10 years of voice acting

It’s hard to call an official date when I started voice acting, but it’s become an important if sometimes painful part of my life. I’ve made and lost friends in the AVA circle, had incredible experiences and ended up taking my life in an odd direction. I’ve had successes and regrets, I guess if it proves anything, it’s that if you follow your passions they will lead you forward. I don’t believe in fate but I think sometimes life is more interconnected than we think, perhaps Dirk Gently was right.. If anyone reads this I hope you’ll forgive this somewhat self-indulgent  and super long post. It’s not complete, and some of you will realize the omissions, but again I beg your indulgence. I hope some of you find some interest in this.

The Start

I often did weird voices as a kid. Copying Lloyd Grossman, or the Urpneys. But I didn’t really connect recording and creating with the PC until I got the demo of Magic Theatre a children’s animation game. I spent hours on it, so much so that I ended up buying the full X-men version, and messing about creating my own X-men stories. You can download Maigc theatre for free now.

1999-2000

I discovered anime at this point, and together with a girl at school whose username was ” Forest Dweller” we made a small fanzine Vortex DIAW, we sold copies to our friends and offered people the chance to order it via mail order, the only person who did was small press artist Foxy. If any of the UK manga scene are reading this, you’ll know Foxy :) In the start of the weird circle of life theme, I’ve met Foxy a number of times in real life, randomly at cons . At the time such things as meeting people online were madness.

I discovered the online fandub / radio drama scene and started to audition. I also started to listen to streaming online radio my favorite being Anime Radio , I e-mailed the guys who made it a lot. They were wonderfully indulgent of my fanish letters and I even drew some artwork for one of their archive CDs. Inspired by their brilliantly futuristic web radio ( this was pre-podcast), I started my own broadcast. Looking back through old archives it seems I made at least 18 episodes of  the thing!  I used to get regular e-mails on the mistakes I made or interesting facts from the webmaster of Anime Digital Joe Curzon . We became very good friends in the end, if I do any anime reviews these days it will probably be on Joe’s new site Otakunews. Sometime in the future I will try today’s equivalent podcasting!

Up to this point all my VO roles had ended up being in productions that never happened or else my parts were very small. My first full role came in a fan dub of the End of Sailor Moon my Lifestream productions. All that remains online now is a dead and half empty webpage. I am sure the episode  is backed up on Zip drive somewhere and one day I’ll be brave enough to see it again, if I can figure out a way to get it off!.I played Luna and Ami/ Mercury. At the time most of us were on dial up, so to save bandwidth we recorded most our lines without visuals. We had to just talk to the times specified!

2001

If there’s really any kind of true archive of my AVA work online it’s Sabrina Online Radio Play. It’s based on the webcomic of the same name by Eric W. Schwartz. In another example of all this circular stuff, I’d been a fan of Schwartz for a while having loved all the animations of his like those he did for Superfrog that were released on the Amiga CD32.  When I saw Mindy post the audition I pounced  at it, despite the fact I couldn’t really do a proper US accent. To my surprise she cast me. I seem to remember a gap between the casting and the first episode because I had a lot of trouble with the accent. Mindy has been one of the most patient and talented producer’s I’ve worked with, instead of recasting me she tirelessly gave feedback each time I sent in lines. So that with each retake my accent got better, and so did my acting.  It lasted 9 years, and twenty three episodes ( plus specials)

2002

By 2002, I was getting semi regular roles.  But I think the most memorable is  AGDI’s remake of King’s Quest 2 which landed me on IMDB! ( albeit under my webname).  I played a child version of King’s Quest protagonist Graham. The official site says it was released December 22nd 2002. It was an incredible experience to become a small part of a game series I really love. At the time I auditioned I don’t think I even knew what game the part was for, when I found out it was incredible.

2004

2004 was my first fan dub panel at a con. We tried to be informative, but I don’t know if we were. I also met pro VA Monica Rial there and learnt an awful lot from her. Technically we also entered a pre-made fan dub contest, but were the only winners so won by default. If Will from Amecon hadn’t asked me to do it, I don’t think I would have. I have been doing fan events at Amecon’s and Aya ever since, in 2007 I provided walla for Scott and Hel’s awesome opening animation which provided the weird experience of hearing people laugh along as my voice boomed around the big screen.  I also somehow ended up getting randomly involved in the live dub event at Ame, my suggestion I help a bit turned into me actually running the event totally. In the end I abandoned doing an AVA panel and created Anime Dub Live, a live parody and fan dub event that runs at Amecon’s and Ayacons.

Before a panel I am know for running around in a panic. A lot of times I would run into Kate , not recognize her due to cosplay. Get talking, recognize her then rope her into my panels XD We are now in IndieManga together ( with Anna and Denji ).

2005

2005 was when I started my Neko Majin Z audio drama project started,  which I didn’t in the end finish until 1999. This was probably my only production that really gained any kind of following, and it is still downloaded and enjoyed today. It’s based upon Akira Toriyama’s comedy manga of the same name. I adapted most of the episodes, and mixed them all. I also played Frieza’s child Kureeza, and in one episode Z drops me in a river because of my slow production schedule.

