EvilleCon 2013: Interview with Voice Actress Tiffany Grant

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From March 22-24, 2013, I attended EvilleCon in Evansville, Indiana. This was my second year attending, and I was really excited for this one’s special guests. I had put in five interview requests and was lucky enough to be granted all of them, including one with Tiffany Grant of Neon Genesis Evangelion fame.

tif22007Let me tell you a couple things about Tiffany Grant: She’s hilarious, intelligent, well-spoken, and energetic. She speaks her mind, which shouldn’t be a surprise to any Asuka fans out there. Lastly, she’s very accommodating. She surprised a friend of mine who lives in California with a phone call (yelling at him a la Asuka) which had him shaking with joy for a good couple of hours after that. She also signed an Asuka figurine for him, which I’m sure he’s stashed somewhere where anyone who enters his room can see it. When I interviewed her, she was wearing a red Hello Kitty Asuka shirt, a combination of what are probably her two favorite things and wanted to do the interview standing up, because she’d been sitting all day. I’m surprised she had so much energy, but I suppose in order to do the con thing as a special guest, especially at the rate she does it, you kind of have to have it.

She isn’t just Asuka though. She’s done a number of roles, including several voices, most notably Kome Sawaguchi from Blue Seed, Chigako from Devil Hunter Yohko, Lena from Fire Emblem, Tina from Detective Conan, Chocolate Musi of Sorcerer Hunters, Misaki Matsuya and Sandora of Excel Saga, Sai of Angelic Layer, Altena of Noir, Nojiko of One Piece, Yuji Nishimura of D.N. Angel, Bonta-Kun (yes, the bear) from Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, Ashura from Tsubasa Resevoir Chronicle, Summer in Shin Chan, Martel in Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, and many, many others, totaling up to about 130 anime titles. She also does work with ADR scripting, which has brought her to work over 200 TV episodes and has voiced for two video games: Deus Ex: Invisible War and Unlimited Saga. As if this weren’t enough, she volunteers her time at various charities and attends cons almost year-round. In short, she’s a busy woman!

What follows below is my interview with her, transcribed by our very own Mark B. Photos from the con are credit of Alex Kessler.:

 

DHGF: Okay, so, you are Tiffany Grant!

TIFFANY: That is correct.

DHGF: In case anybody isn’t familiar with your work, what are some of the roles you’re most known for?

TIFFANY: Well, the thing that I’m most known for would be Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion. The other thing that probably gets talked about the most when I interact with people, which is how I would gauge it, is definitely Fullmetal Alchemist, in which I played Marta, that one seems to be quite popular. I was in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles, I played Lord Ashura, it was only a couple of episodes, but again, it’s a very popular show. Azumanga Daioh, I was Kaorin in that. I have worked on an awful lot of shows in the last nineteen years, so it would be impossible to name all of them, but I’ll say a couple that are really more recent: Infinite Stratos, which just came out last year, I was Laura Bodewig, she’s the obnoxious German pilot–kind of a trend– and a new show that has not come out yet, but I’m very excited, it’s called Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, and I play one of the leads in that, so. Just putting in a plug.

DHGF: No, that’s fine! So, what are some of the most fun roles that you’ve done? Judging by what you’re wearing, I’d say Asuka, right?

asukaTIFFANY: Well, yeah, Askua was fun, but I mean, it was also kind of deep and dark, and pretty much hit every level. I would say a couple of the shows that were maybe the most fun: Hello Kitty’s Animation Theatre was just really a lot of fun for me to work on, and a crazy, crazy show called Excel Saga. Excel Saga, absolutely one of the most fun projects I ever worked on, because I got to play a lot of different characters, so that I could really explore all different kinds of things, and I was playing aliens, and a little South American boy, and a voluptuous woman, so I was playing all kinds of different things, and it was super fun.

DHGF: You don’t just voice act, you also do English anime scripts?

TIFFANY: Yes I do, I’ve written scripts for several shows–Angelic Layer, Sister Princess, The Wallflower, Infinite Stratos–so I’ve written quite a few scripts for anime, and I do other kinds of acting as well for radio and TV commercials. I’ve done voiceover, I’ve done on camera for TV commercials, for industrial films, for training films, educational films, those kind of things. I’ve also done some TV and film work on camera, stage acting, yeah, all that.

