It’s been a while since I’ve done an actor interview, and there’s really no excuse since we’ve almost topped 100 actors in total. One hundred! And I can’t even be bothered to interview more than a dozen. Let’s rectify that.
Matt Dixon has voiced a variety of roles, big and small. He’s sung and danced, peddled skooma, drank milk, and hunted treasure. He’s swam in the wind, got bitten thrice, and best of all, he turns in his lines on time. And despite the bank being closed on Sundas, he even took out some more – time – to answer a few questions, inane and otherwise.
It’s a hard thing to find actors that have range, talent, a good mic, and most of all, are reliable. It’s very, very hard to check three of those boxes, let alone four. J.T. Decker, he checks boxes for breakfast. He’s had it up to here with your unchecked little squares. And while this sort of attitude means he takes no prisoners, he does take interview requests. Here he is answering questions and discussing the variety of characters he has put out in a relatively short amount of time.
If you care to listen, he’s slapped a WARNINGlabel on this audio file. Something about having an odd sense of humor. Naturally, that only makes us curious types more likely to click on it. Nevertheless, click at your own peril.
And yes, the impersonation of me is rather spot on.
Introduce yourself as much as you are willing. You know, name, age, location, belly button type, whether you snore in your sleep. Ohi there. I’m Merrigan, I voice Alassea and Rosalind in Interesting NPC’s. I am 24 years old, I live in frozen Finland. My belly button is an innie, and I do not snore in my sleep.
Tell everyone a little about yourself, what acting experience you have, and what your goals are if any.
To be honest, the only acting experience I have is taking a few drama classes in elementary school, but I find voice acting extremely fun, especially when voicing a character like Alassea who is so dramatically different from myself.
Music is more of my thing, and even then I’m still very much a beginner. I’d like to one day polish up my playing and singing skills enough to release a CD, but that day is still far away.
How did you find out about the mod project?
I was whining to a friend about how dull and lifeless NPC’s in Skyrim were. It was like the Dragonborn was the only actual person in the world, and everyone around her was a robot. (Eerie thought, I know!) So my friend helpfully mentioned this mod, and so I was hooked.
Would you rather be a marginally good chess player or a world tic-tac-toe champion?
I’d like to be a marginally good chess-player, honestly. It’s such a classy game. I’d wear a bustle skirt and top hat and drink tea while playing chess – marginally well.
Finish the following sentence. If it weren’t for that flying dolphin, I __________ . I would’ve gotten away with stealing all these baby pandas.
Talk about the music you’ve contributed to the mod, and what your main influences are. I’ve written a few original songs for Alassea to play, as well as re-arrangements of songs like “Tears of the Hist.” (Love that one, by the way. Huge kudos to the talented composer.) I do mainly old, acoustic music, inspired by Celtic, medieval and folk tunes. I started singing (very badly) at age 18, and I got my very first instrument, the Celtic pixie-harp, at age 21, and that’s when I started playing as well.
Over the next few years my instrument-collection has grown to include several recorders, two hand-drums, a Kantele, a glockenspiel, an ocarina and several small percussion instruments, like shakers and mouthharps.
The Celtic harp remains my main instrument. As I said earlier, I’ve only been doing this a few years, and I’m entirely self-taught, so the music is still a little clumsy and has a lot of flaws. But I’m learning!
My biggest influence is definitely the American singer/songwriter “Erutan,” who’s also a very good friend of mine. She is the one who encouraged and supported me when I first started, and taught me the basics of mixing and vocal layering. She’s the best, you should totally look her up. Her music is heavenly.
What do you think of your characters, Alassea and Rosalind? Alassea is a quirky, happy and bouncy mage-bard, who hides the pain of past loss beneath a smile. I find her both very endearing and slightly annoying, but I imagine I’d probably get along with her quite well in real life. She’s very social and seems to have a lot of friends, while I am very introverted and a bit of a recluse. Perhaps she could drag me out of my shell, who knows?
Rosalind is a bit more like me. She has a passion for one certain thing, and takes no bullshit from anyone. However, she’s also quite rude to her poor friend Jorrvid! I bet the two are sleeping together behind the scenes.
