Voice acting brings Longview clerk to threshold of a dream
By Glenn Evans
Nov. 8, 2015 at 4 a.m.
Joshua Passmore was sitting at a small sound mixing board one recent Sunday, scribbling something on a legal pad.
“I don’t know what voice I want to do,” he said, his pen stopping briefly in the Tyler office building where Toginet Global Productions creates a weekly online show about some geeks who think they can conquer the world.
But Passmore, a 29-year-old Longview store clerk, wasn’t working that afternoon on “Paranoria, TX,” a spoof he and producer George Jones hope will graduate into an animated series and comic book.
“First-world problems,” Jones deadpans his voice actor’s struggle over finding the right character for the radio spot they were about to lay down for Tyler Rose City Comic Con, which Jones also produced at the East Texas Fairgrounds. “Why don’t you do Ali?”
The suggestion sets Passmore back to scribbling, and within minutes he is up on his flip-flops reading his newly penned script to Jones.
He doesn’t sound like himself as he reads. He has become Ali, a character in “Paranoria” whose name rhymes with valley and sounds like a girl from one.
“You should totes be there!” Passmore/Ali chimed at the spot’s end. “Sweet,” Jones says, and the pair abandon the big room for a tiny recording studio down the hallway past a credit repair office and a health care agency.
Passmore came to voice acting through the doors of fantasy. Movies, comics, video and board games, including the role-playing Dungeons and Dragons, caught his imagination at a young age — and held it into young adulthood.
“I loved ‘Monty Python’ — I watched a lot of that show growing up,” he added. “Anything Mel Brooks. I love all that.”
The online serial, which runs 8 p.m. Mondays on tylernetradio.com and Jones’ toginetradio.com, are the reason Passmore began to ply his voice for a living.
“I actually got into this for this radio show right here,” he said. “We were talking about it, and I said, ‘You know? I’ve been doing all these voices for years.'”
With “Paranoria, TX,” now chugging along — “It’s the most popular show (at toginetradio.com),” he said — Passmore is branching out.
He signed with an Amarillo-based agency, IAB Studio Network, and said agent Cody McGehee is lining up comic con appearances for him.
“It looks like, in January, I’ll be traveling a lot,” he said, describing his own T-shirts he’ll be hawking to the comics crowds.
He has sent in an audition to D/FW-based, Funimation Studios, and joined three of the studio’s voice actors on a panel at Tyler’s comic con. “They have a Netflix-like channel streaming on almost all devices,” he said.
He voiced all 25 characters, and all the sound effects, for a video game that’s due out by Christmas 2016, “Beneath.”
Passmore auditioned earlier this fall to be the intro and out-tro voices for a Christian radio station in Arizona.
He auditioned Thursday with Irving-based Nine9, which books voice artists, directors “and everything else,” he said.
Passmore doesn’t know exactly how many voices are inside him. He and his cohorts stopped counting at 100.
He recently sent his demo tape to the Cartoon Network.
“Check-check-check-check-check,” he said into a mic once he had settled into the small recording room down the hall. Then he checked his Ali voice: “Omigawd!”
“All right,” Jones said. “Let me have that one more time.”
Jones, who once owned a dinner theater and is an occasional playwright, got the take he wanted.
“This man brought voice acting to Tyler,” Passmore said of the producer. “He’s opened the door.”
Jones brushed off the compliment, but later confessed, “We’re trying to make Tyler as cool as possible.”
That would be totes rosy, as Ali might say. Turning a skill that annoyed his mother into a career would be just peachy for Passmore, but his aspiration goes beyond that. And it began a jillion Saturday morning cartoons ago.
“All these cartoons taught me something — they were there for me,” he said. “You were the reason I woke up early on Saturday morning and sat with a big bowl of cereal and watched. I want to be there for someone else. And I definitely have a potential to do it.”