Sebastian Todd has been voice acting for 6 years, and has a detailed background of acting and performances for 19 years. He shares about why he loves voice acting, how he overcomes the challenges he faces, and suggests tips to help voice actors stand out.
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Voice acting is my true calling, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
I adore the venue of different characters I have the opportunity to play as that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to outside the limits of my facial features and physique.
I know quite a lot of fellow voice acting colleagues that share this sentiment with me that the absolute best thing that I love about being a voice actor is the sheer VOLUME of explorative ways to go about performing a character. SO many VAs from different backgrounds and perspectives can come together and provide a myriad of interpretations of the same character, and it’s THAT level of nuance that translates into the variety aspects of being able to perform SUCH vast array of different characters with different acting styles.
No other medium of acting provides the sort of freedom that voice acting does. In no other way, would I be able to go from playing a fantasy hero who wields fire magic one minute, to playing a yellow, bounty-hunting rabbit in outer-space with maniacal tendencies and shoots lasers the next.
I don’t just love the freedom, I’m in love with the IDEA of the freedom. I speak no hyperbole when I say it’s the best job I could ever ask for. It also doesn’t hurt to record in my pyjamas. Fleece makes me feel comfy.
Although I love my job, I’ve experienced many challenges along the way.
I still have room to grow. I’ve found myself both frustrated and depressed at the prospect that I’m not where I want to be as an actor, voice or otherwise. This is what I want to do with my life, nothing in the whole wide world could replace it, and nothing makes me as happy. I would LOVE to be considered for any role that I’m best qualified for, in any project fate would have on this Earth. It’s only natural, I’m an actor, and wanting to feel fulfilled is the most human thing I can want in that circumstance.
I lean on my community for support. A helpful and sobering solution is to exchange such frustrations with fellow voice actors, to sit down over lunch and vent about these things in a manner that is both cathartic, and helpful. You’ll find SO many of us share this sort of mindset and try to parse out what you can do about it, and why.
Find another creative outlet. Another helpful tool is to find another creative outlet that you have full control over while the bookings are looking dry. I, myself have been slowly getting back into content making on YouTube, and want to go into further stages of my own productions. It’s nice to come back to something that ALSO makes you happy, and distracts from the rough patch ALL of us go through from time to time.
Throughout my journey, I’ve learnt that these are the best ways that voice actors can stand out:
Tip 1: Build your brand
I cannot STRESS this enough. You are your own business, you are out here to sell yourself. If you don’t have easy access to what you can do, and what you have done, you’re making it hard on yourself for people to think about you when it comes to deciding who gets cast in a role.
And that can only come from having the skill and now-how to actually audition properly in the first place. When you know that you know what you’re doing, casting directors will know you know what you’re doing as well. Once you start gaining that momentum, being the first on someone’s mind as a casting decision will come in due time, and is the next big step!
Tip 2: Know your Strengths
Always be aware of the types of voices you can do REALLY well, and the archetypes you best identify with. Remember, you’re selling to the casting director that you are the BEST choice for a role, show them what you got!
Tip 3: Improve your Skills
Learn from the best! Plenty of people in LA, DFW, and New York host workshops for new, aspiring, or even experienced VAs who want to hone their skills even further. There’s ALWAYS room for improvement, and that’s why so many of us take workshops even AFTER we’ve found success in bookings! I, myself, relish in the chance to learn from so many sources that have been in this game long before, and it’s an honor to utilize their knowledge and put it in my own skillset.
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