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Voice Actor Reveal: Alice Carroll!

Hello, one and all! I'm happy that I am able to finally, officially! Announce that Ciara Payne will be playing the role of Alice Carroll here at PSA. I'll be honest, this was near the easiest casting decision I made from the last casting call. Ciara was one of the first auditions I got in for Alice and she blew it away, it was kind of no contest. Not to say that the other submissions weren't good because there was and plenty played Alice in a similar vein. But- you could just tell how badly Ciara wanted it and that made it feel safe to entrust the character to her. I often say that when you're casting your characters you always are hoping to cast someone who cares about them as much as you do. And what I've learned is that's actually really, really rare. You'll get plenty that want it and end up enjoying it and that's fantastic and validating, but few ever really seem to adopt those characters as- like a piece of themselves as something they feel they have ownership in. And I get it, I understand why that is I know there seems to be this majority sentiment among VA that they have no ownership of a character that really they're just the voice. But- I think that stems from so many roles not frankly being anything of incredible merit. (I know I'm rambling stick with me trust me) For example we'd never say, "Kevin Conroy was played Batman." That's practically blasphemy, 90% of people say, "Kevin Conroy is Batman." So you can't say that and discredit your value or another VA's because the role is small, it doesn't work that way. And with Ciara upon hearing her audition it very much felt like, "oh this is someone who doesn't just want a role, but really wants to be a part of this thing, and is someone that would really own the role." As much as I love these characters, once the games out, like- sure legally they're mine, but they become the world's. These characters aren't who they are without their actors. And Ciara didn't have to tell me this she did with her audition. By doing the audition line and then going off script which- while a lot of casting directors may hate, for me was like, "oh okay, she understands Alice to a degree that's arguably just as much as me." And honestly that's really was solidified it for me, like it was the only role she went for she shared a wonderful e-mail of why she wanted to be a part of it. And her passion just came through. So that's why she was perfect, and then a couple months went by where I had to take a break and just reorient myself and when I approached her to be like, "yay, you got the gig!" She was just as excited as when she submitted and like- again that kind of stuff is nice, it matters. Acting and game creation is art, you just want people to care the more they care the more you care, the better the end result. Honestly if it weren't for the VAs who've continually championed this thing even after being cast I probably wouldn't have come back to it; I would have let it die. And I want to note after so many time having passed I thought she would have either no longer been interested or just at the very least been kind of "meh" about it. I don't know- I guess my point thus far is that it's not just acting. Voice actors bring so much more to project.

And honestly you never know as a casting director either, like an audition can be great, but then like- the actual performance is rough, or needs a lot of directing. Or- it works, but not as well as maybe you hoped, or maybe it just loses that wow factor after hearing it proper. With Ciara it was the opposite the audition was good, but like I said there was plenty of other competent actor's who took a stab at it. So for me it was more of a leap of faith at the time, because it was like- "they're clearly really passionate, but is this the sound I want or- would I prefer maybe something that leans more this way?" But then after hearing the actual performance it was suddenly like there was never any doubt. It was just absolute perfection it was Alice to a T. I've said this in the past, but with most of these characters the templates in the head sonically aren't the same as who I end up casting. So I never really know how they'll turn out or even come off. With Alice for example when she spoke in my head, initially she sounded like the Vtuber Ironmouse. Then when I fleshed her out with her own standalone event I couldn't even tell you how I imagined her sounding, but I know it was somewhere in the ballpark of how Ciara sounds as her. However! Something I found really, really cool was Ciara has- and I'm sure unintentionally, a sort of accent? It's hard to pen down what I'm referring to, but I guess it comes from (I'd assume) her being British, living our of Ireland, having to perform an American accent. Like- it's just different, like it doesn't sound off, but there's a quality to her voice that just- adds this unique quality to what might normally come off as a sort of- generic, cute anime girl voice? Which- for me is always incredibly exciting. Like I kind of love when someone pronounces something off, or- says something in a way that isn't necessarily correct to the script or even proper English or- at least how I would have said it. Because it pushes the way that character speaks further from how I speak making them more unique, so again this is why I say, "actors don't sell yourself so short." Yeah I provided the guidelines, but you showed me how to read them. Ciara did an amazing job. I knew Alice would be popular when we designed her, I mean- she was designed to appeal to a certain demo let's not pretend like we don't know this. I knew people would love her and the amount of auditions supports that. But after hearing Ciara's performance I was like, "oh no... people are going to really love her, like- she's going to be the standard waifu of the game isn't she." So yeah, very, very excited for you guys to hear what she sounds like for yourselves in a few months when the demo drops, or when you lucky few play the later beta builds of the game. For now all that I feel like I can say is Ciara Payne, weclome to Pleasant Sparkle Academy.

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