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In part 2 with Dave Fennoy it's WALKING DEAD game time including a SECRET CONFESSION and appropriate 30 lashes!! You will love that Dave on Love That Voiceover!
Dave Fennoy is a preeminent VO actor in Los Angeles providing voices for commercials, narrations, promos, award shows, animation and games. Lately he is know by over 30 million Hulu viewers as "The Hulu Guy" but he has many other credits as a spokes-voice for many but including Lexus and McDonalds, as narrator for programs on National Geographic and Discovery channels as well as film and TV including Ghost Rider, Happy Feet, Kim Possible, Ben 10 and many many more. Learn more at www.DaveFennoy.com
"Love That Voiceover" brings you in-depth interviews unveiling the personalities and projects behind the mic, with your chic geek, unique host - Love that Rebecca!
Every week it's a new interview with a fresh perspective on the art and artistry behind the microphone....
Ladies and gentleman, welcome back to our episode two with Dave Fennoy. Welcome back, Dave.
Glad to be here.
We are going to jump in to video games and your extensive experience in videogames. As I mentioned earlier, you know I found at least 31 titles and some of the big names that people enjoy your work on are Starcraft 2, Metal Gear, That's So Raven, Ultimate Spiderman, Delta Force, Star Wars, Lara Croft, Tomb Raider and many others. Now, the latest, of course, that we mentioned earlier was the Walking Dead which is the latest and greatest. Now, is that out and available for people yet?
It is out and available. It's a very different kind of video game. It's not the chase them down and shoot them up kind of game. You get your chance to battle zombies that's for gargoyles, I am sure, but there is lots and lots of dialogue, lots of interaction between the characters in the game and you have to make decisions about what my character says and does. Like, they are out and about and some zombies show up and you have to save somebody, but you can only save one, who do you save.
Oh my god.
People ask you questions, you have a choice of several answers. What do you answer?
And based on what you do, what you have my character do, have my character say, has repercussions later on in the game.
Okay. Zombies are really the cool new thing, right?
Zombies are the new vampires.
I have loved zombies since I was a little kid and I have loved vampires just as long.
Now, when you first -- how did you become involved with this project?
Well you know, it came to the normal circles. I got an email with an audition for the part of Lee Everett in a game called the Walking Dead and I went "Oh wow, so it's like a TV show in a graphic novel, okay". And we want it very natural and we really just want your voice. We want you know, this is not an odd character, this is a real guy. So we are looking for just a good actor.
And what kind of audition did you have to do? Was it a long scene? Was it a couple of sentences? Because video games can be very different in that approach, right?
Yeah. Usually with the video game, you will get a picture of the character because a lot of times you are playing some creature from another planet or you know, you are playing some warrior or like this, I don't know. And you will get a picture of the character you know, what his psychological make up is, the things that motivate him and then some lines. One word, he is just you know kind of regular normal greeting somebody. One where he might be fighting, you know, a few different examples of this character in different mindsets.
This was not that dissimilar except they wanted a real person.
Which is dissimilar for your experience in the games that you have been in?
Because so often you are playing one of these.
Or a monster?
Or a monster. Or a pig. You know just all kinds of strange voices.
Yeah. Or that somebody, you know, Rastafarian.
Rastafarian man, you do be doing that thing now where everything is coming from the islands. You are like an African man.
That might be English. Or bonjour, you might be the French man. You could be almost anything.
So this was just really a character much closer to me. He is a former college professor, who for some reason -- we don't know exactly why when the game starts, is on his way to jail when the zombies apocalypse hit.
Okay. So you got the part and now we are going to speed ahead. How did they piece together the game? Because you have mentioned there will be all these different choices for the player to choose for you to make the decision in that moment and there would be moment, after moment, after moment of decision making. That's a lot of lines and variations in the actual game play and...
Telltale games and the people who work for them are all graduates of LucasArts.
Oh wow! So some real creative folks by that.
They are up with Marin County and...
Because you are based in L.A. you didn't go up there to go and record this?
Actually I did.