You’ve been sentenced to live on a deserted island for the next 12 months, as part of your plea agreement for selling bootleg Doritos. In any case, the judge says you have the choice of bringing one of the following:
1) A handgun with a full clip
2) A lighter plus a bottle of fluid
3) A solar-powered, handheld movie player that plays any movie you want provided Samuel L. Jackson is in it.
4) An instructional rain dance book.What do you take?
I pick number four. Obviously, duh!
If you play Skyrim or fantasy RPGs, what sort of character do you typically role play? What are your favorite games?
I always, always end up playing the sneaky dagger-stab-in-the-dark-thiefy type. Currently I am trying to play a warrior, but end up forgetting my chosen class and end up sneaking around in my silly heavy armour and huge shield.
My favourite games tend to change over time, but my current absolute favourite is Dragon Age: Origins. Other favourite PC games include Bioshock Infinite and Dishonored. I am also a fan of Final Fantasy X and Shadow of the Colossus for the Playstation 2.
Would you rather have a bazooka for an arm or a crocodile for a foot? I’d totally have a bazooka for an arm.
Have you played the mod? If so, do you have a favorite character? If not, why are you such a horrible person? Of course I have, what kind of person do you think I am? How else could I recruit the person I’m voicing and play through the game constantly hearing my own voice? It’s perfect for me and my narcissistic personality disorder.
No, but seriously, it’s great. I really enjoyed speaking with Eldawyn, and also Erevan. (His voice is like honey!) But I play Skyrim so seldom these days, that I probably haven’t even met half of the available NPC’s. I’ll have to get back to you on this one.
Use the phrase “unicorn burger” in a sentence. Unicorn burgers taste fantastic with rainbow cat puke mayonnaise.
If you play Skyrim and could use one dragon shout in real life, what would it be and why? I’ll have to pick the Whirlwind Sprint. I’d never be late for the bus again.
What kind of recording equipment and setup do you use? What are some of the difficulties you’ve encountered while recording? I’ve made my clothes closet into a “studio” by tearing out the shelves and padding the walls with foam to get the best quality in my music-recordings. My microphone is a RODE NT1-A studio mic, and it’s my baby. Always so reliable.
I also use a Lexicon Lambda external soundcard. In the beginning of my recordings, I was too far from the mic, which resulted in an awkward echo in the recording, despite my padded walls. This was solved by staying very close to the mic, though.
You have to sing one karaoke song (and score at least 70 out of 100) to save your life. What do you choose and why? I think I’d pick “Scarborough Fair,” because it’s a pretty classic, and it has a very simple melody. No wailing. Bigger chance of scoring enough to keep living, y’know.
What sort of roles would you like to do in the future? I really am not very picky. I’m happy to do any roles that Kris may have for me, but currently I am very much enjoying Alassea. (Recruit her, damnit! She makes jokes!)
Why do people pinch themselves when they might be dreaming? What is there to gain by waking up?
Imagine if you’re dreaming about a huge pile of ice cream that is yours, and only yours – and then you wake up just when you’re about to take a bite. The disappointment will be smaller if you pinch yourself and wake before you get too hopeful!
Giramor has been one of the more – pardon the pun – instrumental contributors to the mod, from providing original music to voicing a number of NPCs great and small. Much of his work may often go unnoticed – from the bard songs like Wolves of Jorrvaskr to quest music for The Children Fairand Honor’s Calling – but they add volumes of emotion and depth to the scenes, and for that reason he will never go unappreciated, at least not by me.
He was kind enough to do an audio interview and answer questions from Audrey the British Robot, because to be honest I can’t stand the sound of my own voice.
He also provided a transcript of the questions and answers below, if reading is more of your thing.
Introduce yourself as much as you are willing. You know, name, location, belly button type, whether you snore in your sleep.
My name is Zeca, that’s spelled Z.E.C.A., and I live on the eastern coast of the United States. As for my belly button type, I believe the proper term is “innie,” and for snoring in my sleep, I don’t know.
Tell everyone a little about yourself, how you got into acting/composing, what your goals are if any. I’ve always been into voice acting and composing; ever since I was pushed out the womb, I was just like “Let me make voices, let me make music!” My goals at the moment: I’m currently persuing a personal computer specialist degree, and in the long-run, I have a girlfriend in Australia who I’d very much like to go visit one day, and eventually marry.
