This year’s Voice Actors LIVE gave fans a chance to see the faces behind the voices they love. The panel took place on Friday at 4PM at the Hyatt International South Ballroom and included famous voice actors Caitlin Glass, Mike McFarland, Kyle Hebert, and John Stocker. The veteran voice actors led the panel through the nature of the voice acting industry as well as some of their personal stories.
Most of the voice actors started out from general acting and got breakthrough roles at open auditions. The guests stressed the importance of general acting and improvisational skill as well as learning to control your own voice. They suggested that anyone interested in voice acting should record their own voice and learn to hear themselves the way that everyone else does.
Like most actors, all of the panelists spend more time auditioning than actually working. Most casting directors have a very definite idea of what they’re looking for and take advantage of a large pool of talent to find the voices they’ve already imagined. The panelists lamented the lack of direction given at many auditions. McFarland said that sometimes you just get “He’s the lead and he’s angry, go.” He later added that some auditions rely on celebrity references, like “We’re going for Benedict Cumberbatch meets Samuel L. Jackson meets . . .” leading off into a long trail of other celebrities.
When asked to name their dream character roles, most of the panelists gave surprisingly similar answers. McFarland led with “all of them, where they all sound just like me not putting on any trick voice or anything.” Hebert and Stocker gave similar answers of “anything you try out for” and “my favorite gig is the next one.” Only Glass gave the specific character of Wonder Woman.
Like any sensible Dragon Con panel, the group closed with trivia and advice for surviving the zombie apocalypse. Many lucky fans went home with Funimation DVDs and collectibles from their favorite series, but all the attendees learned that both shrub trimmers and thermonuclear devices make excellent anti-zombie weapons.