BSCkids: Tell us a little bit about the character you voiced and what drew you to the project itself?
Derek: Lanny is a sweet, overly eager, idealistic little elf who has just graduated from the Kringle Academy and is about to embark on his first mission with his hero, Wayne. He is pretty much 100% excited all the time. It’s hard for him to contain his excitement because he’s been dreaming about this day his entire life. Prep and Landing is everything to him and he’ll do anything to make sure Timmy gets his new bike.
I was ready to sign on to the project before they even asked me. I’ve always wanted to play a character in animation and this project was sort of a home run from the beginning. I loved [directors] Stevie Wermers and Kevin Deters' fresh twist on a holiday special, the characters were hilariously adorable, and with John Lasseter executive producing, it seemed like a no brainer.
How much of your own personality is worked into the character?
I don’t know about my personality but I’m pretty sure Lanny has some of my freckles and my nose.
What do you feel the hardest part of doing voice-acting is?
The one big difference between live action and animation is that instead of working with other actors you’re working by yourself in a room. Well, actually you’re talking to a microphone in a black box. And instead of reading a scene through, you break down the scene line by line. It’s more fragmented but other than that, it’s not so much hard but just really fun.
Christmas specials are a special type of television show, usually they either become “classics” or fade out after a season. What do you think makes Prep and Landing a classic?
In most Christmas stories, the elves are always behind the scenes and take a back seat to Santa or Rudolph. Prep and Landing makes the elves front and center in the story and give us a fresh take on the holiday special. It appeals to everyone, has jokes for adults and kids, the characters are adorable, and it has heart. Only time will tell, but I think it has the mix of everything for everyone.
What are some of your favorite Christmas or Holiday specials from previous years and why?
“It’s A Wonderful Life”, ”A Charlie Brown Christmas ” and “A Christmas Story” are a few holiday movies that I grew up watching with my family. I’d always end up watching them on the couch with my brothers and sisters after inhaling an overcooked ham. I always loved “A Christmas Story” because it brings you right back to your childhood. We all could identify with Ralphie and his bb gun, had a mom that wrapped us in ten layers of clothing before we went outside, and we all had a friend who stuck their tongue to a metal flag pole. I love “It’s a Wonderful Life” because it always reminds me how important it is too have family and friends.