my dream to be a voice actor since I was four years old. And here we are now with this. I get to have my name on a poster with Bella Thorne. That’s pretty darn cool. So – dream achieved. I think it’s really important. I think it’s a wonderful theme that kids and families can go together and see this movie. They can see that sometimes your heroes aren’t exactly what they thought, and you can still pursue your dreams, and be the good guy, and save the day. Yeah, pretty cool.
2. James Arnold Taylor is all about positivity
Q: Do you think that you’ve gotten a lot of the opportunities you’ve gotten because of your positive attitude?
A: I’d like to think so. I think it really is. I want other people to be able to achieve what I’ve achieved in my life, as a kid that sat there at four years old going, “I want to do voices.” I pursued it with a passion, and here it is. I tried to stay positive.
I had a lot of crazy stuff going on around me as a kid, stuff that kids shouldn’t see. So I thought, “I want to stay positive.” It was really what kept me alive in some of those instances. So I know for a fact that it plays a part in my life, and it plays a part in my career. And I’m so grateful to be here with these incredibly talented people.
3. James Arnold Taylor got encouragement from Scooby-Doo
Q: Wanting to be a voice actor, what was the best encouragement you’ve gotten?
A: When I was 19 years old – there’s a fellow by the name of Don Messick. Now, some of you may know Don, but you certainly know his voice. He was Scooby-Doo. He was Papa Smurf. He was Mr. Ranger. He was Boo Boo Bear. And he lived not too far from me.
I grew up in Santa Barbara, California. [Don] lived there. I was working in radio, and we did a commercial together in his home studio, and I went, “This is the best thing in the world. I’m gonna do that someday.” So I called him up after we worked together, and I said, “Hello, Mr. Messick, we worked together. And I was just wondering if maybe I could take you to breakfast some time, and I’ll buy it. You know, it’d be wonderful to talk to you about voice over, and it’d be really great if you could just talk…” And he was like, “Yeah, sure, fine.” I went, “Okay.” He took me to breakfast, and talked to me, and told me stories about being Droopy Dog, and Scooby-Doo, and all of that. It was so inspiring, and he was so wonderfully humble, and giving of his time. I thought, “I gotta do that.”
A big thank you to James Arnold Taylor for sitting down with us! Be sure to check out his book, JAT 365: 365 inspirations for the pursuit of your dreams, and his YouTube channel where he posts awesome behind-the-scenes videos showing the life of a voice actor.
Note: Although I didn’t change any of James’ answers, I did condense some of them for readability.