The voice behind Noctis Lucis Caelum
This interview was originally posted here on Medium on November 2016. An updated version ended up on IGDB’s old blog on January 16th / 2018. We decided to save it / transfer it back here. Enjoy the reading!
“You see so many sides of him — he’s not just some badass game character with no emotion.”
- Who are you and what do you do?
I’m a gamer and voice actor who has been kicking around for the past 8 years or so doing anything it took to make a living at this really cool job!
2. How did you first get started in voice acting?
Right after college I started working online on sites like Voice123 to save up money for a recording booth. I finally saved up enough to have a studio where I recorded 150 audiobooks, then was able to transfer from that side of the business into video games and animation! Commercial and promo work helped me through these years as well.
3. How do you think Voice Acting differs from other types of jobs like acting or theatre?
I don’t think it differs too much! They’re both very hard to make work, but if you’re talented, focused, and really kind to your fellow actors, you can make it!
4. Do you agree with people who says that Voice Actors doesn’t get enough time in the spotlight? That gamers often knows more about the character than about the voice behind it?
I think we are seeing a new generation of VAs who are gamers themselves. I grew up playing everything I could get my hands on, so when a role comes around I’m usually pretty familiar with the property itself, the characters, and especially the tone and genre. The generation before us for the most part didn’t have that experience, so being that a typical role is maybe 8 hours of work to voice, yet 30–40 hours of gameplay to play through once it comes out, I can see why non-gamers don’t go through the trouble to play their roles.
5. How did it feel to get the role as Noctis in the Final Fantasy 15?
Absolutely insane. It was the first role I had ever gotten a callback for, so I was really nervous for having to audition again in front of Keythe Farley, who I knew from his performances in Mass Effect. It was pretty intimidating! So when I got the call ten days later that I had the role, I kinda freaked out! I called Max Mittelman first, then called my mom!
6. Can you tell us something about the audition for Noctis?
That night that the audition came through I had just gotten back from a workshop given by Chris Borders in which Max Mittelman (my good friend) had totally shown me up in. I asked him how he did so well and he showed me the amount of preparation that went into the script he had, and the proliferation of notes on his page. I vowed that night to work really hard and perfect my auditions that night, and it just so happened to come in. I spent a few hours on all the roles, and I think it paid off!
7. Have you heard the Japanese voice? Do you think the character changes personality or style slightly depending on the voice?
I think Japanese and American acting styles are always going to be different. It’s based on audience expectations — neither is better or worse, just different genres so to speak. I listened to Suzuki-san’s performance roughly 25% of the time if we were doing a line that had to match a specific action. I think he did a great job!
8. What’s best about Noctis?
His vulnerability. You see so many sides of him — he’s not just some badass game character with no emotion. You see him from all angles, all the in-between moments when we feel lost, or confused, but also surrounded by friends who keep you in a good mood.
9. Are you a person who plays the games you’re in, or do you avoid it?
It is impossible to balance both unfortunately — especially in the JRPG world the games can be really long. But I have played a great many of them and love it!
10. Are you a gamer, yourself? In that case, what’s your all time favourite game?
All time favorite — Fallout New Vegas. That really struck the balance between the three 3d Fallouts and I have played it through many times, modded as well! But I especially love games that question and challenge the medium, Stanley Parable, Braid, even Frog Fractions!
11. What are you doing when you’re not voice acting?
I have done a lot of youtube and vine stuff — you can find some of our older stuff under the name “Funsplosion”!
12. Do you have a message to your fans and readers?
Thanks so much for reading this whole thing through! It’s really nice to be able to talk about my journey. Enjoy the game!
Here’s the new part of the interview, done before the end of 2017! Check it out:
13. It’s been over a year since the release of Final Fantasy XV. Has the game affected your life in any way?
Of course! There’s the natural surrealness to looking at pictures of Noctis and suddenly realizing, “I got to voice that guy! Wow!” The fan engagement has been fantastic as well, I’ve met incredible people from all walks of life. But by far the most incredible thing to come from FFXV is always having something to tweet about!
14. The game keeps on getting bigger with new DLC’s and expansions. Are you still recording lines for FFXV?
We are in a bit of a hiatus right now. Hopefully they’ll bring us back for the second season of DLC — but we have no idea what’s coming until we are actually in the studio recording!
15. You’ve been to a couple of events now. How’s the fans treating you?
It’s been really amazing breaking down the barrier between the images on a video game you play at your home and the flesh and blood people who play those games. The fact that these events bring us all together is a really inspiring experience. It reminds you that there is always someone listening to every line you say — I’ve been given gifts of some of the rarest things…
16. Do you have any special memory when it comes to meeting a fan? Any fun / weird experience?
Each convention brings new stories! The cosplayers are always a ton of fun to see how much detail and imagination they put into their costumes. At Metrocon I met a Gladio who had constructed a sword out of Cup Noodles containers, and I signed every single one just for fun (there were around 25!). Then at another convention in Florida we met the same Gladio, and Chris Parson (the voice of Gladio) went ahead and signed all of them too, twice!
17. We saw that you & the other guys from the game decided to dress up as your characters. How did that feel?
It was such a surprise that we were all asked to come to a convention together along with our director, Keythe Farley! We had never been in the same place at the same time before. And for Evenstar Cosplay to come up with the idea that we all come in costume and create four perfect designs in less than two weeks was phenomenal! There was a lot of funny sketches to do while it lasted, and I hope we came up with enough! I wonder if that’s ever happened for any other voice cast…?
18. What are you working on now? Anything you can tell us? Or did you lend your voice to another character since Noctis that have been released?
I’m excited to see how Dissidia turns out! It’s fun to see Noctis become part of the pantheon of all the other heroes. He has really interesting chemistry with the others! Aside from that I’m excited for B: The Beginning to come out on Netflix. I recorded that a few months ago and it’s a really great anime!
19. Anything else to add?
It’s pretty weird to say — but I’m almost getting to the end of my video game backlog! Phew… Just a dozen or so more to go but that’s better than it’s ever been!