DHGF: You did something with Jeff Bridges as well right?

TIFFANY: Yeah, it was a feature film that I worked on. It came out in 1998, I believe. It was called Arlington Road, and this was, like I say, 1998, so this was before 9/11, and he was a college professor teaching a course about terrorism, and it was a graduate course, and I was one of the students in his class, and it was a really fantastic experience. I worked on the movie about three or four days, and I’ve always said it was one of the best acting classes I’ve ever had, because I got to watch Jeff Bridges acting, and he’s fantastic! At the time I thought he had maybe the best hair in show business, he just had a fantastic head of hair, it was really great. That was exciting. And just as a tiny interesting side note, the very, very first big movie I ever worked on, and I was an extra, I only worked on it one day, was called Rocket Man, and one of the stars of that movie was Beau Bridges, and I actually met Beau Bridges when I was on the set of that movie, so technically I’ve actually worked on movies with both the Bridges brothers.

DHGF: Nice! Do you know about how many feature films that you’ve worked on?

TIFFANY: That I’ve worked on? It’s not a lot, I mean, I’ve done a few independent films where I had an actual speaking part, but I mean, feature films altogether? Maybe half a dozen, there’s not a lot.

DHGF: And you also have contributed to albums, Voices for Peace, Voices for Tolerance?

TIFFANY: Yeah, I’m part of a group called “Voices For,” and we did do two albums, and what we did with that was, all of the profits from those albums go to various charities that we selected, so that we don’t actually make any money off of it, so we’ve given money to organizations like Doctors Without Borders, and Southern Poverty Law Foundation, so it’s pretty good. [Laughs]

DHGF: Awesome! How did you get involved with that?

TIFFANY: I, with my friend Jan Scott Frazier, she’s the producer of the albums, and she just had this idea of doing albums to raise money for charity and kind of contacted a lot of her friends in the industry, different artists and voice actors, and so we put that together, and you can go to the website voicesfor.org, or it’s available through iTunes. You can buy Voices for Tolerance on iTunes; Voices for Peace is not available on iTunes, but you can buy it through the website.

DHGF: Oh that’s great! What do you do for fun–I say for fun as if your career isn’t fun, but other than voice acting, what kind of things you like to do?

TIFFANY: Well, I’ve been working for about four years now with a group called The Wildlife Center of Texas, and we’re a nonprofit organization that is basically an animal hospital for wildlife, so it’s obviously, as the name suggests, in Texas. We deal with all native wildlife in Texas that is orphaned or injured, and we take in about 9000 animals a year, and at this present time–it is currently spring when we’re doing his interview–so we have a lot of baby squirrels, and a lot of baby possums, and they have to be fed a whole bunch times per day. So that’s currently what we have; in a couple of months, it will be birds, nonstop baby birds, all the time, “cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep!” But I really, really love doing that. I work there with feeding animals and taking care of them, and I also do a lot of educational outreach, talking to groups, a lot of children’s groups, going to school, things like that.

DHGF: So it seems like activism is a pretty big part of your life, or at least something you enjoy?

TIFFANY: It definitely is a part of my life, and you know, just at home, I love watching a bit of science fiction, movies and TV shows.

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DHGF: Cool! It looks like you go to cons a lot.

TIFFANY: Oh yes, I do go a lot of conventions. Say, an average of maybe fifteen or so per year. I think this year, it looks like I’m going to be doing more, like twenty or so. It’s going to be a big year, a lot of cons.

DHGF: I also noticed that you do actually, and I don’t know if it’s uncommon for VAs to do this, but you do watch a lot of anime it seems?

TIFFANY: I watch a good bit of anime, I have not admittedly watched every single thing that I’ve ever been in, but I watch my fair share of anime, I’ve watched a good bit of it.

DHGF: Is your top ten that’s currently on your website pretty recent?

TIFFANY: You know what, I actually did make that top ten list several years ago, but I still really like all of those shows, they’re all very, very good shows, so I would probably revise it a little bit now. There’s just so many I’ve worked on! As far as separate shows, I don’t know, it’s maybe one hundred and thirty or one hundred and forty different shows, so I don’t know. It’s really hard picking out a top ten, much less picking out a favorite one. It’s just impossible.

