Dragon Con, with all of its many themed tracks that range from puppetry to urban fantasy and filk, has something for everyone to enjoy. At this year’s Dragon Con convention (which had 65,000 attendees), I sat down with voice actor and streamer Sean Chiplock. Known for a variety of roles in video games such as Genshin Impact and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to anime titles such as JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind and Re:Zero, Sean Chiplock has established himself as a premiere talent within the voice acting industry.
In Part Two of a two-part interview, I (along with Senpai Project), talk with Sean Chiplock about what it was like to revisit Revali and Teba for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity and as Spade/Dail for Freedom Planet 2, his favorite junk food, and more.
If you missed out on Part One, you can check it out here.
You can buy a membership for next year’s Dragon Con here.
This interview was edited for content and clarity.
Operation Rainfall: What was it like returning to the roles of Revali, Teba, and Deku Tree in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity in 2020?
Sean Chiplock: A huuuuuge difference in terms of confidence and overall performance quality. The first time I recorded for Revali and Teba, I was – pardon my French – scared shitless. Like I mentioned before, the risk of people looking at it the same way that they did the unofficial CD-i games- or should I say the non-canon CD-i games. The fact that Revali was a character that I really struggled to find the right tonality for at first – he frustrated me so much that I had a mental breakdown. The confidence was stronger when we came back to do the DLC for Breath of the Wild, and by the time Age of Calamity came around – I was homed in. I understood the characters, I understood the lore of the world, which was something that I didn’t have when I came in for Breath of the Wild. I was doing it fresh, I was doing things as we went along.
So, the confidence was at an all-time high, and during Breath of the Wild, I was trying to repeat lines to get back into character. In Age of Calamity, I was ‘now I am Revali, now I am Teba, now I’m Revali talking to Teba.’ It was seamless, and it was definitely the game- it was one of the ones I streamed because I wanted to hear the final project. That was the game where I no longer heard myself performing as these characters, I just heard the characters saying their stuff. And that was such a cool moment for me – I was already excited to play the game, because I – everyone’s got a bit of a Dynasty Warriors fan in them. Everyone’s got a day where you just want to and plow through 300 enemies with a special attack. But to get to do that with my own characters and get to watch my characters get to do sick combos across entire swathes of enemies? It was so good. [laughs] At least until Revali uses the ice ability – [imitates Revali] ‘Cool down!’, and I’m all ‘Really? That’s the best you can come up with? You’ve had a hundred years to think about something witty, and you decided to go for the most basic of jokes?’
It was a very distinctive difference, but a very positive, uplifting one. And I would say that anyone who plays Age of Calamity and listens to those characters will be hearing me at my best at those roles.
OR: I think you mentioned in a 2018 interview that Teba was particularly important to you because of the way that you voiced that character.
SC: Yes. So obviously, as you might imagine, voicing a major – I don’t know if you can call Teba a major character, but because he is one of the required people if you’re doing the four major dungeons, he is more important than a lot of the other characters in the game. So, the fact you’re doing it for a first-party launch title on one of their most successful consoles to date, and you think about all the awards the game won – there’s a little bit of pressure behind that. But the reason why Teba is so important to me is because he is a case where – there are often times where we’ll audition for a character, and the client says, ‘I really liked this take – we’re going to tweak this, or if you can give us a little more of this or a little less of this.’ Teba was a case where we’ve been doing recording for Revali and Deku Tree and they were like ‘Hey, we have one other bird, we’re wondering if you can do a voice that is distinct – that is different enough from these other two.’ I said, ‘Show me the scene, I’ll take a look.’ So they described him, they showed me the sample scene, and I immediately went ‘I have an idea, I know what I want to do for him.’
Are either of you, by chance, familiar with Bedfellows? Not the live action film, but the animated series? There’s two characters that I play in that – [imitates Fatigue] ‘One of them is Fatigue – he’s very high pitched and very effeminate, and so gay in terms of being happy the entire time’ and [imitates Sheen] ‘the other is Sheen, and he’s just angry, just always yelling, he’s always upset about something.’ But Sheen’s voice comes from a place of anger. I said, `What if I take the [imitates Sheen] ‘anger and frustration that Sheen has’, and [imitates Teba] ‘I just made it bitterness instead – worry and concern for your family, or something like that?’ Kind of like furrowing your brow or something. And that was the voice approach I took for Teba.
