It’s been a while since our last featured VA talk with D-Mac. With some of the forum activities lately, it seems like the general interests in voice-over is still pretty high. I turned to Lucien Dodge for his input on this field, as well as his own experiences as a voice actor.
Lucien has been featured as Nathan in Surface, Kiz in Xin, and some Kazahana characters such as Yuen , Yuta, and Keita.
Q: To start things off, do you mind talking about your latest status as a VA?
A: I’ve been working in NYC for the past year or so auditioning for commercials and the likes. Most recent ones that were on the air were a couple of radio spots for McDonalds which you can hear on my web-site, www.luciendodge.com/blog/.
Q: Already a pro.
A: Yeah, been making great progress. I have an agent and everything.
Q: Before we learn the actual process, what was your life like before you decided becoming an VA?
A: Before I discovered voice acting, I had been involved in theater in my home town of Ithaca, starting off with school plays and moving on to some local theater groups. It’s all acting after all.
I just found I loved the craft of voice-acting more than anything else. I knew when I was about 15 that this was really something I wanted to do. Theater was a way for me to hone my skills as an actor, even when I knew I wanted to pursue voice acting as a career.
Q: Your initial VA equipment?
A: My first pieces of equipment consisted of my Dad’s old 4-track recorder, and a Shure SM58 microphone. Starting off with a very decent vocal microphone helped to keep my standards as far as sound quality high I think.
I would switch out my equipment over time, eventually leading to the current setup I have which is a Studio Projects C-1 microphone, an ART Tube Preamp, and my MacBook computer.
Q: What was your first project and how did you come cross it?
A: I remember my first online voice acting projects was a Final Fantasy Tactics audio drama, in which I was cast as a slimy nobleman who gets canned. I remember it was the death scream in my audition that sold it.
Q: Does doing something out of the ordinary always help your audition tape stand out?
A: It certainly helps get it noticed. Whether or not it helps depends on the person listening, and how they react to your particular choice.
They might love it, they might hate it. What’s important is for you to follow your instincts, and make it interesting To You.
Q: Any other advice on “how to land your dream roles”?
A: No different from landing any other kind of roles. Just work hard, practice, and keep at it.
Q: Tell us about a groundbreaking role you had.
A: I think my cameo on the Pokemon animated series gave me a credit that I could throw the name of out to just about anyone, and they’d know what I was talking about. Was my first gig in NYC, and for a worldwide known animated kid’s series broadcast on Cartoon Network. You can bet I was blown away.
In addition to all that, I felt very good about the performance I turned in.
Q: What do you think is the success ratio for becoming a professional?
A: Steep. Even quite talented people have been discouraged, and give up. Which is why persistence, and knowing you want to do the work that badly is so important.
It’s because of the number of people doing the work already, it’s because of the people who WANT to do the work, it’s getting access to the jobs themselves, getting studios to notice you, find auditions, all of it.
You have to break in somehow, or else no one will give you a second glance. You can knock on their door for hours about your ‘amazing talents’ but it’s getting them to open that door and actually give you a listen that’s the trick. Because it’s such a close-knit community, often places have their favorites already, and don’t feel the need to re-stock or listen to new talent.
Be open, and enjoy the work at hand. It’s a tough career to pursue, with lots of hurdles and intimidating odds, but if you love it more than anything, you’ll find a way to do it.