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Q&Anime with Tony Oliver


 

We were so excited to speak with the voice actor, director, and producer known as Tony Oliver! You may recognize his voice as Minato from Naruto Shippuden, Arsène Lupin III from Lupin the Third, Lancer from Fate/stay night, and many more.

We dove right into the conversation with his reasons for joining the voice acting community, “That is the question of my life. I don’t know why anybody becomes an actor. It was something I was kinda called to do. I just always was drawn to acting and I never originally intended to be a voice actor to me when I was coming up”

As we have all seen, COVID-19 made an impact on everyone’s life in unique ways. Voice acting was another occupation that underwent change during the pandemic. “Now my commute is just down the hall, sometimes there’s a slow cat that gets in the way. The entire industry has been impacted that way. It’s all moved home. Those people who were able to transition and pivot quickly got right back to working quickly.”

As far as challenges go, entering the industry and taking off was Oliver’s first struggles as a new voice actor. “I gotta say I’ve been very fortunate in my career. The biggest challenge was getting started, which is the biggest challenge I think for anyone,” he explained. “Finding that little way in; the place where someone will take a chance on you as an actor, or a production that needs exactly what you can do or exactly what you can deliver. And that was the hardest part.”

Inspiration plays a big role in how we move through our careers. Oliver brought a unique perspective to what motivates and inspires his career. “I have a kind of a school that I worked with and I’m watching these young actors really create new worlds for themselves and take on the social media thing and use that to define themselves and really focus on what’s important in the creative arts rather than on all the glitter and glam. It’s kind of evolved over time. As I teach, I get more inspired by them now than anything else.”

When asked which character he relates to most, Oliver brought up his role as Minato in Naruto Shippuden. “I’m gonna say Minato. And it’s because I was a pretty young parent. My son was born when I was 23 years old. And so I have an instant bond with Minato in that respect… he’s about family and he’sabout his heart and he’s about protection and he isn’t about himself. And that’s what I kind of always want to strive to be.”

As a director and producer, Oliver gave a bit of advice for aspiring voice actors out there. “Have patience. You think that you’re ready when you get out of college and you’re not. There’s a level of comfort in the professional world that you have to get to and it’s a comfort in knowing yourself and it takes a while to get there. There’s no way to rush it.”


 

Many voice actors have to dig deep into their own personal experiences to express these emotions in their characters. Oliver left us with a good note explaining the importance for voice actors to seek therapy when connecting with their emotions. “We’re in the emotion business, actors’ jobs are to tap into emotion and transmit that emotion to the audience in whatever medium we’re working in. That requires you to dive into your own emotions in order to tap into that. So, even if you have a perfectly healthy day to day life, you’re in a great place, mental health wise. When you start digging into that, you’re gonna run into stuff occasionally. Occasionally you are gonna trip over stuff. It’s gonna trigger you. When you’re in those circumstances, it’s really helpful to have a therapist around that knows you; that understands and can help guide you through that and get you back on track.”

 

Watch the full interview: https://youtu.be/TR3iOqAkcTo

Extended Cut: https://youtu.be/MZhIQZdOB-g

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