So, it was the fact that I effectively told Nintendo: ‘I got this, trust me.’ I did the performance, the person in charge of approving it or not goes ‘Yep, that works for us.’ Like, how many people can say that they’ve basically told Nintendo ‘Sit tight, I got this,’ show their bravado, and have Nintendo go ‘Yep, no changes, we’re good to go forward?’ That’s crazy! That’s crazy – and [in] a game as well-renowned as that, that’s why he’s so important to me. I’m sure anyone in the voice acting industry dreams of that experience where they’re with a high-profile client and puts forth the notion that they know exactly what they’re doing, and then proves it simultaneously and the client saying, ‘We’re completely happy with that.’
Especially on a project or franchise that hasn’t been officially voiced before. I don’t know what’s going to top that. Like, I’m searching for that, I’m constantly challenging myself, but it’s unreal.
“The general rule of voice acting is that if we’re allowed to talk about it, then we already have been, because the one thing we want to be able to do is discuss the thing that we’ve been sitting and waiting for months or even years.”
OR: You are also voicing a role in Freedom Planet 2, which is scheduled for release on Steam in the next couple of weeks.
SC: Really? It’s finally coming out?!
OR: It’s streetdated for September 13, 2022.
SC: I had no idea – it’s been years since I recorded for that, I’m a little scared if I’m going to approve of my own performance by now.
OR: Can you tell us a little bit about what it was like returning to the role of Spade and Dail?
SC: It’s been several years, so I don’t remember much of it. I do know that they had more of a budget – they actually flew me to Texas for a one-day session. It was actually very brief – I think I flew into Texas at like 11 P.M. the previous night, recorded at 10 A.M. the next day, and then flew out at 3 P.M. I wasn’t even there for 24 hours.
It’s hard to say – I think this is the question that I don’t really have a good, thorough answer to. They had a better budget, so they were able to do the recording process to what you would typically expect with us taking turns in a booth. In the first game, we were all doing it on our own home setups. It was very much an ‘indie project’ sort of thing. But when it found its footing – I don’t want to say take it more seriously – but they were able to embrace more of the consistent production processes that you would expect from a project like that.
And after I recorded, it was really just a matter of waiting. So, I’m actually very glad that it is coming out soon, I hope people enjoy it! I know the team behind it is incredibly passionate. I’ve seen their growth through the years, and I am someone that believes that a lot of the content that we fondly remember is created when passionate people come together to work on a single thing together. I’m very hopeful that all of the years will be worth the wait.
OR: Do you have any other projects in the pipeline that you can share with us?
SC: The general rule of voice acting is that if we’re allowed to talk about it, then we already have been, because the one thing we want to be able to do is discuss the thing that we’ve been sitting and waiting for months or even years. I think there’s still a project that I recorded like three years ago that I haven’t heard about. I’m almost convinced that it is dead in the water at this point.
You know, I got to announce recently that I am in the new Star Ocean game that is coming out – Star Ocean: The Divine Force. I voice Gaston Gaucier, which I already told people on Twitter: ‘If you are someone who enjoys me from a more intense performance, this is definitely a role that you’re going to want to pay attention to.’ I’m trying to think of what else is coming out that I’m allowed to talk about…See, this is why I had access to my IMDB. Mostly, what I tell people is stay tuned on my Twitter, stay tuned on my Twitch, because as soon as I am allowed to announce these things, I do and I talk it up all the time.
The last couple of months have been the convention gauntlet, I have been doing a lot of work behind the scenes. So that’s basically my answer: ‘Hey, I’m not allowed to talk about anything coming down the pipeline, but there is a lot of stuff coming down the pipeline.’ I’m someone who doesn’t like to rest on his laurels for long, I am always trying to grow, trying to show clients that I am capable of more than they already know me for. And there’s a lot of exciting stuff due to come out – so just stay tuned, and if nothing else I hope I get to pleasantly surprise you. The number of times people are ‘Wait, you’re in this and you’re in this</i”> and you’re in this too?! What aren’t you in that I enjoy?!’ I kind of like that element of surprise, so let’s find out together!
OR: To people who want to get into voice acting, but may not know where to start – do you have any advice?
