This Week’s Episode:
I’m taking an improv class in Los Angeles when the instructor turns to me and says, “Kymberlee, the last three characters you’ve done are all the same. You need to switch it up.”
What? There's no way they're the same! (I don’t say this to my instructor out loud, of course.)
She notices that my character choices of a fancy lady, a CEO, and an airplane pilot are all high-status characters with the same point of view, and I use the same voice for all three.
“So what do I do?” I ask. She tells me all I need to do is to simply change one thing. Making a choice to change one thing - doing a different voice, posture, or walk - will change everything about the characters I’m creating.
At that moment, I choose to change the way I talk. I put on a Southern cowboy accent instead (and then laugh at myself because of how horrible it is).
And it works! That one difference not only changed everything about my character, it has made me a better stage performer ever since. Plus this mantra works in business too:
Change one thing, you change everything.
My special guest today, Jenn Wong, knows how to change characters up and it’s no wonder why! She’s the ultimate multi-hyphenate: an actress, voice-over artist, “urban ninja”, writer, and much more.
Are you curious to know:
How do you use your voice to tell the story of different and distinct characters? What kind of uniqueness can you find in working on various projects? How do you put humanity into characters, no matter how crazy their circumstances, and avoid separating yourself from the story? How can you ensure that people find your characters interesting?
In this episode, Jenn and I chat about all that and tell stories of wine snobbery and nerd-dom in college, recognition through Call of Duty and Raya and the Last Dragon characters, and more. We’re getting into some good stuff today!
What you will learn in this episode:
- How to turn characters on paper into three-dimensional characters
- Why representation in stories and characters matter
- What to avoid so that your characters appeal to more people
Who is Jenn?
Jenn Wong refuses to pigeonhole herself into any singular type of person. She writes, acts, and voices characters. She’s a first-generation American and Southern California girl who loves pickles, french fries, and industrial design. Her friends consider her an urban ninja who knows where to find everything--from unique gifts to the occasional pop-up restaurant, speakeasy, or cabaret--which led her to create her blog, Way of the Wong.
As a performer, Jenn’s best known for voicing several notable characters in Disney XD’s Yo-Kai Watch and Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie like Spoilerina, Toiletta, Mermaidyn, and the evil Gin. She’s also voiced video game characters such as The Great Fairy Mija in Hyrule: Warriors: Age of Calamity and Operator Isabella Rosario Dulnuan Reyes in Call of Duty: Vanguard.
Jenn's writing has appeared in travel, technology, and cocktail culture publications. She previously served as the Creative & Technical Director of Move LifeStyle, a lifestyle destination e-magazine for the modern working woman. Currently, she lives in Los Angeles with her partner Jason and their two dogs, Ninja and Junebug.
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