Meet The Artist

Issue 56

Kieran Flitton, Voice-over artist

When did you decide to pursue a career in voice acting?

I knew I wanted to be an actor before I knew what an actor was. It was never enough to be told the story – I wanted in on the adventure! Embodying characters, exploring worlds. Theatre was my way in, and I was doing stage productions in my adolescence. Around then, I discovered there was this growing field of performance – Voice Acting. There were no limitations in set, or physicality. You could voice it? You could be it. It was empowering. It clicked. I bought my first mic around seventeen.

So, I knew it was my dream, but somewhere along the way I told myself the lie many of us do – that our dreams aren’t possible for us. I doubled down on a ‘safe’ education, graduated university with top laurels, and founded a software company. Weirdly, in doing so, I had disproved my doubts. I could build, I could achieve. At 27, I realised how ridiculous it would be not to spend the rest of my life devoting these qualities to what was truly important to me. I went all in. I’m still amazed at what has come from that. What are you currently working on?

At the moment I am providing voice over for Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC video game titles; narrating several audiobooks in the non-fiction genres; performing character work for educational activities for the young; and being the voice in a series of commercials. Every new week sees wildly new and different opportunities! I’m tremendously grateful.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The expression. Voice acting funnels a whole performance into the sound of your voice. It needs to be at once more extravagant, more bombastic, and more subtle than live action. A character is brought to life and defined by the identity of a vocal performance. You give a piece of yourself to that performance, and get something back. It could be as simple as the experience itself or as profound as a lesson. And – of course – in this field you get to work with some of the most talented, creative individuals, who invite you to be a part of the works of a lifetime. It’s humbling, and inspiring.

How do you practise your craft?

Not a day goes by when I am not voice acting – announcing, roaring, or whispering. So consistency plays a tremendous part in refinement. You get better by doing, and doing a lot. But, it’s always important to expose myself to new experiences. Engage with material that moves… or do something new and exciting! Acting, as it was described to me, is the process of drawing from a well – and you want to make sure the well is always full.

What is the most challenging aspect?

Voice Acting is a competitive field. Talent is the start, though there is a world full of talented people. Having the capacity to devote, sacrifice, and strive with unerring consistency is what makes a difference.

Do you think the North East offers a good platform for voice artists?

A great voice actor can come from anywhere. I think the North East – certainly where I grew up – offers unique challenges. There is a culture of practicality and pragmatism, that can be counter intuitive to taking great leaps like pursuing a life devoid of traditional security. Many of those I grew up alongside, as I did, have a hard time to this day believing there is ground to land on if they jump too far.

How could this be improved?

Encouragement. It all boils down to belief. By example, by inspiration, by opportunity. Showing people that you don’t have to give up on those visions of one day being an accomplished actor, a successful musician, or anything else. It’s not an easy life, but everyone should be allowed to believe they have the option, and given the guidance on how to get started.

Who are your voice acting heroes?

Interestingly enough, the field was still young when I was. Take video games for instance. They were largely unvoiced, and characters relayed story via text-based dialogue. In many ways, my heroes were the unvoiced potential of these characters. Wanting to give a voice to these fictional heroes.

What would they sound like? Perhaps me?

Though I’d be absolutely remiss not to mention the Disney and Don Bluth classics – or my friends in the industry who continue to inspire me with their work ethic and talent. How has the medium developed?

Immeasurably. When I was a child, the mediums I am working in just were not there yet! They didn’t exist. Audiobooks have boomed in recent years, becoming an exclusive way some people consume literature. Video Games are now wildly popular and voiced. There are new avenues everywhere – from phone apps to CGI movies, that require voice acting which only came into existence in the last couple of decades.

How do you like to unwind?

Fantasy and fiction are huge loves of mine; recently I’ve been devouring The Count of Monte Cristo. Overall, in my downtime, I like to cultivate experiences. I always want to be growing as an individual; trying new things.

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