Published on December 12th, 2017 | by Biz Books
The Biz Interview: Nicole Oliver
With 200 credits to her name, Nicole Oliver has enjoyed success through voice acting on the likes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Littlest Pet Shop and live action performances in projects such as and this winter’s smash hit, Wonder.
Nicole Oliver spoke to us about a few of her current projects, her biggest challenges, and the best career advice she’s ever received.
Can you start by telling us about your current projects?
Currently I am in prep for a new web series – Narcoleap. It is a female-driven science-fiction project. I will be acting in it as well as directing an episode!
My voice work is still going strong… I am currently recording season 2 of Rainbow Ruby, Season 5 of Superbook… and a few other projects that I can’t spill the beans on yet!
I also have a nice role in Wonder starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay in theatres now, and My Little Pony: The Movie as Princess Celestia – a role I have played on the TV series since 2010.
“Voice acting allows you to be anything your voice can be; how you look is not a limitation on what you can play.”
You’ve had success in live action projects as well as voice acting. What do you enjoy about each one?
I love live action projects; however, roles for white middle-aged women are pretty middle of the road, but things are getting better. Female-driven stories are important and it is essential that we write, produce and share these stories! I would love to play a kick-ass, take-no-prisoners type of character; perhaps I should put my money where my mouth is and write something!
Voice acting allows you to be anything your voice can be; how you look is not a limitation on what you can play. I love the freedom in expression the medium allows as well as the exaggerated sense of play and humour.
What is the biggest challenge that you’ve faced in your career so far and how did you overcome it?
There are challenges everyday- big and small. The biggest challenge I have faced so far is one many women share regardless of where they may find employment; how to balance work and life. How can you fulfill the inner artist, make dinner for growing teenagers, nurture your significant relationship and find time for self care? The business is brutal and filled with rejection and challenges; surrounding myself with loved ones and family allows me to face each day, each challenge. Some days are great and others are not so great. A support network is important and having the courage to communicate and share your challenges is essential. Granting myself some grace in not always having to be perfect and recognizing that I am enough also helps the “spinning head” syndrome a bit. I have learned that asking for help comes from a position of strength.
How is your preparation different for a voice acting role vs. a live action role?
There really is no difference in the prep except that I don’t have to memorize my lines for voice work! With voice acting, I see “voice” as merely the adjective. It is all acting, so relationships, intentions, obstacles, sharing true emotional experiences are always in play.
What is the biggest misconception about voice acting?
I think the biggest misconception is that it is just about making funny voices. You have to engage your body, your breath and use movement. Most of us voice actors use our natural speaking voice over 75% of the time; making funny voices is tons of fun, but even those voices are connected to a “living and breathing” character with a rich history, relationships that affect choices and strong intentions and desires.
From your perspective, why do audiences continue to connect with animated television series and films?
I think animation allows all of us adults to embrace our “inner kid” and reflect back on a simpler time. Whether the show is wacky or carries a strong emotional message, the medium of “cartoons” lets us drop our adult faces and engage in play.
What would your fans be surprised to know about you?
I think my fans may be surprised to know I love to garden, I am obsessed with all things zombie and occult, and that ’80s arena rock is my music mojo.
What film and TV-related books and authors have been influential in your journey so far?
In no particular order: A Challenge for the Actor by Uta Hagen, Freeing the Natural Voice by Kirsten Linklater, and Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
What is the best career advice that you have ever received?
Ooohhhh, great question! It’s a tie between:
“The entertainment business is a business; use your head but the lawyers and accountants have no business with your heart.”
“You should try voice over work. It will help fill the gaps with on-camera work.”
Where can we find out more about you?
Thanks to Nicole Oliver for speaking with us!
You can see Wonders in theatres everywhere.