Erin Fitzgerald Interview: Voice-Acting, Persona, and the Games Industryon March 3, 2015 by Mitch Jay
If you’re into gaming, specifically Japanese games, then you’ll know who Erin Fitzgerald is. Fortunately for me, Erin agreed to an interview where she gave me her insight into voice-acting; yes, I was very, very excited.
If her name doesn’t ring a bell, then maybe some of the characters she has voiced will do. Erin is the voice behind many of my favourite characters and I’m sure you’ll know them too, including, Chie Satonaka from Persona 4, Noire from Hyperdimension Neptunia, Agnes Oblige from Bravely Default and Erica from Catherine. Her credited works span dozens of games and anime, and you’d actively have to avoid her works to not have heard her voice by now. Anyway, on with the interview!
Having been a fan of yours for a long time now, I realise that you have difficulty choosing a favourite role of yours, so I’d like to ask if you think there’s any one character that you’ve voiced that you relate to the most, or maybe a character has changed during development to reflect your personality better?
I relate to May Kanker, Chie and Abbey Bominable the most.
It’s hard to not see your name and think of Chie Satonaka from Persona 4, especially as you’ve reprised the role several times across games and anime now. How is it to have Chie become such a huge part of your career, and for so many people to become fans of yours through her?
Chie is a huge part of me. I have not come to terms with the possibility that after the Dance Game I may never get to Be her again. I’m guessing I will go through some sort of grieving process but I don’t know when it will kick in. Through the fans she will live on forever.
What do you think attracts fans to your voice, to the point that they’ll look you up as they’ve really enjoyed your performance? You’re very involved with your fans across Twitter, Facebook and e-mail and so it’s easy to see why they stick around, but it’s your voice that first pulls us in.
I like to think it’s my acting people respond to, not my voice. My voice for each character depends on how I perform that character. I am honored when my performance has touched anyone in anyway. I feel like I am doing the correct thing with my life when that happens.
You’ve been a part of huge series’ including Persona, Hyperdimension Neptunia, BlazBlue and Tales of Xillia and other critically acclaimed titles. Is there a reason why most of your voice-work is for Japan-developed titles rather than Western? Do you, and publishers, feel that your voice lends better towards Japanese characters?
The people who cast those titles know me, that’s all it is. You work with people you know. I happen to know the studios who cast JRPG’s. I’m ok with that. I don’t know the folks who cast for western games as well, although that is shifting now too.
How did you first become a voice-actor? You’ve been voice-acting for years and I remember you on Ed, Edd n’ Eddy which was airing when I was about 8 years old! I imagine it’s a fun job, but is there anything specifically that appealed to you?
I wrote a blog about it: http://erinfitzvo.com/becoming-a-voice-actor/
When it comes to auditioning for a role, how do you warm up? Your vocal cords are very important and I imagine a lot more work goes into caring for your voice, and voice-acting itself, that sometimes gets glossed over once a game releases. I read Yuri and Tara’s Voice-Over Voice-Actor book as I find voice-acting interesting and exciting, and it’s a real eye-opener.
I am a trained theater actor and have been using the warm up I learned over 20 years ago. I warm up daily.
Do you get much freedom to ad-lib in a role, or is that entirely dependent on a case by case scenario? If you have ad-libbed, are there any lines that fans may know that you personally thought of?
Depends on the job. I couldn’t tell you what is mine or not. The creative process is elusive.
I personally don’t mind whether something is voiced in English or Japanese, although I tend to prefer English as I can easily understand it, but there’s a bit of a stigma around how English voice-acting isn’t as good as Japanese voice-acting. I fully disagree with the statement and feel that there are some terrific English voice-actors, but what do you think about the argument as a professional voice-actor?
There are some amazing actors and some terrible actors. I think it’s silly to lump all actors into the same category. The cream always rises to the top. You cannot compare actors from different languages/countries though at all, it’s completely different cultures. That’s like fighting over why chocolate is your favorite flavor and anyone who loves Vanilla is wrong. It’s a silly argument.
Are there any conventions you’d like to attend? If so, which, and what can fans do to help you visit us? Is it a case of letting the right people know that we’d love for you to be somewhere? I’ve asked MCM London a few times to see what they can do, especially as they’ve had other amazing voice-actors and actresses such as Yuri Lowenthal, Tara Platt, Laura Bailey and Travis Willingham.
I love attending conventions. Keep asking your local cons to invite me, that does work. It may take time but buzzing in their ear lets them know you want me there. I will get there!
For all budding voice-actors and actresses reading this interview, are there any words of wisdom or advice that you’d please leave us with?
Study the craft of acting, practice, be honest with yourself, don’t expect financial freedom from acting, learn about business, never give up.
Thank you so, so much for having this interview with us Erin, we’re all big fans of yours and we really appreciate it! Hopefully we’ll meet you at a convention in the UK one day but until then, I hope we get to hear you in many more games.
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