Mass Effect Cast Interview, Part Two

The second installment to The Gaming Liberty's series of interviews with the voice acting cast of the Mass Effect series is now available, and once again we hear from the likes of Mark Meer (male Shepard), Jennifer Hale (female Shepard), Peter Jessop (Sovereign), Michael Beattie (Mordin), Steve Blum (Grunt), Keythe Farley (Thane), and many others. An excerpt, as usual:
Retroplayer- Take us through a typical day during the recording process.

Ginny McSwain (Voice Director)- For ME 1&2, a typical day has included two four-hour sessions. Actors are briefed on their roles (I'm generally briefed by the client in a session that may or may not include the actors), ideally getting character breakdowns and scripts before we start (but sometimes not). The beauty of the actors that get hired for these things is that they can instantly process and deliver their characters. Obviously, cold reading is a critical skill it keeps the sessions moving along and helps me deliver the line count that the director expects by the end of that four hours. Most of the time, we can hit the target, but if a talent is stumbling, we can only do what we can do. I hate to sacrifice a performance for the sake of speed. Obviously, we need to take breaks in there, but it's amazing how efficient this process can be.

Mark Meer (Commander Shepard)- Bioware usually books recording sessions of no longer than 4 hours, so as not to tire out one's voice. I'll arrive at the studio having done a vocal warm-up, put on a pot of lemon ginger tea (good for the voice), and hit the booth after a quick chat about the day's session with my director Caroline Livingstone. As the player character, I generally have the advantage of having the other character's recorded dialogue in a given scene to play off of. That's usually fun to anticipate -- who will I be in the booth with today? Martin Sheen? Seth Green? Tricia Helfer?

Jennifer Hale (Commander Shepard)- We worked in four hour blocks and worked a very focused session for each block. The director would describe to me the scene, the environment, who i was speaking with, any history with them and then we would lay down several options and move on to the next scene.

Kym Hoy (Kasumi)- A typical day recording, you show up, have a chat with the director(and sometimes that chat is via telephone as it was in this case),sometimes they show you rough cuts of the scene, especially if its a heavy action sequence, and then you go into the booth and go through the script line by line, usually with a few takes per line.

D.C Douglas (Legion)- They send the limo around 8 am. I awake from my dream of said limo. Off to Coffee Bean or Starbucks. Arrive at 9 am, say (hi) to Ginny and the engineer and any producers who happen to be in the control room that day. Spend 5 minutes kibitzing about the world, then I'd pop into the booth and we jammed for 3 or 4 hours, depending on the session. Ginny has an internal clock that is awe-inspiring. She drives the session at the perfect pace to where we can record all the copy needed that day, while still having fun. She's a joy to work with.

Michael Beattie (Mordin)- Ginny McSwain, two engineers and myself, a stack two inches thick of dialogue and we'd do an hour and fifty minutes, take a ten minute break, and then two more hours. It'd start off slower at the beginning when we're trying to find the voice but once we got into the middle we hit a pace were we'd do ten 10 pages each in one take. I probably shouldn't say that. But when you hit the zone you hit the zone. It was great! It was really fun when I knew it and Ginny knew it so she directed me when I needed it and when I didn't she just stayed out of the way which is, again, a mark of a great director. Oh ok, enough of the Ginny McSwain fanclub! Sheeesh! Get your own agent!

Maggie Baird (Samara)- I believe I did 8 sessions of about 4 hours (a few were shorter). When you arrive at the studio they have a large script for you (the dialogue for these is immense because of all of the options in a video game). I would step into the booth with my script and we would start. Doing lines in groups, waiting for feedback before going on. Sometimes doing them over. On some occasions I was matching to a primitive picture of the actual scene.