Siliconera Sounds Off: Wrapping Up With The Voice Behind Vanille

By Ishaan . March 21, 2010 . 2:30pm


This week, we wrap up our talk with the voice behind Final Fantasy XIII’s Vanille by touching upon Georgia’s future plans and breaking into voiceover work.



Creative director, I Am Spartacus Entertainment – Georgia Van Cuylenburg
Siliconera – Jenni Lada
Siliconera – Spencer Yip
Siliconera – Ishaan Sahdev Jenni: I was curious Georgia, it really seemed like Vanille was the perfect character for you to play. You seem so happy and optimistic, two qualities that the character has. I was curious if this made it easier for you to voice Vanille. Was it easier for you to connect to this role than others? Georgia: Indeed, Vanille really is perfect for me. My friends that know about her and know me think it is hilarious. We both have the same sunny-side-up attitude to life. So in that way, yes, it did make my life a lot easier as I didn’t really have to look far for my character’s sense of self. I got her from the minute we started and just fell further and further into her, the further we got into the project. When working on the intentions and the feelings behind lines, it was quite easy for me to think as and for her. Where as a sad, cruel or angry character is a lot harder for me to really understand completely. I find those a true challenge!


Jenni: Have you done, or are you planning to do, any other video game voiceover work? I recall seeing a credit for you providing the voice for a soldier in the PC game, Seven Kingdoms: Conquest.


Georgia: I plan to work in video game voiceover work forever — I love it. It takes two to tango with that, though, so hopefully, the work will keep coming through! Yeah, I recorded that role a long time ago — I remember it was my first SAG gig. I was so excited I was done by 9.30am and I had paid my rent for the month; it was so so exciting to me. I wish I could see or hear that game now; I really had no idea what it was at the time. That character was very much not a typical me character! Spencer: Are there any future games you’re in that we should be on the lookout for?


Georgia: Not yet, but I would love to work on games in the future as it was so so much fun!


Spencer: In addition to voice acting, you’re a teacher. What tips can you give to all of the aspiring voice actors and actresses out there?


Georgia: Play. Spend lots of time playing with voices. Make a fool of yourself, have fun. Being a voice actor is all about creating, and the more you mess around with the sounds of your voice the more depth you will have and the more confident you will be. Also learn accents — that comes in handy big time!


Spencer: And for those with acting training, how do you find voice acting jobs?


Georgia: Getting voice-acting jobs in general is a bit of a catch-22. You really do need an agent to get work, but you need work to get an agent. You can put together a really good reel and get it to agents and if they like the sound of you, they will take you on. So sometimes, it really is worth spending the time and money to do that. You can also drop your reel into local voice-over recording studios as they sometimes like to go straight to the source. Ishaan: Media in general can be very influential in shaping kids as they’re growing up. They can be powerful tools for inspiring people, providing them with role models or even teaching them the difference between right and wrong, and evoking a sense of justice. That said, a lot of kids today grow up faster than we did, and perhaps they tend not to be as affected by these things the way some of us were. How do you think media in general needs to evolve to be able to keep up with today’s kids and be taken seriously?


Georgia: I agree with you completely. I think we underestimate the influence fictional characters can have on children and the effect they played in our lives when we were growing up. I think no matter how times change, children still need to have strong mentors and examples of good and evil, right and wrong. No matter how we progress this is still important.


However, if we want kids to learn from the media we create, we need to make products and characters that kids relate to. The creators need to understand kids they need to connect with them, learn from them and make sure they speak their language. That they get what matters to them and are in touch with what they are talking about. This way, when they project these life lessons kids will actually listen and not feel like there is a bunch of adults talking down to them!


Missed Part 1? Catch up on it here!

  • Honestly, of all the party members I found Vanille to be the most annoying through a combination of her voice and attitude. Hope is 2nd just because its Hope.

    • Ereek

      I can agree about Hope, but I found Snow infinitely more annoying than Vanille. Vanille gets better as the game goes on, both the actor and her personality (You can actually hear Georgia’s increase in quality as you progress through the game!), while Snow just remains Snow.

      • ZeroBlitz

        Hope had great voice acting. Vanille… not so much. She was seriously annoying. Though this is probably because the English voice actor was tasked with attempting to convey a distinctly Japanese personality.

        • Ereek

          I was actually talking more about their personality. I agree, Hope does an excellent job. Snow’s voice actor also does a good job, but I just don’t like his character.