Explain to everyone the source of your accent. How do people react when they meet you? What do people who know you think about it? My accent is something I’ve accrued over time. Over the years I’ve spent time listening to different people and their accents, whether it was online acquaintances or someone in a film. Being the type of person I am, I always loved imitating voices, and that’s all there really is to it. Often I get asked “What’s that accent?” or if I’m British, Scottish, Australian.
One time I was going through a Dunkin Donuts drive-thru, and I ordered a coffee; I think I might have had somewhat of an Australian accent on, as the fellow caught on and he said “Pull up, mate!” in an awfully terrible Australian accent.
Recently I was at the library and I was checking out Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, I’m sure most of you have heard of it, and the lady behind the counter said “You have an accent! What is that accent?” and I messed with her and told her I was British when I’m really not. I’m sure my British accent is actually quite terrible, and if it’s so bad that it offends anyone, I do apologise.
How did you find out about the mod project? Voice acting for a game in The Elder Scrolls series is something that I had wanted to do for a long time; I think ever since I discovered the series back in 2001, 2002, whenever Morrowind came out. And when Skyrim rolled around I thought “Alright, I have the equipment now, I have a decent plethora of voices – why not give it a shot?”
So I posted an advertisement on this voice actor’s resource thread, where various voice actors could post their resumes as well as samples of their work, and I posted on there, and I believe Kris came along and he said “I’ve got this project going on – any and all of you if you’re interested, go and check it out”. And that’s how I found out about it – I loved the writing, and instantly I was hooked, and I think Kris was hooked on me…no homo.
What sort of character do you typically role play? If by roleplay you mean text roleplay, I don’t do that sort of roleplay; however if you mean by game roleplay I generally play (specifically referring to Skyrim) an argonian, usually like a warrior class, kind of like a beserker with heavy two handed weapons, or just sword and shield type stuff – and my personality in games is usually along the lines of very gray, very neutral – I do good deeds. I will always be the first one to do the ‘right’ thing.
However! I will not hesitate to kill someone (an NPC, that is) if they manage to piss me off; I’ll not hesitate to kill them whether it’s in private or out in the open, and if the guards come after me then I’ll not hesitate to kill them either, and anyone else that comes after me I’ll not hesitate to kill them, and then I don’t know…maybe one of the Skyrim kids looks at me the wrong way, I’ll not hesitate to kill them and I just go on this super rampant killing spree until next thing you know, there’s an entire village or town or city full of dead people; it feels kind of weird admitting that, but that’s the kind of character I usually play.
Besides gaming, what other types of addictions do you prefer? Ah, I’m into reading, writing stories, as well as writing music. Usually when I read, I make a point to write down words I’ve never seen before, and then I look up their definition and memorise them – my friends often refer to me as a human dictionary – I’m not sure if that latter point counts as an addiction, but that’s all I can really think of at the moment.
Have you played the mod? If so, do you have a favorite character? If not, why are you such a horrible person? Yes, I have played the mod; I haven’t been playing it too much recently. I only recently reinstalled Skyrim because I had a bout with my computer where I had to reinstall the entire operating system and subsequently I lost a lot of my data. But I recently reinstalled Skyrim, and I got the mod back, and I had played it before, and while I was playing it before, let’s see…a favourite character.
Well excluding my characters, I would have to say Olivia, the one that gives you the quest where you go and find Jadro’Ra. I know this is connected to my character, but! Olivia, I really liked her, and I wouldn’t say that it’s because I liked her too much as a character, or that she had any huge role, or that I identified with her. I liked her a lot because her voice acting, her voice actor, whomever it was (forgive me for not knowing off the top of my head), her voice actor did a very good job.
When I originally spoke to Olivia, I was so very convinced by the voice acting that initially I thought it was a regular NPC that was part of the base game, but that was not the case. Amazing job with the voice acting, I enjoyed it very much.
Someone teleports into Skyrim and pulls out a real life magicka potion. It’s unclear, however, if the potion will have any effect, given magicka does not exist in our world. That same person offers you the chance to trade it for a health or stamina potion instead. What do you do? What would I do? Well first I would flap my hands in terror, and then I would ask for a health potion instead, being a little bit more practical and a little bit more suited to my type of character that I play.
