▲ Kim Yeon Woo, the voice actor, Photographed by Lee Jae Eun
<About Kim Yeon Woo>
Kim Yeon Woo (’07, English Language and Literature) is a voice actor who has dubbed the voice Violet from Incredible 2 (2018) and Sombra from Overwatch. Kim dreamed of becoming a competent voice actor while enthusiastically participating in the activities of On Voicing, the only voice acting club in Korea University (KU). She made her official debut in 2013 through Daewon Media’s fourth open recruitment. Not confined to cartoon, Kim is also active as a voice actor in video games, audio books, commercials and many other formats. Having a job that communicates solely through sound, she has a voice like a soothing hum that resonates with audiences.
At a time when a radio was usually on for most of the day, voice actors made radio listeners gather around this small device, waiting for their favorite broadcasts to begin. With media platforms continuing to evolve rapidly, voice actors are now working in a broader area and voice acting has expanded its appeal. While they express everything only through the voice, they create an emotional connection between the audience and the character they play behind the scenes. The Granite Tower (GT) met with Kim and had a chance to talk about her life as a voice actor.
GT: What motivated you to become a voice actor?
Kim: Since I was little, I have been interested in cartoons. So, it was natural for me to feel drawn to voice acting but there were no certain goals to be a professional voice actor. Then, after becoming a member of the voice acting club called On Voicing and by participating in club activities, I end up considering voice acting as my future career. I had always been concerned about whether to have voice acting as a hobby or as a job, however, the club was the main solution to my hang-up.
GT: How did the activities in On Voicing influence you?
Kim: On Voicing did influence me a lot. The club was the motivating force that made me the person I am today. My school days were full of enjoyable experiences since I participated in the club activities for many years, starting as a sophomore and continuing to my senior year. At the time, On Voicing regularly had live performances in campus where the club members got
to voice over their assigned characters on the spot. Such activities led me to dream of becoming a professional voice actor.
GT: As with other jobs, it must have been hard to make it to an official debut as a voice actor. What kind of difficulties did you confront?
Kim: Employment opportunities for voice acting are narrowing down. Since there is no fixed age group to apply for a test and low frequency of recruitments, there is keen competition among applicants. In my case, I prepared for examinations for four years and in the first three years, it was hard for me to even make it to the second test. Besides, finding out why I failed the test was difficult because it did not have an objective evaluation standard such as volume, pace and clarity of the voice.
GT: If there are any, what worries do voice actors have?
Kim: As expected, I think voice actors worry about their throats the most. It is hard to voice the character if one catches a cold. Furthermore, it is the production companies that set up the schedule, therefore, maintaining the strength and volume of our voices is not easy. Also, when we get to record a voice-over for the foreign pieces, a comparison with the original ones concerns us. To add more, as a current freelancer, a long break often makes me feel anxious. I just feel like I have to do something and this would be the same for other freelancers.
GT: What is your most impressive work or character?
Kim: I tend to find all the works valuable. So, it is difficult to tell the most impressive work or character. If I had to pick, however, I would choose Sombra form Overwatch. After dubbing this character, there were more chances for me to provide my voice for intense characters in other video games or cartoons. Most of all, thanks to Sombra, many people got to know Kim Yeon Woo, the voice actor. Additionally, Made in Abyss is the work I am currently into. Its storyline is close to a prisonic fairytale, which is a very novel genre for me to try, and since I am currently working on this cartoon, it is the work that draws my attention the most for now.
▲ Sombra from Overwatch, Provided by BLIZZARD
GT: What are your future plans and are there any specific characters you want to work on?
Kim: I want to try a romance and a fantasy cartoon because those are my favorite genres. Most people tend to become more impassioned when they do the things they like to do and this is same with me. I do like all genres of comic, still, there are genres that I prefer more. Moreover, having a character or a role of a lifetime, which will remind people of Kim Yeon Woo, is my dream. When I see the voice actors who are working until their sixties and seventies, they have their signature pieces so-called Insaengjag and this is exactly what I wish.
GT: Lastly, what would you like to say to KU students?
Kim: I do understand that today’s job market is extremely tough for the young and the people fresh out of university. But still, students need to put an effort into getting a lot of experience. Looking back, I can clearly say that the days as a student are the right time to gain a great deal of experience. It is even difficult to have a hobby once you get a job. In that sense, I want students to keep doing as many activities as possible, just like me. So, carry on!