        • Aoshi00

          Hope sounds really good in English, even cool dare I say, it was totally different from the Jpn voice which was kind of sissy w/ no backbone :(… I wonder how much leeway the Eng. VAs were given.. I’m not far in the US version though, only starting Ch. 7, so I’ll have to hear more from Vanille. She shines thru in some of in game battle voices w/ a slight lower voice (I assume that’s more of her natural voice). I suppose her role really was restrictive and had to played in a certain way..

        • mach

          In the beginning, Vanille is SUPPOSED to be annoyingly chipper. The game makes this very clear as your progress through the story and learn about Vanille’s character. Once you’re near the end, she’s a lot more toned down and Georgia’s performance sounds much more natural to reflect that fact.

    • Aoshi00

      The problem w/ Vanille is on your first playthru, it’s hard to like her until her backstory is revealed and you realize she’s more than she seems.. there was really not much to like about her at first other than the game hinting she plays a pivotal role due to her narration..

      I hope you guys can do interview w/ the rest of the Eng. FFXIII cast, like Hope, Troy Baker Snow, Ali Hillis Lightning (she’s in Mass Effect), the sassy Fang, or the witty and insightful Sazh, I enjoyed all of their voices a lot, it actually made me enjoy the game more 2nd time around. I want to know if Sazh did some improv, or if the English script was just that good.

      This is a good spoof rom the party, Steelguard! Snow is so useless :)

      Speaking of doing accents, there are quite a few fellow famous Hollywood actors from Australia (Russel Crowe, Guy Pearce, Nicole Kidman, even Mel Gibson), I heard many people there growing up watching US programs that’s how some learn the accent. I’m always amazed at Brits or Aussies doing near perfect American accent, like that guy in Heavy Rain who played FBI agent Norman Jayden, I would never have guessed he’s a Brit other than his slight Boston-like accent done on purpose. And recently the kid from “Charlie’s chocolate factory” Freddie Highmore voicing Astro Boy, had no idea it was him doing an American accent at first… of course, not many Americans do good English accent..

      • Vino21

        Ugh….Heavy Rain voice acting. That prostitute’s voice still gives me nightmares…. X_X

        • Aoshi00

          yeah, Lauren sounded like she’s not right in the head.. makes you really think she could be the killer lol.. remembering her face from the tech demo doesn’t help, guess it’s kind of unique. Hey, the girl’s got some dance moves :) I’ve actually been playing the game in both Eng/Jpn for the last two weeks, have to say some voices are better in one version than the other, like Ethan Mars and Lauren sound better in Jpn (doesn’t sound like an idiot), and Shelby, Jayden, and Madison sounding better in Eng, but both are very involving because of the story’s nature.

  • Vino21

    Vanille’s in-battle grunts are….kinda cute. *blush*

    • Aoshi00

      lol, I was going to say the same thing it was kind of suggestive, like whenever she was taking a rest lying on the grass, etc :) Hope was too bothered to enjoy her hug from the back…

  • Vanilla

    I personally really liked Vanille’s voice. She made some awkward noises and her voice had a grittiness but it was refreshing in a way. I like her voice a lot more than Laura Bailey’s, who does a lovely job but doesn’t fit Serah at all. I’m so used to her “I’m a perfect little girl” Marta/Rise voice that she’s got Jim Carrey syndrome.

    I have to admit, Troy Baker really saved Snow for me. That man can do wonders with his voice.

    • Aoshi00

      Troy definitely saved Snow for me too. I don’t really watch anime anymore, I heard he’s Pain/Yamato in Naruto, that’s pretty cool..

      For those who are interested in Lightning and Snow’s interview, just found these on youtube, love them :) I want to see the other guys too.

      So it’s the same guy Jack Fletcher who directed this and FFXII, no wonder the Eng. dub/localization are so good…

      Hm.. I like both Laura Bailey and the Jpn voice for Serah, she doesn’t have that many lines in the game anyway, I especially prefer the Snow/Serah scene w/ the song “Eternal Love” taken out, it worked out better.. the NORA guys all sounded great too. I love the line from Hope’s mom, “Moms are tough”.

  • Kaoro

    I just got to Chapter 12 and I think every single voice in the game is excellent so far.

    Vanille is one of those characters that I liked the more I heard and learned about them. I think Georgia did an excellent job.

    To me, Final Fantasy XIII ties with Dragon Age: Origins to have some of the most interesting cast of characters I’ve ever seen in a game.

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