Voice actor Mark Allen Jr. may market himself as “a different kind of familiar” on his business card, but the man behind the voice is anything but familiar.
The passion he has for his craft says a lot more than any simple phrase could express.
Allen spent two years in the theater program before changing his major to Japanese with an emphasis in culture, aspiring to eventually become an English teacher in Japan. Allen graduated from CSUF in 2013.
Halfway through his degree program, Allen discovered his passion for voice acting.
“When I graduated, I knew (voice acting) was what I wanted to do. It was just a matter of figuring out how to make it work,” Allen said.
As a professional voice actor, a degree in Japanese wasn’t exceedingly useful except in minor applications due to his heightened grasp of the language.
However, Allen did find some amusing uses for his knowledge. In one instance, he was asked to sing a translated version of a song that the production team claimed was originally in Japanese. The problem was the song was in Chinese, and he was the only person listening that could tell the song was definitely not in the language they claimed.
Regardless of the underwhelming amount of use Allen has gotten out of his degree, he has stayed upbeat about his career.
“Don’t compare yourself to other people’s journey, especially in acting and in voice over. I have a lot of people who I work with, a lot of colleagues, who either started at the same time I did or started after me, and have achieved more notice and more success than I have,” Allen said. “The tendency is to want to compare yourself to those people and say ‘I’m just as good as this person, I’ve been working longer than this person, why am I not getting the work that they’re getting?’”
One piece of advice Allen has for upcoming graduates pursuing the same degree is that auditioning for parts is at least 90 percent of the job.
“There’s an old adage that says for every 100 auditions you do, you’ll book one job. So you have to keep auditioning, you have to keep looking for things to try out for,” Allen said.
While the idea of auditioning for the job may seem more daunting than actually performing, Allen remained enthusiastic about his career and its recent uptick in acknowledgement. The most important aspect is knowing voice acting is your dream.
“Never give up on your dreams because there are going to be a lot of setbacks in life that are going to make it seem like maybe your dreams are silly or your dreams are unachievable,” Allen said. “You can’t give in to that line of thinking. If you know what you want to do and really set your mind to it … don’t give up on it.”