Live-action filming and voice acting come with their fair share of pros and cons, while voice acting has an actor in an air-conditioned room, it means that the actor will have to put all of their energy and emotion into a character and scene that can't even be seen yet. However, on the flip side of that, live-action means that the actor will have to make sure the lines are known in the moment, while also playing off of their co-star, sometimes on a set.
Actress Alejandra Reynoso knows all too well what it is like to be apart of both worlds, being the voice actress of Sypha Belnades on the hit Netflix series Castlevania and being the first fan-created character on the live-action interactive Twitch series, Artificial.
Artificial is a series that is unlike anything that the viewers or the cast have experienced before. Airing its third season, right now, the series brings the idea of artificial intelligence close to home with a show that allows the cast and viewers to interact and take an active role in shaping the overall narrative of the show.
Recently, we caught up Alejandra Reynoso and talked to her about what it is like working on the series and also her time as a voice actress on Castlevania. Check out the interview below and take a look at the full audio interview at the bottom!
Literary Joe: I had the honor of announcing your involvement with Twitch's Artificial last week. I was wondering if you could tell me how you initially became involved with the project?
Alejandra Reynoso: I got involved with the project in a very traditional way. I came across the side that they were auditioning the character and I read for it. I went through the callback process and then I ended up booking the role!
Literary Joe: Nice! Now were you familiar with Bernie Su prior to landing the role?
Alejandra Reynoso: Yeah, I had actually met Bernie not too long before that when they were casting at the beginning of this third season of the show. I had auditioned for another character and I went through the whole callback process for that.
So I met Bernie and I met Jessie and I got to read with them and they were really great. We really hit it off and it was kind of one of those things where we really hoped to work together in the future but I don't think any of us thought that opportunity would come so soon.
Literary Joe: Now, you play the character of Kira. Can you tell me a little bit more about her?
Alejandra Reynoso: Yeah, Kira is interesting and the whole process is wild because she's the first fan-created character on the show, which I didn't know when I was going through the whole callback process.
My first conversation with Bernie after I got offered the role they told me that she's special because fans have created everything about her. And that was kind of a mind-blowing moment, because no one else does that.
Literary Joe: Since the fans created your character, do you feel like the audience responds to your character differently?
Alejandra Reynoso: I'm not sure at this point how the audience is responding to her. I do know that they were very excited because they get to see their handiwork up there come to life and they get to take really special ownership in something that has gotten to be really important to that community. So it is really amazing to see that.
And also just myself as someone who consumes media and is a fan of shows and things, to think that your voice is directly reflected in something you're so vested in and something that brings you entertainment and can be so riveting. To think "I was a part of directly creating that, and now that exists," that's really cool.
Literary Joe: Yeah, the interactive aspect is crazy. Is it like anything that you've worked on before?
Alejandra Reynoso: No, not at all. Usually the work is kind of done in a vacuum, especially for me because I work in voice-over primarily. You work on something pretty much in isolation well before it ever reaches audiences, then you wait to see how audiences react to that.
With something like this it's coming directly from the audience and you're essentially building that together. So, while I might have my ideas about who Kira is and her journey and her background, a lot of that is coming directly from the fans and is going to be influenced by the fans as we go.
Literary Joe: Now do you feel like that is similar to thee way a fanbase takes ownership over characters that you play like Sypha in Castlevania?
Alejandra Reynoso: Yeah, you know, that actually goes back to my previous point that with something like Castlevania, I was working on the project well in advance of anyone being exposed to it. So with that people are responding after the fact.
In the case of Castlevania, there was a huge outpouring of love and support for that character, which I was so grateful for. It's really amazing to see how the fans interact with the show, but at the same time that show and that script exists. The work we do on that is done and then the audience gets it after the fact.
With something like this, they're building it, it's their adventure, and I'm waiting to see what they're going to do and which way they're going to push this character. At the moment when you're working you're focusing on the work and you don't really have time to think about how people are going to respond to it, but there was definitely a healthy level when it comes to Kira of awareness of this being a fan creation and that people were so invested in her from the jump because they knew about her before I did.
