My journey with anime started in 2015 when I worked at an anime convention. I had the joy of working with a non-profit organisation endorsed by Nintendo for the Pokémon games. Whilst I was at these events, I had the job of meeting several convention organisers and famous voiceover actors. Building relationships, networking, and making connections are something I am enthusiastic about anyway. Still, I was particularly excited in this instance as anime voice acting and video games are my favourite parts of the voiceover industry. Several of the people I had connected with were people I grew up watching and studying, and today I am lucky enough to call them friends.
It’s All About Them
I wanted to support the connections I made in any way I could. For the convention managers, I began helping them with bookings, tables, setting up, pulling down, and pretty much anything else I could for the conventions. For the voice actors, I wanted to support them in a slightly different capacity. Many of them have so much to offer through means of teaching and coaching, so via one of my clients’ platforms, I connected several of them together. As well as this, we collaborated with PR, and I will break down both assets below.
Voiceover Artists Teaching, Coaching, and PR
The setup for the workshops was hosted online, as the bulk of this occurred during the pandemic. They would take ten vetted voiceover artists who would perform for them. They would get critiqued by the guest and then read again. It is a very relaxed environment and follows an audition format to give them an authentic experience. But accessing the likes of Chris Rager, Josh Martin, Jason Douglas, Sean Schemmel, Kara Edwards, Sonny Strait, and Chris Sabat is not easy. These world-class voiceover artists have to offer far beyond what a single webinar or blog can offer. These people are booking the most prominent roles in anime and are setting the standards, trends, and criteria required. On a PR note, we tried our best to host as much as possible in The Buzz Magazine to promote them and compliment their incredible works.
Sowing What You Reap in Anime Voice Acting
I was exceptionally blessed one afternoon when Chris Sabat rang me and invited me to join him in casting a project requiring British accents. We were sent several sides, which we put out to our base of voiceover artists. Multiple people booked roles and had a phenomenal experience on the show. A second season was produced a year later, and the process was replicated. In this instance, I was cast for one of the roles too, which was such a huge honour too, as for several years I had trained and networked in this area.
The session was phenomenal. Seeing the beautifully designed artwork on the screen with the exceptionally composed soundtrack before anyone else was a real treat. Having it all on the screen ready for the dub was exciting and rewarding. The session was recorded over Source Connect, I, of course, was here in Leeds, UK, and they are in Dallas, Texas. I was aware the studio preferred to work with Neumann TLM 103 microphones. As my business has been heavily geared towards the more prominent companies and the bigger jobs, I have had a Neumann TLM 103 for a long-time anticipating people asking for it (which is frequent). The live session meant I was with the casting director during the session, which was great fun.
What it Takes to Work in Anime
Timing is everything. You need to be able to look at the script, watch the animation for the lip flaps and listen to the three beeps in your ear. What are the three beeps? The three beeps are an audio technique used where the artist will hear three beeps equally spread out and where the fourth beep would be expected that acts as the queue for the voice actor to begin delivering the lines. It’s worth noting the fourth beep is not played, so it’s essential to understand the timing. Within these sessions, you may be asked to do some ‘fodder’ lines. A fodder line is a random line that may occur from a character that is typically not in the cast. For example, imagine someone crossing a road, and a car jumps a red light; the character crossing may jump back and say, ‘Hey! Be careful!’ The company would not cast another actor specifically for this one singular line. The sessions range from 2 to 4 hours, so it is very typical to do a ‘fodder’ line outside the main character you read for.
Training in Anime Voice Acting
Aside from networking, it is vitally important to train in anime if this is a part of voiceover you want to work in. Taking workshops like the ones I mentioned earlier is vital. Not only is this important to capture the style of the genre, develop the characters, understand the intensity of your voice, and get used to the dubbing setup, but it is vital for the experience too. When you are listening to the four beeps in a workshop or reading a script for a casting director in a workshop, this is as real as it gets. What you do in these workshops is the same as what you will need to deliver in a session or an audition. So, perfecting every area of this and using the workshops to your advantage is vitally important and the best way to move forward in this genre.