DHGF: Well, you presumably watch anime that you haven’t been in either… Any that really stick out to you as ones you really became emotionally invested in or just really enjoyed?

TIFFANY: Well, I mean, okay, technically I did work on Fullmetal Alchemist, but I was only in ten or eleven episodes, but I really got hooked on that show! So yeah, I was very emotionally invested in it. In fact, I was actually at an anime convention the night the final episode aired on Adult Swim, so I remember, the end of the day after the con was over, going up to my room and–

DHGF: Trying to find the channel?

TIFFANY: Yeah, and, you know, watching it in my hotel room. I felt I got especially invested with FMA.

DHGF: You’ve mentioned several times this con, but also on your website, that voice acting is first and foremost acting. Could you expand on that a little bit?

TIFFANY: Yeah, absolutely. A lot of people just think of voice acting in terms of, like, doing a voice, but it’s not just doing a voice, it’s creating a character. The thing about voice acting is that the part of the performance that the audience receives is that they hear the voice, that’s the only part they interact with, so they can think of it in terms of doing a voice. But I’m actually creating a character, I’m doing the whole performance, just as if I would be doing it if I was on a film or I was on a stage, so I’m still creating a character. When you go to see a play, or you’re watching a film, very often the actor is not speaking the way they would normally speak, they’re doing an accent or they’re affecting their voice in some other way, but that’s not usually something that people focus on so much because they think in terms of the entire character that has been created, but I mean, the voice is obviously an extremely important component of that, but still, it’s part of a character. So when I say voice acting, it’s about acting, and not just about doing a voice, it’s not just an imitation of something, there is still a performance behind that, still an acting performance.

DHGF: That’s something that I think probably gets overlooked by a lot of people who are wanting to be voice actors.

TIFFANY: Right, because here’s the thing, I used to work in a talent agency for about eight years, and something that I encountered a lot of times is, there are a lot of people who worked in radio, who work with their voice, but they are not actors, most of them are not actors, and I’m sorry, I’m not trying to offend DJs, I’m sure some of you are just great. But anyway, the point is, there are a lot of them that say “Hey, you know, I want to get into voice acting,” but everything that they did sounded like they were doing a car commercial or something. So it’s just not the same thing; just because you have a pleasing voice or you might be really good doing car commercials, that doesn’t mean that you can be an actor, and in fact, I know that some of those people have ended up maybe working, say, in an anime, and they play newscaster! So, not really acting, but I mean there are some, like Maggie Flecknoe is a good example, she’s a radio personality in Houston, but she’s done quite a good bit of anime, so I mean, yes, some of them are actors. My friend Tiffany Taro, she does traffic, she’s a traffic reporter, but she has a degree from LSU in acting, she’s a very talented actress here doing musical theater. But there’s just the point that, the acting is at the base of it, just because you know you have a pleasant voice or you’re good at narration or doing voiceovers, that’s not the same thing.

DHGF: Did you get any formal training? How did you get your start?

Tiffany at a panel

TIFFANY: Well I did take acting classes all through school, like in high school and college that’s what I was studying, and then I took some acting classes after that. I did not ever get any kind of a degree, but I did take acting classes, just from an acting school, and it felt very helpful to me. Actually, it was after I started working in anime, I had been in anime for a couple of years, and I took a workshop. It was a voice over workshop that dealt more with approaching voice work for commercials and that kind of thing, you know. There’s not really any specific exact course or set of courses, but I think just, acting training in general is certainly very, very helpful in pursuing an acting career, but I don’t think you need to have a degree per se. I do think classes are generally very helpful, it helps you get some of the basics, and also that you’re speaking the same language. Just like any industry, there’s a language and a parlance to that profession that we’re speaking in, and you don’t want to be the bozo that goes in and doesn’t understand all of the terms people are using and know your stage left from your stage right or whatever.

DHGF: Going back to your script writing, how did you get started in that, and what’s the process for that?

