What advice would you give new voice actors who would like to join and contribute to Beyond Skyrim?
Don’t choose Beyond Skyrim as your first project. Go build up a portfolio and gain experience before applying. I was lucky enough to become involved in Beyond Skyrim: Bruma very early into my voice acting career. While I thought this was great at the time, it has limited me in a number of ways. I was unsure what was expected of me, and my inexperience showed compared to everyone else. What’s more, in the time between me joining around 3 years ago and now, I have improved as a voice actor dramatically, and I have a wealth of experience that I didn’t have then. My equipment and recording setup are far superior as well.
The final release of Bruma contains some of my lines that were recorded when I was first cast, and some that were recorded only a couple of months before Bruma was released. There is a noticeable improvement in every aspect of my performance between the two. Unfortunately, this has meant that people now are judging my acting ability on lines that were recorded 3 years ago. I’ve actually gone to the trouble of re-recording a bunch of my original lines because I don’t want to leave a substandard performance in the mod. The new lines are going to be implemented in Bruma’s next patch.
So be sure you’re ready to give a performance that you’re happy with before you apply. Get the experience first. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble in the long run.
What’s something new that you’ve learned while a member of Beyond Skyrim?
Almost all of my voice acting has been developed whilst a member of the Beyond Skyrim team. Probably the most important thing I’ve learned is how to interpret a script in a number of different ways. The scripts that we get for Cyrodiil at least tend to have some direction, letting us know what kind of emotion the NPC we’re voicing is feeling in the moment. Sometimes, this has been a completely different emotion to the one I imagined when I first read a line. This has lead me to really stretch my imagination about how a single line can be delivered. The same line can have/give totally different meaning depending on how it’s delivered, and I’ve carried this knowledge into other projects I’ve since been on.
What are you most proud of since joining Beyond Skyrim?
Absolutely the friends I’ve made and the networks I’ve built. Through Beyond Skyrim, I’ve met other voice actors who have in turn introduced me to casting directors and colleagues that they know. It’s through one of the other Voice Actors for Cyrodiil that I recently managed to get my first ever paid voice acting position. I was lucky enough to be able to audition and be cast to provide some voice work for the E3 media demo of Dying Light 2. If you’d told me three years ago that through this project I’d be at a point where people are hearing my voice work at E3, I don’t think I’d have believed you. But thanks to the friends I’ve made on the team, that’s where I now find myself.
When did you join and why?
One of my friends at high school had been getting into some old school abridged series on YouTube, and had a knack for replicating the voices and pulling impressions off. He put me onto some online fan project casting call sites and I gave it a shot. I wasn’t amazing, and didn’t rate myself very highly. I knew I had one thing in my corner. I was British. And therefore, in my mind at least, I was able to perform a passable elf voice. Skyrim was one of my favourite games, and so I went looking at some mod projects. I stumbled on a reddit post in June 2015 about Bruma. Apparently some of their voice actors hand gone quiet and they were looking for replacements. MaleSilky sounded like a voice type I could manage without doing much to change the way i normally speak, so I gave it a shot, and managed to get it.
Honestly, it was just a fun hobby at the time. Who knew it’d grow into something much bigger?
What provinces do you have work on?
I’ve done voice work for Cyrodiil, but I have also done some work for Elsweyr as well as the Ta’agra project. I’m hoping I can get onto as many provinces as possible though.
What do you do for Beyond Skyrim?
I record scripts that get thrown in my general direction! Most of us voice actors tend to get assigned to one or more “voice types”. These voice types will contain lines, all recorded with the same voice, which encompass everything from dying noise, to zombie sounds, to discovering the player character naked in the street. We’ll record all of these lines and hand them in. This means that when an NPC is made and put in game, they can be assigned a voice type and thus have recorded dialogue for every possible situation. Unique NPCs will also be assigned a voice type, and then the voice actor for that voice type will record any dialogue unique to them.
Voice types are why you’ll hear more than 1 NPC with the same voice.
Where in the world do you live?
I live in the North West of England near Liverpool, though pretty soon I’m going to be moving to the West Midlands, near Coventry.
Aside from your own province what is your favourite?
I’m really excited to see what goes on with Black Marsh. I know it’s early in their development process compared to some other provinces, but I can’t wait to see something a bit more alien than what we’re used to in TES games.
What games aside from Skyrim do you like to play?
I really enjoy my RPGs, like The Witcher series, but I’m finding myself with less time to sit down and play these. I spend more time nowadays playing Rocket League and Overwatch, mainly because I can pick them up and play for a bit without being too invested in them.
How did you get into voice acting in general?
I mentioned this earlier with my friend from High School. It seemed cool and fun, and it continues to be to this day. No regrets.