Crispin Freeman’s Voice Acting credits include Itachi form Naruto, Rude from Final Fantasy, and Red Arrow from the Young Justice TV Show. He also runs a website, Voice Acting Mastery (http://www.voiceactingmastery.com/) which is a valuable source for Voice Actors.
What was your first paid job as a Voice Actor? What lessons did you learn from that experience?
My first job was a one-episode character called Prince Hallas on an anime series called the Slayers. I had to figure out how to match the lip flap of the characters on the screen very quickly. No one was there to teach me the best way to do it, I just had to figure it out as I went along. Later they wanted me to do a different character, Actor A, and they didn’t know how to tell me to change my voice. The engineer started changing settings on his recording software to modify my voice digitally. I heard what he was doing and I said, “I can do that!”. That’s when I started learning how to modify my voice for different characters in animation. So I guess my first job taught me that I really needed to be technically skilled in order to survive as a voice actor.
What prompted you to start the Voice Acting Mastery website?
I started teaching voice acting classes in the Los Angeles area around 2009. While it was great to be able to help students who could travel to Los Angeles, I constantly heard about other students who would love to learn from me, but were too far away. I wanted to reach that larger audience and help them learn about voice acting. I also hope to be offering online voice acting classes in the near future.
On your podcast “Five mistakes to Avoid for Voice Acting” (which is available by signing up for Voice Acting Mastery’s newsletter) you said that voice acting is not a job, but rather the voice actor must see themselves as self employed entrepreneurs.
Do many newer voice actors fall into this trap of thinking it’s the former rather than the latter?
Absolutely. I see this “employee” mentality all the time in the way people ask about how to break in to voice acting. They assume that they will become the regular employee of a certain studio or that there is a central office where all voice actors report for work. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If you want to be a voice actor, you have to realize that you’re starting a business and the product is you. You have to think of yourself as a self-employed entrepreneur.
You’ve done a lot of Voice Acting, both in Video Games as well as Animation. Are there any differences between Voice Acting for Video Games and Voice Acting for Animation?
Absolutely. Most American animation is recorded like an old time radio play with all the actors together working off of each other. Video games tend to have all the actors come in separately to record. There are exceptions to this in video games, but those exceptions are rare. Mostly you record your character in a video game by yourself. The only nuance on this is the rising popularity of motion capture in video games. These days, I may not only do the voice of a video game character, but I may provide the physicality of that character as well. That was certainly the case in Resistance 3 where I played Charlie Tent. In that situation they actually recorded our voices on the MoCap stage which was first for me. Usually we do the MoCap first and then record the voices later in the booth.
How did you get the part of Red Arrow on the cartoon Young Justice and can you explain your inspiration behind the voice of Red Arrow?
I auditioned for the show just like all the other voice actors in Los Angeles. Originally, I was called back for Superboy, but then the producers decided Red Arrow was a better fit for me and I completely agree with them. My inspiration for the voice came from my reading of the script. I could tell from the very first episode what kind of character Speedy/Red Arrow was and so I did my best to think the way Red Arrow would think. Once I start playing pretend as the character in that way, the voice is 75% of the way there. Then I get feedback from the director to fine tune the performance and the result is what you see on TV.Is there anything else you’d like to add?
For those who are interested in pursuing voice acting always remember: Love the art in yourself more than yourself in the art. That’s a Stanislavski quote that I’m very fond of. Also, I hope my Voice Acting Mastery podcast helps give you insight and guidance in your voice acting endeavors, whether you decide to pursue it professionally or not. Thanks for interviewing me!