Interview with Russell Wait, professional voice actor (USA)

Posted by Léa Rousseau on Nov 17, 2021 4:05:18 PM

Russel Wait PP
"Because of a chance encounter with a Ghost Pirate in Hong Kong, I have recorded English dubbing in countless hours": American voice actor living in Hong Kong, Russell Wait, told us about his career and favorite projects.

When did you decide to start your voice career?

So I was dressed as a nineteenth century vampire, working the Halloween Event at Ocean Park in Hong Kong, back in 2003. Backstage, I got to chat with the Ghost Pirate, who was actually a very talented actor from Canada. He worked for a dubbing company in Hong Kong, and asked if I wanted to try out as the team needed more men. I said, "Why not?" - and the rest is history. Because of a chance encounter with a Ghost Pirate in Hong Kong, I have recorded English dubbing in countless hours of anime, asian live action cinema, old Kung-Fu movies, and still love voice acting and dubbing.

And what life experience helped you in becoming a voice actor?

Honestly? Acting school. I use the skills and training I received in college and later everyday when recording or working with other voice actors. This training gives you the skill you need to be confident, to interpret direction and give the best performance you can.

What advice would you give to aspiring voice actors?

Voice Acting is a very rewarding career, but you do need to be tenacious. I would also highly recommend taking acting and voice classes. Learning how to connect with text and with your instrument is so important. I would also honestly, consider taking a few marketing classes, and engaging with other people in the industry.
I believe a "can do" attitude will help you get through many things. A positive attitude coupled with the ability to listen and take direction is very important.


How do you handle the pressure of studio sessions and auditions?

No pressure. Auditions should be viewed as an opportunity to meet new people and to showcase your ability. Not that they should be taken lightly, but you are being given a chance show off what you can do. For me, I think auditions are fun. If you get the job that's great! If you don't, remember that the auditioned has now heard you, and will file that away for later. You never know!
For studio sessions, I make sure to have had enough sleep, and centre myself so that I can be in the right frame of mind. I want to project a positive can-do attitude, and help make the recording session go smoothly. If you have had a chance to preview the script, I suggest take that opportunity. When you are in studio, there are many folks to work with, from the clients, studio employees, and engineers. Leaving them all with a good impression will certainly help with getting another booking.
Russel Wait Studio

How do you create voices for cartoon characters?

Often you don't know what voice you're going to do until it spills out of your mouth. Creating a voice is a collaborative process. You have the director, the illustrators and animators, and finally you. You listen to the director describe the character, look at the character, read the description, let the dialogue inform you and if it's been dubbed before listen to the original. Breathing in all that information can help you to craft a voice for a character. After dubbing for a while, you will find that you have several "go-to" voices for certain character tropes that you are consistently faced with - and a lot of that process can be "intuited". Voice training helps to understand your instrument and how to technically do voices that don't ultimately hurt you.

Which projects were your favorites to work on?

I love it all, but if I had to choose - I'd say my favorite work is recording video games and dubbing Anime, Dramas, Action movies, Comedies Television and films ... wait - that's all of it. ;-) Dubbing is a unique art form - from crafting a dubbing script adaptation to performing the dialogue - trying to catch and make an alternate language version of an original is so much fun. Only as a dubbing performer are you allowed to perform a wide variety of roles, that you wouldn't get a chance to otherwise. I have been the romantic lead, the action hero, the kind old dad losing his memory, the Animated Assassin - the documentary narrator, the President of the Federation, etc --- as an actor it's always exciting to try your hand at different roles and voice acting gives you the power to do that.

Tell us about one of your favorite roles.

It's hard to pick a favorite. I really enjoy dubbing Japanese Anime cartoons, and early on I got the opportunity to dub so many great roles. One of my favorite roles was playing Bateau in "Ghost in the Shell": Stand Alone Complex for the SEA Animax dub. I like that role, because that led me to play The Count in "The Count of Monte Christo" - which was such a juicy anti-hero role - from there I got to play Doctor Black Jack, and Sven in "Black Cat" and Sesshomaru in "Inuyasha" ... But if I had to choose my favorite Anime Dubbing role ever, it was portraying Hanna in "Tokyo Godfathers". That was such a great experience. It was an ensemble piece with three mains. Darren Pleaven, Candice Moore, and myself - we dubbed it together, all crouched around one microphone and it was so much fun.

What was your funniest voiceover project?

I was booked to be the voice for Asahi Beer in a well-known advertising studio. My manager was very stressed out dealing with all the paperwork and the buyout discussions and scheduling prior to the booking. Finally, the recording day arrived and I was impressed by the number of people in attendance for the session. There was the client and their team flown in from Japan, the director, his assistant, the copywriter, the people for the ad agency, plus the two audio engineers. I was introduced and then whisked off to the booth. It was then I got to see the copy for the first time. I thought to myself, oh man - this is going to take a while... We watched the commercial, I took a deep breath and said... "Asahi. Super Dry. Japan's Number One Beer" My earphones clicked on and the engineer said, "Thank you, that's it.", I was shocked. I left the booth, thanked everyone and went home. One take.

