Best Bets: Millsboro youth lends voice to big-screen animated film

The Japanese anime film “Children of the Sea” tells the tale of junior high school student Ruka, who finds herself with nowhere to spend her days during summer vacation, and so she ends up hanging out at the aquarium where her father works. While there, she meets a mysterious pair of brothers, named Umi, voiced by Lynden Prosser of Millsboro, and Sora. The three teens share a connection to a series of supernatural phenomena that have been affecting the world’s marine life.

It’s good to have friends in high places.

Twelve-year-old Lynden Prosser found that out recently when his big-screen voice debut almost never happened.

The young actor from Millsboro has one of the main roles in the English-dubbed version of the 2019 Japanese animated film “Children of the Sea.”

“Originally, the film was supposed to come out around April 12,
all around the United States and Canada,” Lyndon explained this week.

“Due to the coronavirus, most theaters weren’t open at that point. So it did not end up coming out and they just kept saying ‘delayed, delayed, delayed’. And then we found out that it was not going to come out in theaters at all but it was going to come out on DVD on September 1 on Amazon, Target and Walmart, which it still is.”

Still hoping the film could be screened for family and friends, Lynden turned to a classmate at Worcester Prep in Maryland, who just happens to be the daughter of the owner of Movies at Midway in Rehoboth Beach to see if there was any way that the film could still be seen in a cinema.

Lynden said his mother Leanne “contacted some people and pulled some strings” and now the movie will be shown for a week at the theater on Del. 1 starting Friday.

“Children of the Sea” tells the tale of junior high school student Ruka, who finds herself with nowhere to spend her days during summer vacation, and so she ends up hanging out at the aquarium where her father works. While there, she meets a mysterious pair of brothers, named Umi, voiced by Lynden, and Sora. The three teens share a connection to a series of supernatural phenomena that have been affecting the world’s marine life.

Lynden got the part after doing one of many auditions that have come his way over the past few years since he became serious about being an actor.

“Since we live in Delaware and our agent is actually in New York, a lot of the auditions that we get are sent in via email to us and we record them at our house. We definitely do many in-person auditions in New York but since coronavirus hit, there haven’t been too many of those. Although this was before coronavirus,” he said.

“So I went into my closet, which is the quietest room possible. And I went to voice memos on my phone and I recorded it, and we emailed it to my agent and then around a week later, they emailed me and they said that I had gotten the part.”

In early March, just before the shutdown took place, Lynden, his mother, aunt and cousin went to New York for a long day of recording.

“It was around eight to nine hours in the studio. They were just recording my voice and no one else had recorded yet,” he said.

“We had the producers in the studio and the director on Skype from California. They gave me tips and they’re like, ‘Oh, well maybe try it this way.’ I would say 90% of the lines we had to go back and do as many as 10 times, because we needed to match since it was an animated film. We needed to match their body language and their facial expressions just right.

“It definitely was challenging but it was also so much fun.”

Lynden, a rising seventh-grader at Worcester Prep in Maryland, will hold a meet and greet session after Saturday’s showings of “Children of the Sea” at 1 and 7 p.m. at Movies at Midway in Rehoboth Beach, where it premieres Friday.

Although his mother says it was farther back than that, Lynden said he started getting the acting bug at around 7 or 8 years of age.

“I would always like watch TV and cartoons and the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. And I would watch it and I would just think “That’s so cool. I want to do that. I want to voice a cartoon, I want to act on like some crazy TV show.’” Lynden recalled.

“And so I went to my mom and I was like, ‘Mom, can I do acting?’ And she was like, ‘OK, let’s try it.’ And so around that time we started doing local theater at Clear Space Theatre in Rehoboth. And I did multiple acting camps there and I did multiple shows there. And once I kept growing, my mom saw that I had a lot of interest in this playing field, I guess you could say. And so she took me up to New York and we had a meeting with an agent and they ended up signing me that very day right on the spot

“Ever since then, I’ve just kept doing it and I love to do it, and recently we signed with a new agent called Stewart Talent and they’re amazing.”

Lynden takes acting lessons with a New York coach via Zoom and still continues to try out for parts. Before “Children of the Sea,” he had another voiceover dubbing role for a Ukranian film called “Polina.” Only released in the Ukraine, he has never seen the movie.

