Laura Post: Interview With A Voice Actor
I first came across Laura Post’s name when looking up the voice actors involved in upcoming game Firefall where she voices Aero. Prior to appearing in Firefall, Post has been involved in plenty of other tv shows and anime dubs, but more interesting are her roles in video games, including voicing Ahri in League of Legends and Valentine in Skullgirls. She was kind enough to give me some of her time, and below I’ve paraphrased as much as I can. If you want it in its full glory, the full interview is available at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!
While voice acting had been a childhood dream (as well as being a veterinarian and computer programmer), it didn’t seem like a real possibility until Post went to the 2002 Anime Central convention where she saw a voice acting panel. “By the time I was done with the first panel, I was sold. I was like ‘yup, this is in fact what I want to do with my life.’”
With the realization that voice acting is a valid career choice, she dove in. She went straight home to read everything she could about voice acting, started auditioning, and soon went to Columbia College for a degree in animation. While her degree didn’t teach her acting, it did give her experience with sound design, storyboarding, and even exposure sheets for lipsynching:
“I feel like it just helps me connect even more with the people on the other side of the glass when I’m working.”
In 2007, Post moved to LA where she began her career with both anime and video games. While both styles are very different, they can each be fun; with anime, you have to deal with timing and synching the words to the mouth movements which can be very restricting. While video games aren’t as restrictive (most of the fighting / reaction sounds are ad-libbed), they can be rough on your voice: “75% of the time you end up screaming your lungs out.” Even if the lines don’t sound loud when you’re playing, it might be because in fighting games all the lines are shouted, so each one doesn’t seem that loud by comparison. Either way, though, she’s just happy when she’s in the booth (even if it is an hour and a half of blood-curdling screams).
Of her roles, her longest-running is Aero in Firefall. As Firefall has been in beta for years now, it means Post has had a lot of time to work with Aero. While her accent has changed, the character hasn’t; Post has been focusing on making Aero the “bleeding heart” of the group.
Interestingly, as with most video game voice actors, Post has no interaction with the other voice actors. While Aero and Oilspill have a friendly rapport and tease each other back and forth, Post has never even met the guy who voices him (and whose name I can’t find for the life of me). In the end, though, it’s all about playing pretend; “You have to have this really active imagination so you can hear this fake other person you’ve never heard before.”
Post herself is an avid gamer, maintaining two pen-and-paper RPG groups and a self-professed Fire Emblem Awakening addiction (along with many other video games). She played World of Warcraft before she was cast as Queen Azshara, and she was super excited for the role. While getting a place in World of Warcraft was exciting, though, there are a handful of roles that Post would love a chance to voice: while Final Fantasy’s Selus, Quistas, and Tifa are high on her list, the top spot is reserved for Barbara Gordon. “She’s my favourite character of all time.”
Aside from WoW and the Batman series, she loves and often plays RPGs (like the Final Fantasy games) and many others, including all the games she has voiced characters for (League of Legends, Skullgirls, World of Warcraft). When asked about encountering her voice in-game, she explained that she only finds it weird if she is not playing the character she voiced.
Having worked on Skullgirls (a game often criticized for being ‘sexist’), I wanted Post’s perspective on girls in the gaming world. Her most interesting point was about the character design. Skullgirls features 8 characters, including the needlessly sexy, the innocent/cartoony, and the interesting “monster girl.”
In games like League of Legends, your female character options are limited to little girls or sexy femme fatales. Guys get the male equivalents (weird kids and handsome/sexy ideals), along with the ‘monster’ category. There are Cho’Gaths and Urgots, but for whatever reason, no female monsters.
Skullgirls does give girls the option to play as a female monster, which makes it stand out among other multiplayer/arena/fighting games: “There were so many flavors of chick to pick from, and it – you know – yeah, there was totally like sexy characters, but Peacock’s not sexy. Painwheel’s not sexy.”
However, while representation of women in games is hotly debated, Post feels that the sexism in the industry is more of an issue. Professionals in the videogame industry should all be treated alike, regardless of sex – but that’s not how the culture works. When a man talks about an upcoming game, the comments on the video are about whatever he is talking about. When the presenter is a woman, “you know that in the YouTube comments, at least – bare minimum – 50% are going to mention the way she looks… that shouldn’t really be part of the conversation at all.”
“That’s the real issue at the crux of everything that needs to be addressed, as opposed to art styles and character design and stuff like that.”
Talking with Laura was a real delight; she’s smart, funny, and down-to-earth – exactly the way you hope your favourite actors will be. If you want more information on her or just the chance to talk, she’s very active on both Twitter and Facebook. While she couldn’t talk about her upcoming projects, I’m looking forward to whatever she does next!