Jon St. John Interview with BuzzyMag.com American Voice Actor and Singer, Duke Nukem
JMW: Hello. This is Jean Marie Ward, from BuzzyMag.com. With me today is Jon St. John; voice actor. Hello.
Jon St. John: Hello.
Jon St. John: Thank you.
JMW: Could you give our viewers and idea of how did you get into voice acting?
Jon St. John: My voice acting career actually started with a radio career first, where I was not only a DJ but then a wacky morning character. I did all the character voices for morning shows all over the country.
Then in, I guess it was 1995 while I was production director at a radio station in San Diego, I happened to meet, by chance, Loni Manila, who’s one of the top casting directors for video games; she has a company called Audio Gods. She was casting for a game called Duke Nukem, and I believe that was the first audition I ever did. She was in my studio to record a commercial project I was producing, and asked me when I started showing off doing silly voices, if I was interested in doing voice acting. There was this game called Duke Nukem coming out, would I be interested in auditioning for it? That’s pretty much where it started, right there, just by a chance meeting with Loni.
JMW: Do you play video games?
Jon St. John: Very rarely. Of course any time a game I’m on comes out, I’ll spend a few hours playing through it just to see if my performance is any good. I don’t mean my gamer skills; I mean my acting in the game. Other than that, not really. My job is a voice actor, I don’t have a lot of time for gaming because I have kids who play those games and I’m busy raising them for the most part.
JMW: How do you prepare? You said you look at the game, or do you look at your character? Do you have a full script that you read through?
Jon St. John: I know that a lot of voice actors like to have the script in advance. I don’t; I work a little bit differently. I usually do see the artwork, and I don’t actually like to see the artwork before a session either. Let me explain, the reason for that: The way my brain works, if I see a character picture and a description, then I’ve made up a voice in my head. Sometimes that voice gets stuck. When I end up in a recording studio with a director, they may direct me in a totally different way than that voice that’s stuck in my head, and it can be a bit of a stumbling block to get past that voice I’ve already created for the character. For me, it’s easier to show up and pretty much cold-read the script and have the director tell me on the spot what the texture of the voice is, what the age, what dialect; get it all there on the spot and dial in the voice right in front of the director, and then just stay in character through the session.
JMW: You’ve been doing voices, though, a long time, even before you were doing video games. Didn’t you grow up listening to Looney Tunes and Mel Blanc?
Rest of Interview on Video
Interviewed by Jean Marie Ward
Jean Marie Ward writes fiction, nonfiction and everything in between, including art books, novels (2008 Indie Book double-finalist With Nine You Get Vanyr), and short stories such as WSFA Small Press Award finalist “Lord Bai’s Discovery” and “Personal Demons” in the award-winning anthology Hellebore and Rue. Her videos include author interviews and tutorials.