SC: There’s three sites in particular that I give to people. The first one is very obvious: You ask yourself ‘What do I want to be?’ The answer is: iwanttobeavoiceactor.com. That’s the first site – it’s written by Dee Bradley Baker, it has so much information regarding the industry – I should probably go back and see what new stuff he’s posted. I tell everyone: ‘If you’re just starting out, you should not even be saying words into a microphone until you’ve read that website front to back.’ It’s about giving yourself as much info and starting knowledge as possible, so that you are asking pointed questions that will help you find the next step of what to take, rather than just throwing a bunch of questions out there that are already available online in triplicate.
The second one I usually recommend is either Voice Acting Mastery or Voice-Over Voice Actor. Just warmup sites, interviews – it’s about figuring out or listening to interviews of other actors and how they found their way into the industry. Everyone’s path is going to be a little different. Some will have a big breakthrough, some will get referred into the industry, some will start from the bottom doing walla or bit roles. Some people will come from a live-action background. Some people come from an anime background. So, finding a story that meshes with you or that you identify with may help you figure out ‘Okay, here’s how I’m likely to be to get my foot in the door.’
And the third one is voiceactingclub.com. Back in the heyday, like the early 2000s, 2010s, there were three different voice acting communities and I think two of them are still around. But Voice Acting Club, to my knowledge, is the one where the people who were the aspiring voice actors of 10 to 15 years ago are now the moderators and admins of the site doing the same thing for today’s amateur voice actors. So, you’ve already got that ‘passing of the torch,’ even though we’re still actively working – we’re now able to share our experiences and knowledge with those who may not know anything and are trying to be as prepared as possible.
It’s also because Voice Acting Club specifically eschews fandubs. Try not to focus on them, because they don’t want people’s portfolios to be clogged up with them. So having a bigger focus on independent animations, on original projects, is a much better avenue for making early connections with future studios, future clients, future peers and colleagues. I strongly recommend all of those sites that I mentioned, because I figure- what I tell people is that whether a good or bad habit, practicing that habit will make it a firm one. So, it’s important to make sure that the habits you’re cementing are good ones rather than bad ones, and knowledge and preparation are your biggest allies when it comes to cementing good habits right off the bat.
“‘Mikey, listen – you don’t have to bow your head. Just have a heart that cares for others.’
I love that quote because […] you don’t have to bow your head, just have a heart that cares for others. It means that you don’t have to be subservient to other people, you just have to recognize when it’s not your time in that moment, understanding when it’s someone else’s turn to be in spotlight.”
Senpai Project: Favorite movie?
SC: The Pagemaster, which is not even a movie – it’s like a 47-minute library advertisement. At this point, I just have to say The Pagemaster – because when I took a film video interpretation class in my first year in college, everyone got asked what their favorite film was, and they were like ‘The Great Escape, Casablanca, Dr. Strangelove,’ and I’m just here saying ‘The Pagemaster’ and I could just hear the snickers behind me because I was sitting in the front row. So you know what? I’m tripling down! The Pagemaster’s a good film, and if you hated it, it is because you hate books and you’re [an] uneducated man-child or woman-child or non-binary-child. I don’t judge.
SP: I don’t hate it, but I was forced to watch it in class.
SC: It’s good, isn’t it? It has Tim Curry, and Tim Curry is amazing! How can you rag on a movie that has Wanda Sikes and Tim Curry?
SP: Favorite series of like a book, or a series-
SC: Mega Man Battle Network – Oooo. Mega Man Battle Network or Etrian Odyssey. Mega Man Battle Network was – it was a gem of its kind. Just the way that they – I remember reading an interview where they were like ‘we didn’t really have anything to base off of, so we kind of had to mish-mash a couple different genres together,’ and it came out so well. It’s such a well-designed game, it’s so aesthetically interesting. But Etrian Odyssey was a game that I got introduced to during a failed My Little Pony convention – no, like, the organizers ran off with the money and it got shut down in the middle of day two. Like, that bad.
But it’s what introduced me to the world of first-person dungeon crawlers, and I was instantly hooked. Almost spoiled – but Etrian Odyssey revitalized interest in wizardry style games in the West, and it’s like the leader of its kind, but it stopped with the 3DS. A new game hasn’t come out since. So, I love Battle Network for its aesthetics, but is the perfect mix of strategy with your team composition but just unfair enough that it’s not unreasonable. We all know about RPG tropes where status ailments work on enemies that don’t need it, but they don’t work on the bosses that you could use it for. Etrian Odyssey has status ailments and body part binds that have side effects. They not only apply to bosses – every boss is weak to at least one of them – they are pretty much mandatory if you want to have a fighting chance. And so, it’s just so genuinely difficult in a fun way, that it’s unforgettable for me. So I would say – between the two – I would actually have to lean to Etrian [Odyssey] because there has been nothing like it since.
