We had the pleasure of chatting with Voice Actor Brian Vaughn!
1.What inspired you to become a voice actor?
“When I was a kid, I mostly wanted to be a part of the same people who did the whacky voices for cartoons like Ed, Edd and Eddy. I loved to laugh and loved to make people laugh, so naturally it was something I always thought about doing, but never knew how to get into.”
2.Can you describe your process for preparing for a voice acting role?
“My biggest thing I do before recording is to take at least a five to ten minute walk, if not longer. This opens up the airways a lot and gives you plenty of fresh air to work with, really enhancing your mind and body before even going to the mic. Afterwards I get some water, re-read the script a few times to see if we have any kind of ‘input’ before doing a character role (some directors are vague and some hide the context a bit further down), that way I can bring their role to life. I love helping others with their passions, so I want to do it justice. Oh and I sometimes listen to a bunch of pronunciations online for certain words, so I can get’m just right!”
3.What has been your biggest challenge as a voice actor and how have you overcome it?
“So far it was my confidence. Screw the lack of finding work, confidence is the hardest thing to apply to voice acting and it was for me in particular. I got through it by just saying, to hell with it. I had to carry myself with not pride or arrogance, but the knowledge that I have the skills, talent and the voice to do wonderful things. I also know darn well that I could make people feel something.. I give 100% each time I work, that’s something to smile about.”
4.Can you tell us about a particularly memorable project you’ve worked on and why it stands out to you?
“Project Wingman. It’s memorable for me as it’s my first bigger game I ever worked on, but mostly how casual and cool the director was. I literally just got a message over Discord asking about doing some voice work and it was all legitimate. The guy was actually the writer for Project Wingman and he’s incredibly down to earth and friendly. But to see it come through Discord out of the blue? Man, that was cool.”
5. How do you handle the pressure of performing in front of a microphone?
“I always had ‘stage fright’, so performing live was my biggest fear. I got over that by streaming on Twitch oddly enough. People like me for who I am and I learned that if they were to be superficial about my looks or voice, then they weren’t meant to be around me anyway. Directors are the same way; if you chose me for a role, then it’s pretty clear that you wanted me there, so I don’t have to worry about them mocking me or anything. It’s all a mutual gain – if I mess up, they help me figure out how to best make their work shine. Or if they have a vision, they want to help me bring it to life. It’s all friendly.”
6.Can you share any advice for aspiring voice actors just starting out in the industry?
“You’re going to fail and you’re going to succeed. You won’t get everywhere right away and that’s okay. You need to learn to take failure in stride and not let it bring you down or burn you out, neither can you let success get to your head and inflate it. It’s all about finding a solid balance between everything. You’ll see so many people kissing each other’s butts on social media and these folk will get absolutely famous doing so. But you? You might take your own lack of work as a failure because you aren’t like them or you don’t have connections or a director chose someone more popular, etc. Don’t compare yourself, compose yourself. When one door closes, another door opens. Stand out from the crowd and be the best YOU that YOU can be, because there’s only ONE YOU in the world and that’s who someone will hire one day. As for success? Relish it, cherish it, show it off, but don’t inflate your ego and think you’re above people. It’s hard not to be that way, trust me I’ve seen many people go down that road. Just gotta stay humble.”
7.Can you tell us about a time when you had to adapt to a new character or voice?
“I can tell you about the first game I was hired to star in. They wanted me to do monster voices, not just the gruff ones either, cutesy ones. For a baritone like me that was a pain in the ass and a worrying moment as I hadn’t been a voice actor for too long at that point hah. I had to really focus on my inner child there and raise my voice so I could do cute little dragon-growls and what not, all while indirectly discovering how I could do voices for slimes and other creatures. The game? Potion Commotion!”
8. How do you stay motivated and engaged during long recording sessions?
“You’re going to laugh, but I look at the future of what I might get later. One good recording and someone might listen and think, damn, this guy has what it takes to be in a bigger production. That and I also want to see the audience reaction. I love making people laugh and smile or feel some form of emotion.”
