Jonah Scott didn’t start out wanting to be a voice actor. While attending Western Kentucky University for musical theatre, the Villa Hills native was trying to choose between committing to stage productions or a professional career in electronic sports when he started lending his voice to small video game, audiobook, and animation projects.
“Studying musical theatre there, I loved being part of the program and the people I worked with were so kind and thoughtful [but] I love video games,” says Scott, who played semi-professionally in college. “I came to a crossroads where I realized if I went full force into Broadway or Louisville theatre or something of that ilk, that would be my life, so I dipped my toe into a previously unknown genre of acting—voice acting.”
Today, Scott, 28, is a recognizable voice in anime, dubbing dialogue into English for shows like Beastars, SK8 the Infinity, Super Crooks, and The Way of the Househusband, and video games such as Path of the Midnight Sun and Dying Light 2: Stay Human.
This Friday and Saturday, he makes his local convention circuit debut with an appearance at Anime Ohio at the Sharonville Convention Center. The event focuses on all things anime and manga-related as well as other aspects of Japanese culture. Lots of attendees dress in costumes representing their favorite characters and come together to geek out over their current obsessions.
“I love interacting with fandom because it’s what I grew up with and honestly, it’s what I know best,” says Scott, who attended Ohayocon in Columbus, Cincinnati Comic Expo, and other regional conventions when he was a teenager. “On my Twitch streams, at conventions, and on social media, it’s pretty much all I ever talk about.”
He and several other voice actors (including former Power Rangers star Johnny Yong Bosch) will meet fans, sign autographs, and take photos during the event, something that the Covington Catholic High School grad is still getting used to.
“I’m newer to the convention circuit,” he says. “As a guest, I think I’ve been to eight or nine [conventions] this year, but as an attendee I’ve been to dozens. When you’re a guest, everything is scheduled but you have an opportunity to be in one place for a while so people can come find you. When you’re an attendee, it’s like a big fandom treasure hunt every day. Finding new stuff to buy or new friends to spend the weekend and possibly the rest of your life with!”
Now a resident of Los Angeles, Scott remembers his days in Greater Cincinnati (he’s a huge fan of Kremer’s Deli and Rhinegeist Brewing)—and at Notre Dame, specifically—fondly. His school didn’t have a sufficient arts program so he participated in theater at the all-girls school.
“I performed in nearly every production Notre Dame Academy put on,” he says. “Dancing, singing, musicals, cabaret shows. A huge variety. Notre Dame taught me to work quickly as an ensemble and how to interact with your castmates on a daily basis through rehearsal.”
He credits Moss Dance and Performing Arts Academy in Ft. Wright with truly teaching him how to act. “I would not be where I am today in any capacity if it weren’t for the brilliant, combined minds of Joe and Amy Moss,” he explains. “I owe them both my entire career in Los Angeles.”
After graduation from WKU, Scott moved to L.A., where he crashed on a friend’s couch while attempting to book voice acting jobs. He gradually began booking smaller roles, which eventually led to roles for lead characters. “Turns out people like my voice,” he jokes.
In the two years that he’s spent as a full-time voice actor, Scott has voiced more than a dozen characters in anime and video game franchises, his favorite characters so far being Legoshi in Beastars and Aiden Caldwell in Dying Light 2.
“Those characters are both so much of me that I have a very personal connection to them,” he explains. “While I don’t believe in method acting, emotional recall is another tactic in performance. And they really helped me get through things personally in a borderline therapeutic way.”
Scott will have plenty of new characters to contend with his favorites. He says that he’s currently working on 10 or so new projects. “I can’t say too much but I have some legendary things I’m working on that I have been excited about for months,” he says.
However those projects pan out, he’s sticking to his method for figuring out each character’s voice—going with the flow.
“Acting is ‘living as if in a moment’,” he explains. “Too much prep outside of the work you normally do in a rehearsal just muddies the reads and makes the audience think more about you performing and less about the performance itself.”
Anime Ohio takes place from 4 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 17, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 18. Click here to purchase tickets (available online only).