We Interviewed Voice Actor James Hart!

It was a pleasure to sit down with James Hart, a talented voice actor, for an insightful discussion on creative journeys, inspirations, and goals. His passion for the craft shines through as we delve into his experiences and aspirations. Additionally, you can catch his performances as background voices in our latest project, “I Married a Monster on a Hill.

1.What initially inspired you to become a creator, and how has that inspiration evolved throughout your creative journey?

I’ve adored animation and character writing for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I would always be mimicking the voices I heard on TV and creating little scenes and stories with my Lego figures, giving each character a unique voice and personality. Narrative-driven video games were a major part of my life growing up and initially what inspired me was the videogame ‘Persona 5’, in the game they would shout their named attacks and it captivated me to shout along with them. Eventually, I looked up the game, found the voice actors on IMDB and realised this was a career that people had, to bring these beloved characters to life. Incredibly at the same time, my friend needed a voice actor for his animated film so I went for it and it was the most fun I’ve ever had. From there, I grabbed my Mum’s plug-in microphone and started auditioning on pay-to-play sites. 

Over the years my inspiration has certainly evolved from simply wanting to engage with these works to understanding that acting is an art form and drawing upon other works of art (character performances) to influence my own creative journey. This is very much from studying the craft of acting and truly understanding what the purpose of a voice actor is. 

2.Can you share a specific moment or experience that fueled your passion for your current creative project?

Currently I don’t really have a single creative project that I’m working on, I find my creative attention is always split between multiple things. That said, I recently did a stage show (funnily enough!) and during the performance, I reached a state of flow I hadn’t felt before. After weeks of rehearsal, I had reached a level of control and nuance in my acting that left me with a sense of complete freedom and thrill. Since then I’ve been fuelled by that feeling to audition and expand my artistry as much as possible.

Catch James in the background of Amy’s character intro!

3.What challenges have you encountered as an indie creator, and how have they shaped your approach to your work?

As every voice actor may experience, auditions can be endless and disheartening; especially when you really give them your all and most of the time don’t hear back. Over time, I’ve changed my mindset towards auditions, instead of trying to get the ‘perfect’ take or spending hours on a single audition, I find it’s best to accept that your best is your best and move on once it’s done. Of course, I still give every audition my all and experiment with different approaches before recording, but at least now I have a healthier mindset towards how much time and energy I spend on a single audition. There will always be more auditions or projects to contribute to.

4.Are there any particular creators who have significantly influenced your style or approach? How do you incorporate those influences into your own unique voice?

I’m always excited to answer this question because of how happy it makes me to express my admiration for those who have inspired me, every day I realise more and more just how talented they are. Yuri Lowenthal inspires me with each performance I hear, I grew up watching Ben 10 and playing Persona so to hear his voice is almost a reminder of why I adore voice acting. His level of nuance, comedy and believability is something I strive for in every performance I do. 

Another major influence of mine is Crispin Freeman, his podcast ‘Voice Acting Mastery’ is what has guided me throughout my journey. I am continually in awe of his wisdom, passion and professionalism, I’ll forever be grateful for his advice and I’m certain he’s already made a ground-breaking impact on the voice acting industry. 

A few more people whose performances inspire me when crafting an authentic character: Ashley Johnson, Troy Baker, Laura Bailey, Robbie Daymond, Max Mittleman, Keith Silverstein, Chris Hackney and so many more.

5. How do you navigate the balance between staying true to your artistic vision and adapting to feedback from your audience or collaborators?

As a voice actor, my job is to provide a service to my clients and create an interpretation of the character that aligns with the vision they have. Initially, I allow myself full creative freedom to develop a nuanced and interesting character; directors normally have suggestions or tweaks to this character and I choose to take this feedback graciously. In the event a collaborator entirely disagrees with my interpretation, I trust their judgement and provide them with one we can both align with. I find that understanding the project and characters helps mould my artistic vision into one that suits my collaborator’s intentions, and as such allows for feedback to build this character even further.

6.Can you recall a memorable success story or milestone in your indie creator journey that stands out as a turning point for you?

