We Interviewed Voice Actor Erin Nicole Lundquist

Hello everyone this is MinaRose2023 with another great interview with up and coming Voice Actor Erin Nicole Lundquist.

Hello Erin, how are you today?

Hi Mina!  I’m doing wonderfully!  Thank you so much for having me today.  How are you doing?

What got you started on the journey of acting?

So there are two stories here – how I started acting and how I started voice acting.  The first story breaks down to: acting has always interested me and I’ve dabbled in it throughout my life. I still have an assignment from when I was in preschool that says “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and I answered “Actor”.  When I was young, I was on stage often.  I was in dance as young as three and theatre as young as six.  These were pursuits I would continue until my college years.  There was always something about being able to tell stories by BEING the characters that had a huge appeal to me.

The second story is about what started me on my journey of voice acting. I was 29 years old at the time and working two jobs, one as a surgical technologist in the United States Air Force and another behind-the-scenes in indie film production as an art director and costume designer. While working on a live-action TV pilot, I was talking to one of the actors on set when the sound engineer approached me and asked if I had ever thought about voice acting. While animation and video games are my preferred medium of entertainment over live action productions, I had never thought about making that move as an actor and I didn’t know how to even begin!  It turns out the sound engineer was one of the big casting directors for commercial work in San Antonio and Austin and he immediately started getting me work through his clients.  It was a dream come true!

What are some of the challenges you faced as a starting voice actress?

While I stumbled into commercial voice acting and fortunately started making money immediately, I found out that there were some big differences between commercial voice over work and being a character voice actor.  About two years into my work in commercials, I branched out and started exploring character work.  As soon as I performed in my first audio drama I knew I wanted to do character work for the rest of my life.  At first, I thought that since commercial voice over paid so well that ALL voice work paid well.  That is not the case.  I also found out that no one cared that I had performed in a dozen commercials or corporate videos because that area of my resume had no bearing on character portrayal.  I had to start all over again when it came to character work and start building a new resume and hone different sets of skills as an actor.

I mentioned earlier that different areas of voice work pay different rates.  I hadn’t realized that I had stumbled into the more lucrative end of the voice acting world with commercial work, and that the area in which I was most passionate – character work – had the potential to pay the least.  This wasn’t a deterrent, I still pressed on as a character actor, but it was something I had to consider when it came to the reality of being a part time voice actor vs a full time voice actor.  Did I want to focus on character work and work part time for a potentially longer time as I developed my skills to a professional level?  That would likely leave me working my full time job in the military for several more years.  Did I want to split my time and audition for more commercial work since it can pay the bills?  That would potentially detract from my progress in character work.

There are no wrong answers to these questions.  Everyone’s journey is different and I chose to stray from commercial work and focus on character work.  This did result in me staying in my full time job for several more years.

How does it feel leaving your old job behind to pursue voice acting full time?

It feels amazing!  I was in the military for a total of 11 years and worked in the medical field for the latter 8 years of that.  While I was very passionate both about military medicine and developing my troops, I had been working on COVID ops for several years and had definitely started feeling some of the fatigue that all medical workers have been feeling since the pandemic began.  At the time of my separation, I was a Master Sergeant in the Air Force, a higher ranking enlisted position, and I was living a very comfortable life as the primary breadwinner for my family of four.  I knew that I wouldn’t be able to leave the military unless I could guarantee a comparable lifestyle and sense of security for my family.

The entertainment industry is notorious for NOT guaranteeing a sense of security so it wasn’t until I was making more money in voice acting than I was in the military that I knew it was time to make the switch.  It was a great move for me because I was essentially working two full time jobs and had basically NO time for my family.  After leaving the military, I’ve been able to spend so much more time every day with my kids.  It was definitely the right decision.

That being said, having spent most of my adult life in the military, there has been some difficulty adjusting to civilian life.  People interact with each other differently.  Communication styles are very different.  Timelines and job expectations are different.  I joined the military when I was 25 so I had some experience as a civilian, but I’ve definitely had to relax A LOT since getting out.  Overall, I think it’s an improvement.

How does it feel voice acting for a major company like Netflix?

It’s pretty surreal and at the same time it makes perfect sense.  Since I have been so actively focused on character work, the logical career progression for my development was to eventually be working on AAA games, network TV, and streaming services.  Working with companies like Netflix and Amazon makes perfect sense for where my skills are now.  However, you can be an extremely talented, skilled actor and still not make it to the professional level.  There is no guarantee you will ever work on a AAA game or a Netflix show.  In that way working with Keywords Studios on a hit Netflix show was very surreal.

To elaborate, you can be a stellar actor and still not be guaranteed to book any particular role.  You can have the right sound, your acting skills can be professionally competitive, you can knock your audition out of the park, and there are still several reasons why you may not be selected.  Casting is a very difficult process.  Getting the chance to work in the big leagues is an honor and I’m very grateful.

What plans do you have to continue on your journey of voice acting?

My next step is to acquire talent representation.  I just finished my professional character demo with Richard Tatum and am about to wrap up my commercial demo with Randy Greer.  Once I have my commercial demo, I’m going to start submitting to agencies so that I can have greater access to bigger auditions.  Believe it or not, all of the work I’ve done thus far has been self-sourced.  I’ve done all of my own marketing and outreach to get the opportunities I’ve had.  While I still plan to keep auditioning on my own, I’m currently eligible to join SAG-AFTRA and I’d really like to join the union and work on union shows and games.  It doesn’t make sense to join the union before you have access to union auditions – which agencies have.

In the meantime, I have several projects that will be released this year and I am going to continue to work on animation, video games, audiobooks, and commercials for the foreseeable future.

What do you suggest to new voice actors?

Find yourself and find your voice.  Don’t try to be anyone else and don’t worry about anyone else.  Find out what makes you unique and figure out what’s important to you, then figure out where your skills best fit in the story.  Coaching can help greatly with this.  And don’t worry about anyone else’s journey or any perceived “competition.”  The only person that matters is you and the only journey that matters is yours.  Don’t get distracted.

If I could go back in time and advise my younger self, I would tell myself to take the study of acting more seriously.  A great, free resource for anyone looking to get into voice acting is the Voice Acting Mastery Podcast by Crispin Freeman.  It’s a totally free podcast that has literally everything you need to know about becoming a professional voice actor.  I would have avoided a lot of mistakes and likely progressed in my career a lot more quickly had I found it earlier in my life.  That being said, there is no rush.  Take time to develop your skills.  Be kind to yourself.

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


All Ages of Geek Simple Curved Second Line Green