If you’ve read my work, my interviews in particular, you already know my feelings on voice acting. Despite the incredible mainstreaminization (I’m just testing it out, but it probably should be a word now) of video games and animation, the voice actor is a nearly forgotten element in these beloved forms of entertainment.
That’s truly a shame considering the celebrity-saturated world we live in today. It’s fair to say that if you’ve ever enjoyed a game or anime, that you’ve been entertained by incredibly talented performers, yet you don’t have a clue as to who they are.
Ray Chase was likely one of those faceless voices, but we’re going to change that for you today. Helping to give shape to massive hits like Final Fantasy XV and One Punch Man, Ray makes the entertainment world a better place one line at a time. So let’s hear what he has to say about those famous franchises and the work that goes into his craft:
onFiction: What led you to acting, and once you started down that path, what made voiceover such a focus?
Ray Chase: When I was younger, my dad would tell my sister and me silly stories to get us to sleep (it rarely worked!). He would improvise these very silly characters and do all the voices, and I started mimicking them at a very young age. As I got older, I kept up playing with my voice all through theater school – always choosing roles that had the most interesting voices first! After college, it was just a natural fit for me to start doing audiobook work where I got to play every character, and then on into video games and animation! Thanks Dad!
oF: From games to anime, and even audio books, your resume is beyond extensive. What type of voice performance presents the most challenges for you as an actor?
RC: Thanks very much! I’m really grateful that I’ve been able to work in so many different sectors of the industry. For sure the most difficult work to do is audiobooks – I did over 150 of them alone in a 4 foot by 4 foot booth! As long as there are fun people around, any work is fun!
oF: You’ve been doing this long enough to have seen voiceover performers finally start to get at least some notoriety, what other changes, good or bad, have you seen on your side of the industry?
RC: Well, as far as notoriety is concerned, things have only just started coming out from stuff I worked on years ago! So there’s not too much of a difference between people knowing of my existence and not… I am happy to have famous friends like Max Mittelman and Robbie Daymond who take me to cons with them, though!
oF: One of the big projects you’ve got coming up is the very long awaited Final Fantasy XV, how do you prep for a game character especially when it’s for a title with such a huge, rich story?
RC: One great thing about working on this illustrious game was the fact that we had so much time to work on it as the game was being developed. Most video game sessions you are given a character and must make choices without having any information as to what is going on, but I got to know Noctis deeply as time went on. The localization team was intricately involved in every session, always able to answer questions about what was going on. So fortunately, I got a lot of time to work on this particular role, and I hope it shows!
oF: Playing the same character in the animated feature, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, did you get the opportunity to shape Noctis at all?
RC: The events of Kingsglaive take place at the same time as the game itself, and isn’t any different from what’s going on in that medium. Same director, same everything, so not too entirely different I hope!
oF: Does the size of the franchise and fan-base impact your take on a particular project? More specifically, does it limit what you can do when it’s very well established versus a newer, less known title?
RC: I’ve been doing indie games and going to GDC every year since I began voice acting professionally. I love playing smaller titles, and I am always deeply grateful to perform in them! If you’re cast in one, it’s usually an honor, since they have much smaller casts than AAA titles. I wouldn’t say in any way performances are limited one to the other – it more or less depends on how much the company you are working for values voice acting. Square Enix has been amazing, but then again, so has Cornfox and Bros who I worked with on Oceanhorn!
oF: Anime is also a huge part of what you do, what are some of the differences between prepping for a game franchise versus a well known anime?
RC: Anime is much easier to prep for as you can almost always watch the show online. I try to do that for any part I’m auditioning for to have a general knowledge of what is going on in the show – and usually the director is pretty surprised when he or she doesn’t have to take up valuable recording time explaining the character for me!
oF: So you like to take in the original’s voice work before doing a US dub for an existing anime?
RC: With few exceptions, I watch the entire show, or at least all the scenes with my character. One notable exception was Charlotte – I heard from my castmate Lauren Landa that there were some huge twists ahead for Yuu Otosaka that he didn’t know about; as such, I decided not to watch the show all the way through so when those twists did occur, I wasn’t playing as if I was expecting them. Rather, I was as surprised as Yuu was, which I hope would keep the audience in suspense as well!
oF: How is doing a new show like One Punch Man (which is amazing! Puri Puri is probably my favorite) different than a show that already has several seasons in the books?
RC: Aw thanks! PPP is my favorite, too! Right off the bat one real difference is that we have no idea what is going to happen to these characters over time. We have some information based on the manga and webcomic, but really with ONE anything can happen! Since I’ve only been doing anime a couple of years, I can only guess, but I can imagine having a role you come back to year after year must be quite a treasure. Like seeing an old friend.
oF: That covers existing titles, what are some differences you encounter when working on a new series or film like the upcoming Justice League Dark?
RC: Doing original animation is a totally different beast. There’s so much more freedom in the performance that you can really use all your theater training to embody the character, in comparison to dubbing where your delivery has to match the expression and movements of the already animated character. I love doing both!
oF: You’ve touched so many of the major gaming and anime franchises, are there any you’re a fan of that you haven’t worked on? Or maybe some you’d really love to take a crack at that you haven’t yet?
RC: Oh yes, definitely! I’d love to do some work for Blizzard, or Naughty Dog. They really craft wonderful worlds with incredibly fun and detailed characters. Moving into the mo-cap realm is a goal of mine for the moment!
oF: What do you want some of the next steps on your career to be? What are some dream projects you would love to see happen?
RC: Other than a Puri Puri Prisoner spin-off, I’m happy to take my roles as they come! So far I’ve been in love with every single one.
oF: What’s life like away from the mic and camera?
RC: Man… I honestly don’t know! I’ve recently stopped doing audiobooks, which puts me in that booth much less each day. With this free time, I definitely intend on playing more video games!
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** Photos of Ray Chase by David Zaugh**