Nuanced perspective: Get to know voice actor Alycin Packard
Although many may not recognize the name Alycin Packard immediately, they will instantly recognize her voice. As one of the most sought after voice actors in the world, Alycin can be heard bringing all sorts of household-name characters to life.
From The Tom and Jerry Show, Rugrats, Yokai Watch, Space Racers, and Man with a Plan, her talents stretch across TV and into film and video games.
After being lucky enough to grab a few moments with the actress, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Take a look at all the things she has up her sleeve now, and what she sees for herself in the future.
Tell us about your history in voice acting. How did you start your journey?
I booked my first voice acting when I was at 19 years old and living in Boston. I was studying on camera acting at a local casting agency and the opportunity to audition for a VO job came up. It was my first audition, and it was for an e-learning company.
At that point I already had a long-standing love affair with the microphone from doing radio in high school and college and speech competitions, so I felt like it was a natural fit. Combining that with my love of acting made voice acting seem like a really amazing career path. From there I moved to LA to pursue on camera and voice acting and started to build my career from there.
Who were your biggest influences growing up?
Billy West was a huge influence for me growing up. He was from the same area and I remember my dad pointing out that Billy was the voice of one of my favorite cartoon characters, Doug, who was the title character in a show on Nickelodeon in the 90’s.
It blew my mind to think that anyone from my area could make it as an actor in Hollywood. Prior to that, I didn’t even really understand that voice acting was a career, so hearing his story and getting to meet Billy when I first moved to LA changed the course of my life.
What is your selection process like when you pick a new project?
More and more I am drawn to projects that uplift and inspire. The ideal role would be one that leaves an impact and brings joy and laughter to others. One that brings an instant smile to the faces of fans or helped them get through a tough time.
Do you seek out characters that are different from ones you’ve voiced before?
Absolutely! I’m always down for a new challenge. Even characters that I don’t alter my voiceprint for still differ from each other in many ways, so no two characters are ever identical. I’m known for several of my boy characters, but each one has different nuances. I love auditioning for something I haven’t done as it gives me the opportunity to stretch. Just this year I’ve voiced a 3-year-old boy, a British woman in her 60’s, a teenager with an anger management problem and a female assassin. I love how it keeps me on my toes!
You’ve done voice acting for both animated shows and video games. Which do you prefer and why?
Honestly, I’d be hard pressed to pick just one! The greatest part of my job is the variety. I love that I can die a hundred dramatic deaths in a game and then the next morning make a fart joke as a little kid. I think more than the genre, it comes down to the role and the ones that bring the laughs are always fun.
Do you have any routines or vocal exercises to help get you into character?
I do have vocal warmups I do first thing in the morning if needed, but I also meditate daily and practice EFT tapping to shift my mindset into the present moment before I work. I find that my energy directly translates into the connection I can find with a role, so I work to get in a good headspace so I can be open and ready to work when it’s time to record.
What would you say is the most difficult part of voice acting?
You just can’t book them all even if you really want to. So, every day you’re sending out auditions and most of the time you don’t hear anything back. You just have to trust that if you’re doing your best work and showing up consistently the right opportunities will come.
Actors are often their own worst critics. Do you enjoy going back and listening to/watching your earlier work?
Voice acting is different than on camera in that it’s really a collaboration between the voice and animation. So, it’s really interesting to see your voice coming out of someone else’s art. And sometimes, you’ll be really surprised.
Like, “Wow, is that really me?” Voice Actors can’t take all the credit for the performance because how the story is told depends on animators, storyboard artists, writers and more coming together to create a collaborative performance. And that’s really thrilling.
You host the podcast Alicyn’s Wonderland. How does using your own voice in an interview setting differ from the different voices you use while acting?
It’s very different. When I’m interviewing guests for my podcast, I’m fully in conversation so I’m not thinking about my voice or performance at all. I’m taking on the role of a curious friend. When I’m acting as a character, my goal is to be completely engrossed in the scene and reacting truthfully.
Are there any animators or actors you’d like to work with?
Dan Povenmire is an animator, producer, content creator and voice actor that really inspires me. He’s best known for creating Phineas and Ferb and has a new show coming out called Hamster and Gretel.
As someone who’s creativity takes many forms, I’ve been very impressed by his ability to create at such a high level. Working with Dan would be a dream come true. He puts so such positivity into the world I’m really inspired by everything he does.
Do you have a desire to act more in front of the camera?
I recently signed with Bohemia Management for on camera representation and I’m really excited to be bringing more of that into my life. I’ve always loved acting on camera and even though voiceover has been the focus for the past few years I’m excited to create some more opportunities performing in a different medium. In many ways it feels like I’m returning to my roots.
What has been your greatest professional achievement?
I think my greatest professional achievement is being able to balance my career with my family life. As a mom, being there for my son and husband are the most important things to me.
I’m always in awe of any parent who manages to have a thriving career while being able to spend time quality time with loved ones. And yet I’ve always been driven to have a career in the arts. Being able to do both requires a constant juggling act and I feel grateful every day for the opportunity to do both.
What about a professional failure? What did you learn?
One of the most fun jobs I ever had recorded eight glorious episodes and I found out days later that I ended up getting recast. It was devastating and confusing. But through that process I experienced a lot of growth. I learned I needed to do more work to separate myself worth from my work. And I also learned just how often that happens. Now I find that I just don’t take things as personally.
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
I recorded a video game called Neon White that just dropped on Nintendo Switch and Steam. The game is getting incredible support from the gamer community, and I love hearing how fans are resonating with my character, Neon Red.
I’ll also be attending Comic-Con for the first time in several years, so I’m excited to have the chance see friends and colleagues face to face and interact with fans.
What advice do you have for aspiring voiceover artists?
Keep taking consistent action over time, you build a career block by block. Study all the nuances of your voice acting as if you were going to grad school. Continue to invest in yourself and use your time wisely to polish the skills that you need to move forward.
And remember to stay inspired by following the work of people you connect with and watching projects that lift you up. You can also check out my podcast Alicyn’s Wonderland to hear more stories from voice actors about the trajectory of their careers. Everyone’s story is different, so start writing your own story.
What other characters would you like to see Alycin lend her voice to next? Let us know in the comments!