The voice of Ahri: Interview with Laura Post
Fri 11th Sep 2015 - 8:48am
Hey there League of Legends fans! Maleok here with an interview with yet another talented voice actress. Meet Laura Post, the wonderful voice behind everyone's favorite AP vixen. You will be glad to know that she is a gamer herself and absolutely loves Ahri as a character and isn't disconnected from League of Legends at all! I got to chat with her about her favorite parts of voiceover as well as her work as the Nine-Tailed Fox herself.
First of all can you tell us who you are and some of your major roles?
Laura Post: Well I am Laura Post and I am probably most well known for: Ahri in League of Legends, Valentine in the Skull Girls, and Ragyo in Kill la Kill.
How is it that you first started doing voicework?
Laura Post: I started back when I lived in Chicago. I wanted to do voiceover when I was young, though I didn't have the business acumen at 6 years old to pursue an acting career. In highschool I thought was going to go into theater when I got out but I decided against that in the end. Long story short, at the end of highschool I wound up at an anime convention and I realized, "Hey, voiceover is what I wanted to do back when I was 6. I'm gonna go to all these voice acting panels". At that time I was 18 and in a better position to give that a try. I started taking classes in Chicago and using online resources to learn all I could, and after I finished college I moved out to L.A and started to pursue it here. When I was 6 years old, one of the main reasons I wanted to get into voice over was that Disney's "The Little Mermaid" came out. As far as I knew at that age was that if you wanted to be in Disney movies you had to be a broadway person like Jodi Benson and Susan Egan. So in highschool I had my theater phase while I was also in choir and was singing anyway. It was always this weird back path that I was trying to take into voiceover the whole time. I belong in voiceover.
Do you favor video games or animation work more, why?
Laura Post: I like both, it's like comparing apples to oranges, you can't really compare the two. Video games are fun, especially if you are doing an RPG where you get to spend a lot of time with your audience. Whereas in anime, depending on your character, they may only hear your voice for five minutes. In video games, especially if you are one of the characters they are playing as, the audience may hear you for hours and hours a day. At the same time, video games can be very vocally stressful.
So if there is one thing I don't like about video games it's the vocal stress of doing the fighting and battling noises. It is the most physically stressful work in voiceover that gets done. You might go in for 2 hours recording efforts and they might ask for things like: 15 small hits, 15 medium hits, 15 large hits, then 15 of you getting hit Small/Medium/Large, we need you lifting heavy objects, we need you jumping, we need you set on fire, we need you electrocuted, we need you to die 20 times. So ya, video game recording can be 2 hours of just screaming.
Whats the "average work day" like for you?
Laura Post: One of the great things about acting in general is that it is different every day. Things also change at the last minute pretty often. For example just this morning at 7 A.M they were like "Hey! Can you come in and work on a video game at 2 o'clock?" so that's what I'm doing after this. *laughs* I would say that the only thing that remains consistent is that for around 2 hours a day I get in the booth and work. Usually I work on auditions that I get through my agency or through other sources. However if I don't have an audition to work on then I will be training.
I will be working on singing, voice matches, or accents. I have a home studio and I would say it is pretty much a necessity in this day and age. Most agents in L.A Expect you to have some sort of a home setup. It doesn't have to be a setup where you can do broadcast work from it but it has to be pretty decent. A lot of agencies have you record auditions from home nowadays. It used to be, and this is before even I came out here, that you would go and record at your agent's office. However I would say 90-95% of the people I know have some semblance of a home setup that they use for auditions.
What's your favorite part about being a voice actor?
Laura Post: My favorite part is just the sheer freedom of voiceover as opposed to other forms of acting. I am not gonna be able to play a 10 year old boy on screen *laughs* unless it's like Peter Pan on broadway chances are that I am not going to be able to play a 10 year old boy. However through voiceover I can play monsters, 10 year old girls, or 50 year old women and the sky is the limit on what you can or can't do. The ball is in your court with voice over.
(You can also be a Nine-Tailed Fox) Ahri's full voiceover
Would you consider yourself a gamer, and what have you been playing recently?
Laura Post: Yes, although I feel like I haven't had as much time to game in the past year or so than I've had previously in my life in general. I do still find time to game and do consider myself a gamer. I guess it really depends on your definition of "gamer" but I like to consider myself one. As for what I have been playing, aside from my crippling addiction to Fallout Shelter which has been eating a lot of my time, I just finished Bravely Default which I enjoyed. turn based RPG's might just be my favorite kind of video game, so anytime I get a half decent turn based RPG I am happy.