It’s safe to say Skjarn is polarizing. Some people have a real angry, visceral reaction to Skjarn’s arrogance, others find the hyperbolic nature of his comments to be incredibly amusing and somewhat charming. What are your thoughts on Skjarn and characters of his ilk? Why do you think people react so differently to the character? That’s an interesting couple of questions. My thought on Skjarn and characters of his ilk…it doesn’t seem like the kind of person I’d like to hang out with; I’d say that I dislike him in a way. In fact, my reaction to Skjarn is like an agglomeration of the two antipodes that you just listed, where some people are very angry, and they’re pissed of by him and other people find it pretty funny and charming – I’m in the middle of that.
I just try and take his character as being somewhat satirical; after all, it’s just a game and it’s not real, and while well-written characters can certainly evoke the feels, I try not to let characters like Skjarn get to me.
Talk about some of the other roles you’ve done. Any favorites among the group and why? Who would you like to have a beer with? Which two are you taking down a dark alley? Who would you generally stay away from? Well all of my roles are my favourite – I enjoyed voicing all of them – Jadro’Ra, Zarlak, Rongeir, Kjen (if that’s how you pronounce it). For a favourite among the group, I’d have to say Zarlak. Just the way he was very wise and intelligible, and the way he talked, it kind of gave me shivers, doing that voice; when you just walk up to him and he’s like ‘Welcome to my humble abode, Dragonborn.’ that just…UGH. -slams desk- I love it! and the whole beard thing, I think that helps him. Besides him I’d say Jadro’Ra was very cool to voice, a very emotional character.
Who would I like to have a beer with? Probably Jadro’Ra, being a khajiit and I’m partial to that. Which two am I taking down a dark alley? If you mean that in the way of ‘whom would I like to kill?’, probably not, I would probably kill Kjen and Gren. Who would I generally stay away from? Skjarn, definitely Skjarn.
Given their genetic differences, does Rongeir have a point about his daughter? Or do genetics have nothing to do with what constitutes incest? No, Shelur is his daughter and there’s absolutely no doubt about it.
You’ve done a ton of music for the mod, including Wolves of Jorrvaskr and new favorites like A Warrior’s Life. Talk about your musical background, and some of your inspirations for the tracks. As far as musical background goes, I started off with the guitar, as I briefly mentioned earlier; later I got into the keyboard, and when I got my 8-track recorder, I pretty much got to recording just about everything, though most of my early songs were shit – in fact, I often think of all of my songs as shit, but some I like better than others.
I can say that A Warrior’s Life isn’t shit as it’s based around two songs that I’m really quite fond of – it takes its melody mostly from The Minstrel Boy, which is an old Irish folk song by a guy named Thomas Moore – I’ve always enjoyed that song. The chorus where I sing the “A Warrior’s Life, through and through”, is somewhat based off of the song Go The Distance from Disney’s Hercules; I recall distinctly as a child not enjoying Hercules (apologies to Herc fans out there) – but regardless it seemed to fit the song, so I went with it.
To that point, what are your musical influences and tastes? Influence and tastes kind of fall into the same area of musical ubiquity; I have always tended to listen to just about anything and everything, and though I have my preferences, and some artists which I absolutely refuse to listen to, I can honestly say that there’s something for me to like in every genre; I dislike music based on individual songs and artists (presuming they do nothing but pump out shitty songs), not on genres – I think that being musically diverse is important, not just for a musician, but for everybody.
If you had to undergo one challenge to save a loved one’s life, and you had a choice of arm wrestling or a spelling bee, which would it be? Being somewhat of a grammar Nazi and physically infirm, and with the amount of reading I do, I’d say spelling bee, always.
You do a variety of voices and accents for the mod. Talk about how you developed your range and how you give your characters a distinct voice and feel. I imitate characters and people I hear quite frequently, and then I record the impression and play it back over and over until I either get it right or add so much of my own twist that it’s acceptable; this is also how I taught myself how to sing.
