An Interview with Sean Chiplock! (Miles)
Sean Chiplock kindly agreed to this interview — here are his answers!
What's something about Miles you relate to and what's something that's the complete opposite to you?
Miles comes across as someone who is very dedicated to their own way of approaching things - even if they are acting on behalf of someone else's orders, how they achieve their objective still seems to rely on their individual strategy. I can identify with that kind of determination, of wanting to play to your own strengths to overcome unfamiliar challenges. However, I would definitely say that I tend to think (or at least act) a lot more calmly about my step-by-step than Miles does. He's passionate, but perhaps a little TOO abrupt about that passion, and it ends up making him seem more unhinged than committed.
Did you have a model or images in mind when coming up with the voice for Miles?
If I recall correctly there was a character image provided for reference back during the audition process, and that helped immensely with getting a sense for how his body posture and facial expression would contribute to his overall 'vibe'. His lanky frame and thinner face suggested a higher-pitch base for his vocals, while his color palette and expression instantly gave off a more aggressive, "louder" quality to his attitude. Thankfully, it seems that my interpretations turned out to be pretty close to what the creator intended, or at least what they were imagining as a possible option when designing him!
Were there any challenges you faced when voicing Miles?
Not all "crazy" characters are intense, and not all intense characters are crazy. So where do you draw the line between the two sides of that spectrum, and how do you convince an audience to take the character seriously even if they exist in a world that seems out of the ordinary? Being able to tread that fine line while maintaining a consistent and quality performance can be really intense and draining sometimes, but it's part of the fun of voiceover's ability to let you step into the shoes of someone you otherwise may have very little in common with.
What are the types of characters you enjoy playing the most?
For the longest time I was a big fan of high-energy roles - the comedic relief sidekicks, the bloodthirsty lunatics, the muscled bruisers, etc. But as my career continues to grow and my free time continues to dwindle, I find it can be really hard some days to exude that much energy without crashing really hard after it's all used up. So as of late, I've really gravitated towards calmer and more stoic and/or sarcastic characters who show their personality through their confidence. Depending on how their character arc develops, they can either be an emotional rock for the player, or the source of some really gnarly twists in the plotline!
What are some vocal performances that you really enjoy, of your own or otherwise?
Growing up alongside my colleagues in both age and experience has given me so many opportunities to see their improvements happen in real time. It's basically impossible for me to sufficiently summarize the number of inspirations I've gathered from them over time. Keith Silverstein's natural gravitas, Austin Matthews' realistic nuances, Griffin Burns' iconic "young male hero protagonist" energy...the list simply goes on and on. The best way to maintain my own success is to learn everything I can from the success of those around me!
What vocal warm-up do you most enjoy?
Humming is pretty standard fare for me on a regular basis, but I'd say the one I look forward to the most is "opera/falsetto" singing while driving to and from sessions in my car. It's rare that I have a chance to belt out my volume potential without ticking off neighbors or potentially embarrassing myself, but when you're going 70 MPH down the highway either the closed windows keep your noise from escaping or the wind rushing by helps to mask it!
What was your approach or thought process when auditioning for Miles?
Often the first thing I'll look at whenever I get an audition is the character portrait, because everything from a color palette to their facial expression can give me so much information about them that helps me set a foundation for their voice. Next, I skim the bio for any key words or phrases that either further cement my initial impression, or that give me ideas on alternative approaches I can take to make my interpretation unique. Finally, I try to treat each separate audition line as a chance to explore a different side of the character (after all, why wouldn't they all be in the same paragraph otherwise?), and combine this with the previous observations to develop a "moment in time" sneak peek into how that character might come to life if portrayed by me.
What are you watching right now?
TV was always more of a white noise thing for me when compared to videogames, so outside of spur-of-the-moment anime binges (such as OddTaxi or Zombieland Saga) a lot of my time is spent on my VO career or my streaming side hobby instead. I don't regret it, though - the latter in particular has made it so much easier to stay active with gaming, and allowed me so much opportunity to play through games I might not have ever found the time to commit to otherwise!
Any general thoughts on the experience recording Catalyst Wake that you'd like to share?
I enjoy every opportunity to perform because it means getting to live - however temporarily - in an entirely different world. I love the idea of getting to give a voice to the previously voiceless, and in the process help someone take their personal passion and make something real, tangible, and shareable out of it. It's my hope that those folks who check out the finished product will feel the same excitement and curiosity I did when helping bring it that much closer to completion.
Any upcoming projects you'd like to shout out?
My Twitter is almost always the best place to check for any new announcements, and long-time supporters know I enjoy ANY excuse or greenlight to talk about something new that's coming down the pipeline. My goal in VO is to never rest on the laurels of my existing portfolio for too long, so I hope to keep giving you all plenty of reasons to stay tuned!
Thanks so much to Sean for answering my questions! It was really interesting to hear him add new colors to Miles with each line reading. He gave me so many interesting choices to work with. It's a small role but he really stands out in my opinion — with the crowd work and additional character we did as well, he integrated himself seamlessly into the world and instantly seemed to grasp the tone and what we were going for. As a Danganronpa fan I was trying not to freak out the whole time, hopefully I succeeded. I can't thank him enough for coming on board!
Follow Sean on Twitter and twitch, and be sure to visit his website at seanchiplock.com!