- Kaffe4200 is responsible for this interview, conducted on January 22, 2013.
TWD Wiki: Did you watch the show or read the comic series before working on The Walking Dead Video Game?
In the past I have checked out comics and shows of some of the series we've recorded, but with The Walking Dead I didn't. I'm not really into zombies or the horror genre in general. And since Julian (the voice director) was already into the series and graphic novels, I decided I didn't really need to.
TWD Wiki: How did you come to work on The Walking Dead?
http://studio.jory.org (my recording facility) has been the main place for voice recordings for Telltale Games since they were founded, a fact I'm quite proud of. That is directly as a result of working with Julian (Bay Area Sound) since our days at LucasArts. I owe Julian huge thanks for keeping me involved with such great projects.
TWD Wiki: How was it like to work with Dave Fennoy and the other amazing voice actors?
The actors are awesome! I absolutely love working with our voice actors and cherish them. Over the years the stable of actors we utilize on a regular basis have become some of my closest friends and for that I am thankful.
I often feel like I have a very special relationship with the actors, since I'm not the one who hires them, nor am I the one who pays their bills or tells them what to do. Instead, I get to strike the balance of providing what I hope is a creative, relaxing work environment where they can provide the best performances possible. At the same time, it's also my job to drive the session, which means I keep an eye on the clock, the recording load, and the speed at which we're progressing. I look out for the actors, doing my best to prevent their voices from being over-stressed on particularly harsh lines, as well as ensuring the voice director is aware of whether we're going to finish on time.
TWD Wiki: What is one interesting story from your time on the set?
The Walking Dead was a long set of sessions, and rather rough, since the material is so heavy and dark. I guess the thing that stands out most in my mind is when Dave Fennoy would come into town to record Lee. I'd often run into him in town the night before and we'd enjoy a drink and some live music. The next morning, he'd stroll down to the studio and give me some grief about my habit of warming of the microphone.
You see, in recording there are lots of little details we have to keep an eye on. One of those details is ensuring that the recordings remain consistent and of the highest quality possible. Regarding consistency, I want the afternoon's recordings to sound the same as the morning, so I always make sure the recording equipment is warmed up before we begin. For some pieces of equipment that just requires turning it on and letting it sit for 30-45 minutes. But the microphone is a little different. It doesn't really generate any heat on its own, so it doesn't warm up by just plugging it in. Instead, I place a low wattage light bulb very close to it for about 30 minutes before the session. The light bulb dries out any humidity that might have collected on capsule, which is something that would happen naturally over several hours otherwise.
The first day Dave arrived he saw the light bulb in front of the microphone and kidded me about it. In fact, every session he arrived for he ribbed me about it. Until the last session, when he walked in and admitted that he'd just met another engineer at another studio who does the same thing and for the very same reason. I just smiled.
Makes me wonder if Dave is warming up his mic at home nowadays.
TWD Wiki: You have worked on episodic games before. Are these games more difficult to make than ordinary games?
I've been working on episodic games since Telltale made their first "Bone" game! In general, the biggest challenge is getting the voice recordings turned around as quickly as the producers would like them. From the studio perspective, they're not particularly different to record than any other games, but it is refreshing that the main characters generally record in 2-3 days per episode, rather than two solid weeks for a much larger project. The diversity is really great, and because Telltale has such spectacularly good writing, the projects are my favorites to be involved with.
But in general, the studio procedures aren't any different for working on episodic games. We still have to be just as organized, efficient, and detail-oriented to get everything done on time and at the highest quality possible.
TWD Wiki: What other projects are you working on?
At the moment I'm recording another game that is yet to be announced, so I cannot talk about it. (Familiar story in the games industry, I'm afraid.) Fables will be coming up sometime soon, too, I am told. And there's another unannounced project on the horizon for February. All told, it stays pretty busy at the studio!
In addition to recording, I write a blog about Web Audio called the HTML5 Audio blog (http://html5audio.org) and have been giving lectures on game audio and web audio at various conferences and universities, including the upcoming AES London, which is all about Audio for Games.
TWD Wiki: Will you return on Season 2 of the game?
That's my understanding! I try not to count my chickens until the first session starts. I'm looking forward to the second season and can't wait to see where the design goes from where we left off!
TWD Wiki: On behalf of The Walking Dead Wiki, thank you for taking your time to do this.
It is my pleasure! Thanks for asking!
|To read an interview with Julian Kwasneski, the voice director of The Walking Dead Video Game, click here.|
To read an interview with Melissa Hutchison, the voice actor of Clementine, click here.