Every year as Supanova Comic Con & Gaming rolls around, we are given opportunities to chat to some of the guests. Normally this is via a voice call of some description, but in other cases, time zones make it difficult. This is one of those cases where the time zones were almost opposite. Below is a handful of questions we sent to 2 of Supanova’s guests, Ben Prendergast & Aimee Smith.
MKAU: What was the hardest character to snap out of when not recording/which one was the hardest to get into character before recording.
Aimee Smith: I loved playing Valerie in the TV show FriendZSpace. I would always get incredibly excited to see I’d be recording a new episode for her because she is the true epitome of Sassiness. As a result, I’d find myself slipping things she’d say occasionally into my speech just for a giggle. I don’t think any character I’ve booked was particularly hard to get into character for the session (only because if I really struggle in the audition phase I determine they’re probably not the right fit for me and pass), but Aarushi from Warhammer 40K’s: Adeptus Titanicus Dominus was possibly the most vocally strenuous character to play in the session; long paragraphs, very projected, incredibly vocally dynamic, lots of laughs and screams, etc.MKAU: Have you actively chased any franchise that you want to portray a voice in purely based on your fandom of that franchise.
Aimee Smith: Great question! There’s one game in particular that I love, and know that they’ve brought on Internationally Remote Voice Talent in the past (voice talent outside of the casting country, in this case, the US) so have certainly been reaching out and following up. Hoping one day I’ll be able to audition!MKAU: Do you use your vocal powers for evil in game chat if you play online i.e mess with randoms.
Aimee Smith: Hahaha, no I’m afraid I keep my vocal powers all charged up for the booth specifically!MKAU: Do you keep up to date with the story for the games you voice in? Be it for the character you play or the story of other characters?
Aimee Smith: Story definitely impacts how I’m going to perform a character in a session; feelings about past events, how their personality will shift depending on who they’re speaking to, etc, so I often start with a base dependent on the kind of session and medium I’m working in. I’ve played some games I’ve recorded for in the past (Freedom Planet, Tales of Grimm, Effie) and some shows I’ve worked on (Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle, Lil Wild, FriendZSpace) but unfortunately it would get a little out of hand if I did it for everything I’ve worked on! So occasionally I’ll look up streaming videos or read about people’s experiences instead, and social media always makes it really easy to have the developers/casting directors in my feed so I’m generally kept up to date with developments!MKAU: What do you think about the funimation and crunchyroll merger and the opportunities it can bring to voice actors?
Aimee Smith: I’ve only been recording for anime over the last year, so I’m currently in the “sit back and see what happens” phase. Tell you what though, it’s causing a lot of buzz!MKAU: Do you have/what is your favourite genre of video games?
Aimee Smith: Role Playing Games with strong story components: Persona 5, Ni No Kuni and Horizon Zero Dawn are just a few of my favourites to play independently. But on the flip side, my husband and I love local couch co-op games like Cat Quest II, Swords of Ditto and Castle Crashers.MKAU: Did you always want to be a voice actor? or was it something you just ‘fell’ into?
Aimee Smith: I’ve loved acting since I was 12 years old, when I was cast as one of the leads in our school musical. It was the first time I was really exposed to acting and had already loved singing, so it was the beginning of performing in local musicals, school musicals and acting in high school. I day dreamed about being a stage actor, but could never bring myself to commit to the idea; frankly at that time I didn’t know what that would look like to stay here in Australia and pursue it. It’s not exactly the most supported of careers!
So as I was studying to be a Primary School Teacher when I was 18, I realised I couldn’t juggle musicals anymore and looked up other kinds of acting. It was the first time I’d ever heard of Voice Acting. It felt like everything I loved came crashing into the one performance medium. So I started auditioning for online voice acting jobs back in 2011 purely as a hobby, but after some twists and turns and strong plans to make it work, I’ve been so blessed to be a full-time voice actor since 2019 – while still living in Australia!
MKAU: You play Apex on Twitch when you can, Is there another voice actor for Apex legends you either actively enjoy playing with or compete against for bragging rights?
Ben Prendergast: Johnny Young (Crypto) and I love to play, as do Chris Edgerly (Pathy), although Johnny and I love to have 1v1s in the firing range (including Kraber Jousting, look it up!)
MKAU: Do you find it harder to maintain character when voice recording versus on set surrounded by other actors? Different kind of nerves perhaps?
Ben Prendergast: I don’t get nervous anymore, there are too many other things to worry about! However I usually have done quite a bit of homework before I come to record/perform so its easy to maintain a character for the time I’m on set/stage. The harder thing is to drop into a character you performed years earlier!
MKAU: Is there a dream collaboration you want to achieve either through voice acting or on screen performances?
Ben Prendergast: I’m open to all possibilities (as many performers would tell you) but I’m still searching for that juicy screen role I can sink my teeth into. There are so many forms to what an actor does, and I’m just so excited about the theatre/film/vr/gaming worlds colliding, at the end of the day we’re storytellers, and understanding the requirements and mechanics of a character’s place in a story is my profession.
MKAU: Do you keep up to date with the story for the games you voice in be it for the character you play or the story of other characters?
Ben Prendergast: For sure! I love the surrounding lore for projects I’ve worked on. Sometimes they exist already (God of War Ragnarok) and sometimes they are in progress (Apex/Hades) but I do like it when choices me and the team make around the character inform further choices. As an actor your job is to embody a character in your own way, and then writers come along and doubly perform magic and take it further. That is a joy to be a part of.
MKAU: I am on my 6th playthrough of God of War (2018) and have completed most of the previous PS3 games… Is it exciting being part of such an iconic gaming franchise, playing the role of Tyr in GoW: Ragnarock? or can roles such as these lose their shine after a while and just sort of become “another job?”
Ben Prendergast: I love the God of War franchise, and was absolutely thrilled to be a part of it. Performing Tyr and working with Santa Monica Studio was really a dream come true and I don’t think something like that could ever lose its shine. And that’s true of every character I’ve played really, they all hold a very special place because they each represent a special time and place of creativity for me. Then when you get to meet the fans who really love the work you do, it is transcendent, I love that the most. By the way, I hope you’re ready for Ragnarok, it is going to be such a special game.
MKAU: Did you always want to act (live or voice)? or was it something you just ‘fell’ into?
Ben Prendergast: I used to dream as a kid about being on set, it was just one of those things that I knew I would do eventually, but for so long I denied it for myself. I spent a long time chasing a different reality, studying different things, working in different careers, but as soon as I got our of my own way and trusted what I wanted to do, then put in the hard work, things started to happen for me. So it took a couple of decades, shouldn’t anything worth doing take that long?
SUPANOVA 2022 DATES: Gold Coast: 9-10 April 2022 | Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre Sydney: 18-19 June 2022 | Sydney Showground Olympic Park Perth: 25-26 June 2022 | Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre Brisbane: 5-6 November 2022 | Brisbane Convention & Exhibition CentreAdelaide: 12-13 November 2022 | Adelaide Showground
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