What do The Powerpuff Girls, Sonic, Final Fantasy, Dead or Alive, The Chronicles of Riddick, Princess Mononoke, Æon Flux and Kiki’s Delivery Service have in common? Jack Fletcher.
Audiences may not recognize his name, but are probably familiar with his work. Fletcher is one of the top voice directors in the country for animation, video games and all-around voiceover work. This spring, the industry giant virtually mentored University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of Theatre and Dance students enrolled in THEA 626. The advanced topics in the theatre acting course honed in on voiceover skills and training.
“His insight into the voiceover industry has been invaluable and has left me feeling so well prepared to take the next steps as a voiceover artist,” said Taylor Bogan, who is pursuing her master’s degree in theatre. “The class was a perfect blend of Q-and-A sessions with experienced industry professionals and a chance for us to work one on one with Jack to hone our craft.”
Distance-learning didn’t get in the way of the course criteria. Students purchased their own recording equipment to use and got straight to work. Each week, Fletcher reviewed student voice tracks and offered in-depth evaluations and guidance.
Lily Hiʻilani Kim-Dela Cruz considers working with Fletcher a privilege and dream come true. Kim-Dela Cruz has always been drawn to voice acting and grew up impersonating her favorite cartoon characters. “In this class, Jack gave us a plethora of voice-over material from advertisements to video game characters,” she explained. “After recording our material and playing them for the class, Jack would give us feedback on how to improve our microphones and tech to enhance our sound quality, and how to bring forth our voices to these characters to make them our own.”
UH Mānoa students also got the chance to hear from professional voice actors, Kate Higgins and Roger Craig Smith. They each shared how they got into the industry and tips and tricks picked up during their career.
“It was quite the treat to be in the same (Zoom) room with two artists who gave voices to my childhood cartoon characters, and hearing what happens on the other side of the microphone,” Kim-Dela Cruz exclaimed.
Fletcher said he enjoyed working with students at UH Mānoa and was delighted by their positivity and discipline. He hopes his expertise and words of wisdom will inspire those interested in pursuing voice acting careers.
“There is no one else like you,” Fletcher said. “You are the only you there is and that’s a huge advantage. Do not try to be anyone else to please anyone else. Your greatest strength is your individuality and the unique imagination that comes with it. And do not forget with all the work you must do, you must enjoy the work. Have fun!”
Fletcher’s involvement in the UH Mānoa course was made possible through The Terrence Knapp Visiting Artists Fund and UH Mānoa Theatre Associate Professor Stacy Ray.