What about your worst project?

My worst voice-over experience was again in a studio recording for a bank. They had chosen my voice from a library demo and I was very happy to have booked the job. After reading the copy, there was a bit of a commotion outside the booth. The sound engineer clicked in to say "Please hold a minute" - but I heard the client in the background saying "This is NOT what I wanted, I wanted a BRITISH voice over artist!". I felt bad that I wasn't British.

Any upcoming projects?

I wrote the adaptation for and am directing the English Dub of the Korean Film "Mission Possible". It is such a funny action comedy, I love every minute of working on this film.
 RW-PHOTO-2021-08-26-12-52-25 copy

Find Russell Wait, his voice and his credits on his Voxing Pro page.


Topics: Interviews, Voice Actors

Interview of Jean-Baptiste Fillon, professional voice actor

Posted by Léa Rousseau on Aug 26, 2021 11:15:59 AM

'In order to do a good job, we have to connect with our inner child', Jean-Baptiste Fillon, french actor and voice actor told us about his voice acting career and his future projects.

When did your voice acting career begin?

An open call audition for a big Microsoft campaign appeared on an acting website called Casting call Pro late 2008/early 2009. After two rounds of auditions I got selected out of more than 200 voices for a dozen of TV commercials. As a young and broke actor I was of course unbelievably happy! I got to record four of those before receiving an early phone call. The booker was telling that me the whole campaign would not happen in French due to the credit crunch and its aftermath. That was my first job, I felt cursed. Luckily a few weeks later a great voiceover agent helped me cut a demo for free and got me my first gig. It was a couple of lines in a little corporate film and I was incredibly grateful to him!

What inspired you to get in this industry?

As a teenager, I watched US movies dubbed in french over and over. I was really impressed with Robert De Niro's and Bruce Willis' french voices in particular. I learnt their intonations, worked on my range and knew all their work. I was very sad to hear that Patrick Poivey had passed out recently, he influenced a lot of my work.

How do you prepare for studio sessions and auditions?

I see auditions as an opportunity to learn and get better. For my studio sessions, I do A LOT of research on the brand/character/game. If I have the script and time on my hands I might do specific articulation exercises to be solely focused on the creative process whilst recording.

How do you create voices for cartoon characters?

I often come out with voices I didn't know I could do. If there's no particular instructions about the character's vibe and we're starting from scratch, I like to discuss with the director to understand their vision and aim at cooking something that will both surprise and please them.

What types of projects are your favorites?

I love working on video games and cartoon, it's so fun! I am not sure why, but my guess is that in order to do a good job we have to access our inner child, which to me feels like "coming home". My funniest project was a Signal animation - I got to dub all the characters, young, old, animals, foreign, accented, etc... Great fun!
But my all time favourite role was Thai N'guyen in "Say I do" on Netflix. Thai is a very genuine and generous soul. Dubbing him was a privilege.

Any advice for someone looking to start a voice acting career?

I would say practice, observe and ask questions. Then practice again, listen and ask even more questions ! Also, have a lot of determination, learn how to market yourself and develop a network.
Can you name a few of your favorite voice directors?
I loved working with Hal Ritson, Benoit Dubreuil, Jean Guesdon, the late Jay Benedict and his wife Phoebe Schoefield, Vanessa baker, Jacky Davis, William John and Alain Weiller.

Any upcoming projects?

I can't wait to see the "Mister Mayfair" trilogy shot last summer in Portugal and England starring some of my childhood's heroes, Armand Assante (Gotti) and Steven Bauer (Scarface). I had a supporting role in it and got to spend a lot of valuable time on set with these legendary actors. An amazing experience throughout.

What's your biggest professional dream?

Making it in France at some point ! And also I'd love to work with Guillaume Orsat, a french voice actor.


Find Jean-Baptiste Fillon, his voice and his credits on his Voxing Pro page. You can also watch his IMDb Showreel.


Topics: Interviews, Voice Actors

Interview with Ken Foster, professional voice actor

Posted by Léa Rousseau on Aug 24, 2021 3:50:11 PM

Ken Foster 2"You can't lose the job you don't already have, so do it": American voice actor Ken Foster answered some of our questions about his career and favorite projects 

When did you decide to start your voice career?

