Today on Getting To Know, we have an awesome interview with Allie (also known as TheOnlyException). Allie currently both writes and directs both Revival and Aberration, you can also catch her incredible voice-work in both SimmingLikeAVillain’s Life Will Go On and SimsBerrry’s The Kenopsia Effect. Without further introduction, let’s cut right to the chase.
You have built up an impressive resume in the Sims community that is not just restricted to voice-acting. You have demonstrated this with two critically acclaimed shows, Revival and Aberration. Do you think that your directing experience benefits you while doing voice-over work and vice versa?
I wouldn’t say my shows are critically acclaimed, but I appreciate it! I started making Sims machinima and voice acting around the same time, so I have not really had experience without doing both. I would say that being a director has definitely helped with my voice acting because as a director I always want several different takes and variation from my voice actors. I try to provide the same with my voice acting because I know what it’s like as a director to not have that perfect take and having nothing to choose from. Being a director has also helped me empathize with others about punctuality and communication. I have experienced and know directors who have had to replace so many voice actors because they were late with lines and held back a project – or even “ghosted” the directors, refusing to contact them ever again.
Having experience on the director’s side, I strive to turn in my lines on time, and always communicate with my directors if I know I’m going to be late. As a writer, I also feel an intricate tie to emotion and can deeply empathize with both my own characters and the characters I voice. Writing is a truly emotional experience and helps you practice. I think it’s crucial for a voice actor to write, read, and watch, observing others, picking up tools from stories surrounding them. Knowing how to create emotion on the page helps you learn to portray it through your voice.
As a voice actor, you are bound to be cast in roles that stick with you long past your performance. Whether you are proud of the performance or the role impacted you personally, which roles have stuck in your mind over the years?
One of my favorite roles to perform was Lauren from LoisMatteoo’s Cruel Temptation because she was such a complex character. Sure, she was sobbing most of the time, but she was feisty and exuberant in-between. I got the opportunity to play a sweet, gentle character whilst simultaneously playing the vicious revenge-seeker.
Two other roles that I always think about in my voice acting career are Raign from The Rivers by Latibule and Artemis from The Kenopsia Effect. Both series are still ongoing, but they have been the highlight of my voice acting career. Ironically, the characters are complete opposites, Raign being a soft-spoken, naïve but kind young woman; Artemis as a threatening leader, whose bluntness and glare keeps everyone in check. I adore both these characters, and I think my voice acting shines through with these roles especially.
Over the course of last year, you and several others led development for Plumbbob Awards and it was a different, unique twist on what SimsFilmFest has done for about ten years now. Did you all have any worries with developing a ceremony of that magnitude, and what do you intend to do with it going forward in the community?
I have experienced a bit of worry over the past year since our first ceremony, mostly because I have been the person managing most of the project. Trying to balance college and a full-blown event can be taxing. Most of our staff on the Plumbbob Awards is dedicated to the discussion of the submissions and scoring rubrics, so I run the website, Twitter, email, and YouTube. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to make sure things are perfect. Miss Faith Sims has been a big help with the graphic design of the website.
However, I feel like once the Plumbbob Awards eventually catches wind around the community and more people enter, it will be a blast! We felt a little down when we failed to receive enough submissions for a true event and had to cancel last fall, which is why we’ve switched to an annual event and are working on promoting. We intend for the Plumbbob Awards to be more of a constructive feedback-based event to help creators improve their craft. While Fest has its Machinima 101 tutorials to assist creators, the Plumbbob Awards’ main focus is providing detailed feedback for our contestants’ submissions. We give feedback in several categories that come together to make a great machinima, such as camera work, dialogue flow, costume design, sound design, and more. I think it’s great for the community to have multiple events in different forms – similar to film festivals in real life – which is why I decided to start the Plumbbob Awards.
While the community is smaller than what it once was, there is a new generation of directors and voice-actors we are beginning to see more and more of as time passes. As someone who has experience on both sides of the fence, what advice would you give for these new faces going forward?
For directors, my advice is to find a story you cling to and love with all your might. Don’t write about what other people want – write about what interests you, and your project will be a success. Find something unique, put a twist on an overtold story – whatever works for you. To me, a solid story makes or breaks a machinima. Cinematography, advanced sound design, and all that technical stuff comes second. Take your time learning film mechanics, watch tutorials, and go at your own pace. We all grow differently, so don’t sell yourself short. Look to others for inspiration – but don’t constantly compare yourself. Always observe and learn. Find your own style and go with it!
For voice actors, I would also suggest watching different films, taking note of how an actor behaves and portrays emotion. How did they make you so sad that you started crying? So angry that you wanted to scream? Observe. Soak it in. Humans learn through mimicking. Listen to your favorite voice actors. Find what works for you, and learn how your own voice operates. What are its limitations? How can you push yourself farther? I’ve been directing and voice acting for almost seven years now. Trust me, it takes TIME. You’ll get there. Lastly, embrace constructive criticism. It will help you grow and learn from your mistakes – criticism may even reveal things that you yourself couldn’t see before in your work. Always strive to improve.
You have been known to address issues directly and sincerely, which has not always garnered the greatest reception but has never failed to bring attention and ultimately solutions to the problem. Due to the rise in social media integration in the community, drama and toxicity seem to get worse every month. Do you have any ideas or recommendations on ways we can help unify the community going forward to help cut down on Twitter wars and further toxicity?
There are no clear-cut answers to drama. My only advice is that it’s important to learn all sides of a story before jumping to conclusions. Much of the drama in the community originates from cliques gossiping and turning people against one another for no substantial reason. Much of the issues in the community can be solved through simple communication. The community is also extremely high-and-mighty about who is the “best”. Instead, we should encourage each other to flourish and thrive. There is a fine line between constructive criticism and rudeness which the community doesn’t seem to grasp. People become outraged and defensive at the faintest sight of helpful feedback (believing their work is being attacked). On the other end, people with malicious intent sometimes target creators out of jealousy or for their own entertainment. I’m not sure how this can be fixed, but it’s a problem to be addressed, with two extremes on either side of the spectrum.
That was it for our first segment of Getting To Know! If you found this interview intriguing, I strongly suggest checking out Allie’s shows, voice-reels, and other projects on her YouTube channel here. I will see you guys next time with another segment of Getting To Know!