I did. They have flown me up several times to record and there are five episodes and we are still recording.
Nice. So this is episodic in terms of what the levels the gamer can get to -- that graduate kind of...
You know think of it the kind of like the TV show you know, you are in this zombie world and we have an episode where Lee Everett and the people that he has met, the little girl, Clementine, that he has kind of adopted because her parents died in the zombie apocalypse and have to go through something. There is some adventure.
They have achieved something. They have to get somewhere and pass through...
They have to achieve something. They have to get something. They are going to come into contact with other survivors. Do they trust these people or these people going to help them or not help them?
Just like a great zombie movie.
And like the Walking Dead, the graphic novel, I am assuming that most of this fellows in the spirit of that in the television show?
Absolutely. So you have got this black former college professor who was on his way to jail for murder.
And now it has been thrown into a group of survivors including a little 9-year-old girl that he is protecting and a very racist guy and his grown daughter and several other people. So you have people for any other in any other time of life would not have been thrown together, but here we are. Zombie apocalypse, what are you going to do?
Let's go behind the scenes and tell us about the arrival at the -- were you going to Skywalker Ranch to record this?
Well, no. They are graduates of Skywalker Ranch.
Oh I am sorry, you're right. You said that Telltale...
Telltale is their own entity.
Actually, they have another studio up there in Fairfax, in Northern California, a nice little town where all the hippies go to die.
Its Fairfax is it, man. People don't know that I have lived out there. I have lived in Marin County for a year and I grew up in the bay area, so I am familiar with Fairfax. It's totally to be down even still, it is like a Berkeley removed.
Yeah. Four, five blocks long, a bunch of great little restaurants and night clubs that have music in them you know, five to six nights a week.
All of them is three blocks stretch, it is -- how does this get area?
It's true. But tell us about your experience. So you arrived in Fairfax and you are tripping out, because have you ever been to Fairfax before?
I have never been to Fairfax although I had spent 10 years of my life living in the bay area in Oakland in Berkeley.
You have never went to Fairfax. You never went to Marin?
I have never gone to Fairfax, that's up the road.
Okay. Well, it's a really small town considering all of Marin Country and that's all north of the Golden Gate north of San Francisco for folks who don't know this, the area. And Oakland is on the eastside of the bay and this is all north, so and they really feel different too, because this area is much more country side. And Oakland is more urban and so is Berkeley, even though they had the kind of hippie...
The people's republic of Berkeley, man.
Excellent! And also the Haight-Ashbury was the hippie villain in the Avenue.
I think the hippies from Haight-Ashbury all moved to Fairfax.
I think you are right.
But a very artistic community I really liked it. I really like Fairfax.
Yes, they are very chill too.
Yeah, but we have record a little studio run by a guy named Jory Prum. It basically set up just to do games.
Oh wow! Okay.
That is what he specializes in.
Can you give us a visual of a mental image?
There was a control room, one big recording room, microphone setting there in the room. He has got an iPad set up in front of his microphone which I think is very cool, I mean no paper just all of the...
And you go through line by line by line by line by line by line by line and we tried, I mean there are hundreds, and hundreds of lines which is very different in most games. Most games, yes you are going line by line and you are doing it by yourself, but you do not have so many line. I have recorded more for these first two episodes more hours then I have never recorded for so many hours.
Wow. And that is because of the interactive verbal nature.
Because most of the time it is action-oriented and so you have less lines because the character has to do things.
Right. You are spending a lot of time with your battle sounds. With a lot of those and this one is a lot more acting which actually in many ways is much more gratified.
Good. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Yeah. You are interacting with characters, you have sequence that you are trying to keep.
You have decide well you have lines the players actually gonna decide where do you lie or tell the truth or say nothing or just answering, not lying, not telling the truth but just kind of obfuscating.
What is been going on? And based on that, is what happens later on down the line and you are in conversation with lots and lots of people. So, I am in conversation with Clementine and I'm in conversation with all the other characters in the game.
But you never, ever, ever, ever recording in conversation with that other actor across from you.
