Lauren Sim is a BA (Hons) Acting Graduate from The Lasalle College of The Arts in Singapore.
She has taken part in the Southwark Playhouse Young Company in London and Singapore Repertory Theatre’s The Young Co. She has also acted in voiceover roles such as Niena in the Sacred Guardians audio drama and narrated an Audible Original horror story called Therapy Z.
We recently had the chance to get to know her in a short interview:
Who or what inspired you to become a voice actor?
It was something I somewhat fell into by accident. We had a hosting module while I was studying at LASALLE, taught by host and voiceover artist, Brendon Fernandez. At the end of the module, he brought us to Fuse, a recording studio, to record voiceover demos, and that was when I realised it was something I really enjoyed. Before that, I had never really thought about it. A happy accident, and I definitely have Brendon to thank.
How did you get your start in voiceover?
My first ever voiceover job was actually because of those demos recorded at Fuse. After recording with them, they offered me a voiceover job. After that one, the jobs I have gotten have mostly been through auditions I have submitted.
How does your acting differ when doing audio dramas compared to performing on stage?
Doing a voiceover recording in a studio is quite different from acting on stage. On stage, there are a lot more things going on and a lot more things to think about; getting into character, making sure you have your lines down, remembering blocking, making sure you can be heard and understood as clearly in the last row of the audience as in the first, being hyper aware because sometimes things don’t go according to plan in a live show, and unlike a voiceover recording, there aren’t retakes.
With a voiceover recording, things are a little more relaxed. Like with an audio drama, for example, you still get into character but you don’t have to worry so much about memorising lines or making a mistake you can’t take back. Also, with a stage show, you always have your castmates with you and you do a full show every time so there’s always that degree of continuity as you are performing, two things I admittedly miss when I’m doing voiceover.
With an audio drama, because it goes into the editing room after, you often record your lines on your own and jump around in the script in favour of scheduling and efficiency, and understandably so. I do sometimes get to perform across my scene partner(s) and record together, which I really appreciate because I have someone to play off of and well, it’s more fun that way too.
I could probably go on about the two mediums, but I shall spare you and stop myself here. Both these mediums definitely have their pluses and minuses and things I like more in one over the other, but I do enjoy them both very much.
Regardless if it was on stage or behind the microphone, what has been your favourite role to date?
It’s hard to pick a favourite, but I think the one I am most proud of to date is a character I played in my second year at LASALLE.
The character was simply named Old Woman and it was for one of Yukio Mishima’s Five Modern Noh Plays, Sotoba Komachi. A story about a repulsive-looking old woman reminiscing her past with a young poet she meets in a park.
She was a challenging character, and the story was, albeit sad, but a beautiful one to tell. I also got to wear a crazy hat as part of my costume!
What are some challenges you face as a voice actor? Is there a voice actors’ union that takes care of actors’ healthcare, legal paperwork such as taxes and how do you find auditions?
So far, they have more or less been the same challenges I face as an actor in general.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a union that takes care of things like healthcare or taxes, so we manage those on our own and I’m in the process of learning how to.
There are a few casting call groups on Facebook that post auditions and I usually find my auditions there. And sometimes, I get auditions through people I have worked with before, when they have a role they think I might be suitable for.
Auditioning can be taxing, maybe not so much physically, but mentally. Sending out auditions and getting rejected or not hearing anything back at all can bring you down, or the simple nature of the industry which requires you to constantly be searching for the next gig can be mentally exhausting.
Despite it all though, I do feel lucky to be doing what I love, and lucky to be getting jobs.
What’s a normal work day in the life of Lauren Sim?
My work days can be quite different from one another. If I am lucky, I have a shoot or recording that day and that can take a few hours or a full day. If it is a free day, it is usually filled with audition applying, recording self-tape auditions and anxiously waiting to hear back from companies I have auditioned for. Sometimes, I get voiceover jobs where I am required to record on my own at home, and if I have one, I do that. And one day a week, I teach English at an enrichment centre.
Where do you see the Singaporean voice acting community in the next 10 years?
I think audio performance and art is one of the few things that has seen growth during the pandemic.
I have no data on that and could just be imagining it but, making solely audio pieces of work was a medium that artists seemed to turn to or discover during the early days of the pandemic because it was art that could still be made with the restrictions in place.
And with live performances not allowed or heavily restricted, people turned plays into audio plays and I think with that, interest in voice acting also grew.
Even as we slowly return to a more pre-covid normal and things start opening up again, I think creating audio dramas is more of an option now than it was before and I am hopeful that it will continue to grow, and with that the voice acting community too.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring voice actors?
I’m not sure I’m in any position to be giving advice, I’m still pretty new to the industry! But, I think if it is something you really want to do, put yourself out there as much as possible.
Apply for as many auditions as you can, send your voice reel to studios and ask (nicely) if you can be added to their database, and if you don’t have a voice reel, some studios might be willing to record a demo for you too. Just go for it!
We would like to thank Lauren for taking a few minutes of her time to entertain our questions and the fine folks at Pinpoint PR Singapore for giving us the opportunity to conduct the interview.
Steven Maxwell Tan
Steven is co-founder of The Geeky Juans and its weekly podcast. He’s an avid listener of Linkin Park, an almost devout follower of the Anaheim Ducks hockey team and loves reading comic books. You can read more of his geeky thoughts on Twitter @steviesaidyup.