Tech needed

by Latoya Burnham

Barbados has the talent needed to break into the voice anim? market, what it needs is the technology.

This was the assessment of BangZoom! Entertainment’s Casting Director, Mami Okada and Head Video Producer, Victor Sgroi at the end of the just concluded AnimeKon Convention at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

The duo participated in a voice actors’ workshop alongside locally-born actress Allison Sealy-Smith, and held their own panel discussion attended by a large audience of young people during the convention.

There were technical aspects to creating the kind of anim? productions BangZoom did, Sgroi noted, especially where there were elements of translating foreign languages and still having the film blend seamlessly.

Okada added that it was all about the technology and while Barbados had the talent, if the youth here were really serious about setting up any kind of agency or entertainment entity in the field, it would come down to technology.

“To be honest it is all about technology. We got the location that we are all close together, but we do work with a lot of studios and actors … So if you have fast data connection, if you have top-notch equipment here, then I think anything is possible because I can already tell that the people here have so much passion, I think people here can do it. It is just the technology,” she told Barbados TODAY in an interview after the workshops.

Okada said the response to both the workshop and the panel discussion surprised both she and her colleague, as they were not sure what to expect. When the large audience turned up and several even volunteered to try at reading anim? scripts, she said they were very happy.

“I think the fact that they were willing to come up and share that talent in front of all their peers and possibly mess up and possibly not do well, I think that speaks to the interest and the desire to be able to do things like this, to be able to get into a creative environment, a creative industry like voice overs like acting.

“It helped a lot having Allison at the panel, Allison Sealy-Smith, because she brought that out and she is an amazing actress. For our part, the amount of questions we received at the end of our panel was very good … It was very cool and even in this small sampling, there is lots of talent here,” added Sgroi.

Okada said though that Barbadians, as keen as they were, should be aware of how competitive voice acting was, and that those who were usually successful were the ones who put in the work.

“Voice acting is very competitive because everybody knows how to speak. It’s very competitive, therefore people will have to work hard. It is not going to be easy. You might have to give up something to be able to get what you want, but what we are seeing right now is that people who have come through and be successful are people who worked really hard and might have had to give up something in their life to get it. I want to stress that it is not easy and you do have to work hard.

“Voice acting is really about acting. So you do have to always train yourself for any kind of character because when you do voice you are not limited to what you look like. You can do anything… You always have to be creative and you always have to be on it, so you have to read it quickly memorise and get it, be able to speak properly, so there is so much training you can do.”

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