You definitely have been once heard the cynical and comic voice saying “Men, do not know about women. Women, they do not know about men, neither….” Except comical contents and images of Male & Female's life research (Namnyu Tamgu Sanghwal), the voice actor's voice was definitely raised people's interest. The Sookmyung Times (SMT) met voice actor, Seo Hye-jung (SEO), and heard about her career and social conditions for voice actor.
SMT What do you think about the stereotype that voice actor must have a good voice?
SEO I want to say that it is no more than a stereotype. What requires to the voice actor is not a good voice, but an acting ability. The voice actor is literally ‘actor,’ so I think acting ability is the most important ability. Also, accurate pronunciation is prerequisite. These kinds of ability can be trained by one’s effort. By training, we can make-up our voice with accurate pronunciation and appropriate emotion. However, at the same time, I cannot perfectly deny of the innate ability. Nowadays, voice actors’ sphere of activity has narrowed down. Thus, the person with the innate ability has more advantages. For example, acute hearing is one of innate ability which is needed to voice actor. Voice actor should be able to hear all kind of sounds, including human voice and nature’s sound. This is like a hearingimpaired person cannot speak because they cannot hear. When one person has a high ability in hearing, then it is easier to invent a well-matched voice to the character. It is kind of animal instinct.
SMT What does like Male & Female’s life research (Namnyu Tamgu Sanghwal), program mean to you?
SEO Apparently, I can say that my career reached to the peak by this program. I’ve been working as a voice actor for 30 years, but I’ve never felt this kind of popularity before. This program is the most impressive program in my whole career life. Needless to say, the process of making unique voice was very hard. The director literally asked me to make “Voice bases on Scarlet’s tone, adding 114 (Call Center voice) tone, with no emotion and cynical tone of 10 won value.” Can you imagine what kind of voice the director exactly wants? I think it is one of ability of voice actor. You should be able to catch what the director exactly wants and expresses in your voice. Making exactvoice is really hard and sensitive work. Actually, when I acted voice of Scarlet in this program, I always thought my role is just back up Mulder, and the main character should be him, not me. Nevertheless, after the program was released, two characters both earned lots of popularity and I am very proud and happy about it.
SMT Do you think in digital era, voice has its own vision and potential?
SEO I definitely think that voice still has its potential in upcoming era. When I was young, radio star was the top level stars in society. In that era, most of the people didn’t watch television but listened radio. There were many radio dramas and since my mother was fan of radio drama, I always used to listen it with her. That was when I first dreamt to be a voice actor. It is true that since there are lots of TV dramas and movies, the voice actor’s sphere of activity narrowed down. However, it does not mean that the importance of voice has decreased. Human voice gives comforts. It brings life to the animal character. If there is no voice in animation, it would be very hard to feel empathy to characters. For example, in case of audio book, we can feel comfort by the sound, and since there is no visible image, we can imagine. We candevelop imagination ability. I believe someday, people will feel tiresome to the desolate digital era. They will seek analogue in the end.
SMT What do you think about social conditions for voice actor, for example copy right issue?
SEO I feel sorry but I have to say that the Korean society’s recognition about voice is far behind to that of the other developed countries. What I feel most shameful about Korea is that in public place, it is very hard to find any consideration for the impaired people. Whenever I want to do dubbing performance explanation for people who are visually impaired, since there are no facilities for that, it is not easy for me. Also, about voice copy right issue, until now, Korea has very low recognition of the value of voice. In my opinion, voice should be equally treated as intellectual property, so protected and guaranteed under proper law. When these conditions are based in Korea society, then the software can be flourished.