AKIRA & DIGIMON Exclusive: Tetsuo & Tai Actor Joshua Seth Wants To Teach You How To Voice Act
The newest Digimon film got a home release last week, and we chatted with Tai voice actor Joshua Seth, who also voices Tetsuo in Akira, who told us about the voice acting classes he gives. Check it out!
Joshua Seth is a voice actor who has played many recognizable roles over the years. He has lent his voice to iconic characters such as Tetsuo from Akira, Tai in the Digimon franchise, Alpha 5 in Power Rangers, and many others instantly recognizable by anime fans.
Seth has been playing Tai for over twenty years now, beginning in the late 1990s and continuing to reprise the lead role in the latest feature Digimon: Last Evolution Kizuna, which recently received a home release. Although he has been committed to the role for two decades, he actually began training his voice when he was a child, attending classes at Kent State University at the age of eight.
With the Coronavirus changing how actors find work, Joshua has begun to teach voice lessons online. There are several options to choose from when it comes to his Masterclass, and they're rather affordable for anyone looking to enter the industry.
Training with a legendary voice actor like Joshua is a great way to get started, but he also has a background in music and is happy to teach anyone looking to utilize their voice as an instrument.
To listen to our chat with Joshua Seth, click the podcast player below. We have also included our interview with Joe's voice actor Robbie Daymond in the transcript.
6m 0s Literary Joe: When did you first realize that you could utilize the techniques you learned in your musical theatre background and blend that with your voice acting delivery? From what I understand, you've been taking classes for voice acting since you were eight?
6m 14s Joshua Seth: Since I was eight, I've been involved in the theater, and I grew up in Kent, Ohio. So my parents at the time would have said, yeah, it was apparent I was going to go in this direction because I'd never shut up. And I was always making voices.
Now I'm a parent of two little kids. I have a daughter and a son. My daughter is in second grade, and she's a singer. And if she ends up going into singing or a profession that uses the voice, I would say, yeah, it was evident from a young age because this is her go-to. She sings. When I walk into a room, she's sitting there singing songs from the Descendants or Moana.
That was the same with me. If you were to walk into a room where I'm alone, I would be carrying on conversations with no one doing funny voices and things. Part of that is cause I'm naturally auditory. A certain percentage of the population is more prone to pick up information tonally and through sound than say visuals, which most people do. That's the nature part.
The other part is nurture. Meaning in my household, we didn't have television cause I had hippie parents and psychologists, and they knew too much TV was not suitable for kids. So we just had none. And I'd either read books or listen to cassette tapes. I am just that old that I had a cassette tape player of The Golden Age of Radio. And I listened to The Lone Ranger and The Ovaltine Hour and stuff like this.
And I had all these old-timey characterizations of actors in my head, and I would mimic them. I would imitate them as a kid. And that just evolved as I got to use my voice better in musical theater. I expanded the range to the point where I went to film school at NYU Tisch School of The Arts in Manhattan when I was in college.
And I had a radio show there. W-N-Y-U New York city, 50,000 Watts going out to three states. And I would prank call myself. It was the middle of the night show. And I would pretend I was an old lady calling about Klezmer Music. And I put together my first demo to get an agent in Hollywood based on that radio show. So it's just evolved throughout time, my whole life.
My advice to anybody that wants to get into this business is to use your voice well. Learn to use the instrument that is your voice before you start putting on other voices and attempting to make a profession out of this because as your girlfriend, the opera singer, would tell you; it's essential to take care of your instrument so that you can finish well as well as you start it. Finish with the same vocal intensity at the end of the day as you had at the beginning. As a voice actor, sometimes those sessions last hours or, in Digimon's case, sometimes they last a decade.
9m 39s Literary Joe: You had mentioned that you teach vocal lessons. Are they virtual vocal lessons?
9m 49s Joshua Seth: That's new for me because of COVID shutting everything down. I had to do something. And for years, fans had been asking me to teach voiceover, and to my mind, to teach voiceover, it means first to teach voice. They always want to skip to the end, put the cart before the horse and say, how do I make a demo and get an agent and go out on an audition? Wait a second. How about learning how to do the craft of voice acting first?
I'm taking a different approach to this, but I first put together a little booklet, like a downloadable PDF, it's free. Go to my website https://www.joshuaseth.com/vo. That's not linked at the top because what I do know is I give virtual keynotes on vocal communication skills for business professionals. That's the main thing that I've been doing now, but for the fans and for people that want to get into voice acting, if you go to this hidden link, Joshua seth.com/vo, you can get a free download that has my tips for how to become a voice actor.
And then for those that are interested, over the last six months that I've been home, I put together a weekly voice training. Every week you get a five-minute video with an exercise or a skill that you can work on. And I have a monthly voiceover masterclass that I do over Zoom. I keep it pretty small so that I can work with everybody individually. I have some professional voice actors in that class, and I have some people that have this as a hope and a dream, but they're that much closer to realizing their dream by doing the work.
Even if its over zoom, it doesn't matter because there is a mic technique that I can point out. I point out the reading that they would be best suited for. Sometimes people need an experienced ear to say, "Hey, you want to read this type of character or spot, but you're more likely to be hired over here." And then I point them in a direction that's more suitable for their vocal signature and sound.
12m 6s Literary Joe: How much does the masterclass cost?
12m 10s Joshua Seth: It's super cheap; it's 49 bucks. So I'm not doing it for the money. I'm doing it to give back and because I want to feel productive. This is a strange time that we're living through, and we've all got to find a way to feel purposeful. And I don't want to sound shallow like my work is my career or it's my life. It's not. It's more than that. It's being a father for my kids and contributing to society in other ways.
Yet I've devoted my life to being on a microphone. Whether it's in a recording studio as a voice actor or on stage as an entertainer or a keynote speaker, my whole life has had me in front of a microphone for decades. Now suddenly, six months here at home, I've got to do something to feel alive. This is the way I've found to do it.
The weekly training you can get it for like a hundred bucks a year, and you're getting 50 quick little lessons from me. The monthly one is 50 bucks. I have free downloads as well. It's given me something to focus my mind on. So I don't go stir crazy here in my home with my two kids, 24 hours a day for six months, like, somebody help me, please!
And like we mentioned earlier, you can go to my website to get some free resources and connect with me that way, especially if you're interested in learning how to improve your voice, even if you're not going to be a voice actor. It's to learn to use your voice, to speak up, speak out, and own the uniqueness and the power that is your voice.
Your voice is so vital in every relationship in your life, professionally and personally. It's served me well, not just in my career as a voice actor, but in every relationship in my life. And that's why I enjoy teaching it now too because you're only as effective as your ability to communicate, and it's our voices that we use to communicate and connect with others.
*This interview has been edited for clarity. Sister sites writer Comic Brooks co-hosts audio.*
Tai is now a university student, living alone, working hard at school, and working every day, but his future is still undecided. Meanwhile, Matt and others continue to work on Digimon incidents and activities that help people with their partner Digimon. When an unprecedented phenomenon occurs, the DigiDestined discover that their relationship with their partner Digimon will come closer to an end when they grow up.
As a countdown timer activates on the Digivice, they realize that the more they fight with their partner Digimon, the faster their bond breaks. Will they fight for others and lose their partner? The time to choose and decide is approaching fast. There is a short time before "chosen children" will become adults. This is the last adventure of Tai and Agumon.
Digimon: Last Evolution Kizuna is now available on both Digital and Blu-Ray/DVD!