16. Voice Acting

I have a lot of odd obsessions, such as my fascination for video game music and love of British literature. One of my peculiar passions is voice acting.

For those unfamiliar with this noble profession, voice acting is the art of playing a role through the voice and the voice alone. A voice actor can’t rely on her own expression or body language; every nuance of her character must be represented by her voice.

The fun thing about voice acting is that a really good voice actor can make himself sound like pretty much anybody. Listening for familiar voice actors in movies and television shows is sort of like playing an audio version of Where’s Waldo? Familiar voice actors turn up in the most unexpected places, and there’s a thrill in hearing the voice of, say, Howl in Howl’s Moving Castle and crying out, “Aha! That’s the guy who plays Batman!”

There was a time in my life when my ambition was to become a professional voice actor. This glorious dream lasted about two weeks before it was brutally crushed by two realizations.

First was the fact that voice acting is a difficult field that’s already full to bursting with talented people. Second was the sad truth that most voice actors can’t pick and choose their projects. If I became a voice actor and could actually find work, I’d probably end up playing a minor character on some cartoon about talking ponies or—if I were truly fortunate—a dub of some obscure anime.

So in the end I exchanged my dream of voice acting for a sensible plan to teach English and write novels.

All the same, I sometimes wonder what might have been.

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