Cetati Studios’ Voice Actor Bonnie Gordon has a unique description for her chosen career path which is simultaneously non-specific and yet right on the money.
“When people ask me what I do for a living, instead of pulling out a scroll and peeling off nine jobs, it’s just easier for me to say that I’m a professional nerd. I do shows on the website Geek and Sundry where people tune in and watch me play RPG (role playing games) every week. I create characters and there are ongoing long campaigns featuring everything from a Star Trek RPG show to a cyberpunk superhero show to Dungeons and Dragons. In a few weeks, I’m getting paid to fly to England and play Dungeons and Dragons in a castle. I mean, who says that that’s their job?”
Gordon was raised in Louisiana and was a nerd as far back as she can remember. She recalls as a child running around her room with a butter knife stuck in her belt going off on adventures as “Bonnie Baggins.”
“I was an avid reader. I was the dorky kid that discovered theatre and music, but also had to make good grades in order to do them. I majored in musical theatre in college, but after Hurricane Katrina I left. Sadly, the first thing to go in Louisiana after Katrina was education. They were pulling all the funds from the schools. They pulled scholarships and the arts suffered.”
Gordon moved to Florida and worked at Disney World, then relocated to Las Vegas before ending up in Los Angeles.
“One of the first things I did here was a 1920’s radio broadcast that we did live on stage in front of an audience. It was all voiceover actors reading the script and was hysterical. All of the voice actors in the show told me I should really consider doing voiceovers for a living. That kind of put the bug in my head. Then I was asked to work on a game with them.”
Gordon’s voiceover resume includes work for popular video games like “Street Fighter V” (as Rainbow Mika) and “Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia” (as Silque) as well as voicing multiple characters in the “Unconventional Dolphinism” episode of Cartoon Network’s “Mighty Magiswords.” Her major influences are Carol Burnett and Luicille Ball and she is proud to have worked with heavyweight voiceover artists like Jess Harnell (“Animaniacs”), Tom Kenny (“Spongebob Squarepants”) and Grey Griffin (“The Fairly OddParents”).
The old adage that says “it’s about who you know” has proven to be true with Gordon throughout her career as a voice actor.
“Ken Mitchroney, Cetati Studios’ Supervising Director, was also the Supervising Director of “Mighty Magiswords.” They were starting to voice some of the characters at Cetati and they needed a female to do this voice, one to that that voice and another to do a different voice. Ken said ‘What if I can bring in a girl who can do all of them?’ So they brought me in to do voiceovers and I became part of the team. I’ve been very lucky in my voiceover career. It’s never been about auditioning through an agent, it’s all about reputation. With Ken, there was no audition. He told them that he knows me, I’m a team player and I’d be passionate about doing it.”
Gordon has taken Cetati Studios’ mission—of improving educational opportunities through engaging and rigorous content—to heart.
“I have people in my family with learning disabilities and I am close to people with autism. My younger sister is getting her master’s in education and is going to teach kids with special needs. When I signed onto this project, that’s where I saw the need for it. I know that it’s for all kids and all ages and all walks of life, but I love that it introduces a different way of learning.”
In 2014, Gordon was cast as a contestant in an ABC fantasy-based reality show called “The Quest” even though she was hesitant at first to be a part of it.
“I am a huge fantasy nerd, but I hate reality TV so I had no interest in auditioning for it. I only went to support some friends because part of the audition process was to bring a group you could go on a journey with. All of my group got cut except me. It was a months-long process of repeat interviews and submitting videos and I started to wonder if it was worth it. But all I could think about was that if I went back in time to my younger “Bonnie Baggins” self and said “Hey kid, there’s this opportunity to live in a castle in Austria and be surrounded by ogres and dragons, but I’m probably not going to do it because it’s reality TV” my younger self would slap me and say “If you take this opportunity away from me, I will come after you!’ So as not to piss off my inner child I went along.”
“The Quest” kept the contestants immersed in their medieval world 24/7. Even when the cameras were off the actors were in character. The contestants had no access to cell phones or technology, and there was no running water or real toilets in the castle. Unlike other such shows where the word reality should be put in quotation marks, their reactions to challenges were never re-shot for more emotion, they were done in one take.
“It was a reality show that was ahead of its time. It didn’t get advertised at all which is why no one knew it existed. It was the best show that nobody watched.”
“The Quest” may not have created a buzz, but it led, in part, to an ongoing project. Gordon, with her good friend Xander Jeanneret, perform as nerd parody band The Library Bards. The idea to team up came as they both were fan favorites on their respective shows (Jeanneret was on “King of the Nerds”) and they would make Comic Con appearances together. They realized that reality shows don’t last forever so devised a way to get invited to Comic Cons doing their own thing and the Library Bards were born.
“So now we get to travel around the country and actually now the world because we are doing gigs in Ireland and England and sing songs about Star Trek and Lord of the Rings and video games and other stuff. It’s amazing how it has blown up.”
A successful Kickstarter campaign helped fund their upcoming second album “BomBARDed” that will feature among other songs a reworking of AC/DC’s “T.N.T.” as “D’n’D.”
Gordon echoes a common refrain articulated by many team members on Cetati’s creative side.
“I hated math as a kid. When you’re reading out problems on a sheet of paper, it’s really confusing and hard to comprehend. When I was growing up, if a teacher gave a lecture that we were supposed to take notes on, it would be in one ear and out the other. I need to see what is being taught visually or have something tangible. Cetati’s materials, where kids are interacting with characters and helping to advance the story makes them forget they’re learning. If this catches on, and I am sure it will, I can proudly say that I was a part of it when it first started.”