Jerron Bacat, a Valencia High School alumnus, graduated in 2020 with a diploma and a dream: to become a voice actor.
Safe to say, his dream was realized — from his first audition as a senior in high school, to booking gigs on video games such as “Genshin Impact,” “Belle Automata” and “Penthos,” he hasn’t looked back since.
“I remember the day: Sept. 5, 2019. That was my first audition and four years and some change later, I’m still doing this crazy career,” Bacat said. “It’s been an incredible trajectory. From the beginning to now, and all the projects I’ve been able to work on.”
Bacat initially had little to no acting experience, acting only through elementary school plays and junior high dramas. His main focus for over 12 years, however, was playing basketball and baseball. Having been cut from the team his senior year, Bacat decided to explore other avenues and interests to pass the time.
“I had always been a fan of video games, anime cartoons, all that stuff. And I had a strange interest in looking into the behind-the-scenes production stuff, because I was always interested in how they were made,” Bacat said. “And lo and behold, I learned that people are voice actors. I looked into it and I said, ‘Hey, let’s give it a shot.’ So I bought a microphone, set it up in a very shoddy setup and just went from there.”
Now Bacat has not only a proper setup curated in his home, but also the experience and extensive portfolio to match it. Four years into his career after the initial leap of faith, Bacat has since improved, made a living and learned what works best for him and his artistry.
“You really don’t know what you’re doing until you do it. So, I really had the mindset of, do it, and then we’ll see what works and then we’ll go from there,” Bacat said. “This career is very subjective. You don’t know what works for a specific type of person, what works for a certain client, so I think just having that confidence that you have the talent and the ability to send stuff out there [is important].”
What works for Bacat is quite simple — enjoying the process, embodying the characters, and most importantly, being confident.
“What works for me is just enjoying it and having a good time just performing these characters, because when you take a look at it, it’s a fun job to have to perform, let go and be these characters,” Bacat said. “The more confident I feel in recording them, performing as them, that’s when the real magic happens. So I think the most important thing that works for me is just having fun with a character and making it my own.”
A project can take up to months to be released after the initial recordings. While voice acting differs from the traditional mode of acting, there are many similarities, including having a solid foundation to exhibit acting skills properly.
“I do take acting-specific classes as well, on top of, you know, voiceover-specific classes. Voice acting is still acting, that’s something I learned very early on. It helps to have a great voice, but having the voice alone isn’t going to be very sustainable because evolving voices are popular. Being a good actor means having that good foundation as an actor,” Bacat said.
In addition, part of being a successful actor is recognizing that each studio, director or project is looking for a specific voice, and to match that properly.
“I learned over the course of my career that there’s a different sound in terms of different types of media — video games have their own sound, Disney Animation has its own sound,” Bacat said. “So as long as you notice how you’re going to fit into that type of production, you’re going to find success. It’s easy, but it’s also the hard part.”
Bacat’s advice to get started could infringe on Nike’s slogan — to just do it.
“A common tip I give for people is to just do it, because that’s what I did. Basically, I just did it, and four years later, I am where I’m at now, so you never know. If you’re not going to do it, someone else will, so it might as well be you,” Bacat said. “Just have fun, this is a fun job, this is a fun career. At the end of the day, you’re voicing these really cool video games, anime, projects you’re working on. Just have a good time.”