We are so excited to share this interview with one of our long-time clients, Kato Alexander!
Kato's career spans acting, voiceover & mocap work, modeling and writing. His creative and diverse talents come together on display in his new short film, Happy, set to begin production later this year. A horror/thriller film about mental health, social conformity and authenticity, Happy gives a glimpse of what severe depression looks like through Jason, who is black and gay.
Kato Alexander's multifaceted career is a testament to his unbounded creativity and dedication, and his journey is a source of inspiration for us all!
Can you tell us about a project or role that was particularly meaningful to you, and why?
My short film titled “Happy” is currently in pre-production. I tend to work in a lot of movies of the week, television shows, and video games but this is my first time as the lead creator of a project. The story means a lot to me as it revolves around the black queer narrative of Jason who struggles with depression. He’s relentlessly tormented by his evil conscience, as he contemplates suicide. It’s a powerful story and one that I feel will truly resonate with the masses.
Can you share any challenges you have faced in your career and how you have overcome them?
Where do I start!? Working in the entertainment industry is challenging in itself with the constant rejection and having to prove yourself to book the role. Rejection surely presents itself in various ways, not just auditions. I applied for multiple arts grants for my short film and was denied-denied-denied and then successful! In total I’ve applied to 8 grants, 2 of which were resubmissions. The great thing about getting denied is that it makes you re-evaluate your work. I’m thankful I was denied because my project is 1000 better and also a lot more expensive haha. I’ve learned to “think bigger.” The biggest challenge I’ve faced to date has been getting the green light on my crowdfunding campaign. It was a 50 day campaign, where I had to continually market my project; via direct marketing emails, social platforms, and coordinate four events to keep the momentum up. All this hard work has truly paid off as we reached our goal of $10,000!
What advice would you give to aspiring voice actors who are just starting out?
Diversify! Don’t just stick to one type of voice work; by being well trained and having demos in various styles of voice, you open the door to so many more opportunities - this industry is a numbers game. By increasing the number of opportunities, you increase the likeliness that you will book work.
Can you talk about any upcoming projects you are excited about?
I worked on my first Triple-A video game! I’m obsessed with the world of video games, creating that world is pure joy and so out of this world. I crave to do it again soon! I can’t say much about the project but I did VO for a player character, they did a face scan and are building a character using my facial structure. It’s been two consecutive summers that I’ve been working on that game. I’m excited for it to come out!
How do you approach bringing authenticity to your voice acting roles, especially in a role where you may be representing marginalized or traditionally underrepresented communities?
It’s taken me years to learn how to do this: “bring yourself to the role.” It sounds simple enough but trust, it is a challenge to make commercial copy sound more conversational, or animation copy not sound too cartoony. A lot of time what production is looking for are grounded reads. Especially in the world of video games. Use your REAL voice, I know - crazy. Use it! “YOU are ENOUGH.”
Can you tell us about any voice acting mentors or role models who have inspired you throughout your career? How have they influenced your approach to acting?
Elley Ray Hennessy is a true inspiration. She has been my mentor ever since I entered the VO field. Her love, exuberance, and approach to the work are unmatched.
Ellen Dubin has been a HUGE help in securing my first video game. Her method is simple and she really champions and helps you find your authentic self.
Can you tell us about your experience working in both voice acting and motion capture? How do these two forms of acting differ from each other?
Voice over can be a challenge to get a hang of at first but what I’ve learned is to use my body; make gestures and truly bring the character to life on the mic. The trick to mocap is approaching it with the physicality of theatre but the vocality and expressions of film.
Kato, thank you for your openness, your authenticity, and your generosity in sharing a glimpse into the life of a working performer. For those of you inspired by Kato's journey and wanting to keep up with his work, you can follow him here:
Visit his website at www.katoalexander.com for updates on his latest projects.
IMDb: Kato Alexander