9.Can you tell us about an experience you had while working on a project where you had to improvise or come up with an unexpected solution?
“Throughout my career as a YouTube Narrator I quickly found myself making small errors or having to replace entire lines of dialogue because of various reasons. I never was an audio engineer or anything clever like that, so I taught myself the fine art of re-recording and splicing audio while also mimicking my own emotions and voice at the time of the splice. Also, because I have a father who loves me to pieces and is kind of a thought provoked man in his own right, he and I would routinely come up with unique ways to soundproof my original studio, using mechanics and welding blankets for the outside of it and two inch foam (sometimes even egg cartons) for the interior. Love you dad!”
10.Can you share a funny or interesting story from your time as a voice actor?
“I was approached by a company called BE AMAZED back in my first month or so of working as a voice actor. They made upwards of thousands of dollars on their YouTube channel, so I was excited to cut my teeth and work for a nice cut of the cheddar. They only offered twenty bucks, called me entitled and replaceable, laughed and went on their way. I find it funny and interesting because I was offered a job with a HUGE place before I was even getting my feet wet! Another interesting fact is that I voiced probably thousands of characters for a guy called MrRipper on YouTube (D&D Stories) and my god have I never played D&D but twice.”
11.Can you share your favorite voice acting moment or performance?
“My favorite acting moment wasn’t a performance, but it was the first time I recorded in a fully sound treated booth. My father and I worked on it for ages and he did so much for me just to make my studio sound wonderful. I walked in, turned on my lights, booted up my PC and read a story. My heart dropped because I could feel the difference, I could HEAR the difference! It was a beautiful moment and I’ll always be thankful for it.”
12.Can you tell us about a voice acting project you turned down and why?
“I’ve mostly turned down work for YouTube Narrations because they offered pennies while the channel owner would have made infinitely more for doing zero work. I also turned down a few audiobook deals because the contents of the books were.. Well.. disgusting in nature. I’m okay reading erotica even, that’s perfectly fine to me. I’m also down with horror, gore, name it, but I do NOT support certain work as I do have a clean slate of morals. I also refuse most political and religious work as to not spark controversy or read something that basically might start nothing but hate.”
13. How do you keep your voice in good condition for voice acting?
“I drink plenty of water or tea and I sing/hum a lot. Everytime you shower or walk or do anything, sing or hum or even talk to yourself aloud! It may seem weird at first, but trust me it helps. Another big thing is I mimic what I hear on the radio, while watching movies or videos or anything, helps keep me in shape vocally.”
14.Can you tell us about a time when you had to take on a role that was completely different from what you were used to?
“Aside from the monster sounds, my first time doing multiple characters for an audio drama was kind of awkward, especially given it was romance and erotica. I know I have the voice for it, deep baritone with warm undertones, but it was still a bit cringe worthy at first. As I got deeper into the job though I realized I had serious talent there!”
15.What are your thoughts on All Ages of Geek and what can we improve on to make it a better platform?
“I’ve browsed your website ever since I was included in a tweet chain of yours, which wasn’t too long ago actually. Everything you have is clean, not overdone and mostly very accessible. I suppose the only real change I would suggest is a more unified system for thumbnails with your video uploads and maybe hiring a narrator for some of your YouTube work. Reason being that people with visual impairment won’t be able to read schedules or anything you have text-wise on your vids, so narration would be handy. Beyond that, if you ever feel brave you could categorize your podcasts into genres, though it wouldn’t be necessary as you have everything laid out anyway!”
16.Where can people find you online?
“People can find me online anywhere at BrianVaughnVA. Twitter is kind of a dumping ground now for most people, YouTube is something I will be coming back to soon (same with TikTok and Instagram), but if you really want to talk to me in person and ask me questions, come find me on Twitch. Everything is at BrianVaughnVA. Now if you’re looking for business deals or inquiries, I do have a website where you can find out everything you want about me brianvaughnva.com.”
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