Interview with Nolan North

Here’s a wonderfully frank and candid interview with my friend, and voice acting superstar, Nolan North. Nolan and I have worked on a number of projects together, including the animated series Young Justice where he plays Superboy and I play Speedy who eventually becomes Red Arrow.

In this interview on Complex.com, Nolan talks about his experiences working on the Uncharted series of video games, the franchise people tend to associate him with the most. Nolan really embodies Nathan Drake and it’s a testament to the storytelling in the game that it’s been so popular for so many years.

What I really love about Nolan’s interview is his story of how he got in to the business. He says,

I eventually became an actor, starting with doing stand-up comedy in New York and then theater wherever they would let me. Finally, I moved out here to Los Angeles and got on a show. … For so long [my wife] put up with all my silly voices and accents and she kept hammering at me saying, “You got to get into voice over!” … I have to say that it is nice to be able to make a nice living doing what teachers gave me detention for in school [laughs].

Nolan just really enjoys playing with different character voices. It’s what makes him happy. That enthusiasm comes through, especially when you meet him in person. He also loves the anonymity that voice acting brings him. For him, his freedom is more important than anything else.

If you’re asking me what perk personally I have enjoyed, then I’d have to say that it’s the freedom. With success you make a better living, but money can’t buy happiness. The one thing it can buy in this industry, and I don’t make millions by any means, is freedom.

Nolan loves having his anonymity as a voice actor. No one bothers him on the street, he can go about his life without anyone looking over his shoulder, but he still gets to work on the characters and the stories that allow him to entertain people. I think there’s a lot to learn from watching someone who’s truly enjoying what they’re doing.

5 Responses to “Interview with Nolan North”

  1. Ryan Ashlight says:

    I’ve always found it fascinating to be talking to a pro – these amazing people whose voices you’ll hear in your favorite video games, animation, commercials, etc – and yet find that the person behind the voice is almost always so different from what you’ve imagined.

    Nathan seems like a great guy, but I found his comment about freedom particularly inspiring. To hear those words from a very successful voice actor, yet at the same time be someone who prizes his own personal happiness in such a way is yet another push that makes me want to be get into this business even more.

    These are the kind of people I want to be around and work with, I think to myself. Definitely.

  2. Tori says:

    Thanks for posting this interview! It’s interesting to read about other voice actors’ backgrounds.

    I did have a few questions while skimming through some podcasts.

    1. For a kiss, do actors literally lip-lock or do they have sound effects?

    2. Describe a typical day-when you record, do research, etc.

    3. Since most of the cartoons you work on are based on comic book characters, do you read comics to understand the character, or do you use your imagination?

    4. Describe your studio and any tools we may need to be voice actors.

    Thanks

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Let me do my best to answer your questions point by point.

      1. Most kisses are done either as sound effects, or as the actors just doing it in the air. I’ve never seen voice actors kiss each other for the sound of it, although I guess they could. Why do you ask?

      2. There is no typical day of voice acting. You’re running your own business. Sometimes you have gigs you need to record, sometimes you have auditions. Sometimes you’re working from home, sometimes you’re at your agent’s office, sometimes you’re at a recording studio. Sometimes your schedule is busy, sometimes it’s empty.

      3. When I can, I research characters before I audition for them. If that means reading comic books, that’s what I do. Many times I can research a character online without reading comics.

      4. I did already. It’s in the Toolbox section of this website.

      Hope that helps.

  3. Tori says:

    Thank you. It was extremely helpful. For the kissing part, I read a few articles about voice actors who talked about having to kiss in reality and how it was different from sound effects. Thanks

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