At the age of 11, Ashly Burch figured out voice acting was a thing and decided right then she wanted to be a voice actor. Her friend Sarah Elmaleh started out as a dancer, got injured, tried musical theater, and fell in love with acting. While the two actors came to voice acting through different paths, they agree on a lot of things—including their geek girl roots, their love of video games, and the importance of hard work.
They also agree on the advice they give to people who want to try to get into voice acting. First of all, there really is not one way to do it. Second, you have to work hard to develop your skills so that when you meet the right person and work comes along you can “knock it.”
Burch got her start when she created the web series Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin‘? with her brother Anthony Burch. Most episodes of the comedy series focus on a single game. The series was hosted on Destructoid (where Anthony worked) at first, then went to GameTrailers. According to Wikipedia, “As of December 2013, the series has received 19,541,899 views.” For Ashly Burch, the homegrown series led to introductions to game developers, then to roles on such popular series as Adventure Time and a whole host of video games, from Life Is Strange to Fallout 4.
Sarah Elmaleh came to voice acting through the games industry. She showed up at conventions and learned all she could about games. Her first roles were in indie games. Later she moved to Los Angeles to work with agents and casting directors to land roles on bigger games. She’s best known as Katie in the critically acclaimed indie game Gone Home, and according to her website she’s worked on “projects of all scales and genres, from indie darlings like Galak-Z to AAA mega-hits like Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.”
Both actors have tips for fighting “impostor syndrome.” Burch says it’s a good idea to seek out sanity checks with a lot of different people. You should also try to cultivate humility and a genuine desire to improve. “The more objective you can be about your work the more impostor syndrome fades,” says Burch.
Ashly Burch and Sarah Elmaleh appeared in the panel “Imposter Syndrome: Are You As Good As Everyone Believes You to Be?” Saturday at GeekGirlCon.