We Interviewed Voice Actor Jenna Rose

Hello! Pleasure to meet you! I’m Jenna Rose (she/they), a queer/nonbinary voice actor from New York. I’ve been training and working in VO for three years, and I’ve had the chance to be part of wonderful projects ranging from animation to podcasts to visual novels and more. I’ve also branched into commercial and narration work. I love working with passionate creators and teams, and I’m always eager to contribute to stories with queer experiences, mental health representation, and diverse characters. In my spare time, I sing, write, and bake. I’m happy to be part of the wonderfully supportive online VO community and to see both fresh and familiar faces progressing their careers each day.

(Chibi art – commissioned from @kareieisuuu on Twitter)

1.What inspired you to become a voice actor?

I have social anxiety, and I wanted a way to express myself that would also let me work through those experiences. Voice acting has helped me feel more comfortable connecting with new people and performing in front of others.

2.Can you describe your process for preparing for a voice acting role?

My training has taught me to focus on the story. I glance at the character details in the sides just to make sure I can manage a character’s range and that I’m comfortable performing as them. Then I study the lines carefully and try to figure out what the character wants and what situations might lead to these lines being said so they can get closer to that goal. Focusing on story helps your reads feel more natural and helps you have fun!

3.What has been your biggest challenge as a voice actor and how have you overcome it?

I would say self-confidence issues. Like a lot of us, I tend to be very critical of my work and worry about not advancing quickly enough or not being ‘good’ enough at performing. I overcome these doubts by surrounding myself with very positive and supportive members of the VO community so we can all remind each other that we’re always enough and always right where we need to be in our journeys. 

4.Can you tell us about a particularly memorable project you’ve worked on and why it stands out to you?

I got to voice the main character in an animatic pilot for a series called “The Figments” by a creator named Kip (@CromwellKal on Twitter), and it was my first big original character role. I had a lot of fun recording and working with the team, and it led me to have a great relationship with them and one of the leads (Jenn – @jenn0wow on Twitter) who have gone on to found the indie animation studio The Sunflower Club (@Sunflowerclub_ on Twitter). Now Kip is developing a reboot of “The Figments”, and I’m excited to be part of the writing team for that project.

5. How do you handle the pressure of performing in front of a microphone?

Honestly, as long as no more than a few people are looking at me (and in remote recording sometimes there’s no video feed, so no one is looking at each other), I feel okay. On camera work is something I don’t think I could ever do though. But if you do get anxious behind the mic, just remember to breathe. And if you make a mistake in a line, just go right back to the beginning and do it over. No one expects you to do everything perfectly. All you can do is your best, and that is always enough.

6.Can you share any advice for aspiring voice actors just starting out in the industry?

If taking classes is an option, I would highly recommend starting out with a basic 101/Intro course just to get an idea of the basics of voice acting and the different types of voice acting there are. It’ll help you see if you like the work and what areas might appeal to you most. If classes aren’t an option, I’d recommend checking out YouTube for free videos on the subject or just diving in and doing your own comic or animation dubs to give yourself some practice and experience. Also remember, you don’t need to invest in a bunch of fancy equipment right away. It’s okay to start out with a basic USB mic and some blankets tacked on the walls for sound treatment (that’s how I started out lol).

7.Can you tell us about a time when you had to adapt to a new character or voice?

I’m in an upcoming pilot right now called “Black Pines” created by a creator named Kal (@kaldraws8280 on Twitter, the project page is @BlackPinesKY). I play a character named Chris who speaks with a southern (Kentucky) accent. I grew up in Florida for part of my childhood, and I’ve got a twinge of an accent left. To speak as Chris though, I really had to lean into it all the way. I also had to review ‘accent challenge’ videos on YouTube of people from Kentucky reciting lists of words so I could adjust my accent to sound less Florida and more authentic to Chris’s location. Just listening and repeating can help a lot with honing in your accent to a specific location.

