A couple of summers ago, I received an audition notice for a fantasy game that offered many female roles. The catch was that you had to create your own audition script with nothing but very brief character breakdowns. We’ll roll right past the part where I wasn’t actively writing anything beyond the blog at the time, and the fact I (still) have extremely limited scriptwriting experience. I finally selected a character to audition for that was for all intents and purposes a stereotypical goddess of all things good. I figured if I had to both write and play a character, I should go with one that seemed to play to my strengths.
I have a long history of being a princess. Like so many little girls, I grew up around princess culture. I would use safety pins, beads, and costume jewelry to turn nightgowns into princess gowns. I made crowns out of whatever was handy. (My favorite were beaded pipe cleaners, a technique I learned in elementary school from watching the costume ladies at ballet.) I was an expert at turning blankets and scarves into capes and trains.
When I started playing tabletop RPGs, I tended to play characters involved in the setting’s hierarchy or had that elven noble thing going for them…on more than one occasion because the GM needed a fairy princess, and I was the lucky girl chosen. This followed me into LARPing. I was the princess. Even when I was in fighting garb and lobbing spell balls, I was the princess.
And it followed me beyond that. One year, I went to the Washington Ren Faire in one of my favorite court gowns, and decided to go play in the boffer fighting arena. When I walked in, I was the only girl and the guys didn’t know what to make of me until I hit one of them. But a few minutes later, half a dozen little girls had come into the arena because they wanted to be like the princess.
Even my first voiceover job cast me as a YA narrator, which combined with my love of fantasy novels to leave me open to being all kinds of princesses.
I didn’t have to try to be the princess to become the princess. I was just a pretty little princess. But I was a pretty little princess with feminist tendencies. So, I guess I was sort of an edgy pretty little princess. At any rate, I figured that years of being a princess or princess-like in various settings were the perfect preparation for pulling off this script and this role.
I was wrong. Despite the fact my play time had been dominated by this personality type, my writing time hadn’t.
As a writer, I create characters that would never fit in with the current princess culture. They don’t want to be in charge. They’re sarcastic and independent, or fighting to become independent. If they help someone, it’s not out of any noble sense. It’s because they happened to be there when someone needed help. They’re researchers, scholars, artists, performers, martial artists, students. Not your typical princess fare.
While I probably could have drawn from my princess background to play that stereotypical goddess of all things good, I wasn’t able to draw from my action girl background to write her. Ultimately, I abandoned the audition after making a few really awful stabs at writing the audition script. It was an interesting lesson in what I perceive as my performing strengths versus my actual strengths as writer, and it actually helped me refocus my voice acting efforts toward characters that I was more likely to be able to play drawing from my own interests and attitudes.