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!
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!