Comic Fiesta 2022 returns after a 2 year hiatus for a hectic weekend, gathering fans of anime, comics and gaming in one place. Malaysia is no stranger to any of those, and certainly would have needed the voices to bring the characters in their respective media to life. Three of those people in that industry today is Azman Zulkiply, Su Ling Chan and Mohammad “Uncle Ali” Imran bin Darus, the trio having a commonality via Malaysian-made game, NO STRAIGHT ROADS.
GETTING YOUR START
There is a local chapter of a voice acting guild simply known as Voice Guild Malaysia. Here, voice talent can come together on a platform to pretty much be able to mingle and talk about their work. As you might expect, being a part of the guild will involve rules and a membership fee, but it is worth it for both artistes and clients alike. You’ll also get to know the pay rates for jobs across various industries.
The panelists reveal that most tend to begin their voice acting career through advertising, before getting game or anime/animation projects. It’s different for Azman since he’s already a voice acting coach, in addition to giving time for student final projects.
FINDING YOUR FOOTING
The pandemic has affected the world at large, and the voice acting industry had been no different. When working remotely, they talk about using Zoom, or Skype, for example, in order to contact or discuss projects. The actual recording process through this method only involved one other person in the sound engineer: despite the reduced audience, as it were, they admit it was still nerve-wracking.
Su Ling shares her efforts in making a booth for voice recording sessions, ordering a PVC booth online and setting herself back by around RM500 for her setup.
Voice acting isn’t the easiest by any means, and it would certainly be tougher if you want to make it into the international scene. Still, giving up isn’t on the table: just send your portfolios where you can. Su Ling once again reveals how she got a role in Kageki Shoujo. It took almost a year for her to get a role through Funimation, so even if she only got to voice a nameless side character, she’s still happy that she did get a role.
KINDA STRAIGHT ROAD
It’s almost comically anticlimactic to learn that the trio got their roles in NO STRAIGHT ROADS was as easy as just going for the interview. You can hear Azman Zulkiply as DJ Zam, Su Ling as Mayday, and Uncle Ali as DJ Subatomic Supernova.
The panel closes out with them confessing which character they struggle the most to voice. Azman considers the villains in BoBoiBoy as his challenge, Uncle Ali’s weakness being high pitched characters, and Su Ling considers New Gods: Yang Jian being her toughest work, being grateful to the director for helping her through the recording, resulting in her best performance yet.
Voicing Yao Ji (Yang Jian’s mum), was cathartic for me as my Uncle had passed 4 days before the session. Her story reminded me that all things live forever thru the memories of the living.
This is dedicated to my Saam Suk.
— Su Ling Chan 🐉 (@SuChanVA) December 2, 2022
For those who want to start on their path of voice acting, their advice is pretty simple:
- Read anything – as long as there’s text on it – then record your voice, before deciding if you’re cut out for the job
- If you think you are, try mimicking characters to find your style
From there, it’ll be down to refining your craft. We’ll see you there.