TIFFANY: The process for that, I could talk about for the next two hours, but how I got started in that was, I was working as a voice actor and I’d been doing that for about… Oh, probably about nine years, and one day I had what I like to call little Tiffany Epiphany and I thought, “Hey, they’re hiring scriptwriters, maybe I could try my hand at that,” and it used to be that the person who is directing the show would also write the script for it, and it just got to be where the demands were such and the productions were being streamlined in such a way that it was really better to have the director focused on his or her job and have someone else working on crafting scripts. And when I realized that they were hiring people to do this, I thought, maybe I’d be good at it, so I arranged to take a script writing test, and I passed the test, and I got hired on to be a contract script writer. And it’s worth noting that I’ve never been an employee of any company at any time, I’ve always been a contract performer, so if it was for writing a script or working as a voice actor, it was always contract work. I’m always self-employed. But anyway, it was kind of, one day I had the idea maybe I’d be good at that, and I guess I am pretty good at it! And it’s a very tedious and time-consuming process, very, very unlike any sort of script writing, because you’re trying to adapt something that is a finished product, the show is done, the animation is finished, this is what the story is, so you don’t have that much leeway. It’s not like sitting down and writing out your own story for something, I mean, obviously, the most freedom you would have would be, say, if you are writing a play, because you have pretty much no parameters whatsoever, there’s no set length that it has to be. But there was a guy that I met, unfortunately I can’t remember his name now, but an older gentleman who worked in Hollywood a lot in the 70s and 80s as a television scriptwriter, and of course he had a lot of freedom with that when he was working on the episodes, but still, you have certain strictures of, you know, this episode of Starsky and Hutch is sixty minutes long, and when you take the commercial breaks it’s like a forty five minute show, and each scene is this long, so, you know, they still a lot of components to that, but you don’t worry about Paul Michael Glaser can only move his mouth this many times, so there’s a lot of constraints when you’re working on a dubbing script, and my main mantra is always the intent. I’m looking overall at the show, what’s the intent of the show, what were they trying to achieve with this, what’s the overall overarching theme, so as long as I try to stay true to what the original intent of the show was, and I use as my guiding focus, that really helps me a lot. It’s a very time-consuming process that’s involved on a lot of levels. I mean, the really obvious thing is that the line has to be the right length to match the amount of time the mouth is moving, so it’s not going to be able to be written where it syncs up perfectly, because for one thing, anime when it comes to TV anime anyway, it’s not animated to match anything, it’s just you know, an animated character whose mouth is opening and closing however many times, it’s not animated to look like actual words, but you want it to kind of start and stop at the right times. And then you’ve got to take into account all these other things, like cultural references, puns, word plays, you know. Who is the target audience? There so many elements that go into that, and it can be very rewarding when you come up with something that works really well in a scene, but there is a lot of it that’s just kind of busy work. Making note of all of the time codes when people are talking, and making notations about every time someone gasps or screams or sneezes or sighs or whatever, so all of that stuff has to go into the script, and hopefully at the end of it, you come up with something that can work well enough in the studio when you get in there and you’re recording that helps the recording process go that much more smoothly.

DHGF: Wow. That’s a lot of work.

TIFFANY: It is a lot of work. [laughs]

DHGF: You don’t translate right?

TIFFANY: That’s right. Yes, I should say the translation is a completely separate part the job, the job of the translator is simply to have the original Japanese script and of course they also have the video with the dialogue that was actually spoken, and to translate that, it was in Japanese here it is in English, that’s all they’re doing. It’s not intended to match anything, it’s not necessarily intended to be nuanced in any way, it’s just one person’s not really adaptation, but translation of, “They said this, it means this,” and anybody out there who is bilingual in any two languages will know, there’s no one way of translating something from one language into another language. I had a very interesting experience recently, I was in Puerto Rico, and when we were there, we went to see three films that were in English and had Spanish subtitles. We saw Die Hard Five, Identity Thief and Oz the Great and Powerful, and it’s so interesting, because I can speak a little bit–“un porquito”–of Spanish, and to see what their choices were for, they’re saying this in English and this is what the choice was in Spanish, and I can tell you there were a lot of colorful words that Bruce Willis used in Die Hard that seem to always be translated as “Diablo,” so he wasn’t really saying devil in English, kids. [laughs] That wasn’t the word. But that’s one person’s interpretation of the feeling of, if someone says in English this, it feels like if I said that in Spanish… It’s fascinating.

