How did you first get involved in voice acting?
When my drama school did the Carlton Hobbs Award I was lucky to be awarded two special commendations: one for Best Shakespearean Monologue and one for Best Contemporary Duologue. After I graduated I got my books, did my research and I sent three consecutive mail-outs over the course of 18 months. I got unanimously rejected on the first two mail-outs and on the third attempt I just got lucky. I remember at my first agency meeting I was asked to do a voice for a cartoon pig and I just really went for it hammer and tongs! So embarrassing now I think back to it, but it got me the agent and, ultimately, that got me in the door.
What do you enjoy about working on video games?
Games are really interesting. You’re entering a world of immersive fantasy and it’s all-out acting – it’s brilliant. I get to play heroes, warriors, princesses, pixies, goblins, witches, sorceresses, mermaids, detectives and murderers. I get to play all of these things that I’ve never played on screen or on stage, so I enjoy doing that in the voiceover booth. There’s a lot of freedom.. You’re exploring a character for potentially 60 hours worth of game time. As an actor it helps you hone your craft.
What are casting directors are looking for in voice actors?
What I think a lot of people don’t realise when they go into the voiceover industry is that they’ll fundamentally be hired for three things. First and foremost – whether you smoke, drink, do a vocal warm-up or not – you’ll be hired for your natural voice. The second thing is you have to be a good actor. The third thing is people have to like you. Sometimes you’ll be in a studio with them for eight hours a day: four hours recording in the morning, an hour’s lunch break and four hours in the afternoon. You have to be able to get on with people and to want to collaborate.
How do you prepare for a recording session?
I’ll read the script beforehand and I’ll have ideas about the characters so I can go into the booth and offer people something. I’ll do a basic warm-up in the morning and if I’m doing an audition with accents, I might walk about talking in that accent for a bit. But in the booth, like when actors step on stage, you have to throw out your homework and be in the moment. That’s important because you can be asked to do nine takes on the trot, each with a completely different delivery.
What advice would you give to people looking to get into voice acting?
You definitely need a voice reel. I’d be surprised if you can get one for less than £300, so you have to be willing to invest in it. Get a copy of Contacts or The Actors Handbook, circle the agencies you’re interested in and find out how they want to be contacted. Be personable and approachable in your letter and say what your strengths are. I’m fluent in French so that’s a bonus, but I know that my Newcastle accent is appalling so I wouldn’t list that. Also, understand it really does take time. I got so many rejections but it did teach me that perseverance pays off.
Has your voice work led on to other opportunities?
I just finished shooting on an American TV show called Crossing Lines, which is in in post-production and I’m currently filming a show called New Tricks for BBC1. I’m also working on two very cool, very prolific computer games that will be released sometime towards the end of this year.
Alix is an ambassador for The Lexi Cinema, raising money for a charity called The Sustainability Institute.
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