How I Did That: Anime voice actor Ryan Colt Levy

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How I Did That: Anime voice actor Ryan Colt Levy

Ryan Colt Levy
Words by Isabella Venutti

Ever dreamed of a career as a voice actor? Ahead of his appearances at Oz Comic-con Adelaide and Melbourne, musician and Anime voice actor Ryan Colt Levy shares the unconventional path that's lead to his exciting career.

Ryan Colt Levy’s storied career has lead him from playing in rock bands and taking LA improv acting classes, to now voicing some of the most iconic characters in contemporary English-dubbed anime – from Chainsaw Man, to My Hero Academia and more.

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Ahead of his first Australian appearances at Oz Comic-Com Adelaide and Melbourne (June 3-4 and June 10-11, respectively), Ryan sat down with Mixdown to chat creative inspiration, what a voice acting gig actually entails and the path that lead him to his thrillingly unconventional career.

Hi Ryan! I would love it if you could introduce yourself to our readers. Can you please briefly describe your journey within the entertainment industry up to this point? What kind of training/experience do you have under your belt?

Hey! My journey has been a long & winding one. I was obsessed with stories in film, comics & video games from a very young age. Quickly I went from enjoying to wanting to create & participate in the arts, so I did everything I could from filming my toys to doing the school plays. Eventually I picked up a guitar & started singing in rock bands but I still would travel into the city for acting classes on the weekends & make films with friends. I took a long break from acting until I moved with my band from NY to Los Angeles in 2015 & began local scene study/improv classes again around 2018.

Tell me about how you first got started in anime voice acting – was it something you had always considered, or did your various passions lead you there organically?

Funny enough it definitely wasn’t what I expected my life path to be. Initially, the plan was to work in theatre/on camera in film & tv even though I was a fan of anime, games etc. I just never had the thought of pursuing it myself. Once I began getting on camera acting work in commercials & small projects, I found myself also booking small voice over roles & after meeting a now friend & peer (David Sobolov) I then had a voice reel made & reached out to local studios/casting directors to further focus in since I truly enjoyed it over the process of on camera.

Would you say that your background as a musician has influenced your current practice as a voice actor in any way shape or form? Do you find that you channel creativity in similar ways when approaching both mediums, or are they entirely diverse?

I would absolutely say my background as a musician is a huge help in making technical elements of a voiceover job much easier. I had the good fortune of spending years in studios & getting comfortable with the tech, as well as my own understanding of how to best be natural in that environment. Creating a character is similar enough to creating a song in the sense that there is either a story or intention/mood you are trying to convey. I also often think of voiceover sessions like a band rehearsal/performance because of how collaborative they are.


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Were there any professionals in the field that came before you that inspired you to make the jump into dubbed anime?

I never imagined I’d have this career so I genuinely can’t say any particular voice actor inspired me to pursue the work, but I can absolutely say they inspire me creatively.

Run us through the lead up to a voice acting gig and a day on the job, whether that be recording in the studio or otherwise. How do you prepare? What conditions do you find to be necessary for you to do your best job? Every day & job is quite different. Some days may be filled with multiple sessions where you travel to different studios & work with entirely different teams, often of radically different types of material. You might need to play a monster at 9am & a teenager at 2pm so hydration & being well rested/clear headed is always the most important thing. We rarely if ever get to see scripts etc before our session so really the only prep work you can do is research (if possible) & make sure that your skills as an actor are honed. So much of the job is being comfortable in your own skin so you can color outside the lines.

What do you love most about your work?

I adore how creatively freeing it is, how collaborative it is, how varied & exciting it is & how much of myself I get to put into it.

Are there any common misconceptions people have about what you do?

The most common one is that it’s an easy/accessible job, or easier to do than on camera work.

Is there anything that you wish someone would have told you at the very beginning of your career that you know now?

There is SO MUCH to learn that no one can truly prepare you for everything on this journey & honestly not everyone’s advice will work for you.

To wrap things up – what’s next for you? And which part of your upcoming COMICON Australia appearances are you most looking forward to?

I have some super exciting & different projects waiting in the wings that I’m incredibly excited about & the next adventure is always on the horizon! I’m super excited for my entire experience in Australia since it’ll be my first time there! 

For tickets and more information, head to the Oz Comic-Con website.