Lynden’s mother said that, at first, she wasn’t sure whether to take his interest in acting seriously.

“As parents, you try to guide your children but you also just try to foster whatever their passion is. I just try to have safe, healthy, happy kids like we all do. When he came to me — he says, 7, 8. He started talking about wanting to be inside the TV when he was like 5 — I would just laugh and oh that’s funny. But he was pretty easy on the eyes and had a pretty good personality and has always been a little mature for his age. But I thought ‘He doesn’t know what he’s saying. He’s a little kid,” Mrs. Prosser said.

“He pursued that topic pretty consistently, as he became 6 and 7 and so we started some local theater and little acting camps just to see. I wanted to test the waters locally and make sure it’s something he was really into. He really wanted to do modeling stuff when he was little. He was constantly talking about it. So we actually signed him up at Barbizon in Wilmington because it’s closer for me and I thought ‘Let’s see if he’s actually as confident and not shy and into it as I thought. I don’t have any desire to be spontaneously driving to New York City for auditions all the time with three kids and a job but let me try to support him as much as I can.”

At 6 years old, he started placing high in local modeling contests and then meeting with New York agents followed.

“You could tell it was just what he wanted. He felt comfortable and confident in that environment. So from then on, we switched to a different agent a couple years in and I asked him to take a little break from it when I had my third baby because it was a little much to be jaunting to New York all the time,” Mrs. Prosser said.

“But just for the last two years, he’s gotten back into it with a new agent representing him. He’s less a little kid and more of a preteen now. So he’s acting and auditioning for roles that are a little more serious and having to memorize lines and kind of got into the voiceover world because we’ve gotten a lot of feedback that he has a really unique, cool voice with a lot of inflection, and he’s a really good reader and he’s good off the cuff. So that’s another like lane that he can be in, and you can be creative and study the script and he does a lot of script writing and making little short films with his friends that he directs and orchestrates and he just likes all aspects of it.”

Along with acting, the rising seventh-grader also enjoys sports and just hanging out with his friends.

“I try to surround myself with the best friends and the best people that I possibly can. They all are so supportive and they always congratulate me. I definitely don’t like to miss hockey games and it’s definitely hard to choose. Do I want to go to New York for an audition or do I want to go to this hockey tournament? It’s definitely difficult but I love both worlds,” he said.

“Children of the Sea” starts today at The Movies at Midway and runs through Thursday, showing at 1 and 7 p.m. Lynden will host a meet and greet and sign movie posters after both shows on Saturday.

Friends of Folk coffee house

On Saturday, Delaware Friends of Folk will present their monthly coffee house concert in the Bennett Chapel at Wesley College, corner of Division and North Bradford streets in Dover, beginning at 7:30 pm.

This event marks the second of two open mic events serving as preliminary rounds for the 14th annual Folk Hero contest. This open mic is for anyone interested in competing for the chance to perform at the 29th Delmarva Folk Festival in October.

At this open mic, up to five finalists will be selected by audience vote. The finalists will have the opportunity to perform on the main stage at the Delmarva Folk Festival on Friday evening, Oct. 2.

The winning performer as determined by an audience vote that evening, will be dubbed the 2020 Delmarva Folk Hero and awarded a prize package which includes $100 cash, A longer performance slot on the main stage on the following day, $50 music store gift card, an appearance on Mark Rogers’ Hometown Heroes on WDDE and $100 to host next year’s Folk Hero Finals.

Complete details may be found at the Delaware Friends of Folk website: www.delfolk.org, or search “delfolk” on Facebook.

Admission is $5 for members of Delaware Friends of Folk, $7 for non-members, teens are half-price, and those 12 and under are admitted free. Fresh-brewed coffee, cookies and other snacks will be available.

In accordance with state of Delaware and Wesley College policies, all attendees will be required to wear facial protection and practice physical distancing.

Rollins shows postponed

Dover Downs recently announced that all concerts scheduled for the Rollins Center this year and the early part of 2021 have been postponed due to concerns over the coronavirus.

Those shows include Supreme Reflections, which was to have played Aug. 13; Jeffrey Osborne on Sept. 29; Aaron Lewis on Oct. 31; Strictly Sinatra presents The Rat Pack on Dec. 4; and America on Jan. 29.

Rescheduled dates will be announced soon.