We had the pleasure of chatting with Bradley Gareth all about the art of being a voice actor!
Hey! I’m Bradley Gareth. (Brad is fine, too, whatever you prefer!) I’m a half-Irish, half-Czech male voice over artist working out of Dallas, TX, and I’m open to working local, recording remotely, or traveling for work!
I was raised in the Middle of Nowhere, Pennsylvania, learned piano from age 5 and took up local community theater at age 10. I really fell in love with the performing arts throughout high school and college, which got me into musical theater productions, musical composition classes, chorus festivals, and the University of Pittsburgh student radio station, WPTS (If they’re still using some of the weird ads I recorded, let me know!).
I maintain a modest collection of movies, cartoons, and videogames, I’m almost always reading something about detectives or King Arthur, I still practice piano when the mood strikes me, I take notes about almost everything, and I love working with creative folks on making their visions come to life!
1.What inspired you to become a voice actor?
Well, I liked acting since I was a kid—I participated in all the school plays, and did high school musical theater and all that. But I always loved anime and cartoons and videogames, in no small part because they had so much potential to show such crazy stuff. If I were a film actor, 99% of the time I’d have to play a tall, dorky looking guy with glasses, unless I were covered in a green-screen suit or layered out for hours with facial prosthetics. In the booth? I’m happily able to be pretty much anything!
2.Can you describe your process for preparing for a voice acting role?
I usually try to get as much information on the part as I can ahead of time—what they look like, if there’s a vocal reference, their background, all of that. If I have access to the original writer or whoever came up with the character, I like to ask them some questions so I make sure we’re on the same page. I love coming up with characters and stuff on my own if it’s heavily improvised, but most of the time the director and/or the writer have something in mind, and it’s important to me that I help bring that to life.
3.What has been your biggest challenge as a voice actor and how have you overcome it?
I would say that early in my career, I spent a lot of my time just imitating other actors. Crispin Freeman, J. Michael Tatum, Chris Sabat, Troy Baker, Matt Mercer, Liam O’Brien, Eric Vale, Eric Stuart, Travis Willingham, Todd Haberkorn—it was tempting, when I was reading for something, to really rely on using them for my reference point for my sound, and the characters I had heard them play really informed my performance. As I got older, I learned that the real money was where I really am: in the gradient between them. I can use the work of other actors or performances as like a “base” for my performance, but the nuance of the character, their motivations, how they sound, THAT all has to come from me, and after a lot of practice and a lot of classes, I’ve hit the point where the character can kind of tell me how THEY sound in my head—not just like another actor’s read, but my own.
4.Can you tell us about a particularly memorable project you’ve worked on and why it stands out to you?
I’ve had a lot of fun with several projects, but I’m particularly fond of my time on Lackadaisy—that was one of those rare cases where the other actors were in call performing with me for me to play off of, and the fun that we had reading the script really comes through. I’m definitely proud to be able to work with such talented people, and it’s always a blast when I’m able to do so!
5. How do you handle the pressure of performing in front of a microphone?
I have medically diagnosed anxiety that I take medicine for, and I feel it important to mention that. I owe a lot of my success to having access to the correct medicine. That said, medicine doesn’t fix everything—I still get butterflies in my stomach anytime I’m performing for a role or auditioning for something I really want. I thankfully had years of doing stage performances in theater and choir to help prep me for that, but more than anything else, I do my best to have fun when I’m behind the mic—and that fun helps push past all those fears and anxieties. I’m behind the mic because I love being behind the mic, and that’s what’s most important.
6.Can you share any advice for aspiring voice actors just starting out in the industry?
You don’t have to commit to doing this seriously! If you just want to do some comic dubs, parodies, little skits with your friends, do that. Trying to make money off of this is very different from just messing around. If you want to start taking it seriously, you’re going to have to invest in professional recording equipment, and you’re going to have to invest in some professional training. My resume website lists all the classes I’ve taken, and I stand by all of them being great. I will add one simple additional warning though, for anyone out there totally unfamiliar with the business side of things for VO: Never pay someone who isn’t qualified to teach you. Frankly speaking, if they only have as many credits as I do right now, they’re probably not qualified to be teaching you. Go for teachers who have experience worth your time, and ideally find people working for the company you want to work for, not because they can just give you a job but because you want them to remember you as a good student and a good actor.
7.Can you tell us about a time when you had to adapt to a new character or voice?
There’s a character in the upcoming voiced version of the dungeon crawler “Frosthaven” where I had to learn to do a whole crazy thing with my voice, but I can’t give more details on it than that. Give it a try when it comes out, for sure, if you want to hear it! Aside from that, one thing I CAN actually talk about was my recently announced role of Jyubei Aryu—I worked with Jonathan Rigg to develop that on the fly, and that was a ton of fun to work with. We wanted to find this really self-loving, grandiose voice that would have the gravitas we wanted without it being too silly or too serious. He had to be glamorous without losing the power he exudes, and that was a lot of fun to find!
