YouTube star Elsie Lovelock loves the mic, and the mic certainly loves Elsie.
When she was 16, Elsie found her calling as a performer, an important skill for any successful voice actor.
She’s performed both voice-over and music for numerous video games, as well as acting, hosting and singing on stage. Her professional voice-over career began because she followed a passion. Just over 10 years ago, Elsie made a name for herself with brilliant YouTube “fandubs”, taking her talent viral.
The encouragement of her vast fanbase gave her the confidence she needed to take that talent to a professional level. Elsie kindly sat down with Voquent to share not only her own story but also her tips and advice for other voice actors and aspiring voice actors who want to transition from YouTube to professional voice-over work.
Q: How did you get started on YouTube?
Elsie: I made my channel back in 2008, and got involved with "fandubs", which is when you dub your own voice-over a cartoon or anime,
just for fun. Back when YouTube was less cracked down on copyright, it was a big thing back in the day! I used to film the computer screen with a digital camera, stand behind it and do voices to a Disney scene or something. Good times! It was a life changer when I finally got an actual microphone and learned how to edit videos myself.
'Let it Go' cover from Disney's Frozen is one of Elsie's personal favourites.
Q: Did you know what voice-over was when you started on YouTube?
Elsie:I always really enjoyed doing impressions and silly voices my whole life, but I was very intimidated by the profession itself and didn't know much about how to get actually get started in it. YouTube was my outlet for showcasing my voice passion, but I mainly sang covers of songs. YouTube honestly helped me get up the confidence to pursue my love for acting and singing, I got such lovely comments and feedback and that really encouraged me over the years.
Q: How did you choose your subject matter for videos?
Elsie: I originally wanted to be an animator before I moved into performing, so I've always absolutely adored animated movies. I would say the main focus of my YouTube channel is Disney, because I would always record fandubs and covers of Disney songs, but I would also do other animated movies and Japanese anime. If I were to describe my channel, I would say it's a big personal monument to my love of the animated movies that I adored growing up.
Hellfire from Disney’s Hunchback of Norte Dame. "This got really popular on Tumblr a few years back for some reason", says Elsie.
Q: What would you do differently if you had to start over again with your YouTube channel?
Elsie: Getting started on YouTube now is much, much, MUCH easier than it used to be, with the limited tech that people simply didn't have back when YouTube started in 2005. Nowadays, pretty much anybody can create a channel and get a decent following. If I had the opportunity to start over, I wish I could brand myself better, take myself more seriously and put more creative effort into the production of my videos and marketing. My YouTube channel has pretty much always been a creative outlet and hobby.
Q: What kind of video and audio gear do you use for your YouTube channel?
Elsie: It's changed throughout the years. I went from using a digital camera to a cheap handheld microphone and the program Audacity to a Blue Yeti USB mic and Adobe Audition 3.0, and now I have a proper XLR microphone, an interface, the latest version of Adobe Audition and a good recording room. I've had my channel for just over 10 years now, so honestly, the equipment I've used throughout those years has held up pretty well!
Q: How did you get into voice-over?
Elsie: I started out by (extremely nervously) combing the internet for auditions for indie games and projects of all kinds, by joining Facebook pages, exploring Twitter, joining VO forums and pay-to-play websites, making friends and connections, actually going to conventions and networking, and meeting new people.
I would spend every day just sending out audition after audition to these indie developers, eventually getting chosen, and building up a resume so I could make a website and showreels. It's taken a while, and I really had to claw my way up from the very bottom, not knowing anybody or having any industry connections.
I started out with a bad quality mic, gradually got better tech over time, and have learned so much since I started out properly. I'm still learning and growing every day and I'm really grateful for anybody who has ever helped me with tech, recommended me, or hired me!
A cover of the song 'Snake Eater' from Metal Gear Solid 3.
Q: How is voice acting work different from YouTube content creation?
Elsie: With YouTube, it's a constant uphill slope of putting on an interesting show in every video that will keep your subscribers (and new viewers) engaged enough to keep watching you.
For me, it can be super unpredictable, as I've got videos that I didn't put as much effort into that got way more views than others, and some videos where I put an insane amount of effort in, that don't have as many views! With voice-over, it's much more direct.
It's like if you want my voice, I'll do the job to the best of my ability. If you don't, well, you heard my audition, and that's that.
I love voice-over because I know where I stand, unlike YouTube where you're openly subject to criticism from any random person, people's opinions of your work change, and it can be all over the place. voice-over is an interesting and fulfilling job that requires the utmost professionalism, which a lot of people who don't do it or are just starting out don't really think of, because of the nature of the job.
Q: What one piece of advice would you offer a YouTuber interested in becoming a voice actor?
Elsie: First and foremost, you want to be sure that you can actually act, that's obviously super important! But you also want to make sure that you can take direction, take criticism, and be a nice, easy-going person to work with - just like any other job that exists.
Make sure you have good audio tech if you're going to audition and record projects at home - this is obviously extremely important, as nobody will take you seriously if you're puffing into a cheap microphone that sounds awful. Get yourself some good Reels made: this is how people are going to hear what you can do - your voice deserves to be heard at its best! Don't be afraid to take singing lessons, go to voice coaching classes, get involved with your local theatre, anything that expands your knowledge of the craft, improves your diction, and above all, your confidence!
Q: How did you connect with Voquent?
Elsie: I first heard about Voquent on Twitter, where they were holding some character auditions for a dubbing job, where the audition would be recorded in our home studios and sent to them. I sent in an audition, and to my delight, booked one of the roles! I had so much fun being directed by them and recording the actual job that I was booked for.
Q: What has been your favourite project with Voquent?
Elsie: The one I mentioned in the answer to the previous question - the first one I booked! We went to a studio in London to record an English dub for a pilot episode of a Serbian children's show, called Tri Pileta (The Three Chickens). The session was so much fun! It was my first time recording for an actual character dubbing job in a studio, so I'm really grateful to Voquent for the experience! They've been fantastic.
Want to follow Elsie’s shooting star? Visit her Twitter profile now.