Check out our Interview with Jax Winterbourne! Jax is a pro hacker and ex-Marine based in Denver. Also living they’re living the dream as an anime and video game voice actor. Check out this interview to learn more about Jax’s journey! You can also catch Jax as Hamburg in our original project ‘I Married a Monster on a Hill‘!
1. What initially drew you to pursue a career in voice acting?
I liked the idea of being able to breathe life into characters as a way to unwind after a long day in the corporate grind. Acting is special because it allows me to become someone else – if only for a little while. I decided to give it a shot, and haven’t looked back since. I had this idea in my head that pursuing voice acting would allow me to act out emotions and improve my mental state of mind, and it has.
2. Could you share a favorite or memorable project that you’ve worked on? What made it special?
‘Say You’ll Remember Me’ is one of my favorite projects. I was afforded the opportunity to voice the character Nico, who sends a video message to the main character after their accident. It was a special project to me because I got to operate through such a wide range of emotions, and Olivia’s writing was beautifully executed. It was a game jam for O2A2 2023 – not to mention, the rest of the team did an incredible job of putting together all of the elements to make something memorable. The best part was seeing all of the comments about the game on the project page.
I absolutely love to see that my work as a voice actor had an impact. People even played it and recorded it, which was incredible:
3. Do you feel a personal connection to the characters you voice, and if so, how does that influence your performance?
I do! Having a personal connection with my character is a critical part of visualizing the character’s life, in a way that allows me to become them. Being authentic and putting myself in the life of the character opens up a wider range of emotions, and allows me to truly perform in a way that is natural. I’m thankful to Andrea Toyias who helped me understand this concept through her “Casting Director for a Day” class. I’m a firm believer that when an actor is booked for the role, it’s because a part of who they are already exists within the character that they are trying to bring to life. That doesn’t mean a villian role would go to an evil voice actor for instance, but that the actor can understand pain – and the director can feel the performance. When I act, I aspire to dig deep into the role of the character and draw parallels within my life that represent the character in a way that I understand, and is realistic to the character’s intentions.
4. What advice would you offer to aspiring voice actors trying to break into the industry?
Get ready to harden your mental state of mind because you will be rejected. It’s a competitive industry, where every piece of the puzzle matters. For instance, you have to meet the bare minimum requirements, otherwise it’s an uphill battle. If you don’t have a demo reel and website, you’re basically hurting your own chances of success. You have to look at it like this: if you were a director, would you hire the person with an anime profile picture, no demo reel, and no website offering to send samples to you via DM? My personal take is probably “no”. I’ve directed for projects before and I’m more than willing to say that I cannot justify casting you if I don’t know who you are or what you do. If your answer is yes, then it’s because you’re not looking at it through a director’s lens. A director has to get to know you – and they have to do so within seconds. If they have to dig to find out who you are, what you sound like, or what you’ve done, you’ve dramatically reduced the probability of getting cast.
Another piece of advice is to avoid rushing to have a demo reel created without at least taking some professional classes. Thus, getting involved in the community and taking classes, practicing, and then getting your first demo reel is a high priority. I will say though, you probably shouldn’t spend more than 150-300 on your first demo reel, because you’re going to outgrow it fast. You could wait until you’ve taken classes and have also booked some indie work, but I think even having a basic demo reel allows you to throw your name in the hat when it comes to demo pulls – I’m sure some voice actors have a different opinion on this. Still, most of us would agree that it’s probably smart to avoid creating a demo reel by yourself though because there’s certain industry nuances for length, voice profile, etc – especially based on the type of reel.
Lastly, once you have your first demo, having sections on a website such as “about”, “equipment” & “training” are absolutely necessary. I also wouldn’t start doing auditions until you have a basic XLR microphone, and a sound-treated space, even if it’s a blanket fort or space in a closet. You’ve got one shot to impress the director. If there’s a crazy echo, dogs barking, static, or anything else in your auditions – it will likely end up in the trash. Again, it comes down to you versus everyone else. Clean audio is a minimum to even be considered for most projects.
Stay persistent and it will all work out.
5. Tell us about your creative journey.
This is a tough question, I’m a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. I’m a writer, and I’ve had a technical book published through a well-known publisher. I also like to write poetry. I sometimes make music on the side, for instance I made the track for ‘Say You’ll Remember Me’ – however, that’s a hobby I have mostly put in my past. I can make websites and I love making memes that bring joy, and most importantly of all I’ve been meticulously grinding to book as many voice acting roles as I possibly can. My creative journey consists of trying to bring my vision to life, through the artistic expression portrayed within my choices as I voice various characters.
6. Goals for 2024?
Stay positive and motivated and the rest will fall into place. I’m going to refrain from setting goals pertaining to specific types of characters I want to voice, because the reality is simple: I want to voice them all. I don’t think it’s an issue to set specific character goals or wishes, but I’m not doing that because for the most part, voice actors don’t get to decide what auditions come our way. I’m work oriented in a way that requires me to constantly feel like I’m moving forward and setting goals that are based on chance isn’t something that I can do. Even the amount of roles booked is more of a wish versus a measurable goal.
7. What are your thoughts on the voice acting community?
I think the voice acting community is absolutely lovely. There are so many kind and encouraging people – probably the highest quantity of mutual support that I’ve ever witnessed. My only negative note would be that drama does bubble up every so often, but this happens in every industry and community. My personal opinion would be to avoid getting involved if possible – your directors will silently thank you.
8. Biggest success story as a voice actor?
Booking a role as the U.S. Medic in Call to Arms – Gates of Hell: Liberation. The opportunity to be in this role popped up out of nowhere, and not even a full week after auditioning, my voice was already in the game. I’ve heard of Call to Arms before, so it was incredibly satisfying to participate in a project that was known to me, prior to auditioning.
9. Thoughts on All Ages of Geek and suggestions?
All Ages of Geek is a fantastic community. The interviews, the blog posts and reviews, it’s all fairly wholesome and informative. My only recommendation would be to keep expanding the project. The work that y’all do will go down in history!
10. Where can folks support your work?
I love using Twitter, so you can follow me at @JaxWinterbourne Other than that, I’m always available to voice act in your project! Shoot me a DM on Twitter or contact me via my booking button on my website: