VAM 035 | Interview with Kimlinh Tran and Edward Bosco, Part 3

VAM 035 | Interview with Kimlinh Tran and Edward Bosco, Part 3

Welcome to episode 35 of the Voice Acting Mastery podcast with yours truly, Crispin Freeman!

As always, you can listen to the podcast using the player above, or download the mp3 using the link at the bottom of this blog post. The podcast is also available via the iTunes Store online. Just follow this link to view the podcast in iTunes:

This is the third and final installment of my interview with my former students, Kimlinh TranΒ and Edward Bosco, about their experiences working on the popular independent game, Dust: An Elysian Tail. You can find it on the Xbox Live Arcade. If you haven’t already, I suggest you listen to episodes 33 and 34 before listening to this episode.

I wrap up our discussion by asking them what advice they would give to other voice actors like themselves who are just starting their professional careers. It’s wonderful to get a recent, up-to-date take on what it’s like out there for aspiring voice actors. They give fantastic tips on what you need to do to truly improve your craft as a performer. Enjoy!

Thanks for listening!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #35 HereΒ (MP3)


51 Responses to “VAM 035 | Interview with Kimlinh Tran and Edward Bosco, Part 3”

  1. Caitlin says:

    The whole interview was awesome and both Kimlinh and Edward gave great advice! I also love how Crispin is telling us to steal πŸ˜›
    Whenever I watch an anime the first thing I do is isolate the voice and try to see what it is that the actor is doing correctly and how they are voicing that character. For example yesterday I watched an episode of Shippuden where Sasuke was fighting Deidara and focused on how Yuri and Roger C Smith were playing their roles when they were speaking to one another. I make mental notes on what is done well and if I could do the same when I practice.
    Then there is this video game that I watched a playthrough online and the voice acting was not the best and I figured out why. It sounded like the actors were just saying the lines just to say them and not like they were speaking to the other person, basically mental note on what not to do.
    Anyway I look forward to the next podcast.
    By the way Crispin I saw on your twitter that you went in to record Naruto the other day and I was wondering who you went in for since I believe most of your characters have died. It’s okay if you can’t say but I was just curious since I love the show (and Itachi).

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Yes! Absolutely steal whatever you can from artists you admire.

      As far as my Naruto recording session goes, it turned out I was playing Ebisu. He’s not dead yet. πŸ™‚

      • Pat says:

        I was thinking a lot today about the things you talked about in this episode, that great artists steal, and mentioning an artist’s role as a problem solver. This got me wondering about the function of an artist, and I realized it probably tied in with other things you’ve talked about on this podcast: that one should focus on their own niche, and focus on the artistry they can bring to the table. That was pretty cool.

        Understanding how your work fits into a broader context is probably a pretty powerful tool.

        This subject reminds me of those other stuff you’ve talked about in relation to recycling story elements: how even after we’ve seen the same story play out an infinite number of times it still resonates with us. I’m noticing more and more that a lot of your lessons can be related to each other in significant ways. Do you find that your learnings as a mythology/anime scholar have helped strengthen your performances or mindset somehow?

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          I have definitely found that my mythology scholarship has enriched my artistry. That was one of the main reasons I pursued studying mythology and storytelling. But I also study mythology and storytelling because it fascinates me on a personal level as well.

      • Caitlin says:

        Alright then stealing in a productive way, I like it. Your advice is very helpful too and thanks for always taking the time to reply to all of the comments!

        Right Ebisu, that means dubbing is still in the Invasion of Pain arc. And so far Ebisu stays alive so you’re safe with him πŸ™‚

        I know this might be off topic a little, but how long does the whole dubbing process for an anime like Naruto Shippuden take? Because there are always huge gaps between a set of episodes when they are released.

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          I honestly don’t know how long the dubbing process for Naruto Shippuden takes because I’m such a small part of it. That question is better posed to the directors of the show.

  2. Kalyn McCabe says:

    I subconsciously self-critique all the dang time. If I record something and I don’t like what I did, I look for a trigger line to bounce off of in the script, and then say that line then how I believe my character would react to it.

    Could be detrimental, but extremely helpful.

    It was really fantastic having Kimlinh and Edward on the podcast. I’ll take their advice and run. Can’t wait to see what the new podcast will be about!

  3. Eric Rivera says:

    The first thing I learned from voice actors’ interviews when I decided to become a voice actor is that everybody dislikes those who “jump the gun.” They always roll there eyes at that person, and for good reason. I did not want to be one of those people. I still don’t want to be one of those bad examples that voice actors talk about in their panels. Even this past summer, when my speech professor told us by the end of the class we could make a professional demo, I didn’t believe him.

    Right now I’m still a university student, so I’m going to practice acting as much as I can, and AFTER I graduate MAYBE I’ll consider getting a demo together AFTER getting some insight from my professors and voice actors from online workshops like Crispin’s and Kyle Herbert’s workshops.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Sounds like a good plan. As I’ve said before, any voice acting teacher worth their salt will be honest with you about when you’re ready to make a demo if you ask them about it.

      Best of luck to you!

  4. Shachr.k says:

    so basically is there if nothing new under the sun,
    why not take advantage from it?

  5. Dean Dodrill says:

    I loved listening to this series. I’m actually the developer behind Dust:AET, and easily one of the highlights, for me, was working with such incredible voice talent.

    This whole process has given me a newfound respect for the craft, and I’m just honored to have had Kimlinh and Edward (among all the other artists) on board. Thank you so much for hosting this interview!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Hi there Dean! I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview! Congratulations on such a great game! I’m eager to continue playing it! Amazing work!

      Once I explore more of the storytelling aspects of Dust:AET, I’ll be eager to talk about it on my upcoming Mythology & Meaning website that I’ll be launching soon.

      Thanks again for listening!

    • Edward says:

      Thanks for stopping by the page Dean. I really appreciate it. It was an honor to help cast this game and a blast to actually end up in it. I can’t say enough good things about Kimlinh and the rest of our cast as well as the job you did putting this thing together over four years. No other video game has a story quite like Dust’s and that is one of the things that makes it so special.

  6. Martin Giroux says:

    I have a question concerning the business side of voice over… specially when you work long distance like this. What are the steps from invoicing to actually getting payed? By that, what I’m asking is if you could tell the steps like you did for a recording session on the podcast on how to be professional.

    Thank you for your time!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I very rarely do long distance voice over work. The vast majority of my voice over work is through my agent. Therefore, I rarely invoice people for my work. My agent handles all my contracts and payments and if I am not paid, the union steps in to make sure I am paid.

      If you are pursuing voice over as an independent contractor, then my advice to you is to invoice your client when you send in your final recording to them. That way they can pay you immediately after you’ve completed your work. If they are late in paying you, you need to send them regular reminders until you are paid. However, if they refuse to pay, I’m not sure what legal recourse is open to you. You may want to talk to a small business lawyer about that and get their advice.

      Hopefully that helps.

    • Edward says:

      Thanks for listening Martin. While I believe this was directed at Crispin I can answer this for you as well. I just did a couple of commercials for a client.

      Since I’ve worked with him before, I had no problem sending the audio off to be approved before receiving payment. I have set a rate before hand, or do when meeting a new client, and type up what he owes me and for what. I have a template that I use and send as an e-mail. I then bill him via PayPal or I am sent a check. Typically I use PayPal.

      As a non-union actor, I am my own agent and union so I have to track down work and make sure I get paid. The union world is very different and a lot of main stream voice over actors don’t have to deal with this type of thing. Hence is the benefit of the union and one’s agent. Hope that adds something constructive and thanks again for taking the time to listen.

  7. Pat says:

    Hi Crispin,

    I was listening to your documentary demo and I wondered, how different is the process of voicing a documentary narrator compared to an animated story character?

    There’s clearly a character of sorts being portrayed by your voice depending on the subject matter, but the audience doesn’t get to see the character, and it doesn’t have agency beyond talking. Is it more challenging to achieve the right tone when you’re not inhabiting the character of someone you can see and who’s actions you can empathise with? Would you say it’s closer in nature to acting for commercials?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      It is true that a narrator is a type of character, but as a narrator your scene partner is the audience instead of another character in the story.

      Whether or not that’s more difficult to perform than a character in a story depends on the actor. Some actors can narrate quite well. Others have more difficulty understanding the mindset.

      In terms of comparing it to commercials, in most commercials, you’re usually talking to one person rather than to an audience. I don’t find narration to be the same mindset as commercials unless you’re doing a commercial that is “announcery” like the Dos Equis commercials about the Most Interesting Man in the World. In those, they actually got the narrator from PBS’ Frontline to do the commercial because they wanted it to sound like a documentary.

      Hope that helps.

  8. Angelican Marcos says:

    Hello Mr. Freeman I wondering how does the David’s pose sculpter from Michaelangelo help because I don’t see it and I’m sorry if it does. πŸ™‚

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I don’t understand. I don’t think this podcast episode mentioned Michelangelo’s David sculpture at all. What are you referring to?

      • Angelican Marcos says:

        I’m sorry about that in the voice acting mastery newsletter that you send in our yahoo e-mail. I remember one that you put was about the pose of Michelangelo’s David. I wondering if that was helpful because I don’t see it. I mean how an ancient sculpter’s pose help you on your posture when you’re standing still voice acting in the booth?

        • Pat says:

          The way you position yourself can have a huge impact on your comfort no matter where you are, and I guess the pose just happens to work well that way. I doubt he’d recommend you keep doing it if you try it and it doesn’t help at all.

          As I recall it also helps him position himself in the booth by having him shift all his weight onto one leg. That way, he doesn’t find himself moving his body away from the microphone which can really impair a recording session.

          • Angelican Marcos says:

            That is true and it is uncomfortable and boring standing still in a booth for a couple of hours. Though moving a little of your body to stay comfortable could be good I suppose. Is just I find a little concerning about his posture of using Michelangelo’s David. That’s all… it’s not a bad posture actually but I won’t allow myself doing that kind of position. Thanks for the help I really appreciate it.

          • Crispin Freeman says:

            If you are voice acting, it is not uncomfortable or boring standing still in a booth, it’s called working. My advice (which was not associated with this podcast episode but with a eNewsletter QuickTip) was on how to stay physically relaxed while recording. I find the contrapuntal posture to be the most helpful. Some people may not know what a contrapuntal posture is which is why I referenced Michelangelo’s David sculpture as a classical example of a contrapuntal pose. If you don’t find the pose personally useful, you are welcome to develop your own techniques.

  9. Mattias says:

    After re-re-RE-listening to all three of these podcasts (and hearing these very interesting stories from both Kimlinh and Edward) I decided to download the demo of the game to try it out… less than a week after that, it became the very first XBLA-game I actually bought, because it was amazing on SO many levels!

    I loved hearing both of your stories, as I am myself an amateur voice actor and wanting to go pro some day.

    I must also add that I absolutely love Fidget! Not just Kimlinh’s performance (although that certainly doesn’t hurt) but her role in the story, to me, truly makes the game shine in my opinion! I’m currently at the second boss (Lady Tethys, I believe her name was… who voices her, BTW?) and I want to keep playing!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Excellent! I hope Kimlinh, Edward and Dean see your post. I think they would find it wonderful that you were inspired to support their artistic efforts financially. So glad you’re enjoying the game!

    • Edward says:

      Wow. That is very kind of you to say Mattias. I am certainly pleased you thought enough of the demo to buy the full version. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share your post with the other members of the cast. They would certainly appreciate your kind words.

      I can’t believe you re-re-RE listened to the podcast. I’m flattered you enjoyed it that much.

      Kimlinh as Fidget is easily one of my favorites aspects of the game. That character is so difficult to play in an audibly pleasing manner. The very stereotype of the “annoying sidekick” is seen all over the video game landscape and Kimlinh did a fantastic job, along with her director Deven Mack, of making sure Fidget was an annoying sidekick. To hear you speak so highly of the performance truly justifies our casting of her and is a testament to Kimlinh’s acting abilities. As you pointed out, Fidget plays an important role in the story and has a really well defined character arc. She is one of the most, if not the most, emotionally diverse characters and Kimlinh again is able to captivate and move the audience in all the right places. Props to her.

      As for Lady Tethys, she is played by the wonderful and amazingly talented Eileen Montgomery. Eileen was one of the people I personally called in so I was very happy we were able to cast her. Her natural accent, she is from England, acting ability and so much more added a little something extra to the Lady. I’m very happy to hear you enjoyed it. It was Eileen’s first professional project and I can’t think of a better way to start a career.

      Great to hear you’re looking to get into voice over as well. If you happen to have any questions about what we discussed in the podcast or perhaps a topic we didn’t cover, don’t hesitate to ask it. Thanks again for the support Mattias. We all really appreciate it.

      • Mattias says:

        I don’t mind at all. In fact, I’d be honored if you wanted to share my post with the other castmembers. Some of which (like Curtis Arnott and Blake Swift) I’ve been following on Twitter and YouTube for years! It was also through there that I heard of the game in the first place!

        The name “Eileen Montgomery” does ring a bell… I’ll have to look around the web to see where I could have heard her before! ^^

        Can’t really think of any good question right now. I also imagine that my hopefully future “break-through” will be different from all of yours (partially because I live in Sweden and do almost only voice acting in Swedish), but I’ll let you know if I can think of any! =)

        • Edward says:

          They all liked it and appreciated the support. In case you’re curious, Dust was nominated for Independent Game of the Year by Spike TV’s Video Game Award show. I have no doubt the support it got from the fans aided Dust’s validity as a nominee.

          We had a couple of people with large online reputation, but those two are certainly two of the biggest. We also have Chris “Kirbopher” Niosi and Joshua Tomar, “Tomomoto,” in the cast as well. Both of them have followings on Newgrounds.

          Edwyn “Omahdon” Tiong as been doing online voice over for years and is known for his VG Cats Adaptation With No Name series. I highly recommend it. Kira “Rina-Chan” Buckland, who is extremely well known in the online voice acting community, is also apart of the cast.

          Eileen is also a very talented singer so you may have heard her in that capacity as well. I’m sure you’ll have no problems finding her work.

          Thanks again Mattias.

          • Mattias says:

            I sure hope it wins! I’m not sure how SpikeTV works, but is there any way fans (like me) can vote for it, or does it have already selected judges to make the decision?

            I actually have heard of all of those you mentioned, though I’m unsure if I’ve encountered them in the game yet (which either mean that I’m a rusty voice-hunter or just haven’t gotten far enough yet). The only one whom I can truly say I recognized the voice of is “General Ivan” (whose real name I don’t know) playing Gaius’ right hand man!

            After posting my previous comment, I did see Eileen’s name in a fan-made parody-video made by Lawrence Simpson, aka MasakoX (another voice actor whom I’ve followed for a long time, but am unsure if he’s in the game)! Knew I had heard the name before!

    • Kimlinh Tran says:

      Hiya~! Thank you soooo much for the kind words! I’m glad that you enjoyed my performance as Fidget, and bought the game after giving the demo a whirl! She was an awesome role, and Deven sure did make sure I did the amazing script justice~

      The absolute best in your voice acting pursuit!

      • Mattias says:

        You are MORE than welcome, Kimlinh!

        When Crispin posted the first part of the interview, I reacted to your user name “Hnilmik” and thought it sounded familiar… I later realized that “oh hey, it’s ChiChi from Team Four Star’s DBZ Abridged”! I would never have thought it was you if I had played the game before listening to the podcast, but it’s fun to hear voices you hear on YouTube appear in an official video game!

        Thank you! And I also wish the best of luck to you, Edward and everybody else involved in upcoming roles (whatever they may be)! ^^

  10. Sean says:

    Thank you Crispin, for another excellent podcast, and thank all three of you for your generous insights. Kimlinh and Edward, would you mind sharing a breakdown of your recording set-up when you were honing your craft through sites like VAC and VAA, and if and how that changed for a Professional project like “Dust”? I have a very modest setup (blue yeti pro, HH porta-booth plus, mac air) and wanted to know if that could provide acceptable audio for fan projects like those on VAA/VAC. Thanks again for sharing your inspriational stories, and admirable personalities!