Honestly, I have so many but I’d have to say the creation of my first sample reel which you can find at the top of any of my social media. I knew that to audition for projects or even start voice acting, I needed a reel showcasing my talent. Up until that point, I really didn’t know the depths of my range or ability to voice act, it was a dream of mine but never something concrete. The recording sessions, editing and posting of that sample reel not only quelled my imposter syndrome as an actor but greatly increased my confidence too. While I plan on recording a full demo reel in the near future, I know I’ll always look back on this one and think ‘This is what made me a voice actor’.

7.What role do setbacks or failures play in your creative process, and how do you overcome them to keep moving forward?

Personally, if it’s for voice acting, I welcome setbacks and falling flat on my face. To me, these key moments are when my true growth happens. If the setback is not during a performance, it allows me to stop and re-evaluate my approach and steer my path in the right direction. However, if I mess up or make a mistake during a performance or high-intense situation, this setback is what really kicks me into high gear and forces me to reassert myself. When overcoming setbacks I find it’s crucial to be kind and loving to yourself, especially if it’s your first time doing something. It’s never the end of the world if you mess up that line or even get let go from that job, there’s always a chance to bounce back.

8. How do you manage your time and energy to sustain a consistent creative output while juggling other aspects of life?

This is unfortunately something I’ve tackled with for many years now, juggling so many priorities while also taking care of yourself can be overwhelming. Thankfully I’ve learnt how to prioritise and to drop the things that aren’t absolutely necessary. This helps me rid myself of the guilt of knowing there are things I should do, and in the event I don’t finish my massive to-do list then it’s no biggie! I unfortunately tend to commit to more than I can handle so making sure I’m prudent enough to plan ahead has been key. It makes it all the more worthwhile to have some well-deserved breathing room!

9.Have you found any unexpected joys or rewards in the indie creator community, and how has it contributed to your overall experience?

Something totally unexpected was how lovely and fun everyone is in the indie community, I had a decent idea of what the job would be like but I didn’t anticipate how kind and supportive everyone would be. On all of my prior projects and hopefully, my future ones, the people I’ve collaborated with have been some of the nicest people I’ve met. There’s an aura of humility that I’ve grown to enjoy, where we can bond over our passions without the pressure of a big studio financing us or hard deadlines. 

10.If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring creators, what would it be based on your own lessons learned?

My one piece of advice has to be this, start NOW. Doesn’t matter if it’s for an hour or 30 minutes before bed but I urge every aspiring creator to start their passion as soon as possible. Not only do artistic skills or careers take a long time to cultivate, but if you find you never have time to do that thing you really want to do, you’ll thank yourself once you start allocating that time. Sadly life is never as long as we’d like it to be, so it makes sense to spend more of it doing what we love! So go write that book, or go practice that instrument, because it’s worth doing! 

11. What are your thoughts on All Ages of Geek? What are some things we should change/do? What are something you enjoy about our website?

All Ages of Geek do an incredible job of covering all things geeky! I’ve loved reading their interviews as well as taking some of their quizzes (apparently I’m most like Caitlyn from Arcane). Also, the art is fantastic, it always impresses me whenever I see it. What I would love to see is any nerdy news coverage or ‘Top 10’ styles of content like WatchMojo, I think you guys would do a great job! 

12. Goals for 2024?

I recently posted my long-term voice acting goals on my socials! I wanted to keep them focused on why I enjoy the craft of acting and what I want it to bring me, as opposed to concrete targets such as ‘land 30 roles’, as while I can tip the balance for this, landing a role is not entirely in my control. Here are my VA goals going forward!

  • For my audience and I to feel enthralled in my performance, sharing a connected feeling of astonishment.
  • To feel proud and triumphant in my performances for characters that resonate with me.
  • To feel excited and thrilled to be creating games and animations that I admire.

Finally, I would just like to give a MASSIVE thank you to All Ages of Geek for this interview; it’s been an honour to be able to share my passion for voice acting. Go check out their website and all the incredible things they’re doing! Feel free to reach out to me on any of my platforms or send me an email at [email protected]

Instagram/Twitter: @JamesHartVA

Email for contact: [email protected]

Fiverr: https://www.fiverr.com/jameshart_voice 

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