I do my Khajiit voice by actually pinching my Adam’s apple betwixt my index and middle fingers, and it adds a sort of vibration that I can’t seem to get without doing it. My old man voice, like I do with Zarlak, is done by lowering my voice to as low as it can possibly go (way down here), and then forcefully straining my vocal cords as I speak, kind of like what you might do when you’re shouting, or winded, or constipated…it seems to work pretty well.
What kind of recording equipment and setup do you use? What are some of the difficulties you’ve encountered while recording? My microphone is an AKG Perception 200; it’s pretty decent, though I don’t have a pop-filter for it. If I speak or sing too close to it, for whatever reason, it starts popping, crackling, and making a wind-like noise which sounds like I’m in the middle of a tornado – let me try to simulate it now <NOIZES>…nope – <popping sound> that’s the noise, yep.
It kind of inhibits me from doing voices that are much lower and rough, but it can usually be worked around. It doesn’t plug directly into my computer, but rather through my old BR-900CD 8-track recorder; that has a stereo line-out which is plugged into the back of my computer.
What sort of roles would you like to do in the future? I’d like to voice more Khajiits, and I’d really like to voice an Argonian or two – it doesn’t really matter to me what kind of Argonian it is, so long as I’m not voicing a prostitute.
Plug any work you’re doing. Where else can people hear your talents? Oh, sure. It’s not the most active thing in the world, but I have a youtube channel over at www.youtube.com/sirmakazi it would be totally awesome if I had a couple more watchers, and would be a good impetus to start uploading more content.
Honestly, I’ve been planning to upload all of my music there, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet – there’s a lot going on at the moment. I also play games like Chivalry, GTA IV, Kerbal Space Program, Skyrim, Warframe, and Minecraft to name a few – I’d definitely love to upload videos for those. Hey, if you subscribe, I’ll bake you some cookies and take a picture of them! I hope to see you there.
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but with the mod out of beta I can start working on the blog again. Part of that is doing more actor interviews, particularly with the fine men and women featured in the main quest.
Elisabeth Hunter is relatively new to the mod, but she’s already churned out multiple roles and no two are alike, including Inari for the Warm Sands quest and Falatild for the Blood of Kings Questline. She’s one of the rare breeds who is as hard-working as she is talented, and you all have her to thank for the release coming as swiftly as it did. Go on. Thank her. By singing telegram preferably, but a nice comment would also suffice.
Here is her interview in glorious text form, and like the previous interviewees, she graciously answered all the questions, not just the stupid ones.
Introduce yourself as much as you are willing. You know, name, location, belly button type, whether you snore in your sleep.
My name is Elisabeth Hunter. Im from Orange County, California. I have an “inny” belly button. I do not snore in my sleep. I have a birthmark that looks like a dog. I have a “buh-gillian” freckles. I
am a huge foodie, a Seinfeld addict. And I married my high school sweet heart.
Tell everyone a little about yourself, how you got into acting, what your goals are if any.
I grew up in the theater doing musicals primarily, then continued doing drama and acting/singing competitions in high school. Went to a college and got my BFA in theater. Since graduating 2 years ago, I got an agent, attended GROUNDLINGS improv school, theater has taken a back seat to on camera acting, commercials, and voice over work.
My number one goal is to make a living doing what I love most, performing. Other goals are to be a main voice on an animated TV series or film, land a few big time national TV commercials, be the snarky mom on a sitcom, be on SNL, be on Broadway…I like to have my hands in a lot of different cookie jars.
Would you rather have pointy ears, a tail, or neither?
I feel like both of those features would just get in the way. People would be stepping on your tail, it
might get a door shut on it. The pointy ears could get caught on things and you could accidentally poke yourself.
How did you find out about the mod project?
A little bird named my husband (who is a video game enthusiast) actually told me about mods and found your website that had a list of roles yet to be cast. So I decided to give the roles a
look, recorded an audition and ended up voicing many characters in the mod.
Have you played Skyrim? If so, what sort of character do you typically role play? If not, what kind of crippling addiction do you prefer?
Yes, I’ve played a little bit of Skyrim as a Bosmer, but personally I prefer WOW, Old Republic and Guild Wars. Love the voice acting in O.R.
Talk about some of the larger roles you’ve done – Caylene, Inari, and Falatild. Caylene was so much fun to play. We have a lot in common given that we are both performers, we can be a little annoying/over-the-top at times and like to use our charm to make up for our short comings.