8. How do you stay motivated and engaged during long recording sessions?

Honestly, the energy of the person running the session and the energy of the other actors involved is what keeps me going the most. You all play off of each other, and it doesn’t feel like work — it just feels fun. Because of time zone issues for remote projects, a lot of us end up recording individually. But I love whenever there’s a chance for a live full cast recording session or even just a first read through of the script.

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?

In a thriller podcast called “Blake Skye, Private Eye” (@BlakeSkyePI on Twitter) for their story “A Most Vital Art”.  I got to play an uptight, controlling socialite named Lorraine. I wanted her to be just barely unbearable — like enough that you’d want nothing to do with her in real life but you’d still find her funny to listen to for the podcast. So I just added these little trills into her voice whenever she’d call for her fiancé, and I made her words crisp so she’d sound very worldly and wealthy, but I gave her an audible huff and pout the second she didn’t get her way. I had a lot of fun trying to figure her out, and the team was amazingly supportive during our sessions.

10.Can you share a funny or interesting story from your time as a voice actor?

There’s a microepisode for the thriller podcast “Someone Dies in This Elevator” (@SDITEpod on Twitter) that hasn’t been released yet, so I won’t give details. But during the recording me and the other actors had to make the sounds of various robots in a very specific and unusual kind of peril, and we were cracking up by the time we had everything recorded.

11.Can you share your favorite voice acting moment or performance?

There’s a horror visual novel called “Re:Shape” made by Funigami Games (@Funigami on Twitter), and I got cast to play the monster. I really love being any kind of bad guy, and the chance to be a full blown monster too was amazing. This creature’s design is like the most horrific puppet ever, and she’s wound super tight and out to get everyone. So I got to be completely unhinged and do maniacal laughter and terrifying growls, and it was so much fun!

12.Can you tell us about a voice acting project you turned down and why?

I mentioned in a previous question that I voiced the main character in an animatic pilot called “The Figments” a couple years ago, and now I’m on the writing team for the reboot project. But I won’t be voicing that character again. After the reboot was announced, I asked the creator if they wanted me to voice her again (a few years had passed after all). They let me know that the character had actually been reworked and was now Latinx. That is not my heritage, and under those circumstances we both agreed immediately that a new VA should take over the role. Later I came on board as one of the writers, and now I’m happy to continue having the chance to help bring “The Figments” to life in a different way.

13. How do you keep your voice in good condition for voice acting?

I limit dairy (it can affect your sinuses), I pace myself if there are auditions or roles that require shouting/screaming, I practice breath work at home, and I drink hot tea every morning (a cumin, coriander, fennel blend). The tea especially helps soothe my vocal cords and also calms my anxiety and settles my stomach if I’m nervous. I like to have a cup right before I record my auditions.

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?

Usually I’m cast in adult women roles — mothers or villains or older sisters. However, there’s a point and click video game for kids called “Alula Jungle” by Redbird Learning (@LearningRedbird on Twitter) where I got to play a cute little anxious spider named Spindle. It was fun to try performing a character in a higher register and to be part of a project for a younger audience.

15.What are your thoughts on All Ages of Geek and what can we improve on to make it a better platform?

You have a great site that covers a lot of material and is supportive of a lot of creators and performers, which is so appreciated and so important to us. Thank you for that! I’d love to see some spotlight events about each of the people on your team so we can all get to know them and your brand even better.

16.Where can people find you online?

You can find everything about me as a voice actor (and writer) at my website — www.jrosereads.com. You can also find me on Twitter — @JRoseReads.

Thank you all for the chance to speak and for your great questions! I started doing this work out of my home, feeling uncertain and nervous but knowing I wanted to be part of telling stories as a performer. So I just dove in and took the risk. The VO journey isn’t always easy, but it’s made me happy, and I hope all of your journeys give you the same. And please remember, happiness in this work isn’t just about the roles you get, it’s also about the wonderful people and communities and clients you connect with. Let yourself be open to learning and trying and failing and coming back to do it all again. You’re worth the investment and effort, I promise.

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