Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I become a (Anime) Voice Actor?
A: Get ready for my long answer haha. This is the most common question I get. The journey is different for everyone and everyone has a different story and experience with how they broke into the industry. There is one thing that we all have in common though:
We are all Actors.
I usually start off answering this question with a little tough love. But I only want to be honest and hopefully light a fire under your butt and inspire/motivate you! Here I go: You cannot become a successful Voice Actor if you are not an Actor first. Having an appreciation for Anime or the Japanese culture is a bonus, but it’s not enough. You need to study acting. In this business, time is money and this is a very fast-paced job. If you have no training, chances are you will be very lost and if you waste time because you don't know what you are doing, no one is going to want to hire you. When you work in any capacity as a professional actor, you are expected to keep up and know what you are doing. We never see scripts ahead of time. Everything we do is "cold reading" which means we see our lines only when we are set to record them. There is not very much time to think. Most of the time, you may not even really know what is going on in the scene. This is where the acting training comes in. When you train as an actor, you learn how to make informed character choices in an instant given very little information, how to work with and communicate with a director, and other very important things.There is a lot that goes in to being a voice actor and even though it’s a lot of fun, it’s still a job and it’s still work. Also, you don't necessarily need to have prior voice acting experience to become a Voice Actor. I didn't! But I did have about 8 years of theatre under my belt. You just need to have acting experience. It doesn't matter what kind.
That being said, if you really want to be a voice actor, but don’t have acting experience don’t give up! Just because you don’t have experience right now doesn’t mean you’ll never have a chance to get it. Take classes, read books, go to workshops, look up related videos on youtube, look up community theatres in your area, audition for student films, etc. They’re all a great way to learn and network! For Voice Acting specifically, try to find ways to get to know your voice and what it can do. Take public speaking courses, read passages out loud in different voices, play with vocal warmups, study music and the instrument that is your voice. There are so many things you can study that will help on top of studying acting.
Most importantly, never give up on your dreams. Through experience, you also may find that acting is not for you, or not everything you thought or hoped it would be. And that's ok! You may flourish and be inspired. Or you could find an interest in a whole new niche within acting altogether such as tech or costuming. Acting is not for everyone. It can be very stressful and difficult sometimes and you need to have a thick skin. Three quotes come to mind from other Actors/Directors from over the years:
1. "If you can see yourself doing anything else with your life, do that instead." Acting in general is a very hard business and it requires dedication and passion. If you don't have those when it comes to acting, you might be happier doing something else. I have talked to so many people who have told me they had no interest in acting. They just wanted to voice act. That attitude will not get you very far and you will be much happier doing something else, I guarantee it.
2. "Actors are the most rejected people on the planet." It's true. Actors will hear "No," a thousand times before they hear "Yes" and success can be fleeting. In order to become a successful voice actor, or any kind of actor, you must also have a passion for it. Otherwise, it's very easy to get discouraged and give up.
3. "We don't act because we want to. We do it because we have to." You reach a point where you know you won't be happy doing anything else. Acting (in any capacity) is your calling. And you know you would be miserable without it. It is so important to feel this way. If you want to take your acting to a professional level, you must love what you do. It has to mean something to you.
Never stop dreaming or working towards your goals. But also never forget to be realistic and understand what you need to do in order to achieve those goals. Do research. Be passionate. Get out there and train. Acting as a whole is extremely competitive. Voice Acting is no different. As any kind of actor, you must constantly be training and trying to advance your skills and hone your talents. See Acting for the beautiful thing that it is: A way to give.
I told you it would be long! I do hope that it has helped answer your question. Even more so, I hope it inspires you, tough love and all. Get out there and rock it!
**Please note: I do not mentor. I am happy to answer focused questions but I do not train/mentor individuals. Doing so takes time and dedication that I am unable to offer. I am still working on and building my own career and I need to focus on that. Thank you for your understanding*
Q: Can you go to –insert name of con-?
A: I would be more than happy to go to any and all conventions if I could. It is very rare that I turn down the chance to go to a con as a guest. But to be a guest a convention, I must be invited by that con. If you would like to see me as a guest at your favorite convention, please take the time to send in a request to have me booked for that event. You can go about it either on their forum pages or by contacting them via email. If you are affiliated with guest relations for a specific convention and would like to book me, please click on my contact link in the menu above and send an email in the box marked "Business inquiries."
Q: I would like to send you something. How do I do that?
A: For packages or letters, please send to FUNimation at this address:
ATTN: Alexis Tipton
1200 Lakeside Pkwy
Flower Mound, Tx 75028
**Please note that I am not accepting items to be autographed at this time. Thank you so much for your understanding!**
FUNimation is not responsible for any items lost.
Q: What is your policy on interviews?
A: When I am at conventions, I will usually set aside some time in my programming schedule to do official interviews with a few people. Those interviews are with whomever has gone through the convention staff and has an official press badge. I'm not sure how all of that works. I'm just told when/where to show up! In this situation, my policies are that I get to look over the questions ahead of time and have a say in what I will and will not answer, the questions are appropriate and respectful, and the interview will not exceed 20 minutes (unless we are wrapping up the last question/saying goodbyes). Outside of conventions though, I typically do not do interviews. This is mostly because of time constraints and my busy/unpredictable schedule. Thank you for your understanding! If you would like to contact me about a possible written interview, please include a picture of a panda in your email so I know you read this ;)
Q: What is the best advice that you can give to an aspiring actor?
A: Learn how to accept rejection and disappointment with grace and humility. As an actor
(professional and non-professional), you will face rejection constantly. You must learn to not take it personally. Don't be one of those people that falls apart because they didn't get the part they wanted and if you do, it must be in private. This is harsh, but no one cares that you are upset about not getting what you wanted. It's ok to be disappointed. It's ok to be sad. But you have to be able to move on and not blame anyone (including yourself) for not booking the part. You will not find a sympathetic ear in this industry and you will only look foolish. Take what you are given and be thankful. If you don't receive any part, still be thankful for the opportunity. Find the lessons, take them to heart, and move on. When you do enjoy success, don't let it go to your head. I have found that many people truly believe that if they receive a lead role, they're set for life by default. As if they won't ever have to work hard again. This is simply not true. As an actor, you must work hard. All of the time. Lead roles or not. If you get a lead role, its because you were right for that part. That doesn't mean you will always be right for every part after that. This is also why it is always so important to train no matter how much success you enjoy. If you don't train, you will be surpassed by the people who do.
Never take success for granted. Always be humble and grateful. Learn how to say "thank you" and say it often. You may laugh, but it's a dying skill. Learn how to properly shake someone's hand. Look people in the eye. Never take yourself too seriously. Let go of inhibitions. Connect to your inner child. PLAY!