DHGF: But you speak–

TIFFANY: I speak German, right, so I can appreciate that, you know there are colloquialisms in any language that mean a certain thing, like, I like one that’s “Er hat nicht alle Tassen im Schrank”, he doesn’t have all his cups in the cupboard, and we don’t really say that in English, but we might say he doesn’t have both oars in the water, his elevator doesn’t go all the way the top, so. I don’t know really what those expressions are in Japanese but they all kind of mean the same thing, so the expression in Japanese was, he hasn’t planted his orchids properly or whatever, you know, that might mean the same thing as he doesn’t have all of his cups in the cupboard or his elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top. The point with a colloquialism is, it doesn’t mean the exact thing that you’re saying, it’s an expression, and there’s a whole other level of meaning behind it, and it’s a thing that, when we use these expressions, it conveys a certain feeling, a certain meaning to people who also speak your language and share your culture, they know what was meant by that, like… Oh my gosh, I was at dinner one time with the director Nabeshin, Shinichi Watanabe, he’s famous for directing crazy shows like Excel Saga and The Wallflower and Nerima Daikon Brothers, and we were trying to explain to him the concept of “it tastes like chicken”. Originally, people meant that very sincerely, they’d say, you know, what does Rattlesnake taste like, well, it taste like chicken, and people would sincerely say that, but it’s gotten to be such a commonplace thing that it’s a joke. Like, people say that about whatever, it doesn’t matter what it is, you know, what does a chair taste like, it tastes like chicken. You could say that about anything, to where it’s a joke, and there was a translator and he was desperately… I don’t think we ever did convey the concept of what that means, so God bless anybody working on any other language in any other country where they have to try to translate the concept of “it taste like chicken.” I suggest they throw it out altogether and just use something else.

DHGF: Yeah, my mom is German and I was born in Germany, and like, trying to explain something like Donnerwetter… It’s used kind of like a curse word but it’s not quite a curse word–it means “thunder weather”–it doesn’t really mean anything, it’s just kind of like an angry–

TIFFANY: Or like “schweinehund,” that doesn’t really… It’s like, you translated it, oh it means “pig dog,” but it doesn’t really mean pig dog. Or, you know, like the expression “Gegen Dummheit gibt es keine Pillen.” But you can’t really say it exactly like that in English, the expression we would say is there’s no cure for stupidity. That’s not literally what you’re saying. Yeah, but every language has those kind of colloquialisms in it, you know, just expressions that we say this certain thing and sometimes it’s kind of morphed from one thing to another thing. You know, when I would be working on a script, and sometimes there would be a translation of something, and I’m like, I don’t really understand what this means, so I have to correspond with the translator to try to get at the essence of “What does this mean?” because I appreciate as an actor, well, I can’t deliver this line if I don’t understand what I’m saying, I have to get the core of what I’m saying to know what that means. I was working on a script many years ago and the translator had written out “his head went white” and I thought, I don’t have any idea what that means. Turns out, he was trying to express he became pale. So, yeah, I don’t know.

DHGF: Okay. Yeah that would be kind of a difficult.

TIFFANY: [laughs] But maybe literally in Japanese, what was actually said was, his head went white. But we don’t say it like that in English.

DHGF: To go back to your voice acting work, have you voice acted any video games?

ArmicTIFFANY: I have, which would be relevant to the website! I have actually worked on a grand total of two, that’s correct, two video games and it has been many years since that has actually occurred, but I worked on something called Unlimited Saga and I also worked on a game called Deus Ex: Invisible War. So that is a grand total of two, yes two, video games that I worked on.

DHGF: Is it any different to voice act for video games?

