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Sons of Long-time clients are celebrities – You’ve just never seen them.

Jokic-brothers.jpg

Dallas and Graeme Jokic are the sons of Cheryl Williams and Tom Jokic, a couple who have been with Josslin Insurance for years. They’re also two very talented voice actors who have played characters in a number of children’s shows, not the least of which are the title roles in Arthur and Franklin and Friends.

They were recently highlighted in an article by Simon Martin for YorkRegion.com:

Dallas and Graeme Jokic probably get more TV airtime than anybody in Markham, beside TV personality Lloyd Robertson. However, you won’t see their faces. Rather it’s the brothers’ voices that have catapulted them to stardom.

Dallas, 16, is the recently retired voice of Arthur from Arthur and Graeme, 14, is the voice of Franklin from Franklin and Friends.

“It’s not as weird as you think to hear your voice on TV,” said Graeme. “It’s cool.” The celebrity that goes along with voicing an iconic TV character such as Arthur isn’t as glamorous as you might think. Dallas recalled word getting out at Unionville High School about his part-time job when he was in Grade 9.

“Once a day there would be people pointing and saying ‘That’s him!’ and asking ‘Are you Arthur?’” Or there was the time a Grade 3 girl told Dallas that he talked like Arthur and then mentioned that he kind of looked like him, too. The brothers said they revel in their sibling successes. “We’re not competitive,” Graeme said.

The duties of being a voice actor include missing a lot of school to travel down to the Toronto studio. But both boys maintain excellent grades.

‘All you need to do is be able to read with a high voice. They really like the high voice.’

Studio sessions for Arthur and Franklin are usually three to four hours. The boys are sent a script in advance and usually read through it a couple of times. Sometimes they have to go to the studio once a week or once every two weeks.

Dallas and Graeme said the dedication of their parents is key in making their lifestyle feasible. “We couldn’t do it without them,” said Dallas, adding they often have to be driven downtown and back. Their parents said the experience has been positive. “They have learned to make their own choices,” said Cheryl Williams, the boys’ mother. “They have both often chosen their own passions over professional work and that’s fantastic.”

The Jokic boys got into the business around the same time. Dallas was in Grade 7 at Baythorn Public School Arts program and was interested in getting an agent. His parents, Tom and Cheryl, wanted to make sure he had his priorities in order. Namely keeping on top of his school work and doing it for enjoyment rather than making money.

They got in touch with Mirjam Vanderwerff, who has run Vanderwerff Talent out of Thornhill since 2000. “There was a fearlessness and total confidence in who they are that is very appealing,” said Ms Vanderwerff.

She still remembers when Dallas landed the role of Arthur. “I remember it was a huge deal because they were brand new to the business as far as the industry was concerned,” she said.

Dallas remembers watching Arthur quite frequently as a little boy. “It was my favourite show,” he said. “Maybe it was foreshadowing.”

Since Arthur started in 1996, there have been seven or eight different people to voice the role. So when the show comes on, Dallas said he has to listen carefully to see if it’s him. “The voices get progressively higher over the years,” he said. “Just wait until the credits.”

Dallas was the voice of Arthur for 40 episodes from 2008 to 2010. He has also played the voice of Badou in Babar and the Adventures of Badou and Daniel in Caillou.

Now in Grade 11, Dallas said his voice has changed to the point where he’s no longer a coveted voice actor. “There was no retirement party,” he laughed.

Graeme is the current voice of Franklin Turtle in Franklin and Friends. He also was the voice of Leo in Caillou and has appeared as an actor in the lead role in movies The Young Prime Minister and Adam Avenger.

Ms Vanderwerfff said Graeme already had quite a bit of experience when he landed the role of Franklin. A smile comes across her face when she catches her clients on TV. “I’m just so proud,” she said.Dallas and Graeme have some tips to aspiring actors wanting to break into the industry. “All you need to do is be able to read with a high voice,” said Graeme. “They really like the high voice.”

Dallas said that kids looking for an agent should never pay them upfront. “Never go with these agents,” he said.

As for the future, Dallas is interested in musical theatre. He’s heavily involved in the Unionville High School drama program. He also works with City Youth Players theatre company in Thornhill and is taking voice lessons. Graeme is in Grade 9 at Unionville High School and is in the drama program.

“I like theatre,” he said, adding he’s also into cinematography and writing.

“We tried hockey and baseball and that didn’t really work,” said Mr. Jokic. “It’s nice that they found their passions.”

The Jokic boys credited much of their success to their experience in the Baythorn Public School arts program and are quite upset at the prospect of the program’s proposed termination. “The program integrates arts right into the curriculum. It makes it easier to learn because you’re really engaged,” said Dallas.

“The teachers are so committed to what they do. They changed both of us so much,” added Graeme.

View the article on YorkRegion.com here: http://www.yorkregion.com/news/article/1286640--show-business-calling-for-brothers.