Today, Flash Fiction Online’s Stefan Milicevic is talking with voice actor Elijah Lucian, who lends his voice to the FFO podcast. Stefan asked some questions, but being charming and Canadian, Elijah didn’t mind at all.
SM: Hello, Elijah! Tell our readers about yourself!
EL: Well, I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. What else… I am a huge nerd, I love being creative in all mediums that are techy – gaming, music, photography, and electronics. On the other hand I love primitive skills, just being able to do things with your hands that now we rely on technology for. That’s about it. I’m a tech-savvy caveman.
SM: What got you into voice acting?
EL: I have always had an interest in it. Games like Duke Nukem 3d and Metal Gear Solid have always been a huge influence in my style. In 2007, I discovered audiobooks in the form of Harry Potter read by Jim Dale. It was a complete accident: I was using my friend’s iPod when it came on and I was instantly sucked in. After listening to the series I had a burning in my gut to want to be able to tell stories and create characters like that. I went in search for some content to read and found the game modding scene, where I found a home in Skyrim and Fallout mods.
SM: When I received the recording for “Cratch” I was awed, to put it bluntly. You nailed the character voice making the audio experience unique. In my opinion, people often forget that voice actors are indeed actors. Could you tell us how you prepared and got into character for “Cratch”?
EL: First off, thank you! I was really nervous because I hadn’t tried something of this style yet, but I just had to remind myself that my flash fiction compilations are about getting me out of my safety net, so I just dove in. I have been using the Appalachian accent in my current full-length gig and knew it would fit in the story, so I decided to just go all out, try and bring out those characters and create the settin’. As for the question about acting, I completely agree! I have listened to tons of audiobooks, and I can’t listen to books where the characters all sound the same. I have a few actor friends that don’t think voice acting is “real acting” I have to laugh, because you have to convince your listener that you are a real character with only your voice!
SM: You are deeply involved in the indie scene. You lend your voice to independent game developers and authors. You rates are affordable too. What attracts you to indie creators?
EL: Well, in the industry there are a few common outlets, I don’t really have much interest in corporate voiceover, and I have always been interested in video games. My initial interest in the indie scene was born out of Skyrim and Fallout Mods. It was amazing to see people working out of the interest in just building the community, though I’m sure there is the hunger for fame in there somewhere.
SM: How does voice acting for a story or audio books differ from voice acting for video games?
EL: Stories are a challenge because you have to play all the characters plus the narrator, (unless it’s first person) so you have to not only change your voice but your personality on the fly as well. Video games are typically just straight forward acting out one character. Switching voices on the fly is quite a bit more engaging.
SM: What is your favorite role to date?
EL: My favorite role is still one of my first, Odvar The Afflicted. It is a Skyrim mod (free, so go download it!), and it is so well written. The dialog and humor is amazing! Sometimes when I’m playing, I hear myself say something I forgot that I recorded and I’m like, “Hey did I actually record that?” haha.
SM: You also stream on Twitch.tv. Tell us more about “Voice Acting Live”.
EL: My voice acting on twitch actually happened kind of accidentally; I originally joined Twitch for music, and I thought I would stream a show where I would do some work for free things I agreed to do. The response was explosive. It seems people were hungry for something like this so we figured out a few days a week that worked and just rolled with it. The idea is that as a viewer you can submit a script to us, then me and my cast voice act, edit, and deliver the script live on the show. For some it’s pure entertainment, for some it’s educational, but I think it’s fun for everybody! As I mentioned above I love to do little tiny jobs. Some people only need like 30 seconds of audio and they don’t have a budget for a minimum hour of voice acting. So the feed is a chance for them to add a further layer of immersion to their players for free.
SM: What is your advice to aspiring voice actors? On your website you talk about the necessary gear, but what else do they need to know?
EL: I really have to update that article. Hah! They need to just read out loud all day long. Becoming good at anything involves a healthy balance of self-criticism as well as self-acceptance. You can’t just have one or the other or you will not get anywhere. The main thing is, dive in feet first. If you are just starting out, chances are you are going to suck (everybody does), but remember you will get better. Game modding is what got me on my feet, but some people like to do animations and other projects like that. Newgrounds and Voice Acting Alliance is where it’s at for that stuff.
SM: What kind of fiction do you like to read?
EL: Well… I’m embarrassed to say I don’t really read, I listen to audiobooks. I am a sucker for sci-fi and fantasy. I seem to gravitate towards those, however I will pretty much listen to anything if the narrator is engaging. I like to listen when I am working in my other company which is Photography and Design. It makes the more boring tasks way more tolerable, haha.
SM: Recommend us a writer who needs more exposure!
EL: Susan Minsos! She is the writer I am currently narrating my first full length novel for. It will be released on audible.com so it’s very exciting. She has put a lot of research into this novel. It’s a historical fiction based in 1800s Canada. Other than that, most of the authors I listen to are mainstream, so I’m sure they have all the exposure they want… I promise I will start a “recommended authors” page on my site! Haha.
SM: Tell us where people can find you online and your upcoming projects.
EL: Everything people need to know is on my website www.elijahlucian.ca, I will be adding more social streams to the site, however if you are more of a social media type, I am most active with Instagram. I love how quick and easy it is.
SM: Thank you for your time Elijah!
EL: Thank you so much for having me!
Want to hear Elijah’s work? Check out his podcasts in the March 2015 issue of FFO: “The Cratch, Thy Keeper” by Matthew F. Amati and “The Last Man on Earth — A Mini Novel” by Pulitzer nominee John Guzlowski. Or listen to Elijah’s entire selection on his website.