Unfortunately, no. We are not. I have done a lot of animation and usually when you are doing a cartoon, there are other actors in the room at least the actors you are doing the scenes with is not the whole cast, you know with each there individual microphone and script in front of them on the stand and you are going from the beginning to the end and that's how it goes.
In a linear fashion with each (crosstalk) your line, yes, so it feels more like interactive in terms of the actors doing it.
They are live like on theatre stage something like that.
Okay, but in this case, when the game player is playing the game it feels to them as of every close because they are just moving through right?
They are just exactly. They are just moving through and the only reason that can happen is a) The level of acting ability of the people that they have hired and b) The fact that they are very, very careful about making sure you understand the context.
Right and what you mean is they are framing the scene for you so when you are saying that line you know what has happened or about to happen or what secret you are holding and all of those factors that go into building your whole Lee Everett character.
Yeah emotionally, who is the person you are talking to? What is your relationship with that person? Do you like that person? Do you not like that person? Or you are in conflict with that person? Are you angry with that person? Are you desirous of that person? So, you have to know all those...
What do you mean desirous?
You know two zombie come along, you know we cannot tell what a guy make, wanna get into.
That is awesome. That is awesome. You have clearly illustrated you know what was unique about the Walking Dead in this case? What about the recording sessions for you in terms of the people that you are working with, the people that you do have the ability to work with? Can you describe that in more detail?
Typically, a session of show up at the studio though the voice director Julian is there and probably a couple of writers as well as Jory, the engineer. So, I will be working with three or four people in the control room and me in the booth.
What they are trying to make sure is that a) Context discorrect, technically that is recorded well and that if I am you know what did the person I am talking to what did he sound when like he said he is lying so that you know I am not shouting at this person who is 2 feet away from me and vice versa.
Right, right, right. Excellent, so give me a lot of technical framework so that...
A lot of technical framework, a lot of times Julian will read me in with the line that came before and context does everything. Context is everything you got to know who you are talking to. Why you are talking to that person? What is your motivation is? It is really and acting gig and all those same questions that an actor has to ask himself, what do I want in this scene? What is driving me?
Excellent. Excellent. These are really good points because people who play games do not know what you think about, but more and more in the last couple of years, people are realizing in general how much video games can be interactive device and it sounds like Walking Dead is really taking it to that next level from an emotional context because you can certainly on the game set exist before this play and be interactive and totally animated, but in this case, your emotions and your brain about the choices that you have to make as the game player really come into play more so in a way and more reflectively intellectually rather than just intuitive pushing buttons. Would you say that is correct?
I would say that is absolutely correct and I think this is the kind of game that respects the brain power of a gamer, who is little older. Like everything else games have evolved.
Games about 95 or so you started getting some decent interaction games, but even then you know blow on this stuff killing that guy so forth and so on, but I think it is gamers have gotten older and more sophisticated this is the kind of game that they will truly enjoy and if the critiques are correct and the sales are correct that is exactly what is happening.
Ah okay cool. Excellent. Any final thoughts on Walking Dead that you wanna leave us with?
Yeah. Get it and play it.
Do you need a particular type of PlayStation or something like that?
You know what I think it is available across several different formats.
Okay. So cool.
I should be on the sale staff here and know all that stuff.
People can find out about it.
You know I have a confession.
I probably shouldn't have. I am not a gamer. I am so not a gamer. I do not play the games. I do not play any games.
It is cool.
But I love being on the games.
Yeah because you are in the game already. You know what I mean to?
You know I can give you a break in however way you wanna frame it or I can proudly make you feel good, but you're doing a great job and people are loving the work that you have done and they are playing these games you have been in some terrific work here. I want to find out about a little bit more that we almost use the game time here. But yeah, you know it is a confession. Alright, you know 30 lashes. You are good.
Ah. Oh. Ah.
I like this.
Can I get the rest of the lashes later?
No I want more now.
And we will right back after I finish lashing Dave.
Aw, that hurts, Mommy.
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