TIFFANY: Yes, it’s very different in the fact that you are not voice acting to something. The animation is not there yet, so that’s very different, because you’re not looking at the moving pictures of what you’re voicing to, and also, in a video game there are all these different possible outcomes, so there’s not just one continuous story is happening for every scene, there’s all these different possibilities of the things that could happen, and honestly, I don’t remember Unlimited Saga that much, but I can remember in Deus Ex: Invisible War, there was a scenario where my character was friendly towards the protagonist, and they were helpful, and then maybe they were neutral, but then maybe they were antagonistic towards the protagonist and now they were attacking them, so there’s all these different levels of the way they may be reacting to the other person. Then there’s all the callouts you have to do, which is just the screaming, the reactions, and they can be… I remember on the script, there would be something like “scream scream scream scream scream,” that’s what it said on the script, but the director was there, and the director would say something like, “You’ve just been stabbed, you were impaled, your arm was cut off, you were shot, you were set on fire, you were decapitated,” you know, whatever they’re saying, like, all these different things that are happening to you, and then, perhaps in another situation, you were victorious so maybe you’re screaming because you are stabbing someone, or you were impaling them, you’re shooting them, you’re setting them on fire so… All these different things, and it’s really abstract, but I actually got quite a bit of direction for both of those games. In fact, for Unlimited Saga, we were all directed by both the original Japanese director and then an English-language director… it was Kyle Jones, actually, and I’ve talked to a lot of my friends that have worked on a lots of video games, particularly out in Los Angeles, and very often the script is there in front of them, and they do just one take of each line, and they’re really getting very little direction whatsoever. They don’t really know what’s happening in the scene, so I think, generally, the trend overall is that there’s not a lot of direction given in games, and you need it, because you have no context of what’s happening. There are words on a page, and you don’t really know how to deliver a line if you don’t have the context. Just like I was saying, if there’s some kind of expression or reference in a script and I don’t know what it’s about, how am I supposed to do that correctly if I don’t know what I’m saying, and you can only do what you can do.

DHGF: That would probably explain why some callouts, especially in games, are kind of weird, like, you really made that noise to that?

TIFFANY: Right, because if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s just like, they just tell you, oh, just scream twenty times and we’ll make them fit, I don’t know, like I said, I was pretty fortunate because I had a lot of direction in the games that I was working on, with them telling me exactly what they wanted. I guess it worked out okay. When Deus Ex: Invisible War came out, there was this really good review in a gaming magazine, I can’t remember now which one, but the review was something like, “The voice acting doesn’t suck,” and I was like, “Hey that sounds awesome, we got a good review!” And then it sold well when it came out, it was pretty successful, so good for us.

DHGF: Do you foresee yourself working on any video games in the future?

TIFFANY: I would love to! The main issue, for me, is that I live in Houston and there really are not video games that are recording in Houston. The only videogame that I did in Houston was Unlimited Saga, and that was because the studio that was producing it hired out the studio where ADV recorded to do that production, and when I worked on Deus Ex: Invisible War, it was actually done in a studio in Austin. So I would love to get the chance to work on video games, especially because they generally pay much more money. I have to wait for something to come along that I can be a part of, because you have to actually be there where it’s happening.

DHGF: So you’re actually married to somebody who’s in the industry?

TIFFANY: Oh yes, very much in the anime business. He’s in Japan right now, that’s how in the anime business he is! Hello he’s at the Tokyo Animation Fair!

DHGF: So, Matt Greenfield?

TIFFANY: Matt Greenfield, he’s over there wheeling and dealing, buying anime for all the great fans in North America.

DHGF: So how did you guys meet?

TIFFANY: Well, I auditioned for him. My very first anime audition, February 12, 1994, I went and I auditioned for him, and, yeah, that is how we met. I auditioned for him, and then about nine years later, we got married. It was like a whirlwind.

DHGF: It seems to have worked out pretty well.

TIFFANY: Yes we’ve been married for ten years now. Wooooooooooo ten years!

DHGF: Also, sometimes nerd culture has been seen to be kind of sexist, and in some more extreme cases, misogynistic, so I was actually curious if, since you are a woman, if you feel like that has impacted your career any, or if there have been any cases where you’re like, “That happened to me because I’m a woman.”

TIFFANY: Hm. That’s a very good point, I mean, there has been some of that in anime, of course. I mean, most anime is created by men, most of the character designers, most of the creators are men. Of course there’s Clamp, which is a group of women manga artists, so, yay Clamp! Yeah, you do see some of that, it’s a lot of guys all together in a really small space, and they want to draw sexy girls with giant hooters, I mean, that’s what they want to do. There is some of that, but I appreciate the equanimity, in a way, of voice acting, in that, to my knowledge, in my experience we all pretty much get paid the same thing, so it’s like, there’s no different pay scale for women voice actors and men voice actors, the pay scale is whatever it is. It’s the same thing for directors or writers, it’s like, we get paid the same amount, so that’s certainly very equitable. I haven’t really run into any problems with that in anime. Now, interestingly, back when I was first getting involved in the industry, the fandom was very predominantly male, the target audience at the time, I remember Matt telling me when he was sort of trying to indoctrinate us into the world of anime and teach us his wisdom, I think he said that the target audience at that time was like males fifteen to twenty five, in the US market anyway, and that was very true at the earlier anime conventions that I went to in the 90s that they were largely male, and then you know what happened? Sailor Moon.