Literary Joe: When I was checking out the last episode I noticed a lot of people seem invested in this love triangle you're involved in with Justin. Have you worked with Justin in the past or is this the first time you've met?
Alejandra Reynoso: Well, we actually read together during the callback for the role. He was nice enough to sit in the callback and actually give me someone to play off of. So that was the first time we met and I think that played into the decision that was made in terms of the dynamic that we had.
Literary Joe: I know you told me a little bit about how the voice-acting goes, but I'm curious if this is the first gig that you've done remotely for a live series?
Alejandra Reynoso: There's nothing like Artificial out there right now, in terms of that choose-your-own-adventure, interactive, scripted, sci-fi series type thing. So while so many other things have shut down due to things like COVID, this just kind of keeps chugging along.
So this is my first experience with remote filming live action.
Literary Joe: Before you took on the role of Kira, had you ever interacted with the series on Twitch, maybe in Season 1 or 2?
Alejandra Reynoso: My first introduction to the series was actually just auditioning when they were launching Season 3, and that's actually how I got introduced to it. So I came across the side and thought it looked interesting, and as a result of that I looked into it more and I thought "whoa, what is this? No one is doing this."
Literary Joe: Is that your first experience with Twitch then? How do you feel about the platform so far?
Alejandra Reynoso: I mean, so far people seem really excited and invested, and I think that also goes back to feeling like you have direct ownership something and you're involved. Because that's not just Bernie's show, or the team's show, or the actor's show. It belongs to the entire community that builds it.
So I think that certainly adds to feeling like a more positive environment. So far, luckily, I have been exposed to fairly positive fan and audience communities for the things I've worked on, especially because you see a lot of things that don't necessarily go that way, especially recently.
Literary Joe: Yeah, that's definitely a good point. I'm curious though, some of the other actors mentioned that it's a little difficult because when you're acting remotely, you're looking at a camera instead of the other cast members. I was wondering if your line delivery or your performance differs at all when you're playing off of the dynamic of a cast on set versus when you're in your own individual spot?
Alejandra Reynoso: Yeah, I mean, in terms of the experience itself, ideally you want to work directly off another actor. It adds so much to the experience because you really do get that human element and so that is one of the luxuries of acting and interacting with other humans. It is a bit of an adjustment to play off of a lens essentially and just stare into this void.
But in voice acting you work with another actor's voice, so in this you're kind of working with someone's voice. The difference being, especially if you're recording by yourself in voice-over, you kind of supply what's happening on the other end or maybe your voice director will give you context on what the other person's thinking or how they're delivering things.
And here, you actually do have that human you just can't really look at them. I think one of the nice thing is that we can run pre-recorded footage off of each other and get a feel for how the other person is feeling and internalize a lot of that and use it when working off of a lens.
Literary Joe: I know you said that they're completely different, but do you think your experience voice acting has helped with your suspension of disbelief when playing off of a lens?
Alejandra Reynoso: I'd love to say yes, but I think that it really is just trying to connect it to key elements. This is slightly tangential to the question, but for Kira in particular, the way she was created, she can sort of come off as a little caricatury and a little larger than life or sort of animated.
So it is kind of nice having that practice to bring that humanity to a character that can be so animated and more fantastical. So I think the key is grounding her so that she seems like a real person in this world among these real characters like like Justin, like Dr. Matt Lin, like Carmen who are all in this very crazy situation.
But in terms of giving me a leg up, I guess there is some of that exposure to working with other actors that you can't necessarily access, though in the ways that you can, you're going to make it work.
*This interview has been edited for clarity.*
What do you guys think of Alejandra Reynoso's comments? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below and don't forget to listen to the full interview on Literaryjoe's Inner Child podcast!
As the fallout of Kira's investigation drives Dr. Lin into isolation, Elle and Justin move forward with the AI Lilith's development. The familiar faces of Zander and Carmen challenge the mission of the project by raising questions about the AI's past and future.
How will Lilith adapt to all these conflicts? It's up to you.
Artificial is live tonight and every Thursday at 5pm PST on Twitch.