SP: I definitely will have to try it out. I have played Battle Network, it is great.
SC: Battle Network – I love it. I love the way that you put your folder together. I used to make a big deal out of how fast I could beat the boss time trials. The postgame in Battle Network 3 was one of the most exciting that I’ve ever done. There is so much to do.
Sean Chiplock voiced both Sheen and Fatigue (as both seen in the above episode of The Bedfellows).
SP: Favorite quote that you stand by – that you love.
SC: I stole it from Draken in Tokyo Revengers. I have to do it in his voice – him and Mikey are in the hospital. They’re not in the hospital, they’re visiting because of someone who got collateral injured because of a fight that their gang was in. And the girl’s parents are there as well, and they try to apologize. And the parents are like ‘We don’t want anything to do with you, don’t talk to us, don’t interact with us.’ And Mikey, Draken’s partner, is about to chew them out – ‘Hey, we’re trying to apologize, won’t you listen to us for a damn second?’ And Draken talks him down – [imitates Draken] ‘Mikey, listen – you don’t have to bow your head. Just have a heart that cares for others.’
And I love that quote because – repeating it in [my] normal [voice] – you don’t have to bow your head, just have a heart that cares for others. It means that you don’t have to be subservient to other people, you just have to recognize when it’s not your time in that moment, understanding when it’s someone else’s turn to be in spotlight. I think of an example, we’re at this big event, maybe a big line of people for a guest next to me or they’re interested in talking with them – not interrupting that, not getting in the way. Not ruining their moment. But that doesn’t mean I have to ignore who I am or pretend to be someone I’m not. It’s about being respectful that everyone has their own life that they’re living, everyone has their own moments to shine. And it’s important to recognize when it’s not your time at that specific moment.
So, I just think that’s really meaningful, because it’s that careful balance of being yourself without intruding on other people’s lives at the same time.
SP: Favorite junk food?
SC: I’ve actually cut out a lot of junk food, just because of age and because – my diet has changed over time, and I really enjoy having a lighter body and I don’t want to start gaining weight because of eating a lot of junk food. Different foods are good at different times. There’s times where I’m craving Goldfish, there’s times where I’m craving cherry pie layer bars, because their tartness is really nice. I’m trying to see what qualifies as junk food!
I used to enjoy Sour Punch Straws, but they now choke me because they are so sticky and dry at the same time. I need a moment to think about this, that’s the best question, that’s a good last question because it’s one that I haven’t immediately had an answer for!
Favorite junk food that I really enjoy…this is hard. This is really difficult, ‘cause I’ve been really addicted to- have you heard of those Go Go apple juice packages that you squeeze? I’m addicted like hell to those right now, they are so good. But they’re healthy – I don’t qualify those as junk food.
Alright, it’s a mix. My thing – you know the Ferraro Rocher chocolate balls? I don’t eat them by themselves. I will make a bowl of oatmeal, and after I pour in the milk, I will put two to three of them, usually the sea salt chocolate, in the bowl and then in the microwave and then microwave it, so when it’s done, the balls are starting to melt and fuse into the milk. And then I mix it together, and because of the thickness of the chocolate, it helps bind the oatmeal together. So you get this nice – chunky doesn’t sound like a good word – but you get this nice, thick oatmeal that has hints of sea salt and a chocolate flavoring to it. And it’s so good. It turns a breakfast into a dessert, as far as I am concerned.
That’s the answer – wait – have you guys been to San Jose? Next time you go to San Jose – have you guys been to the Signia by Hilton San Jose, on Market Street? They have the best raspberry cheesecake that I have ever had. I’m a big fan of cheesecake, I didn’t know hotel food could be that good. It was phenomenal. It was so good, the following day, I brought a colleague back, swearing up and down how good it was. She had one bite of it, and then posted on Twitter: ‘He wasn’t lying.’ I converted her instantly.
So a very good cheesecake? Instantly on my list of faves.
OR/SP: Thank you so much.
You can buy a membership for next year’s Dragon Con here.
I want to thank Sean Chiplock for agreeing to sitting down to speak with me and Senpai Project at Dragon Con 2022.
Have you seen The Bedfellows or eaten an amazing cheesecake in San Jose? Tell us all about your experiences with either or both below!