Voice actress from ‘Walking Dead’ video game at North Bay Toy and Comic Con

Posted by on Sep 21, 2016 in Voice-Over | 0 comments

Nicki Rapp, successful professional actress and Santa Rosa native, turned 44 on Sept. 4, but she still has the voice of a perky child.

Sometimes, when she answers her phone, people still ask, “Is your mommy home?”

So how has her voice impacted her acting career? It’s a key ingredient in her success, as she provides the voices for characters in popular video games and cartoons. She’s had a long career, including a 12-year stint with the personal computer game “The Sims.”

Her most famous role is the controversial Lilly, starting in Season One of the computer game version of “Walking Dead” in 2012, playing opposite popular Bay Area voice actor and radio personality Terry McGovern as her father.

Now based in Oakland, the 1990 Santa Rosa High School grad got her start as a child in local theater productions. She later went on to study the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Southern California — where some coaches made her feel her childlike voice might hold her back — and later the Voicetrax training program for voice actors in Sausalito.

Rapp, who has done live readings from the script of the “Walking Dead” game at the famed San Diego Comic Con, will return Saturday to Santa Rosa for a third appearance at the North Bay Toy and Comic Con. She took time earlier this month to talk about her career and growing up in Santa Rosa.

Q: What’s the fan reaction to your portrayal of Lilly on the “Walking Dead” game?

A: Everybody hated her. It was an interesting part for me because it was my first real, big, grown-up part. I had to take my voice down low and, in the game, I shot someone in the head that everyone loved. When I go to fan conventions, a lot of times people don’t even want to talk to me.

Q: Did you enjoy playing Lilly?

A: It was pretty cool to play a character like that after playing cutesy animals and children.

Q: Did your character die?

A: No, I believe she’s still alive, but she disappeared because she got left by the side of the road. It’s a game where you make choices. You could pick her up or leave her by the side of the road. So we don’t know what happened to her. Now they’re entering into the third season, so I don’t think I’m going to be in it. It’s in the same family as the “Walking Dead” TV show, but the game has different characters.

Q: Hasn’t Lilly become your informal professional name?

A: It’s kind of a joke in the voiceover industry. I’ve played several characters with that name. The first was is in a video game called “Psychonauts,” which we’re now doing a sequel to, 10 years later. The latest was in a game called “Firewatch,” and they named my character Lily, with a different spelling, because I’m always Lili, Lilly or Lily. It’s something that follows me, but they’re all different characters.

Q: What advice do you give people who want do voice work?

A: You have to take acting classes. You have to do the work. People think you just go and talk into a microphone. Voice acting is challenging. You don’t have someone there acting with you to make that moment-to-moment connection. You have to create that in your imagination.

Game ON

What: Santa Rosa North Bay Toy and Comic Con

When: Sept. 24

Where: Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa

Admission: $25 for early opening at 9 a.m.; $15 for regular opening at 10 a.m.

Information: santarosatoycon.com

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