We Interviewed Voice Actor Dashawn Ricks!

We recently chatted with Dashawn Ricks about voice acting. We chat about goals, the industry, and about what being a voice actor really means. Supporting indie creators is what we’re all about at All Ages of Geek, and this talk was right up our alley.

1.What initially inspired you to become a creator, and how has that inspiration evolved throughout your creative journey?

Great question! What inspired me to be a creator was my love for films and video games. My first ever project was a smash bros machinima on youtube called Brawl Universe and in that small community of people were folks that had passion and drive to just create things, no matter how silly it may seem to others. If you are familiar with the term “Machinima” it’s basically a name for folks who use a video game engine to create memes, short stories, or well made amvs/edits for their channels! I loved all of that growing up as a kid. 

2.Can you share a specific moment or experience that fueled your passion for your current creative project?

I think the one moment that really fueled my passion for my current creative project was hearing the voice acting performances in one project called “Smash King” on youtube. In concept it’s so silly to hear voice acting coming out of characters from the smash bros game but – it works?? Then to discover that years later those same voice actors would go on to be the giants we hear today in the voice acting community. Sean Chiplock, Kellen Goff, Kira Buckland, just to name a few big names.

3.What challenges have you encountered as an indie creator, and how have they shaped your approach to your work?

The biggest challenge I have encountered as a creator is simply motivation and time. After college, I lost a good portion of my editing ability to produce the series that gave me so much drive and passion throughout my 2011-2016 days. I tried to fill that emptiness with voiceover because at the time, it was the easiest thing to do since I already felt like I had lost so much time and nobody would ever bother to take a gander at my work again. But as voice acting took hold on me, I started to realize that I truly love seeing people’s visions come to life in all the youtube work I see, whether it’s fanmade or original. I just love seeing those projects live on. Maybe one day I’ll come back to my own project, but for now I think my approach will be helping others shape their dreams into reality! 

4.Are there any particular creators who have significantly influenced your style or approach? How do you incorporate those influences into your own unique voice?

If there’s someone who’s been an influence to me on my voice over journey it’s definitely the one and only Dave Fennoy. I said earlier that video games and films are my absolute favorite things, well when I played Telltale’s The Walking Dead game years ago, Dave’s performance as Lee Evertte really made me love voice acting more than ever. So much so that whenever I have the chance to play a father figure, that’s the voice I always refer back to whenever I performan. Obviously I don’t try to mirror him too much or just do an impression of him but he’s made such an impact on my life that I owe it all to him as to why I wanted to find my own unique sounding voice in the world. Thank you so much Dave Fennoy.. I’m sorry but this question is really personal for me because although I can’t say much at the moment, there’s a reason this question is hitting me this hard…

5. How do you navigate the balance between staying true to your artistic vision and adapting to feedback from your audience or collaborators?

The hardest part about being a creator is that not everyone will be a fan of your work. You will always find critique no matter if you’re an indie director or voice actor. I think the best ways to navigate those feedback would be to see where folks really resonate with your vision and adjust the things they don’t like about it but still stay true to what story YOU want to tell. I feel this applies the same to movie directors as well, while some films I can’t really find myself watching a second time I still give them their props for telling a story they wanted to! 

6.Can you recall a memorable success story or milestone in your indie creator journey that stands out as a turning point for you?

I think the one moment that really stood out to me as the moment that says “I booked that” was when I got the role of Barian in Defenders of Alodia. Up until that point, I was only working on Youtube projects or trying to light the fire to continue my own, I would have never guessed that I wound up being in an indie animation series that’s not only directed by a black creator but also has gauged a wide interest from the indie scene. I think at this point, is when I realized that ….”Maybe I can do this thing professionally after all.”

7.What role do setbacks or failures play in your creative process, and how do you overcome them to keep moving forward?

They bring me back to reality. Up until Alodia I was booking work that I thought was soooooo heckin cool to be a part of. And when I started getting ghosted or projects just up and vanished I’ve never been so disappointed in not only myself but in the fact that nobody will ever see that vision come to light. My biggest problem is that I always look forward to something, I set the bar so high and get my expectations up for the best and only the most positive endearing thing. And to see them crumble or fail is what leads me to beat myself up about it. I don’t know how much I can say about this but there was a callback I had for two roles in a mobile game, and I gotta tell ya I thought I had that in the BAG. The director was loving my reads, I wore a shirt to fit the occasion to show that I’m a nerd/fan just like them. I felt so sure of myself, so when the mobile game launched and I never heard back I was …. Well can’t lie to ya I was devastated. That was probably my biggest failure as a voice actor but to be honest, I’m glad I didn’t book it. Because it brought me back down to earth a little, it made me realize that not everything is set in stone for you and you have to keep expectations low and move on to the next big thing. Doors will always be open to you if you just keep pushing forward! 

8. How do you manage your time and energy to sustain a consistent creative output while juggling other aspects of life?

I still struggle with that part to be honest with you haha, I think the best option for me is…. I dedicate only certain days of voice acting to myself and then in between those days I focus on myself and have my me time. It’s going to take a little bit longer to adjust to this schedule as I’ve recently been sleeping better because of this change in my daily schedule. Now I just need to catch up on my huge backlog of video games and anime  

9.Have you found any unexpected joys or rewards in the indie creator community, and how has it contributed to your overall experience?

The unexpected joy I get from the indie scene is well a new sense of discovery. Since being in the indie community I’ve discovered so many things, not only video games but animation series as well! It gives me joy to see so many people wanting to make their visions come to life and share with the rest of the world! 

10.If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring creators, what would it be based on your own lessons learned?

Go at your own pace. I can’t stress that enough, don’t feel like you have to play catch up or be the first of everything. You have no idea how badly I needed to figure this out for myself and I wish I knew this sooner. Work will always be there for you as a voice actor, and the internet is forever mind you! If you have something you would love to make, then do it! But don’t rush your work. It takes time to really make something you really want so please be patient! 

11. What are your thoughts on All Ages of Geek? What are some things we should change/do? What are something you enjoy about our website?

Well first of all, very creative name haha! You folks have something really special going on here, I’ve actually been following you all ever since I discovered you thru “I married a monster on a hill” And while I know these are two separate things, had I not been super involved with the indie and voice acting scene I would have never discovered any of you. So that says alot about how small the world really is! I’m also loving the redesign on the website! Excited to see the content you put out on there! 

12. Goals for 2024?

I actually do keep a list of goals on my phone to look back to and see what I’ve accomplished, this year is no different! Going to be doing my best to get some of these down!

-Record in a professional studio 
-New Casual Headshots
-New Interface
-Get cast in a fighting game
-Anime Debut
-ADR Classes 
-Video game role on a console 
-Interactive Demo Reel