Highlights from The Women of Voice Acting at C2E2

As a voice actor it’s a thrill to be in the same room with the three talented voice actresses of C2E2’s The Women of Voice Acting panel and I certainly wasn’t the only one to feel that way. Loud cheers greeted the trio of Charlet Chung (D.Va / Overwatch), Vanessa Marshall (Hera Syndulla / Star Wars Rebels), and Susan Eisenberg (Wonder Woman) as they made their way to the stage.

Susan Eisenberg, Vanessa Marshall, and Charlet Chung on the Women of Voice Acting Panel at C2E2 2018
Susan Eisenberg, Vanessa Marshall, and Charlet Chung photo: Kay Serna

Each came to voiceover from a different approach. Charlet Chung shared that she did on-camera film and TV first but growing up she was always getting spotted places by people recognizing her voice so she wanted to do something with that. It was hard to find representation at first but once she got into the voice acting community she found it very inclusive. Meanwhile Vanessa Marshall grew up with a famous mother and didn’t want anything to do with Hollywood. According to Marshall being portly lead her to turn to comedy. But ultimately with voiceover she felt like she’d found a place where you can lead with your soul.

Susan Eisenberg was the only one of the three to actually have started out with voiceover. As a child she did radio commercials for her father’s department store. When she got older she decided to pursue acting but then found her way back to voiceover. After doing small parts here and there, the opportunity to voice Wonder Woman changed everything.

Charlet Chung speaks at the Women of Voice Acting Panel at C2E2 2018
photo: Kay Serna

Read on for some more highlights from their discussion.

What part they’d like to get next:
Vanessa – Jean Grey
Charlet – an on-camera Marvel part
Susan – has found voicing Wonder Woman so empowering that she recommends it to everyone, but she’d like to always keep voicing Wonder Woman.

Which kinds of scenes they’d like to have more of:
Vanessa – joked that maybe she’ll start her own YouTube series so she can do Jean Grey scenes.
Susan – would like to have more mother daughter moments between Diana and Hippolyta, but she also wouldn’t mind more time with Batman.
Charlet – wants to have more full narratives in stories in general and be more than an archetype. For example she’d love to have scene that show D.Va’s family life.

Susan Eisenberg and Vanessa Marshall C2E2 2018 FANgirl Recap
Susan Eisenberg and Vanessa Marshall photo: Kay Serna

When an audience member asked if they’d ever be interested in being in a live action Star Wars movie:
Eisenberg claimed you don’t say no to Star Wars and she’d be interested in being Shaak Ti after voicing her in Force Unleashed. Chung joked that because she’s short she’d like to play Chewbacca.
Meanwhile Marshall would like to bring her animated character Hera Syndulla into live action. She figures they should be around the same age, maybe around the Battle of Jakku or so.

On the responsibilities of representing a superhero well:
Eisenberg finds she thinks about Wonder Woman a lot on a regular basis, including her impact on the world. She feels like the character has made her a better person. For Marshall voicing Mary Jane Watson was as an opportunity to really be true to the comic books she loved. Chung noted that she has only voiced original characters so far so for her the responsibility comes later.

Charlet Chung and Vanessa Marshall speaking about being women in voice acting
Vanessa Marshall and Charlet Chung photo: Kay Serna

What it’s like to be a woman in the industry:
Chung said she’s had times where she’s looked around and realized she was the only woman in the room. It’s toughened her up. But she’s discerned that as there are more females responsible for casting there seems to be more females hired. Eisenberg has noticed that she doesn’t get treated the same as Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill even though she’s so many people’s Wonder Woman just like they are people’s Batman and Joker. She clarified that she wasn’t talking about money though. She did note that the opportunities for women are getting greater but “we have to believe we deserve a seat too.” Marshall was happy to hear women now voicing car commercials. She finds herself grateful to have a job but it still hurts if she’s not paid the same, citing the example of celebrities vs. utilitarian voice actors. The utilitarian actors like herself don’t get quite the same earning potential. But Marshall heeded that when things happen in pop culture, that can elevate others. She cited Black Panther’s success as an example and then Lena Waithe voicing commercials for AT&T.

Susan Eisenberg makes everyone laugh at the Women of Voice Acting C2E2 Panel
photo: Kay Serna

Tips for those wanting to do voiceover:
Eisenberg recommends acting and improv classes because you have to know who you’re talking to and how to make copy come alive. She advises to be fearless, to not be afraid to look stupid and fail, and let your ego go and let the character live through you. For auditions she recommends making sure you’re breathing and remember how lucky we are to be able to do something like this.

Marshall has a masters in acting. She doesn’t recommend going that far. For product she often does a read through in a character to get more comfortable or substitutes something she loves when practicing so during the recording the feeling comes through. Dee Bradley Baker’s Iwanttobeavoiceactor.com is her go-to resource website. Marshall also found that continuing her writing helps her find her own voice and lets her know who she is outside of voiceover, what she stands for. She acknowledged that writing may not be it for everyone but to find a hobby that makes you feel empowered.

Chung said Crispin Freeman’s website is another good resource. She’s found that when she really wants a part she’ll end up focusing on what the people casting are looking for and then she’d never get those parts. So she recommends not worrying about that and instead having a definite idea about the part. Go for it the way you want to go for it. That’s the way for the voice to come out the most authentic. Chung encouraged the audience to be yourself and be unapologetic about who you are – especially women. Then when you audition, send it and forget it.

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She grew up wanting to be an astronaut. After seeing Star Wars, she wanted to be Princess Leia, Han Solo, and an astronaut. Life’s taken her on a bit of a different path, but she’s okay with that. Kay is FANgirl's resident geek fashion expert and co-host of the Hyperspace Theories podcast. She reviews books and movies for the site with a heart for storytelling and a mind that likes to analyze. Kay's been a guest on various podcasts sharing her love and knowledge of storytelling, film-making, fashion, and of course, Star Wars. Most days are filled with her work as a creative services professional - designing websites & branding, photographing, voice acting, editing, and more. Kay spends the little bit of free time she has reading, costuming, and, of course, making pew pew noises. She would pick up more jobs and hobbies if she was a Time Lord.