The seed was planted in my brain as a child, mimicking the speech and sounds of my favorite cartoons (Looney Toons/Bugs Bunny, Hanna-Barbera, Heckle & Jeckle, etc...). The idea that it is a job or career didn't land with me until I was an adult. Right out of high school I started interning at a local radio station, and a career (and education) in radio became my focus for the next 6-7 years. I jumped off that path for a couple decades to work as a consultant & SME in the corporate software & systems space, but always lamented leaving. My parents passed away when I was in my mid-40's, and I decided that my life needed a change. Luckily I have an understanding, compassionate (and working!) spouse, who has been supportive in my journey, and I've been a full time voice actor since 2014.
What qualities are important to succeed in this industry?
You need some modern studio technical skills, especially since the era of covid-19. The industry has become "work-from-home", and we all need to have and manage our own studios. Along with that, acting and improvisation skills (primarily improvisation) are a must. And - for most of us - some basic business acumen and understanding, best practices in both execution and reconciliation (plus some basic finance training). We are an entrepreneurial type, and the beauty of that is you can usually outsource for areas where your skills may lack.
For me, being able to devote myself to the career, full-time, has been the most helpful in becoming a voice actor. I know my circumstances have been fortunate (and I thank my wife for her support constantly).

Would you have any advice to give to a beginner?

Take one of the VO evaluation courses with a reputable studio or training house - one that actually records & critiques new students - to see if you have viability. If you enjoy it, pursue some coaching. I will say, coach with industry pros, reputable in their respective strong suits; like, coach for commercial VO with someone proven (AND SUCCESSFUL) in commercial voiceover and/or voice casting. Rinse & repeat.

How do you prepare for studio sessions and auditions?

Confidence. If I feel pressure from auditions, it's usually that I'm auditioning for some roles that I'm not suitable to be cast in. It's an audition. You can't lose the job you don't already have, so do it (do it as best you can), and move on.
Schedule sessions for when my voice is "ready" - at least 2 hours after getting up. Coffee & chill until it's time. Make sure the tech is all OK. Phone = airplane mode. Water at hand. Power off all manageable noisy devices (heat/ac).

How do you create voices for cartoon characters?

The voices come from the character. The character comes from mentally bringing them to life - size, shape, age, attitude, wants, likes, hates - where are they coming from/going to, where they are. All of that will drive their sound. Images are VERY helpful when auditioning for characters.

Which projects were your favorites to work on?

I LOVE working on documentaries and broadcast narration - in-show and commentary. I love this THE most, and would love to do more of this.
My funniest project was Dr. Zinthrop in "Wasp Woman", a VO Rep production that's a reimagining of a 1952 Roger Corman "B". My favourite role was Eyemaster Anug in Spellforce 3: Fallen Gods video game - he has a Rip Torn kind of vibe (before the "troll-voice" processing).

What was your worst project?

A commercial for a tech company I cannot name. The session ran over by an hour, and 2 days later I found out they used a different voice (younger, British female).
Ken Foster 1

Your favorite voice producers or voice directors?

I love working with Thom Pinto, Tina Morasco, and Everett Oliver, each of whom can draw a better performance out of me than I would myself. But I'm always ready for a new director (and I love being directed).

Any upcoming projects?

None that I can share now, but keep an eye/ear on the VO Rep Podcast page, as we will be releasing original audio productions throughout the year (really fun stuff!).

What's your biggest professional dream?

To regularly voice compelling and meaningful documentary content for a producer like Werner Herzog, or Ken Burns (basically, to be Peter Coyote. Or Werner Herzog).

Anything else you want to say?

My aesthetic opinion is that Black Sabbath was one of the most important blues-rock bands of the late 60's/early 70's, and created the blueprint for all heavy and hard music to follow to this day. To quote Henry Rollins, "You can only trust yourself and the first six Black Sabbath albums".

Find Ken Foster, his voice and his credits on his Voxing Pro page.


Topics: Interviews, Voice Actors

Interview with Emily Cass, professional voice actress

Posted by Léa Rousseau on Mar 2, 2021 6:02:33 PM

Emily Cass

"The ability to fail is an opportunity to grow": the young multi-award nominated English voice actress, Emily Cass, answered a few questions about her career.

When did you decide to start your voice career?

I would say the idea of creating characters vocally for animation really sparked my interest in this field. When I was 20, I took my first leap into this industry and after getting my 1st set of voice reels produced, I was really fortunate to have some great jobs come in quite soon. In now just over 15 months I have been very lucky with the array of voice jobs I have done and can't wait for the future.
What qualities are important to succeed in this industry?
The ability to be creative and spontaneous, I often think the best acting and vocal choices you hear on ads/animation/games etc, are the ones that go slightly against expectation, leaving the listener with an element of surprise.

What life experience has been the most helpful for you in becoming a voice actor?

That's an interesting question! I used to dance a lot and take a lot of dance exams, and over my youth through my dance teacher it taught me the importance of failure and that the ability to fail is an opportunity to grow. I find that this is key to this industry.

