Kari Wahlgren is no stranger to the world of voice acting. She has had voiceover roles in some of the biggest games of all time including Final Fantasy XII, Dead or Alive, Metal Gear Solid 4, Skyrim, and Fallout 4. So when we found out that she would be attending an already star-studded guest list at this years Dallas Fan Expo, we decided to send Kara to Dallas to interview her. While we couldn’t ask everything we had wanted due to time restraints, we still got to ask some of our favorite questions.
GC: How did you get into voice acting?
KW: I got into voice acting because I was a big fan of cartoons when I was young and so I always knew there was somebody doing the voice behind it. So I studied acting, took theater classes and just started making as many voices as I could growing up and then after I graduated I started submitting myself trying to get jobs in cartoons
GC: What was your first video game role and how did it come about?
KW: I had gotten an agent when I moved to L.A. and I think my first video game role was a Buffy the Vampire Slayer game.
GC: How different is it doing voiceover work for a video game compared to an anime or movie?
KW: With video games it depends. If it’s an import from Japan than sometimes we have to sync up parts of the game to picture or they’ll say “Oh we only have 3 seconds for this line.” So it will fit up for the timing. If it’s not something that is being imported than we lay down the vocals first and you’ll just have a big script. Sometimes a ton of pages of that will just be efforts like ‘You’re getting punched in the stomach’ or ‘You’re dying’. “You’re dying a lot longer” so it’s very technical to record video games.
GC: How difficult is it to do fighting games?
KW: Well like I said record every one of those fighting sounds and then they use them with the game model. So we’ll literally have pages and pages that will say “small punch”, “medium punch”, “large punch” so every time you’re playing the game you’re going “Hu, hu hu.” We record it all of those in the studio.
GC: What was your experience like doing the voice of Kaede in the .hack games?
KW: It was pretty good. I mean the whole .hack franchise and stuff like that was really fun to work on it. So I’m always tickled when people come up to me at conventions to sign stuff from it.
GC: Most gamers know you best as the voice of whom I consider to be the face of the Dead or Alive series Kasumi. What has your experience been like so far doing the voice of that character?
KW: It was fun! I remember working with the director on that which I really really liked. He made me laugh a lot during the recording process. It’s really just one of those iconic characters.
GC: Is there any advice you would give to someone who is interested in getting into voice acting?
KW: If there is specific advice that I would give you are A) Get to know your voice, because sometimes if you’ve ever heard your voice on an answering machine and you’re like “Wow! Do I really sound like that?” A lot of people don’t know what there voice sounds like what and what their voice can do. So get to know your voice and B) A bad demo is worse than no demo at all. Do not start going out and submitting for agents and big jobs until you have a really quality demo put together. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive one, but just make sure that it’s a quality demo.