I also wrote and mixed Hermione’s letter this year. It was one of my few fanfic audio drama. It tells the story of Hermione from Harry Potter, from the moment she is told she is a witch, through to her visit to Diagon Ally,  and meeting Neville Longbottom for the first time.

In 2005, Lionhead’s the Movies came out.  The movies was a Sim game where you could run a movie studio, what set it apart was that you could actually make movies in it. It featured an active forum and website. The game sadly ran badly on my PC, but it didn’t stop my voice acting for tons and tons of movies other people made. Looking the dates up it surprises me how long ago this was. I posted on the Movies forums until they shut in 2008. 2007 was really the year the movies really started to make a change, so if you’re here for the movies stuff skip ahead to 2007!

2005 also saw one of my most well viewed Flash roles in HotDiggedydemon’s The Amazing Adam Android.

2006

After completing a short Dr Slump Audio drama, I decided to dub the whole first episode. I found a bunch of OSTs and VCDs on import sites and ordered a load. I then went about scripting and mixing the entire first episode. I think this was really the culmination of all my mixing and probably my best fandub. Only part 1 is still online.

2006 also saw the production of my original fantasy comedy the Spirit of the Whispering saint, Looking around I thought I’d lost this but it’s randonly survived on my webspace, and you can download here. It follows three thieves who try to steal a relic from a monastery. This was the first production I did where it had original music scored, by Digitaldan. Frankly I am shocked that this was 2006, it makes my output since shameful!

2006 I think was my year for fan projects. I also got cast as Moon in a series of full episode Transformers Beast wars fandubs. It was also the year I was in one of my favorite clips ” Creating Hikaru” an Angelic Layer clip mixed by Tali, and original animation Selfish Souls.

2007

2007 was where things really started to get odd in an awesome way. A member of the Movies game community asked me to do some VO for a contest he was entering to create a Sims Machinima. It won. Part of the prize was to have the finished thing shown at Vue cinemas nationwide before films of the time like Hot Fuzz. Some of the VO quality was a bit iffy so I got to go to pro VO studio SideUK to re-record my part. I wrote about it on LJ here.

Later that year whilst searching the Lionhead forums for roles, I saw that they had opened work experience. Bored with my job, I decided to take a week off and go. If I had not been so into the Movies game I wouldn’t have seen it.  In November that year I spent an amazing week at Lionhead in the QA department. During that week, during which I met some awesome people,  learned a load, and decided that games was an area I really wanted to be in.  For the first time in a long time, I had a direction to head in. I think at that point in my life my confidence was really low ( which I think was really holding me back at the time), but I kept pushing on. Amazingly three weeks after Lionhead I got a full time QA job at another company that lasted 2 1/2 years.  I’m still doing games QA now, and it’s amazing to think it started with something so small. It was just a week but it made a massive difference.

2008

I wasn’t sure if I was going to put this in, but it feels wrong to leave it out. In 2008, I was cast in Harabek’s Machinima Pre-game lobby as Canada hating Brit Jessica. At first it started out like any other machinima I had been in, but somehow after it got posted on Machinima.com it exploded. Despite only being a small part of the cast, the response was astounding. Initially it started off small, it was through watching Pre-game lobby that I got into contact with DigitalBrute  who ended up teaming up with me to relaunch Voiceacting.co.uk. I still didn’t realize the following it had until Harabek did a making of video where our gamertags got shown. My friendslist was swamped! and I was only a dub character. It seems weird to me that despite the fact my character isn’t even in the latest season, I still get the odd e-mail or friends request linked to it. To be honest it the time it weirded me out, bur now I just appreciate the fun I had with it.

At the end of 2008 work started on Red Car/ Green Car a SF audio drama written by myself, produce by River Kanoff , and music by DigitalDan. It’s still being worked on but we’ll get there.

2009

I wasn’t amazingly prolific this year, but I did do VA for AGS game The McCarthy chronicles, and parody Hellsing Phase ( as Seras).

2010- The Silver Lining

A while ago I recorded a few bit parts forThe Silver Lining game. After some legal troubles 2010 saw it’s release. Despite being only a tiny drop in the ocean of work it took to make this, it was really fun to see how my VO was used. So far I have been in episode 2 as a young boy and some vines, with a few more characters to come, though it’s a surprise to me where they will be. Episode 3 has just come out which I am playing through now.  It’s weird to think that in a vague way I am linked to two King’s Quests fan projects. I respect both groups, and enjoy seeing this kind of stuff. The fact that Telltale games is now making a King’s Quest series makes me incredibly happy. 2010 also saw the last episode of Sabrina online.

So there you go, voice acting has influenced my career, my friends and my other hobbies.  Weird isn’t it? where a little bit of edu-tainment software can get you. So if you have a creative hobby, and people tell you to drop it because it won’t get you anywhere think again. Try and do what you love, because you love it; it will lead you interesting places.