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Interview: Colleen Clinkenbeard

Colleen Clinkenbeard is very well-known among the voice acting world. With roles in some of the biggest animes of all-time including Rachel in Case Closed, Erza Scarlet in Fairy Tale, Gohan in Dragon Ball Kai, and Monkey D. Luffy on One Piece. We sat down with Colleen this past weekend at Dallas Fan Expo 2017 to discuss everything voice acting.


Gaming Conviction: How did you get into voice acting?
Colleen Clinkenbeard: A friend and I were doing theater together and she was already a voice actress with Funimation. That friend just happens to be Laura Bailey, who plays Kid Trunks in Dragon Ball Z. She brought me up to the studio one day when she was recording to kinda try to get me through the door. She let me watch one of her sessions and it was with Chris Bevins, who asked me at the end of one of the sessions if I wanted to get in and try something. I got in and screamed! That’s how I got the role of Rachel in Case Closed.

GC: Who are some of your inspirations in voice acting?
CC: Cate Blanchett is way up there. I think the fact that she uses her voice when she is in a mostly visual medium is really impressive. She does it so well and so completely.

GC: Was there something early on that made your realize you could do this for a living?
CC: I had been an actress all of my life. When I went to college I majored in acting. While I was there one of my professors had told me that I was going to be a voice actress and I laughed at him. I didn’t think he was going to be correct. When I finally started voice acting I realized why he had said that. Cold reading is something that I do very well and that’s a very difficult part of voice acting. It really clicked that that was the thing I was best at. In terms of acting, there are all sorts of things that I’m not very good at. One of them is being physical. So it clicked that this was actually realized this was the place for me to shine.

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GC: What kind of advice would you give to someone who might be interested in getting into voice acting?
CC:  I think taking classes anywhere you are, especially if you live somewhere like Dallas where that’s a hub for voice acting. If you take classes with people who are voice actors and know of a lot of people who are running projects, then you always stand a chance of getting discovered by somebody who needs someone right then. It’s a good way to kinda get your foot in the door.

GC: Do you ever read a manga before auditioning for a role?
CC: I don’t. Now I do read a little bit of a manga beforehand if I’m directing. My Hero is a great example as I’m directing My Hero Academia and have read the entire manga. When I’m acting for a show, I just reply on my director. I don’t want to do too much research outside of that because you kinda get informed in your own brain, and you get to start making decisions about what the character is. I want the director to make those kinds of decisions. So I actually try to stay somewhat uninformed.

GC: When you go about your daily routine, do your thoughts ever come out as one of the characters you voice?
CC: Not really. Any time I do one of my character voices that is not in the booth is when I’m entertaining my son. Actually he has started denying me those voices. He’ll say “No, happy voice! Happy voice!”

GC: Do you ever go back and look at the faces you make when voice acting and get embarrassed by them?
CC: I use to, but not anymore. Everyone does it. I’m not very monstrous in the booth, so I’m not swinging my arms around. I’m very still, but a lot of the other voice actors can’t understand how I can be that still.

GC: Have you ever cosplayed as one of your characters and seen if anyone recognized you?
CC: I never have! I don’t really even dress up for Halloween.

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