    Warmest regards,


    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Sean, your setup sounds pretty good to me. The Blue Yeti Pro is certainly adequate for voice over and hopefully the porta-booth plus helps minimize reverb and echo in your recording space.

      However, I too would be curious as to whether or not there are any minimum requirements that Kimlinh or Edward would recommend.

    • Edward says:

      No, thank you Sean for taking the time to listen to this podcast. I really do appreciate it.

      My recording setup has been very simple for a very long time. Adobe Audition on my laptop and my Samson C01U USB microphone. That is my portable setup and for a long time it’s been my main recording setup. When I would audition for audio dramas, flash animation or video games on the VAA or VAC, that’s what I was using. Also keep in mind that the VAA and VAC are not just for fan projects. Every now and then there is a paying audition posted, one just ended the other day on the VAA, and those opportunities are great experience and resume builders if you’re cast in one of them.

      For Dust, when Deven Mack and I were casting, audio quality was a huge deal. We were extremely picky with how people sounded in their auditions. There were people we flat out could not cast because of their audio quality. It didn’t matter how talented they were if they sounded like they were recording inside of a tin can. That being said, I believe at least two of our actors recorded their final dialogue for the game on Snowballs so you don’t need an extremely high end setup either.

      My setup did eventually evolve when I moved to LA. My roommates had an M-Audio Sputnik running into a DBX 286a preamp. That’s just fancy talk for a major upgrade. The microphone itself was about $600. That’s what I recorded my dialogue for Ahrah on. They recorded on Cool Edit Pro and Cool Edit eventually became Adobe Audition. I still did my editing on my laptop with Adobe though.

      With the Dust audio, we worked very closely with the “Ducks”, our audio guys over at HyperDuck SoundWorks, to make sure the tracks were mastered correctly and that any effects added didn’t ruin the audio. As I said in the podcast, we had people recording from all over the world on many different microphones. At the end of the day, we were able to make everyone sound like they were at one studio for the most part. That all started with making sure people had high quality stuff to start with. It was a lot of work and there were a lot of speed bumps, but I believe the final product truly does speak for itself.

      I agree with Crispin that your setup is pretty good. That pota-booth is something that will also increase the quality of your sound. I’ve recorded on some very good microphones, but since I was in someone’s living room, the room echo ruined the audio.

      I happen to love the Yeti as a plug and play microphone. That and the Audio-Technica AT2020 I believe are two of the best USB microphones out there. They are also affordable for people just starting out, but still provide competitive quality as you begin to expand your ambitions.

      I still book work on my Samson and I’ve recorded final dialogue with it as well. Some of my characters in Heroes of Newerth were done with my Samson. I am very fortunate to also have some engineering skills that assist in my editing so that I can maximize what I have. However, if you’re starting out at the VAC and VAA, you will sound competitive on that equipment if it’s configured correctly.

      What I mean by that is, don’t crowd the microphone by putting it right up against something and don’t record too far off of it or you negate the porta-booth’s effectiveness. You may also want to consider investing in a pop filter if you don’t already have one. Another thing we looked for in Dust was if someone peaked or popped a “P” or some other letter. If that happened we’d need to redo or edit the final line. If it happened in the audition we would need to take that into account when casting. Always listen back and make sure your audition is as clean as possible.

      After that you just need to be the best actor you can be on whatever you have. The people that got cast in Dust all had audio setups that were well configured, but they were also all very talented actors. At the end of the day, that’s the biggest key.

      Sorry for the long explanation, but I hope somewhere in that mountain of text is a suitable answer. Feel free to follow up with any other questions you might have and thanks again for taking a listen to the podcast.

      • Crispin Freeman says:

        Thanks so much for all the great insight and advice Edward! It’s wonderful to hear all that behind the scenes info about what you guys use for your equipment and what you use in your personal studio! That’s very gracious of you!