Do you feel pressure before auditions?

I don't really think of it as pressure, as something I really enjoy and each audition is an opportunity to be creative, practice my craft and have fun. Ultimately doing what I love to do.

How do you prepare for studio sessions?

If I work from home, I would ensure all my equipment is set up properly and all connections and cables are together, do a short vocal warm up, prior to the session check over and study the copy and then be open to all direction that may be given live on session. I love going to a studio to record so if I head off to a studio, I always give myself plenty of time before hand, so I can relax and then just soak up the creative space when I arrive.
Emily Cass

How do you create voices for cartoon characters?

I mostly just use my instinct, I love looking at a brief and if the casting director has given pictures really study it, embody the character and see what vocal shifts naturally happen. Then break it down in detail and work out where vocally this character sits, what energy does it have? Where do I embody the sound? Does the character have any vocal features e.g. a grunt, lisp, stammer e.t.c?

What types of projects are your favorites?

For me, it has to be animation. There is so much freedom in voicing animation.

Tell us about one of your favorite roles.

I recently voiced a few characters in a a new app, but I just totally fell in love with one of the characters from that, the dialogue was bubbly and the pace felt so crazy.

What advice do you have for someone looking to start a voice acting carrer?

Experiment, get creative, listen to existing talent, challenge yourself, train your ear and be bold!

What's your biggest professional dream?

It's probably every actors dream but I would love to voice a pixar character. Maybe even one that sings!!

  Emily Cass


Find Emily Cass, her voice and her credits on her Voxing Pro page.


Topics: Interviews, Voice Actors

Interview with Mathieu Barrabes, professional French voice actor

Posted by Léa Rousseau on Oct 23, 2020 12:04:41 PM

Mathieu Barrabes

"I play with my tongue, teeth and cheeks to find the right posture for my mouth": French voice actor Mathieu Barrabès told us a bit more about his career and technique. 

When did you decide to start your voice career?

I made the decision right after my trip to Japan in 2009.  Living, breathing and rocking in Greater Tokyo was surrealistic. It was such a beautiful experience to live in another country: the people, the culture... and the live houses! I understood that everything was possible and that I could realise my dreams.
I already had drama qualifications, and was already interested in dubbing, but it wasn't enough! After practicing a lot during different workshops (Online Coaching Voix-Off by Lorenzo Pancino, then in professional studios with Arnaud Clergue), I started my voice career in 2012. But I have never stoped learning since then! The last dubbing workshop I did was with Mathieu Richer in 2015.
What qualities are important to succeed in this industry?
It has been really hard for me to become a professional voice actor. Talent and training isn't enough to succeed; you need to learn how to solicit producers and voice directors by yourself. I started by contacting advertising agencies and local radio stations to get the necessary experience so I could offer my talents to bigger projects.
I also reckon that acting, playing and performing music are some of the most important things to succeed in a voice acting career. Expressing feelings and emotions and developing an artistic side is key, as we are asked to deliver different emotions for each project, each client. Besides, having a love for words, rhythm and poetry is important as well.

How do you prepare for studio sessions and auditions?

Before an audition, I eat dark chocolate and drink a good coffee. To prepare my studio sessions : I do lots of breathing!

How do you create voices for cartoon characters?

Sometimes clients bring me pictures of the characters they created. In that way, it is easy to find the right voice. When I look for "the right voice", I play with my tongue, teeth and cheeks to find the right posture for my mouth, the right shape. Having good control of my body helps a lot.
Mathieu Barrabes


What types of projects are your favourites?

I love working on video games and dubbing because I love playing characters... Actually, as voice actors, we are always playing a role... in every new project we do! One of my favorite role was playing a dragon in a video game. I loved it!

What was your funniest project?

Playing Darth Vader, Santa Claus and Robin in the same project. It was very funny to play different characters as I had to modulate my voice and try to adapt it to each character. It's a very complicated work for the actor, who needs to practice before the studio session, and who needs to have very good voice control. It's exhausting but also so fun! It's straining for your vocal cords, your body and mind. When you can gather the three of them together, it is a real pleasure!

Any upcoming projects?

I just finished a beautiful project with Blue Okapi which will be broadcasted soon on French National TV. I can't wait!

What's your biggest professional dream?

I would love to be booked for big dubbing projects happening in Paris. I love the charm of Parisians recording studios and dubbing sets, and being able to feel the presence of my voice actor partners. It reminds me of when I was performing on stage in theaters. But with the sanitary crisis, I'm mostly working in my home studio, for Netflix productions for instance. Also, one day, I'd love to make my acting debut in a movie. That would be amazing!
 Mathieu Barrabes


Find Mathieu Barrabes, his voice and his credits on his Voxing Pro page.


Topics: Interviews, Voice Actors

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