DHGF: This is very true.

Crystal, Tiffany, and AlexTIFFANY: And I would say now, it’s very evenly mixed. I can’t tell if it’s… I mean, to me, it looks pretty fifty-fifty at anime cons, it even could be slightly more women than men. I don’t know if that’s true, I’m just saying it’s a possibility, because there is a very large part of the fandom that is girls. I think that’s great, I’m excited about that.

DHGF: Well that’s pretty good. Sound like you had a pretty good experience, pretty hopeful for women who may be interested in voice acting.

TIFFANY: Oh yeah I think so.

DHGF: Do you have any advice, aside from acting courses, for people aspiring to be voice actors?

TIFFANY: Well, I think that people just need to follow their passion and really do what you enjoy and do what makes you happy and realize what the realities are of the business. You know, acting is very harsh, it’s a very difficult thing to do emotionally for people and certainly financially, you know, you have to be okay with that level of uncertainty, that you don’t know what you could be doing next week, how much money you can be making, what jobs you’re going to be doing, if you’re going to have an audition can you drop everything tomorrow morning and drive two hundred miles to this audition, you just can’t say no too many times. If you say no too many times, they’ve forgotten about you, and I don’t necessarily love the drop of a hat driving to Austin, which is like one hundred and fifty miles one way, but if I don’t go to the audition, I can’t get the job. When I worked in the talent agency, people asked me, “Well, you know, what are the chances that I can get the job?” No one knows the answer to that question. There’s no mathematical model that you can use to figure that out. If twenty people audition for the role, that does not mean you have a one in twenty chance of getting that part. It does not work like that, because five of the people may have had absolutely no chance whatsoever, and you could be one of those five. So you just have to be realistic about it and know that it can be tough, but if it’s something that you really want to do, then you should do it. Nothing worth doing is easy I guess… I can’t imagine doing something besides acting and writing, I don’t know what I would do. I mean, if I actually had to, I guess I could go back to waiting tables or working retail if I had to feed myself to do it, but as far as a career, I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s just who I am, it’s what I do.

DHGF: My last question for you is, what kinds of projects are you working on now? Is there anything that you would like to audience to know that you are hyped up for?

TIFFANY: Well, I would say, the thing right now that I am most excited about is Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, which I know I already mentioned, but it’s a TV series, and it’s quite dramatic. It’s a beautiful series, it was made by Studio Bones, and it’s the story of these two kids that go to a museum in Tokyo, and while they are there, there is a massive earthquake on such a scale that we have never seen in our lifetimes, it’s massive, and so these two kids, they meet up with a very nice delivery woman, and they decide to all journey together. They have to walk together to where they’re from, because the streets are devastated, the trains don’t run, so they’re going to have to walk many miles to get back to their home, and so, it’s this journey of them together and the obstacles that they’re facing just trying to get home, and I thought it was a very touching story. I play Yuki, who is the little brother, he’s about eight years old, and Lucy Christian plays my sister, Murai, I think she was about twelve, and then the delivery woman is played by Shelley Calene-Black, and she has a little daughter who’s only about three or four years old, so she’s trying to get home, because she wants to see if her daughter’s okay. So, the phones don’t even work, no one knows if their relatives are living or dead, they don’t know what’s happening, they’re just trying to make their way back home, it’s a really fantastic story. Obviously not necessarily that cheerful, but I thought it was a great story, super excited to work on it. I am working on a couple things that are more recent, that are coming out, not something where I have that big of a part in it, but they haven’t even been announced yet, so, not really allowed to talk about that.

DHGF: Thank you very much!

TIFFANY: Sure!

 

Tiffany is definitely someone that I would want to meet again, and if you ever get a chance to see her at a con, I recommend it, even if you’ve never seen any of the animes she’s been in. She’s really fun to hang around and has quite a few very interesting stories from past conventions. So be sure to check out her website, watch Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, and let’s hope to hear her in some video games in the future!

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