Skip to content

An Interview with that voice in your head.

Do you lay awake at night wondering who that voice is that you can’t get out of your head?  No, we are not referring to that voice, but to the one you heard playing your latest Dragon Age mod.  Now we are not saying that this happens, but just on the off chance it has happened to you, please know that the names of the actors are usually given in the credits of the mod.

Have you wondered though, how did they ever get into voice acting and become involved in game development?

For all of you who couldn’t find answers for these question or who would like to find out more about how to become a voice actor, what is it like for fun projects such as, Dark Times: the Confederacy of Malkuth, we bring to you now an interview with voice actor of Marcus, danien.grey.

Interview with danien.grey

Tell me a little about what got you interested in the game/mod?

I’ve actually been following Dragon Age for quite some time.  I’ve always been a fan of Bioware RPGs ever since I picked up my first copy of Baldur’s Gate; I’ve been playing their games religiously every time they release one.

As to how I got involved with the Dark Times mod, it was actually through Lucy_Glitter.  She and I had worked on AmstradHero’s “Alley of Murders” module together, and one day she sent me a pm extolling the “awesomeness” of this new mod she was working on.  I went and checked it out, liked what I saw, and applied to join the team.

What exactly do you help with?

When I first joined, Questorion casted me in advance for the voice of Marcus Valentinus, who will be a new companion NPC in the mod.  Unfortunately, Marcus is still a work in progress, and as such his dialogue and V/O work are not finalized.

In an effort to try to be productive and help, I suggested to Questorion that he include my concept of a “Volothamp” (Dungeons and Dragons) type character I created named Luc, who would write some of the codex entries in the mod.

How long have you been doing voice over work?

I didn’t truly come into any sort of public light until I was cast in “Alley of Murders”.  I’d always had an interest in doing V/O but it wasn’t until Dragon Age that I finally got my big shot at lending my voice to modules.

Have you only done Dragon Age add on mods, or have you done other types?

Dragon Age is my first true attempt at doing work on mods.  I fooled around with the Neverwinter Nights toolset some, but never got involved in any modules.

What have been the favourite voice characters that you have acted?

I’ll always have a soft spot for Knight-Templar Galmar, being that he was my breakout role, but I also liked my work as “Hunger” in Exendar’s “Dragon Age: The Dark Journey” machinima.  It was very interesting to play something non-human.

Are you happy with the progress that you have made to date?

I’m always wanting to challenge myself and grow as a V/O artist, so I am pleased with what I have been able to do in a short time.  That being said, at the current time I feel kind of stagnant; this is probably because I haven’t been able to do any V/O work recently or land new roles.  It’s something that’s eating away at me, and I’m going to probably begin to be a little more aggressive seeking roles in the future.

What has been the most difficult situation with voice acting that you have faced?

My most difficult situation was dealing with how the community reacted to Knight-Templar Galmar (my breakout role).  I was dismayed when some people came out and said I sounded horrible and V/O shouldn’t have even been included in the mod.  That was absolutely devastating for me at the time, being that I was new to the concept of V/O.

How did you overcome it?

As more comments started flowing in, more people voiced support and said they actually liked the way I sounded.  I began to realise that there will always be a dichotomous community response, and that I shouldn’t let it discourage me.

What do you dislike at present about the mod?

That it’s not released yet.  No no, I’m only joking.  I would prefer us to take our time and make sure it’s polished than rushing out a product that isn’t complete (like most game studios nowadays).

What do you think people will like about the mod?

This mod will be the first expansive story mod released to the community.  By that I mean it will take place in a fully realised setting completely separate from the regular environs of Dragon Age.  People will like learning the new abilities and lore that they will find in Malkuth, and that they will get to play a full campaign that will actually fit inside of the story of the Warden from Dragon Age: Origins.

What do you think people will dislike?

Even though I know my opinion is biased, I really can’t think of anything that someone would dislike about a good story-based module.

So what decisions with voice acting do you think are the most difficult? 

In essence, the most difficult part of voice acting is taking a bunch of words on a piece of paper and turning them into something that feels organic and alive (deciding how you will portray a character, their voice, how you will deliver their lines, what’s going on in their head, etc).

How do you find working with Questorion and the other team members?

I like the dynamic of the team working on Dark Times; we get along well with very little conflicts.  We’re all passionate about the mod, especially Questorion who’s sworn off playing any video games until we finish the mod.  When I work with this team I feel inspired and very hopeful about the future of the modding community for Dragon Age.

How have you coped when faced with conflict of ideas on how a character should sound and how it should be heard?

I usually sit down, try to relax and think it through.  Often I will take a break and read a novel or something else, and then come back later and see if I can get a fresh perspective on how a character should sound.

How do you measure your performance?

That’s a very difficult question to answer.  I’d say if I’ve managed to bring a character to life, to make them feel believable and “real”, then I’ve done my job.

Which part of voice acting is least to your liking?

The endless cuts and re-recording I put myself through.  If I don’t like the delivery of a line I have to re-record it, because I’m a perfectionist that way.  The lines you hear in any video game or mod are probably like the 20th recording or more.

What do you think other voice actors would say about you?

“What?!? He’s asian?”  As surprising as it may be, my background is actually Chinese-Vietnamese.  A lot of people are shocked when meeting me in person, because I was born in North American and thus I sound, for lack of a better term, like “a white guy”.

They’d also probably mention my eccentric sense of humour.  I have an unconscious way to speaking in double entendre (it’s not on purpose) and a penchant for cracking a lot of jokes.  I like to think of myself as that funny and nice guy you know who’s really approachable.  If only people knew how much brooding I do in private while sitting in the dark…

What would your strengths or weaknesses be?

I have a strong and clear voice.  I’m also unapologetically male, and by that I mean I have a very deep voice.  My enunciation while delivering lines is good (no one likes voice actors who speak like they’ve glued their tongues to their teeth) and I can affect many different accents.

As for weaknesses, I’d say I have a limited voice range, and I don’t suffer fools.  Especially idiots who flame my voice work without thinking.  If you have a logical, thought-out opinion of my work and you deliver it as an adult, I have no problem with it.  However, if you say something juvenile like “you suck” or “it’s not professional” expect me to get very angry with you (of course it’s not professional, seeing as how I don’t have access to a studio).

Do you find networking within the gaming community a help or more of a hindrance?

I like the concept of networking in the gaming community.  It helps us stay connected with one another, and it is my belief that is is the future of gaming.  We are all becoming more connected, and the sooner we embrace that fact, the sooner we will flourish.

How do you choose who to network with?

I network with my friends and people I worked with usually.  On occasion I will also network with someone who I don’t really know, but I think is totally awesome.

What is the best advice you can give a new person to the voice acting area?

                Be confident, think about what you want to bring to the character, be ready to accept   criticism, improve yourself (always look for ways to be better), learn multiple languages, and           above all…practice practice practice!

What is the worst advice you can give a new person to the voice acting area?

What?  Oh um, make sure your microphone is set to mute as you record I guess.

What is your favourite food?

                Sushi (the real stuff, not the California rolls that “posers” like to consume).

Want to know more about the real stuff, Sushi.  Then just follow the link here.

%d bloggers like this: