A Chat With Laura Bailey – The Most Cast Female Voice Actor in Video Games Last Year
Laura Bailey is an impressive name in voice acting, and if you’ve played a video game in the last couple of years, chances are you’ve heard her voice work. She was the most-cast woman in video games in 2014 with over 30 projects, and already has a spectacular line up for 2015 and beyond. Though Laura has a major role in Micrsoft’s coming Halo 5: Guardians as the Spartan Olympia Vale, PlayStation gamers will know her as Fetch from inFAMOUS Second Son and inFAMOUS First Light, as well as Fiona in Telltale’s Tales From the Borderlands. You can check out her full list of credits here.
PlayStation LifeStyle recently got the opportunity to catch up with Laura between voice sessions and ask her a few questions about acting, her favorite roles, and the challenges of voicing so many different characters.
PSLS: Currently you are doing the voice of Fiona in Tales From the Borderlands: A Telltale Games Series. How is it different to work on an episodic project as opposed to one with a standard release schedule? Are there any unique challenges?
Laura Bailey: The main difference that I experience is the amount of time between my recording and the release. With most games I work on, it could be over a year, maybe more before it reaches the public. But with TFtB, we’ll record just weeks before it’s out. So the characters and material are still very fresh in my mind when I play it. Which has advantages and disadvantages. I love that I feel more connected to Fiona and the process in general as I play the game because I remember what I was feeling when I recorded. With other games, I often forget bits of what we did. So it’s nice that I’m able to be surprised by the story.
PSLS: Fans of the Persona series were sad to hear about you being unable to reprise your role as Rise in Persona 4: Dancing All Night due to a scheduling conflict. Could you give us some more insight as to what those conflicts were?
LB: Ugh. It really bums me out, honestly. But I was filming another project when Dancing was being recorded and waiting for me to become available would have delayed the production too much. But the Persona games are so much fun, and everyone that works on them is brilliant, so I know the new Rise will kick butt.
PSLS: As someone who works as a voice actor, do you ever find it weird to play a game that you have worked on?
LB: Sometimes, yeah. But actually I’ve gotten pretty good at separating myself from hearing myself. I mean, when I played DA: Inquisition, I would think, “Ooooh, I need to go show this item to Dagna!” Not, “I need to go show this item to me.” 🙂
PSLS: Do you have a favorite character to play? If so, what is it about them that made the role so memorable?
LB: I know it sounds lame, but picking a favorite character is kinda like picking between your children. I think, I mean I don’t have kids… So I can’t say that for certain… But they all come out of my brain ya’know? Each one is a different part of my personality so they all feel important at different times.
PSLS: Are there any characters or franchises that you would love to work on?
LB: Can someone make a Princess Bride game? Because I’d love to play Buttercup.
PSLS: You have done voice work on an impressive number of projects over your career, do you find it difficult to bring a unique personality to each of the roles that you work on?
LB: Ya’know, I don’t think so much about making sure each character is completely different from any others I’ve played, I more think about who that person is. If I’m trying too hard to keep a distance from other things, it might not give this current character the different facets she deserves. If certain traits overlap with another’s, I don’t think that’s terrible.
PSLS: Is it ever an issue to bounce between different characters or projects?
LB: Not too much, actually. Usually I try to get in the mindset of the character before walking in the studio. I use the car ride between recording sessions to reset my brain.
PSLS: Given the wide number of roles you have had to fill, what would you consider the most challenging project you have been a part of?
LB: Well, each one brings its own unique challenges. When we were filming First Light, Fetch went through some crazy painful stuff. I had to take the person she was in inFAMOUS: Second Son and rewind to the person she was before. Before she realized the strength she had. It left me feeling very raw at the end of it, but it’s rewarding too.
PSLS: Do you have a specific routine or methodology you do before taking on a role or doing a performance?
LB: I don’t have something specific… Each time I’m start a new project I sort of discover that character and process on its own. Sometimes it’s just a matter of affecting my body posture in the booth and sometimes it means just turning off my filter and letting things loose.
PSLS: What advice would you give to someone aspiring to become a voice actor?
LB: Train. Study theatre. Make funny voices in your car or your room or in front of a mirror to see what your face looks like when you’re doing different sounds so you can recreate that. Read a lot. Being a strong reader is so important because sometimes you don’t get a script ahead of time to prepare with. And don’t be afraid to fail. For every job I do, there are a hundred that I’ve read for and didn’t get. Oh yeah, and be nice. 🙂 People like working with nice people way more than mean people.
A huge thank you to Laura Bailey for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions! PSLS is looking to bring you more thoughts directly from the minds within the industry. Do you have anybody that you’d like to hear from? Let us know in the comments below or email me directly [email protected] with your requests and questions you want answered.
[Photo Credits: Isaac Sterling]