Featured above from left to right – Greg Cipes (Teen Titans, Astro Boy, Disney Infinity), Rob Paulsen (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pinky and The Brain) and Beau
Beau Bridgland is a young, English voice actor for animation, video games, commercials, narration and plenty more. A lifelong fan of cartoons, television, films and Nintendo, Beau has been fascinated by the voices behind his favourite characters since childhood. You might have heard him on a Spotify advert for Smirnoff, a promotional video or even a hugely popular game app (more on that later), but whatever he’s in, Beau is dedicated and supremely talented.
Good morning Beau, and thanks for taking the time to speak with Pixel Crashers today!
Good morning to you too. It’s really nice to be talking to you, thank you so much!
Firstly, let’s ask the obvious. Why was it always voice acting for you? What sparked that immense and relentless fascination?
I have always loved the voices that I heard in cartoons, video games and more since I was a kid. When I watched “Inside the Actors Studio” with the cast of The Simpsons, that’s when I realised where they came from and I found it so amazing. But it was only a few years later I realised that if I did the research and put in a lot of hard work, maybe I could do it too. It became all I wanted and nothing else.
Speaking of work, how did you get to the point you’re at now, and where are you looking to go next?
After getting my degree in Mathematics, I knew I still wanted to be a voice actor and nothing else. On the side I had learned a lot about voice acting from books, the internet, podcasts, interviews and contacting voice actors directly. In 2012 I went to an incredible voice acting convention in America, met many of my heroes and got involved in a lot of awesome classes, workshops, panels and so on. It really thrust me into a great adventure that I’m still on. The convention introduced me to future teachers and since then I have taken classes with those teachers and others over Skype, as well as taking more trips to America to take other classes, meet even more of my heroes, go to outstanding places and just soak up as much as I could. I’ve been working steadily the last few years and I hope soon to move to Los Angeles, it’s the only place where the types of projects that inspired me to become a voice actor exist, as well as all those wonderful classes, opportunities and teachers. Most of my friends out there too, I can’t wait to see them all again.
Wow, that’s quite the journey! What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced as an aspiring voice actor in that time?
The biggest one is being away from all of those amazing people, classes, teachers and opportunities. But there have been other things too, such as when I got replaced on one of my first jobs and I really started to second guess myself a lot for a while afterwards. But it’s actually good that these kinds of things have happened to me early on, they teach you a lot and it’s brilliant to learn these things and get these big life lessons out of the way early.
And despite all those challenges, what’s been your greatest achievement?
The thing I am proudest of is all of the fantastic people I have met. Meeting your heroes is a truly spectacular thing. In terms of a gig, finding out I am in Fruit Ninja was really cool.
You’re in Fruit Ninja!? That’s amazing! Tell us more about that!
The audition and the job were both very improvisational; it took a lot of creative energy and as a result was really fun. But there wasn’t anything that told me it was Fruit Ninja. It’s only because I had signed a contract that I found the company’s name. I contacted them and they very kindly got back to me and said my work was used in the game Fruit Ninja and that my character is called Rinjin. It was so great finding out that I was in such a phenomenally popular game.
So how does the interview process work for paid voice work? Do you do it all from home or visit a studio, or both?
Usually it begins with a general audition of some kind, which is sent out to lots of people either from a casting person, site or agents. Sometimes you get approached directly, either from a past client, someone you know or someone who stumbles across you and your demos. One game maker heard my demos on a website after listening to a lot of people and asked me about being in her game, which I recorded and hopefully will come out this year. You may not even have to audition if you’re approached directly or if someone hears something on your demo that they really like but that’s rarer and generally you’ll need to audition. The audition will have the script or a small part of it to record and this part is generally done from home. If you then get the job, you’ll then either go to a studio to record or then also do it from home depending on the type of gig. Fewer auditions are done in studios these days due to improvements in technology and because of the internet.
It sounds like you have to be pretty versatile in this industry!
Who would you say has been your greatest influence the the voice acting world?
I love so many voice actors but one of my absolute favourites is Rob Paulsen, whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several times. He’s a real hero of mine and I’m honoured to be able to call him a mentor and a friend too. I want to thank the cast of The Simpsons too. Another hero of mine who I really hope to meet one day is Charles Martinet – the voice of Mario – he’s super!
Were you to have to choose tomorrow, would you become a full time animated show voice actor or a full time video game voice actor?
It’s tough but I would go with animation. There’s a wide variety of both kinds of work but video games can be very tough on your voice and in animation you are more likely to record with other people in a group (which is so much fun), so those two things would swing it for me.
Since going through the process of becoming a professional VA, what advice would you have for all the young aspiring voice actors out there?
The most important thing is to learn about acting and try to become a good actor. So take lots of classes. Try to be a kind, nice and decent person, that will really help you go far. Be passionate, have fun and enjoy whatever you do in life. The most successful people I know are also incredibly passionate, ridiculously lovely people and I think that’s a huge part of why they are successful. Finally, believe in yourself. As they say in Star Fox, “Never give up. Trust your instincts.”
Nothing gets our heart strings strumming like a Star Fox quote. Thank you. And now, so we and the entire world can judge you, what is your favourite video game of all time?
Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo. It’s the first game I ever played and still my favourite.
Gold star for you! And favourite cartoon?
Who was the best Joker?
I feel like I’m the one person who doesn’t just immediately say “Mark Hamill”. I think it’s because I didn’t watch the 90s animated series. I loved him in “Batman: Arkham City” but I also love Kevin Michael Richardson, who was fantastic in “The Batman” and have you heard John DiMaggio in “Batman: Under the Red Hood”? He was absolutely phenomenal.
You’re absolutely right there, Beau! All brilliant performances.
What are you currently playing at the moment?
I just finished Fire Emblem Echoes on the Nintendo 3DS. It was excellent and the first game in the series to use full voice acting. It was a perfect fit, the cast were fantastic (I’ve even met Joe Thomas who plays Deen) and I hope they do it in all Fire Emblem games from now on.
What’s your favourite flavour of crisp? This is very important. Take your time.
Salt and Vinegar.
A clear and confident choice, Beau, and we judge you to be bold. Go forth, Salty warrior!
And finally, what’s your favourite independent video game news and reviews outlet?
There’s this really amazing one, hopefully you’ve heard of it, it’s called Pixel Crashers.
Right answer, Beau. Right answer. You can come back again!
Wow! Thank you! You’ve been super kind and I’d absolutely love to come back again.
Please check out Beau’s full résumé and voice demos at www.beaubridgland.net
Follow his Twitter at @BeauVO