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Voice Actor Reveal: Torsten Thor!

Wow, been a while since I've done one of these let's see if I still got it! Super honored to get to welcome back none other than the incredible talented Oliver Smith as Torsten Thor! Now this casting call was a while ago, but I think I can still manage to explain why I decided on Oliver. Outside his just general talent and familiarity Oliver was the only person who auditioned that was actually Irish (know Torsten is Celtic, but- like that's a whole rabbit hole we don't need to dive down) so already to be honest he had a leg up over everyone else. I think also because of that shared background to me personally especially now after the Cait Sith- uh drama? Final Fantasy VII had Oliver felt like he'd be the best choice for the role bar none. While admittedly Torsten doesn't talk like the Celtic people of old would have I also don't have to worry about what he does say sounding inauthentic and I really, really try to cast every character as authentically as possible. I think rather than highlight sort of where other submissions went wrong I'd rather just highlight where Oliver went right with his. A lot of the rationale for hiring Oliver was yeah his own personal background, and I've been no stranger to publicly saying I use those a lot in my choices. But in addition to that like I said before Oliver is just wicked talented. I'll say sure there was an element of- just taking a leap of faith, because part of my brain was like, "well I kind of figured he'd be in this register or sound this way." And I think this is where the blessing of stepping away or having a slow moving project comes in, because I think maybe there could have been a timeline where I decided to hold out and do another search based on that previous sentiment. Sometimes I think especially when you work on a character for a long time you can get attached to the sound in your head, and that sound isn't always a good one, or one that's good for the character. And I think for me that's what made casting Torsten tough. Plenty of people auditioned for him I think everyone sort of had a similar idea for the cadence, I think Oliver's idea definitely stood out as different, and I think- that in the end turned out to be a good thing. What my brain wanted was a stereotypical Thor Odinson sound, but that's not Torsten it shouldn't be Torsten. Yes, Torsten's name was meant to allude to that, but Thor is a named character in the universe he exists and he would naturally sound and talk differently. So that was my own hurdle and when you're deep in the thick of it all I think it's hard to look past that sometimes and really listen to the performances. My heart knew Oliver was perfect, but my brain was saying, "this isn't quite there." But then I took a break, a- long break, worked on the game some more, uh didn't work on the game at all. And came back and offered Oliver the role as I had planned to which- after all this time was shocked he still was interested in it. And then when he sent back the lines and I listened because I had spent time away it was like- "yeah that's Torsten that's the voice in my head." Because all that time away Oliver's take, his performance had become what I heard in my head as I was just- working on other bits and bobs fleshing things out. And it was this moment of me- sort of acknowledging that maybe sometimes I overthink it, or- sometimes I do just need time to really distance myself from the characters. When you have a project like PSA that's so big and so many people are waiting on you I think you develop this mindset that you have to keep going nothing else matters if you're not progressing it's dead if it's dead you've let everyone down. But also working like that for me can become a detriment because it becomes all consuming which- sometimes is good, but other times can cripple you and make you indecisive or- just burnt out. When I heard Torsten again after all this time away it was like... for starters it was how I had imagined, I wasn't suddenly like, "oh yes this is Oliver's take" it was just "that's Torsten's voice." There weren't any notes, or asterisks it was just him and I'll be honest it kind of was this "okay time to get back on the horse my friend." When you step away you have this very small window, or at least I do. And it's easy to miss, if I don't get back on the path within that window I get lost and abandon everything it's odd. And I'm sure a lot of artists can agree after first taking a break is hard because you know the risk you know that window is small, but if you don't take that detour out of the mud and rain you know you're likely to gas out, stall, and probably quit anyways. But when you take that path you risk never coming back at first you're mad you're even on it you can see the other road from where you're walking, but each step gets easier and the guilt gets more and more until you can't be bothered feeling guilty anymore and you just don't come back. And this might sound- fake or- corny, but I think Oliver's performance helped me get back on the road because there's a humbleness he brings to Torsten, a warmth. Torsten is your supportive friend there to help pick you up when you fall, steady you when you falter. And sure maybe it's just the writing, but I think there's a humanity Oliver brings to the character that someone else maybe wouldn't have. With Torsten being this warrior I think it'd be easy to turn him into a stereotypical Thor type. But he's not in his own worlds he's "a simple Druid." Coming back from a break can be kind of scary... and Torsten for me he made that less daunting. Torsten isn't a small role by any means, but Oliver seemed so dialed in that I have very little notes making the process, or easing back into the process much easier than it might have been had it been another actor. Or- maybe sure the workload wouldn't have changed, but maybe the performance wouldn't have resonated with me so much, inspired me so much. I didn't think I'd have the chance to work with Oliver again on this project and I was fine with that getting to work with him at all was amazing and I don't take it for granted. Getting to work with him again though especially when I'm hitting a point where everything has slowed way down? That's really special for me because I feel like I'm starting kind of at square one again and yet- Torsten is still here, Oliver was still here offering his talents. I'm not sure what else to say, I feel like I've said everything and yet nothing at all. The whole point of these posts are to thank the voice actors who have taken a chance on this project, supported it, been apart of it. I hope I at least accomplished that much with this one. Oliver Smith you are a true talent, a man of moral fiber, someone who exudes warmth and empathy. As I write all these I feel there is no one better fit to play Torsten Thor, no one I know better embodies him just as they are. Plenty could have played him yes and plenty could have made him sound powerful, commanding, stalwart in their convictions. But only you could bring out his humbleness, his warmth, his humanity, his desire to see all those around him climb to higher heights, someone ready to learn, someone willing to help a stranger even if their lord had forbade them. I thank you so much for returning to the project once more to voice another. Oliver Smith we happily welcome you back to Pleasant Sparkle Academy.

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