Lisle Weapon: VO Tips from The Dialogue Diva
Lisle Weapon: aka: Lisle Wilkerson
I have lived pretty much my whole life in Tokyo, Japan (moved there when I was five!). At the age of 19, I got into radio, and I quickly realized how lucky I was to be able to incorporate my love and passion for music into my “dayjob”. And there has been no looking back since. In all honestly, I actually never thought that I would also be making a living as a “voice actor”, but I thank fate for leading me down that path. I have done everything from television and radio commercials and “station IDs” to doing the voice narration for many English education projects (my favorite was when I voiced “Badtz Maru”, one of Hello Kitty’s best friends!)
Probably one of my favorite things to do, though, has got to be voicing various characters for video games. Some of the characters I voice include Nina Williams and Christie Monteiro from the bestselling Tekken franchise. I also am the voice behind Sarah Bryant of Virtual Fighter, and I do many voices for both Shenmue II and the Crazy Taxi franchise.
I am very fortunate in that I speak fluent Japanese, so most of my work is done using both English/Japanese. But doing voice work in a second language can be very challenging, no matter how fluent you are. So I find that I am always learning and growing as a voice actor…and YES, there have been some very frustrating moments as well. But hey, it’s as they say…what doesn’t break you makes you stronger.
I currently live in Los Angeles, having moved back to the U.S. a couple years ago. And YES, it has been quite the challenging and interesting journey having to adjust to a culture that I don’t really know that much about. But I have really enjoyed getting to know about my own culture! Haha…In fact, a couple years ago I started a blog about some of my wild and strange adventures called “Memoirs of a 6 ft. Geisha” (http://blondgeishalisle.blogspot.com/)
Since moving back to the U.S., I have been doing a lot of freelance interpreting, as well as working as a local correspondent for various Japanese media companies such as FoxTV Japan, NHK, FujiTV, and WOWOW, just to name a few. I cover such events as the Academy Awards, Grammys, Golden Globes, and the Emmys.
One of my favorite things though is having the opportunity to get invited to many of the anime/game conventions around the nation.
It has been great meeting fans of the games that I have worked on.
As for what is in store, WHO KNOWS??!!!?? All I know is that life is all about the journey, not the goal. So enjoy it to the fullest while you can!!
VOICEOVER TIPS FROM THE DIALOGUE DIVA:
Always come prepared. Usually when I show up for a voice job, I have a notepad, pen, a couple highlighting pens (which I like to use for highlighting my lines in the script given to me), and a BIG thing of water. And make sure that you eat something at least an hour or two before heading to the studio. You don’t want your stomach making noises while you are trying to record!
Always come a few minutes before the scheduled time!! This tip probably goes for any job, but it is always good to come a bit earlier than the scheduled time. Clients LOVE a prompt voice actor!!
Be Mentally Prepared!! When you step into the studio, try to always be conscious of the fact that you are there to do the best job possible, so if you can prepare in any way ahead of time (if it’s a video game, check out some of the characters from that game online. If it’s for a certain company, check them out online, so you can have an idea of what kind of industry they are in and what kind of product they sell, etc.)
Be Accommodating!! Usually in a studio situation, there is a director, an engineer, and the advertising agent and client (sometimes there may be about 10 people in the room). Clients hate dealing with the diva attitude, so leave that at home. After all, the quicker you can get through the job and make everyone happy, the quicker you can call it a day and head home.
Green Apples- One of the secret weapons in the world of voice acting. Biting on a green apple will take out all that excess water,etc from inside your mouth, so that your words will be much crisper and clearer. A lot of times studios have green apples there, but it won’t hurt to bring one with you.
Stick to lukewarm water. I know…we all love a tall glass of cold water, especially when it gets hot and stuffy in the studio. But sometimes the cold water is a bit of a shock to our system, so it’s better to play it safe and stick to lukewarm water.
When I first get into the studio, I like to stretch my mouth around in various ways, so as to “warm up” my various mouth muscles. This is especially good if you have a job early in the morning, and haven’t really done much talking to warm up those muscles before coming to the studio.
It is hard to keep the same energy level for more than an hour or two, especially if it is a really intense job. So if I know I am going to spend a long day in the studio, I like to bring some coughdrops along with some gum or something to get a sugar rush.
When doing more than one voice for one job, make sure that you find something (it can be anything from placing a hand on the hip or a certain stance) to “mark” the voice that will help you remember which voice you used for that certain character. That way when the character comes up again, you can strike the pose, and it will immediately help you remember which voice you used. For example, when I voice Nina Williams, I use my “fighting stance”. This helps me connect with the character and remember what pitch, way of speaking Nina has.
Last, but not least, leave all inhibitions at home. Believe me when I say that EVERY voice actor has done some pretty ridiculous stuff somewhere along the way in his/her career. But that’s just how it is. So if you are afraid of making a fool out of yourself sometimes in front of people, then you are in the wrong business!!
And OF COURSE, last but not least, HAVE FUN!!
"In my opinion, it is a privilege to be able to do something you love. So enjoy the journey!!!" - L.W.