  11. Charles says:

    Nearly two years later…
    Thanks Crispin for this interview. Up until this interview I have found some of the people to be a little discouraging. As in, you have to be in X location, X area, stage actor/movie actor, comedian, or musician in order to be in ANY paying gig with voice acting. Anything to do with me staring at people as I talk, or perform… is a fairly daunting prospect to me. I don’t have fond memories of myself in the HS forensics team (I tried, but nerves get the better of me). I currently have many artistic interests with writing, music, and visual arts… voice acting is my latest venture. I plan to use all these “talents” to supplement my income while I tackle a more serious venture (more scientific). I think of this as something I could earn some money with while having a little fun (I don’t think I’ll ever really reach the level of some of your interviewees and yourself the interviewer).

    It was so nice to hear a writer go into voice acting (as I dabble in story telling, I like writing though I don’t write as often as I’d like), I felt like I can relate with Kimlinh’s story a lot, as this is how I was thinking of starting out with voice acting through online freelancing. As I live in a basic hole, all people seem to be interested here are tractors, farming, and hunting. I’m thinking of taking one of your classes one day, but I’ll have to jump through some hoops (including area with good internet, like a local library).

    I don’t know if this is because of my internet, the second part to your interview, sounds glitchy and cuts up now and again.
    Anyways, Thanks for the interview.
    I hope to catch-up with the latest episodes on your podcast soon.
    -Tootles πŸ™‚

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m glad you found the interview so helpful.

      I’m a little concerned with your idea that you’ll use these artistic talents to supplement your income while you tackle what you really care about (a scientific endeavor). Understand that people dedicate their lives to these artistic pursuits. You’re going to be competing with people who are devoting their entire attention to voice acting. Chances are, if you’re doing it with a “part-time” attitude, you’re not going to be competitive against them. There are areas of voice acting where you could make some money as a “cottage industry” as they say. If you’re willing to put yourself out there for audiobooks, if you’re willing to pursue clients to do industrial narration and phone trees. However, this all takes a very entrepreneurial spirit and rarely leaves much extra time for other pursuits. I don’t want you to have a misperception of what it takes to make money as a voice actor.

      If the episode sounds glitchy, I suggest you download the entire mp3 to your device of choice and listen to it locally rather than trying to stream it over the internet. That should help.

      • Charles says:

        I agree, I probably will not be AT ALL as competitive as people who spend their entire lives to an artistic talent… like yourself. I’ve had reality hit me hard when it comes practice, talent, and confidence with writing endeavors. So I’m well aware I may not be the worlds greatest actor who gets nominated for awards, but I’m just going to have fun doing it.
        When I say money, I don’t mean MONEY. Pennies is what comes to my mind, much like the money a singer earns from standing at the street corner strumming his guitar. Right now voice acting seems like a hobby I can pursue now adamantly anyways, as I’m going to have a full year of emptiness… no school, or work that I feel passionate about.

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          Gotcha. I just don’t want you to have a false understanding of what it takes to create a sustainable voice acting career. If you’re doing it more as a hobbyist and aren’t looking towards voice acting as a means of supporting yourself financially, then that’s fine.

      • Charles says:

        Oh and by the way, I normally listen to you using iTunes. I download each episode for safe keeping πŸ™‚

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          If you download the mp3s and listen to them locally, then you shouldn’t have any problems with them “dropping out” during playback.

  12. Lillian Wong says:

    I’m so glad I spent my afternoon binge-listening to all this. Kimlinh is one of my favorite voice actresses. I greatly respect her enthusiasm and determination in the field. Maybe I’ll steal that attitude. πŸ˜‰ I wasn’t familiar with Edward’s work as much, but he sure did a fantastic job! Makes me want to check the game out just for their performances.
    As commented before, it was very informative. I’m happy to say that even though I’m in that “is this a hobby or job” phase, I’ve been practicing my critical listening skills.
    Thank you, Edward, Kimlinh, and Crispin for such great episodes! πŸ˜€

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