So now, I am going to switch gears and feature those artists that give life to the characters you watch in animated film/television series or your favorite video games. These talented artists are known as voice-over actors who share their unique voice-over ability in entertaining us. Some of these actors you already know, such as Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show; Hank Azaria, who voices numerous characters in The Simpsons; Bruce Campbell providing the voice for Ash in three games based on the Evil Dead film series: Evil Dead: Hail to the King, Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick and Evil Dead: Regeneration along with a slew of other games and films. These are just a few of the many talented actors working in the industry and now I want to introduce you to one more talented actor. Her name is Tamara Ryan.
How did I find out about her? Lets just say her incredible marketing skills made me stumble upon her twitter profile @TamaraRyanVO. I was then blown away by her voice-over work featured in her demo reel on her website along with her encouraging advice to those breaking into or already in the business. So, if you are thinking about lending your voice to a cool video game, animated feature or are looking to hire a talented voice-over actor, then Tamara Ryan is your gal! I had the pleasure in interviewing Tamara and you can read it here.
Question: Voice-over acting is not an easy business to get into. How did you get yourself into the field and stay successful?
There's several ways you can go about getting into the business, and everyone has their own path. For me personally though, I was living in Kansas at the time I decided I wanted to do VO as a career. I knew Kansas wasn't going to get me very far, so I researched reputable voice over "schools" and found Voicetrax in San Francisco. It's the best decision I could have made. Voicetrax is almost like a college for voice acting. I learned from the best teachers, and they helped me make a demo and introduced me to local agents. Staying successful is another matter though. Agents can only do so much for you and if you rely solely on them for gigs, you'll find yourself twiddling your thumbs. I'd say 95% of what I book is from my own networking and marketing. It's a tough skill to learn, but vital. At least for me anyways. :)
Question: I listened to your demos and you have a range of voices for different characters. Did all these voices come naturally to you?
In a sense, yes. Your demo should always show your strengths, so if I were to choose a voice that's not easy for me, it'll be a weak point to potential clients. But besides that, it's hard to say that they're "natural" exactly. I've been acting and singing and generally being goofy for a long time. So in a way I've been practicing these voices without knowing I would one day put them to good use.
Question: What is the most favorite voice-over work you have done and which industry is your favorite? Video Games, Animation, etc.?
My favorite work that I have done so far is a character named Betty in an awesome game called Solarix. She's insane, playful, and will snap at any moment. She was just so much fun! I really love villain characters like that because they're way more interesting than the usual sweet and kind love interests. As for industry, I guess I'd have to say video games since that's what I’ve done most of. I've done a couple anime series now and it's really awesome! But oh man, it's tough work. There's an entire other set of skills that you need to learn. As for the more traditional animation roles...well, I haven't done any of that yet, so I'll let you know. Lol.
Question: Do you do any preparation before your audition?
If only I could just wing it! Haha. But yeah, it's super important to ask yourself all the acting questions. Who am I? Who am I talking to? Why am I saying what I’m saying? Where does this scene take place? When does this scene take place, etc. If you don't do the homework, you most likely will not be confident in your acting choices, and that will come through in your auditions.
Question: Is there any advice/tips you can share to people who want to get into voice over work including those who are already in the business?
For the one's just starting out, I'd say take your time. It can be really easy to get swept up in your excitement to start trying to break into the business, but if you are trying to leap several rings on the ladder at once, you could end up hurting yourself. For example, creating demo you made yourself at home and then trying to submit that demo to an agent is a quick way to not be taken seriously. Or, paying top dollar for a demo when you've only taken one or two acting classes will cost you down the road. Because most likely you will have improved in a years time, and then that demo you just made is no longer a good representation of your skills. When in doubt, ask your teachers and mentors, they will let you know when you are ready to take the next step.
For people who are already in the business? Never stop practicing! I'm sure I don't need to say that though since most creative people have the same outlook of "I could be better". So perhaps instead I'll say something like "don't compare yourself to others." Everyone is on their own path, and some people shoot into stardom like they've got a rocket on their back. But that doesn't mean you're not doing well too! Whenever work starts slowing down and I start doubting myself, I always remind myself how far I've come. Remember your achievements and be proud of them, no matter what.
Question: I see you are based in California. Do you tend to find more work in California and do you find there to be certain cities/countries have a high demand for voice-over actors?
Location is a big factor in finding work depending on what kind of work you wanna do. If you want to be on Cartoon Network for example or work in anime, you absolutely need to be where they are. Other than that though, working from a home studio is quickly becoming normal. You can find plenty of indie game work from wherever you live, and every town has local businesses that need commercial work done.
Question: Before becoming a voice-over actor, what did you do beforehand and what was it that made you pursue voice-over work as a full-time career?
Well, let's see. I was a huge theater geek in high school and was already into video games and anime. In college I co-founded Naka-Kon, the first anime convention in Kansas and helped run that for a few years. What made me pursue voice over was actually due to Newgrounds.com though. I had played a game on there and I noticed a little comment from the creator about needing voice actors. At the time I just sent it out for shits and giggles, but then a year later I got an email from him asking if I wanted to audition for a new game. From there he pointed me to the voice acting club forums, and that opened me up to a whole new world. I started auditioning for a bunch of stuff and just fell in love with it. That's when I told myself "No matter how long it takes, I'm gonna be a voice actor!"
Question: Is there any famous voice-over actors you admire/aspire to become?
Charlie Adler is simply amazing. His energy and love for the craft is just so infectious! I take classes with him whenever I can.
Question: Can you describe a typical day at work?
Typically I get up and answer emails/send out demos while I have coffee. If I have any booked gigs I can do from home, I record those and then start on auditions. Then it's back to finding more people to send my demo to. :)
Question: Tell us about your next exciting project?
Oh man! I wish! Some big stuff is coming out and I can't wait to be able to share it with everyone, but sadly not yet. For recent projects though, I am very happy to have voiced the character "Falan", plus some additional roles for Magi: Adventure of Sinbad! It's out on Netflix, so go watch it! Lol.
Question: Are there any projects that you would like to be part of that are creepy and cool, such as a horror video game, cartoon, etc. If not, and you had to create a creepy and cool voice, can you share a demo of what that would sound like?
Here's a clip of my character Betty from Solarix, who is I think a bit creepy/crazy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKi-tb_UxUk&t=0m32s
If you want to know more about Tamara Ryan or hire her for your next project, you can reach out to her on her website at www.tamararyanvo.com, follow her on Twitter (@TamaraRyanVO), LIKE her page on Facebook at Tamara Ryan Voice Over and Subscribe to her YouTube Channel