Our one difference would be that I like to think I hold a little more skill in the “acting” department than Caylene.
For Inari, I enjoyed getting to play a voice that is 100% different than my own. I can relate to her getting over emotional and to the frustrations she has with her love. We both love men that tend to be occasionally oblivious, but still would do anything for them.
I loved playing the warrior Falatild. She and I are both strong women. We are not easily trifled with. However, Falatild I think may be a bit more courageous than me, she is a soldier after all…
Does Caylene have any actual talent? Or would that make her less charming?
I think Caylene has a talent for entertaining people. She’s no Meryl Streep, but she can hold a crowd’s attention-even if that means people laughing at her and not with her.
Would you like to do an actual bard in the future?
Yes, I would enjoy doing an actual bard someday.
If you were a zombie, whose brains do you think would be the most delicious and why?
Mmm, Ina Garten aka The Barefoot Contessa…her brains would be filled with all those yummy recipes of delicious food she makes.
Waffles or pancakes? Stormcloaks or Imperials? A hook for a hand or a brick for a foot?
Lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry compote from La Grande Orange in Pasadena, CA. Imperials all the way. Hook for a hand. Death by a thousand cuts and easier to conceal. The brick foot would slow you down when running from enemies, but kicking people in the shins or anywhere else for that matter would be fun.
Outside of this interview, when is the last time you thought to yourself, “This is bad idea” and yet did it anyway?
My wedding. JK JK! Probably any time that I test how far below the red line I can get on my car’s gas tank meter.
You’re walking down the road when you stumble across three eggs. A dragon, a cliff racer, and a gigantic chaurus hunter. Which one do you raise as a pet, which one do you sell, which one do you make into an omelette?
Dragon as a pet. Sell cliff racer. Tomato Basil Chaurus Omelette.
The face of your worst enemy is now on the boxes, labels, and packaging of all your favorite foods. Do they taste worse?
Nothing could interfere with my tastebuds and their favorite flavors in food…nothing!
What kind of recording equipment and setup do you use? What are some of the difficulties you encounter while recording?
I use a Rode Broadcaster Mic, a Tube Compressor, and I have a Macbook Air which runs programs such as Adobe Audition and Garageband. The biggest issues are always decreasing room noise and the fan on my computer is obnoxiously loud. So I have to take frequent breaks so it can cool and calm down to be quiet for recording.
Plug any work you’re doing. Where else can people hear your talents? The next upcoming project where you can hear my vocal stylings will be an animated TV series. The show is called The Adventures of Circle Jerk, an adult cartoon comedy about a sociopath Circle who passive aggressively ruins the lives and self-esteems of all the other Shapes, Symbols and Signs in a world called Semiotic City.
These days I don’t really scour the web for new actors. I rely mostly on word of mouth. Sometimes those mouths belong to people who have already worked on the project, like Kaitlyn Harwood, who offered to do some recruiting on my behalf, because she is awesome like that.
One such awe-inspiring feat was getting her friend Trent Martin to sign on to the mod, and while he started with a simple bit part, he eventually managed to do a series of roles for multiple quests, from the honorable knight Hiram to the cowardly forger Sunken-Roots. He was also kind enough to provide an audio interview, in which he answers questions about various types of cheese, the global economic crisis, and all the top stories in bacon. Also, stuff about the mod.
NOTE: Trent’s schedule prevented him from finishing the role Puck, which has since been cast by Damien Lacambra.
When it comes to commitment, there are all types. Some voice actors are incredibly reliable but like to take their time, so I give it to them. Others have an insatiable appetite for lines, so I tend to keep them fed, provided they have the talent, versatility, and recording quality goodness that we all strive for.
What makes Anna Castiglioni remarkable is not only does she check off all those boxes, she does so while working tirelessly on her own companion mod and about 178,237 other projects. While I believe her husband would object, if her and Jay ever had children they would probably have enough energy and dedication to end world hunger, build a bridge to mars, and develop an equation for quantum gravity. They would save the world. SAVE THE WORLD. The rest of us would just live in it.
In between rescuing the planet and working on the mods – all of them – she took some time to provide us with another literacy-free interview.