How to sound like a superhero
Voice actor Yuri Lowenthal is here to gamma-irradiate your vocal chords.
We know what it takes to look like a superhero on screen–just take a look at the intense regime Hugh Jackman puts himself through to get into Wolverine shape–but as Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has shown, sounding like a hero is just as important as flexing like one.
Yuri Lowenthal is here to help. The veteran actor knows a thing or two about speaking superhero, having lent his talents to names like Spider-Man (in the Insomniac video game series), He-Man, Superboy, Superman, Naruto’s Sasuke, and the Prince of Persia, among many others.
Here’s his how-to when it comes to cracking the world of voice acting and finding your own superhero moment.
Feel the love
“I was in love with acting,” Lowenthal says. “I'd sort of fallen in love with telling stories and making bargain basement movies with my friends. I just loved that stuff, and I grew up reading comic books and playing video games and watching cartoons and anime. The love is what kept me going, especially in the beginning when there was no money in it.”
Bring yourself to the booth
It can be easy to think of voice acting as requiring over-the-top acting choices, but for Lowenthal, it’s all about remaining true to who you are.
“Sometimes, in voice acting, people automatically think you’ve got to be a person with a million voices,” he says. “My dirty little secret is that I don't do that a lot. What I usually do now is trust that there is a reason that they cast me, and that I'm just going to go in with whatever my take on the character is. And I'm just going to go in to a certain extent and just kind of be me.”
Know how to take a punch
If you’ve played any of the Spider-Man games on which Lowenthal has worked, you’ve likely heard him grunt and gasp his way through any number of big-time battle scenes. An ability to ‘oof’ properly is vital to proper vocal superhero-dom.
“Growing up doing martial arts has given me good grunts,” he says with a laugh. “I know some actors don't like doing it because I think they feel self-conscious about making weird noises….which is probably why they don't put mirrors in booths, because if I could see what I looked like when I was doing this work, I would quit immediately!”
Take care of your instrument
“Everybody's body is different,” says Lowenthal, “But for me, I try to stay healthy because I know that as soon as I get sick or if I haven't had enough sleep, my voice is the absolute first thing to go. There's almost no solve for that once it's happening. I also try to stay hydrated the day before and the morning of. You can't just grab a bottle of water and take a few swigs right before you start. It's got to be in your body. So, well rested, healthy and hydrated are definitely my go-to's.”
Live an animated life
There’s no simple solution, no super soldier serum, for becoming the voice of iconic heroes. But if Lowenthal has one last piece of advice to offer, it’s to make your life outside the booth the fuel for what you bring into the booth.
“I see a lot of actors spend all their time in classes and workshops,” he says. “That's great. I believe in training. I've done training. I've taken many classes. But you also have to go out and live your life and travel and do things that make you happy, that have nothing to do with acting, because it makes you a more interesting person and people like hanging out with interesting people and they like watching interesting people…or, listening to interesting people, in my case.”
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