Unfortunately for me most RPGs are veering away from turn based into a more Kingdom Hearts style where everything is going on at once and you have AI controlling other characters. I also love Fire Emblem and think that game is the best. I am really looking forward to the sequels to Fire Emblem: Awakening. I've been playing some Dragon Age: Inquisition although I haven't had enough time to judge it.
How did you come into contact with Riot initially?
Laura Post: It's not a very exciting story, I just got an audition through my agent and I read the character, and there was a second round and read a second time. Shortly thereafter I got the call telling me that I had the part and they wanted me to come in and record. They had at least one writer and a sound design person and the engineer and the director and me all in the room.
Did you know the scale of the game going into the audition?
Laura Post: Kind of, I hadn't been playing it myself but my husband had been playing it a good amount. I had a couple friends who were playing as well so I knew that this was a game people were actually playing. When Ahri came out it got even more popular, it hadn't hit the height of it's popularity yet when I recorded for her. I had no idea how much of a phenomenon it was about to become. I also couldn't have guessed at how popular Ahri was going to end up being. I am always surprised when people like and recognize my work in any situation so I was pleased that people liked Ahri.
What was the recording session like in comparison to others, was it average or did it stand out?
Laura Post: I think it was pretty average personally. We had the lines and worked on them and they came in to tweak some here and there and it was all pretty standard video game fare. For a little bit of it we had picture, some of the things like her death were animated already, so we recorded it to picture. Her getting hit and spinning and hitting the ground and reaching for the orb was all done to the animation. I think she also had her laugh was also animated at the time. I will say though that normally 90% of the time you don't have anything animated to work with so that was pretty fun to see.
Did you like Ahri as a character when you read for her?
Laura Post: Yes I thought she was pretty awesome. I loved the idea of her being the soul sucking seductress and then having a change of heart about it. I loved her lines and was pretty excited that I got to be her.
What's it like knowing that your voice is being heard by thousands of people every day?
Laura Post: It doesn't really feel real. I say that because it's not like you walk down the street and have people go, "You sound really familiar...", that's never happened to me in my life. So there isn't really 'fame' that goes along with it. I don't think i've ever gone anywhere and had someone go, "Oh my God are you Laura Post?", which is another one of the reasons I love voice over. You get to go do all these things and have people hear you every day and you get to live a totally normal life.
The ball is in my court if I want people to know it's me, if I see someone in an Ahri shirt or cosplay I could theoretically go up and say who I am though I usually choose not to. The only thing that's weird when I am playing League is when there is an Ahri on my team or the enemy team when I'm not playing her. It totally throws me for a loop when I hear me making sounds that have nothing to do with what I'm doing if I'm playing Ashe or something. So if I kill an Ahri I'm like, "Wait I'm dying--wait no that's not me, it's just my voice.".
Overall what would you say about working with Riot, how important do you think it was to your career?
Laura Post: I am super incredibly grateful for the job and I think it has been very helpful with things like going to conventions and having people care in that way. I don't actually know if it's helped me with getting parts because you wouldn't ask something like that. It's rare that they are gonna be like, "Hey these people want you to audition because you voiced Ahri in League of Legends.", it's usually just them telling you that these people want you to audition. So I can't necessarily say that it made a difference that way, but it definitely made a difference in the form of name recognition and me attending conventions.
It connected me to the community and the first time I ever saw someone cosplaying one of my characters was an Ahri cosplay, which was really exciting for me. I actually walked up to her and I think I fangirled more over her than she did when she realized I was the voice. *laughs* I was like, "Oh God you are Ahri this is so great can I have a picture with you?".
Finally, do you think voice acting is something you will do for the rest of your life?
Laura Post: YES! Absolutely 100%, as far as I'm concerned if I am lucky enough to be like June Foray and voice acting into my 90's then that is a win. I don't think anyone could get me to stop doing voiceover. Even if I stopped making money I would still be doing it for always.
Thank you so much Laura for taking the time to talk with us! We absolutely love your work on ahri and hope you do continue on for many years to come. Can't wait to hear your talented work on more projects in the future! And of course Ahri herself will always be here with her own unique charm.