Voice Acting is an Art Form: Kari Wahlgren Interview

June 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Features, Reviews & Features

Kari Wahlgren has been a voice actor for many years and has done voice work for a fair number of games over the years. She has voiced the likes of Elika in Prince of Persia, Ashe in Final Fantasy XII, Karin in Shadow Hearts Covenant, amongst many others. I was delighted when she agreed to answer my questions. The entire interview can be found below.

CO: How did you become a voice actor? Was it something you always wanted to do?

I’ve always loved cartoons and knew that I wanted to do voiceovers at an early age.  I studied acting and singing for a number of years and started doing radio spots and commercials in Kansas City before moving to Los Angeles.

CO: How do you generally prepare for the many contrasting roles you undertake?

It depends on the character…sometimes I’ll do vocal warmups to prepare for a session.  If I have the opportunity to do research before starting a project, I’ll do that…many times, we don’t get the script until the day we record, so you also have to be open to trying things and taking direction during the session.

Kari Wahlgren brings Prince of Persia’s Elika to life

CO: Are you always pleased with your work, or do you some times look back and feel you didn’t do justice to some characters?

I am extremely picky, so a lot of times I’ll dissect my performance and think about things I could’ve done better.  I’m always trying to improve…there are only a couple of projects that I feel I got ‘just right.’

CO: Is there any character you enjoyed voicing in particular, and if so, who and why?

I’ve enjoyed a lot of different characters I’ve played–Nova in “Super Robot Monkey Team” was a really fun, scrappy character and I learned a lot from the guys I worked with on the show….Ashe in Final Fantasy XII was also a strong female character that I was proud to voice…it’s hard to pick just one!

CO: Do you prefer more emotionally driven or more humorous roles? Which type do you find to be the most demanding to play?

Comedy is more challenging–it takes more energy, and you can’t fake it if you’re not hitting the jokes right.  It’s more rewarding when you do it well!  But I love a juicy, dramatic role, too…I love that I’ve been fortunate enough to do both!  It keeps things interesting for me…

Final Fantasy XII’s Ashe is one of the roles that Kari Wahlgren really enjoyed doing the voice for

CO: I’m a big fan of Elika in Prince of Persia and this is largely in part, due to your tremendous voice work for the character. You must be proud, when characters you have contributed in bringing to life through your voice-acting, are well received by people?

Thank you so much!  Elika was one of the most challenging roles I’ve ever done.  There were literally thousands of lines, and we had a very gruelling recording schedule–but the guys I worked with were wonderful, and everyone worked really hard to make sure the project turned out well!  The positive feedback has been really nice…

CO: Finally, what future roles have you got lined up?

I have a couple of recurring roles on the new “Avengers” cartoon series that’s in production right now, and I’m working on a number of video games that I can’t talk about yet…I’ll keep you posted!!

Console Obsession thanks Kari Wahlgren for giving us some of her time to answer our questions.