8. How do you stay motivated and engaged during long recording sessions?
I tend to move around a lot in the booth! I kind of sway on my feet, shake my limbs around a little to loosen up. Plus, if I’m in for a long haul with a director and/or an engineer, they’re usually aware it’s going to be a long process and they also get tired and thus it’s easy to get in some jokes and levity in the process. No matter what, I always need to take a few breaks here and there if it’s more than a couple hours, that way I can go back in refreshed and ready.
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?
My role in Smite was the first time I had ever used Source Connect. I was so nervous already, since I’d played Smite all throughout college and was excited to be part, but when we started the session, I couldn’t hear anything. Naturally, I panicked—I started trying out different headphones/earbuds and throwing them aside, only to finally realize I was plugging them into the wrong headphone jack the whole time (I was also relatively new to microphone interfaces). I don’t know if that counts but it certainly felt like I was improving trying to find a solution on the fly while my life depended on it!
10.Can you share a funny or interesting story from your time as a voice actor?
The first real character I played that wasn’t just a small handful of lines was a character named James in an otome game called Seduce Me (yes, that name is right, no, it was not a pornographic game). That game came out in about 2015, and I remember the sequel was coming out about a year or two after. Michaela Laws, who created the game, invited us all to come and do a panel at Anime Central (ACEN) for Seduce Me 2: The Demon War as part of the promotion. I look out to the crowd, there are obviously some cosplayers, and what do I see? Someone actually cosplayed James! It was the first time I’d ever seen someone cosplay a character I voice. I remember I talked to them afterwards and got a picture, and I’ll never forget what they said. They actually wanted to cosplay their REAL favorite character Sam (my character’s brother), but it was too hard and they cosplayed James instead. If you’re out there, James-cosplayer, know that I still laugh about that interaction to this day.
11.Can you share your favorite voice acting moment or performance?
I’m not sure if you mean a favorite of my own or a favorite of someone else’s, so I’ll give you both. For myself, it happened when I was recording for Coach in GunBuster. The show’s older than I am, so I think it’s fine to spoil a little. There’s a scene in the latter half of the show where Coach is confiding in Noriko. It’s like the only scene in the whole show where he’s being really vulnerable and honest. I’d been so nervous the whole entire time through the recording process since it was my first main character in an anime, and the impostor syndrome I was feeling was real: I was convinced in my soul that I could be fired at any moment for any reason. But then we hit this scene, and Coach really lays out all the hopes he has for Noriko and Kazumi, and it all clicked—I don’t want to spoil everything, but it was then that I really sort of felt Coach’s soul, the core of his character. And I knew that I could do it. I knew it was okay I was there and that I was telling Coach’s story. I felt like I understood it all at that moment. For someone else, I’ve already highlighted some guy voice actors who inspired everything about my performance, so let me throw some love elsewhere: Tiffany Grant’s performance in the dub of Neon Genesis Evangelion as Asuka is a masterclass in acting. The natural theatricality of her performance, how big and boisterous and proud Asuka is whenever she’s putting on airs and trying to show how great she is, how she can swap so quickly in her sad moments between depressively quiet and violently upset—it’s just awesome. Definitely an inspiration to this day.
12.Can you tell us about a voice acting project you turned down and why?
These days I turn down unpaid work with relative frequency, since I have bills and I need to focus on that. Aside from that, I’ve gotten asked once or twice about NFT work, I think—that’s always a definite “no” from me as well!
13. How do you keep your voice in good condition for voice acting?
Pretty basic stuff, really. I avoid smoking anything, for a start. I try to keep hydrated throughout the day, try not to drink any caffeine or dairy before any sessions. I have a fair amount of singing training from years of singing in school, so I’m also careful not to blow my voice out when I do karaoke with friends!
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?
I’m thankfully not totally pigeon-holed to any one thing, so I can’t say I’ve encountered a lot of roles that really surprised me. I’ll definitely give a shout-out here to the writing for the character August Flynn from the game Crimson Spires—he’s a serial killer, and a charming one. He’s so endlessly analytical of everyone and everything around him, and he’s so loquacious when he does these long, rambling monologues full of 5-dollar words—he was a really fun trip to play!
15.What are your thoughts on All Ages of Geek and what can we improve on to make it a better platform?
Your platform looks cool! I don’t have a lot of advice, everything looks good—keep being awesome!
16.Where can people find you online?
You can find me on my website, http://bradleygarethvo.com . I’m always updating my resume/filmography there with new roles you can find me in! You’re also free to follow me at @anime_brother on Twitter and bradleygarethvoiceactor on Instagram—Instagram’s where you’ll just find the highlights of role announcements and such, Twitter’s where I blurt out many of the dumb thoughts that run through my head. Thanks for interviewing me, hope 2023 treats you well!