The University of Central Florida may not offer a degree in voice acting, but the Voice Acting Knights makes up for the absence.
Voice Acting Knights, started just a few years ago, is dedicated to helping students learn the profession of voice acting for cartoons, anime, video games and entertainment.
The club meets weekly during the spring and fall semester, and each meeting involves a PowerPoint presentation on topics such as reading techniques. Members often do script readings acting out the voices of characters from television shows and video games.
“We’re pretty much trying to be the starting point for anyone that wants to get into voice acting, like me,” said Zach Varnadore, senior cinema studies major and vice president. “I really want to be a voice actor.”
Varnadore said that people don’t even have to know many voices to be successful. If potential voice actors have that one great voice that resonates with audiences, they can break into the industry.
His voice acting role model is Mark Hamill. Hamill is famous for work as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars series as well as the Joker in Batman cartoons and video games.
Video games are as big a focus as television and film for the Voice Acting Knights. Tyler Richardson, cinema studies major and president of the club, was inspired by video game franchises Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon to go into voice acting.
“Video games are part of the reason why I even went to voice acting,” Richardson said. “Crash Bandicoot was my childhood. I loved it. The character designs were magnificent, and I loved the personalities of every single character.”
He has used Crash Bandicoot as an example for the club to learn from, and he is thinking about incorporating the video games Banjo-Kazooie and Yooka-Laylee into this year’s curriculum too.
The Voice Acting Knights gives opportunities to its own members by often working with the club Game Dev Knights. This gives members the opportunity to be able to voice act for video games.
Richardson's goal is to help members have a portfolio of work by the time they graduate.
The club does not receive funding from UCF. Richardson wants to show that it is possible to be professional without spending much money. The voice acting industry can be tough, and he wants the members to be prepared.
He said one benefit of voice acting is that people don’t get judged by how they appear. Whereas movie and television actors may need a specific look, voice actors can dress or look any way they want as long as they have the voice.
While the voice acting industry, of course, involves voice acting, there are other areas of the field as well.
Dylan Kiely, sophomore English language arts education major and human resources officer of the club, is more of a scriptwriter. He said that Voice Acting Knights is the best chance students have for breaking into the business.
“If you’re trying to make it in voice acting, we’re the only voice acting club on campus, so we’re definitely your best shot if you’re a UCF student,” Kiely said.
The club has about 50 members, and students from all majors are welcome. Potential members can learn about the Voice Acting Knights on the club’s Facebook page.
“Bringing the characters to life, that’s what I love,” Richardson said.
Story originally published on August 5, 2016.