Scifipulse was recently fortunate enough to interview Jacob M. Keene. He is a professional voice actor and Youtuber known for his work on Lego Spider-Man and Transformers: Final Days. Additionally, Jacob’s YouTube channel contains hundreds of his voice work clips, as well as links to other voice actors’ channels. During this interview. Jacob talks about starting out in voice work. As well as the voice actors who inspire him.
SFP: How did you first get into voice acting?
Jacob M. Keene: In March 2014, I was first approached to voice act in the beginning skit of a movie review and accepted said offer. Then a year or so later, I was introduced to Casting Call Club and learned how they regularly post casting calls in need of voice actors, and took any opportunities (whether they be auditions or direct offers) I was interested in from there.
SFP: How does using solely your voice to create a character differ from acting on stage or in a film?
Jacob M. Keene: Acting on camera and stage each requires much memorization not just of lines, but also of your movements, and in the case of stage, rehearsals. Whereas voice acting doesn’t usually doesn’t require memorization (if at all), and instead of moving your body, you’re either standing or sitting place in front of a microphone, and often have the script in front of you. You also get to portray a broader range of characters that you may or not be able to portray on camera or stage as you aren’t limited to how you look naturally or with any amount of theatrical makeup.
SFP: Who has been your favourite character to voice?
Jacob M. Keene: Judge Claude Frollo (from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame ”) in a fan-made video by Lord Ben Maza where Frollo puts down Ben’s MLP-persona character by fueling his insecurities about his fanbase among other things, and I think it was a good usage of Frollo.
SFP: Do you have any advice for those who want to work in voice acting?
Jacob M. Keene: Bear with me, my next answer is a long one: Yes, I recommend practicing with YouTube and make content showcasing your progress, and use some material to practice with too. Even if you don’t think you have any sort of range of voices, you can still use your own natural voice in many ways, and it’s important to remember that acting is more important than however many voices you may be able to do, because range doesn’t mean anything if you never try to emote properly. It also helps to start reading out loud more often as that’ll help you go through scripts more easily, especially if you decide to become a regular book reader.
The most important tip I have is to be mindful of your recording space. You don’t necessarily have to start out with a highly expensive recording booth, you can start out with a couple of comforters over your recording equipment as that’ll help prevent your voice from reverberating around your room, which would be distracting to some listeners, especially those with much experience in the field, and with high quality headphones. You may also need a sound canceling mic box even with your comforters depending on your recording space, which you can make with a small plastic tub and memory foam glued to the inside.
Adding on to the recording space tip, I’ve read on Twitter awhile back that voice acting is 95% rejection, so get used to not getting cast in most roles you audition for. Just send your audition(s), and move along except for when you do end up getting cast. And my last tip is to get a book with tips from professional voice actors, such as “Voice-Over/Voice Actor: What It’s Like Behind The Mic,” by Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt, or “Voice-Over 101: How To Succeed As a Voice Actor,” by Debi Derryberry and Jennifer Tressen, they give all kinds of professional advice that’s helpful to memorize if you truly want to pursue voice acting.
SFP: What voice actors are you inspired by?
Jacob M. Keene: Numerous voice actors, like my biggest acting influence, Tony Jay (the voice of Judge Claude Frollo from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame ”), and others like James Earl Jones, Brian Doyle-Murray, Frank Welker, Tom Kenny, Charles Martinet, among many others.
SFP: Following on from that question, what fictional characters are you most inspired by and why?
Jacob M. Keene: Any characters I do voice impressions of as that helps me to explore and broaden my range, especially for voice and character types I audition for. For example, Bowser from the Super Mario franchise, or Timon and Pumbaa.
SFP: What would be your dream voice acting role?
Jacob M. Keene: I don’t think I have any single dream role cure.
SFP: And finally, if you could build a team to save the world of 6 characters you’ve voiced, who would they be and why?
Jacob M. Keene: 01. Super Mario for his wide range of abilities through his power ups. 02. Sunburst from “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” for his magical abilities. 03. Thor for his powers he’s known for in any Marvel mediums he’s in. 04. Popeye the Sailor for his super-strength from his cans of spinach. 05. Cappy from Super Mario Odyssey for his capture ability which would help us use our enemies’ abilities against them. 06. Mack from “Cars” so that he can drive us around whenever and wherever needed.
Scifipulse would like to extend our warmest thanks and best wishes to Jacob M. Keene for so graciously taking the time to answer our questions.
- Jacob’s YouTube channel: Dr. Pepper King – YouTube
- His Twitter: @DrPepperKingVA
- Check out our interview with David Avallone here
- Check out our interview with Sassafras Lowrey here