January’s Interview steps into the world of voice acting with the lovely Haley!
Each month I will be interviewing someone from the online world. They could be someone creative, quirky, geeky or a fellow spoonie. I’m really not picky; the whole point of this is to open up dialogue, share with the world and if you wish, bring awareness to your work or a cause. Interviews are open to anyone who wishes to take part so if you’re interested in volunteering please check out the Interview information page.
Hi Haley please tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Haley and I’m a 20-something American expat livin’ the island life off the coast of Auckland, New Zealand. I work full-time in a really cool retail specialty foods store here on this little island I live on, but in my time away from retail I can usually be found behind a microphone recording lines as a professional voice over actor (VOA or VA).
How did you get into professional voice acting?
Voices and performing with them have always been my passion, but I only really officially started into it a few years ago when I first moved to New Zealand. I’d been living in Australia prior and had dabbled in screen acting for television/commercial in Melbourne, so those experiences kind of sparked further motivation to pursue voice acting, as well. Once I moved to New Zealand, I bunkered down and produced my own demo reel to send out to casting directors/producers in the indie project community. Once I started to get roles, the rest was history!
How many years have you been doing it?
I’ve been practicing and perfecting voices my whole life, but my first role as a voice actor was back in the end of 2015, so about a year and a half now.
What does being a voice actor mean to you?
Being a voice actor means I get to express myself in some incredibly unique and challenging ways and I get to entertain people across the world, which is something I love doing. I love making people happy and laugh, so getting the ability to do that via a character in a game, cartoon, film, or something else is really ideal. My work also gives me a fantastic avenue to collaborate with other creative people to produce something awesome together. Whether I’m working with seasoned professionals and they are teaching me, or I’m helping novices by sharing my wisdom, collaborating in the creative community is one of the biggest reasons why I do this.
What was the first time you realised that was what you wanted to do?
I’ve wanted to be a voice actor from the time I saw the late great Robin Williams in “Mrs. Doubtfire” where his character – like Williams himself – plays a VOA. Admittedly, though, I didn’t really consider it a valid career goal for the majority of my life. After a lot of soul searching and self-esteem work, I got the confidence up to get an acting agent in Australia back in November 2014. After I did a few productions, I realized, “Hey, I could do voice acting too now…” and that kind of planted the seed for me!
What is your proudest moment?
Getting an IMDb.com listing as an actor via my work, hands down! It was always on my life “TO DO” list of [mostly] fantastical probably-not-gonna-happen achievements to have a listing on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com) via an acting project – like REAL actors do! In late 2016, that actually happened. It’s a pretty minimal page, but having it in the first place was a huge achievement and let me cross something off a childhood list I never really thought I would!
What was the first job you were paid for?
My very first paid gig as a voice actor was voicing Queen Elsa in a “FROZEN” cartoon parody created by a popular YouTube animation studio back in 2015. It was a pretty cute Christmas-themed cartoon and I got paid about $40 USD for a few lines, not to mention the video got multiple millions of hits on YouTube. Pretty decent in the realm of up-and-coming voice acting!
What are your goals for the future? What do you hope to achieve?
I’d love to expand my career in voice acting, but also screen acting again, as well. I’m currently working towards New Zealand residency so I’m restricted by my visa in a lot of things, but once my residency is set I’m anxious to get an agent again and put more time into performing overall. Getting to work for a studio on a long-term/big project is obviously a huge dream, but just expanding my career and working on additional awesome projects is always good!
What was the best advice you were ever given?
Be unapologetically yourself. Do not apologize to someone else for being who you are if they don’t like it and don’t you dare try to conform or change to make them happy! It rings true not just in acting, but in pretty much every field/situation possible, so I try to stick to it.
Any advice for others wanting to get into voice acting?
If it’s what you wanna do, don’t let anybody/anything get in the way of it! It doesn’t take much to get started into voice acting, so whether you’re a teenager, low on funds, anything…you can still get into it so give it a go. Just be brave and step a toe in the water – you won’t know how it’ll go until you try!
Now for some random questions…
If you were the goddess of anything, what would it be?
Laughter. I love making people laugh and I’m always laughing at something!
What would your animal form be?
A big fat calico kitty wif a huge white spot the shape of a heart on its tummy! 😀
Do you have any fun quirks?
…does performing a hundred different voices and accents in one day count? Haha!
Do you collect anything?
Tasty food items that I can devour later!