We Interviewed Voice Actor Grant Johnson!

We had the pleasure of chatting with voice actor Grant Johnson! Check it out to learn more!

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

I think ever since I was young it’s kind of been my mission to be an entertainer. I watched all sorts of cartoons and TV shows growing up that just made the time pass in the blink of an eye. Now I’m at a place in my life where I feel ready to pay it forward to the next generation by helping to breath life into new shows or games that are in need of voices.

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

Which project? The closest I can think of to a moment of inspiration is back when I watched Mrs. Doubtfire for the first time, I remember the opening scene and going “so that’s how they make cartoon voices” and ever since then it’s just been something in the back of my mind.

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

Like most actors, there’s sort of a problem between supply and demand. There are probably hundreds of thousands of actors in just the US looking for work, and even though things are more connected than ever before there’s still bottlenecks casting directors listening to auditions or getting an agent to send you auditions because they already represent similar talent. What it’s made me realize is we don’t need to wait around for somebody else to tell us what we should work on, so I started making shorts on YouTube with dad jokes and I participated in my first game jam as a sound designer. I’ll continue doing both in addition to submitting auditions because I’ll have a better chance of reaching a wider audience than by just applying to 5-10 projects a day and not booking any of those roles.

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?

I’ve always enjoyed doing impressions of voice actors with really well known and established characters they voice, so people like Mel Blanc, Billy West, Frank Welker, Richard Epcar, and Steve Blum. But as you get older you hear more and more that acting is what matters most in a character, not the weird stuff you do to their voices. Sure you can use different pitch or resonance or mouth shapes to add depth, but you still need to be able to back them up with a performance that fits the character, the scene, the emotion, and the medium it’s presented in.

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

As a voice actor, the director is the one who’s in charge, not the audience. I try to keep that in mind when recording auditions and during sessions because they know what they want this character to be and it’s my job to bring that vision to life. The audience can have their own opinions about where that looks like, but they’re not the ones inventing these characters, that’s the production team. However I can lend myself to their vision is what’s best for the character.

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’m not established enough to have any major milestones just yet in terms of booked work or a fan following, but the past year has been the best one yet for my voiceover career and I just hope I can keep helping more and more projects each year to entertain and inspire others.

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

I’m not going to lie, that’s been the hardest part of the process for me. There’s so many things I could be doing that I’ve just had to say to myself make a list of priorities and stick to that. I’m still not the most disciplined when it comes to submitting as many auditions as I want to be, but every day is another opportunity for growth and improvement including forming the kinds of habits you want to have.

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

Mostly the relationships. I wouldn’t say that I’ve formed any incredibly strong bonds with anyone because of the fact I don’t spend a lot of time socializing, but the people who I have connected with either through projects I’ve worked on or workshops I’ve attended are incredibly talented and I love seeing their role announcements because it gives me that push I need to say “ok, let’s go record some more auditions”.

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

Learn as much as you can about the specific kind of content you want to start making, take classes, and be ready to fail a lot. I like Simon Sinek’s framework of the infinite game for the arts. The goal isn’t to win art, it’s to keep playing. And what better work is there for what we do than to play?

10. 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?

I really like your Geek Toons. The casting calls are always blowing up my feed on Twitter. It’s actually been the second best source I’ve found at reminding myself I need to be auditioning after role announcement by my peers. It’s just nice seeing all the different kinds of projects looking for somebody to voice them.

11. Goals for 2024?

I think my goals for this year are to book at least one role in each of the VO categories of commercial, corporate narration, animation, and video games. I’m counting the game jam as the entry for video games since it’s a working game and I got credit for it, so that leaves me the rest of the year for the others. Beyond that I wouldn’t mind seeing my YouTube channel reach 100 subscribers and my community over on Skool reaching 50 members. 

Support the creator

Links: My website: https://grantjohnsonvo.com YouTube: https://YouTube.com/@grantjohnsonvo Sonic Storytellers:https://discord.gg/whPH2nZ3 Support the game: https://dancing-ember.itch.io/buckethead

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