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We have just received the answers to the questions presented to Alix Wilton Regan that we gathered from the Dragon Age community in early January 2015! Alix is one of the voice actors for The Inquisitor.
1. What made you want to do voice acting? How did you start out in voice acting? Erm – desperation? ; )
- In all honesty I never really planned my voice-acting career, but the opportunities I’ve been fortunate enough to be offered have been some of the most brilliant turns of fate in my life. I have played a huge range of characters in computer games to date (everything from warrior princesses, to raging queens, to malicious goblins, to a cactus) and the creative freedom is a huge joy. Voice acting is now one of my greatest pleasures and the skills I have acquired have greatly enhanced my other performances on stage and screen.
- It's also incredibly thrilling to be a part of an industry as it goes from strength to strength and becomes ever more inclusive of sexes, sexualities, races, cultures, ideas, etc.
2. What's the most difficult part of voice acting for a video game vs. other forms of acting or voicing animated work?
- Realism (you can't fake it, you have to feel it, always), consistency (lead roles in large games require anywhere between 10-200 hours of recording and you have to stay on point the whole time), energy (I almost always record on my feet in the booth, sometimes for 5 hours straight) and a vivid imagination are a must for any voice actor in a video game. Quite often it's just you, the director and the engineer in the studio. There won't necessarily be any animations, graphics or other actors to work with, so detailing the world you're creating with your voice is a must (e.g.: galloping, not cantering, on a horse, alongside the person you're falling in love with as opposed to just "someone you're talking to who's a friend" takes a lot of emotional connection and imagination!)
- On the flip side to this, animations are often fast paced, funny, fun and you get to see the character you're voicing. I provide quite a few voices for the BAFTA and Emmy award-winning kid TV show "the amazing world of gumball" and it feels just like being a kid again, singing and screaming my head off in the booth.
3. Has your life changed at all since taking on such a large video game role?
- I certainly have more Twitter followers and fans on Facebook since the release of Dragon Age Inquisition, which is lovely as they are always very kind and supportive of my work. I've met some awesome people along the way and it's one of the main reasons I act: to connect and communicate with people. I also got some very lovely reviews for my work as the inquisitor, which was unexpected and deeply humbling.
4. How does it feel to be invited back to not only be a fully developed playable character in the series, but to be the main playable character in the game?
- It feels awesome!!!! Of course I spent the first three months of the project thinking that Bioware had made some horrific mistake and it was a different Alix Wilton Regan they meant to offer the role to, not me, but once my nerves had settled it truly is one of the best projects I have ever worked on. The level of detail in the Inquisitor's character and the world of the Inquisition was a creative joy to explore. There is a massive responsibility that comes with (vocally) leading a game of this scope: I desperately wanted to do the creators' work justice and give the fans as great an experience as possible.
6. How much context are you given for your various lines of dialogue? How much direction are you given?
- It depends on the scene, the situation within the scene and the line itself. Sometimes you need a lot of direction to really dig into the character's motivations and sometimes you need very little, if it's just a straightforward "Goodbye" for example... Or "DIE!"
7. Did you have any pre-recording exercises or rituals to get you into character?
- Lol - oh yes!!! In the morning there's a lot of "singing in the shower and warming my voice up" exercises. Then I like a coffee to get my energy UP UP UP, followed by masses of water so I don't get dehydrated. Once in the studio it's "shoes off" so I feel grounded and connected to the floor beneath me, which helps root a character such as the Inquisitor to her strength and steadfast nature. Then I recite some lines of dialogue that we've previously recorded to make sure the performance is vocally matched and consistent. Finally, for the Inquisitor specifically, I made sure that I used my "chest voice"; this means a lot of rib support for her to sound confident, authoritative and grounded.
8. Did you work with other voice actors on the project or hear their recordings for context? (just want to add that it's a joy to play as the Inquisitor with your voice. Thank you so much!)
- You're very welcome and I assure you that the pleasure was all mine! I sometimes got to hear the other actors' lines of dialogue, yes. Sometimes not. It really depended whether they had previously recorded the scene. Luckily I always had a brilliant director with me to guide my performance in the right direction, irrespective of whether or not I got to listen to the other actors' lines.
9. A lot of the dialogue is really funny. How do you approach expressing humor in your voice (especially when recording alone)?
- I am not a naturally funny person so I love this question, thank you! I wish I had a better answer for you but I’m afraid it's simply a combination of very clever writing, excellent direction, brilliant editing and - finally - my performance. I certainly can't take all the credit. Or even most of it. Maybe 12.79% ; )
10. Were there any moments when you were in the recording studio and just started cracking up, either because of the lines you were reading at the time or because you got some other lines stuck in your head?
- Oh yes - of course! Have you *seen* the sex scene between the Inquisitor and Iron Bull? I was so red-faced during some of those racier scenes that I actually had to turn off all the lights in the studio and ask the engineer and the director not to look at me while we recorded them! Also, and I have no idea why, but recording the trailers had me in absolute stitches, I think because I had to use that deep and masculine "in a world far away" voice, which sounded a bit mad coming out of me.
11. How did you record the scene where the inquisitor is lost in snow? Your acting was so good there. How did you get into the mood for that situation?
- Thank you, that's very kind of you to say. I am definitely quite high on the “sensitive scale” and have an overactive imagination, so it was really just a case of using breathing techniques to tense and release the body, tense and release over and over again, until I literally started shivering and hyperventilating. It's interesting that you picked up on the vocals of this scene because I do remember having to sit down every five minutes or so, because I felt so faint from all the breath work.
12. How was it like to record the Solas romance? (Your performance in it made me even more emotional than I already was.)
- That's great to hear, thank you for sharing that. It was actually incredibly emotional- at times painful and tear jerking even - but that's mainly because of the brilliant scripts that the writers turned out and Gareth David-Lloyd's very sensitive and moving performance... That voice! Wow!
13. Who was your favorite love interest to record for in inquisition?
- Ha ha ha - nope! A lady never tells!
14. What was the weirdest (or your favorite) piece of dialogue you had to say during a recording session?
- The biscuit conversation with Sera was entirely bizarre and utterly brilliant.
15. Was there any major dialogue you enjoyed but was ultimately cut from the story?
- I'm sure there was, yes, but it's difficult to remember it all when you've recorded so much! Ultimately the very talented developers will have listened to, edited and refined the story and performances, so that the best work was used to make the game flow.
16. What did the Inquisitor look like in your mind whilst you were recording her lines, if you indeed had an image of her?
- This sounds vain but it’s not born out of vanity… she looked like me. Whether I was human, dwarf, elf or qunari, I had to have her look like me in my mind so I could visualise the scenes I was enacting with other characters. Imagination and visualisation are key in helping me immerse myself in the world we are creating and essential in conveying the drama of any particular scene.
17. What do you enjoy most about voice acting? What do you like the least?
- I love almost all of it - I get to work on great characters in great scripts with great creatives and the artistic rewards are immense. It feels really good. The only thing that sometimes bugs me is working on a great game that I can't talk about until its release! I am always excited to share work with people and gauge the response from the fans.
18. What tips do you have for someone who wants to get into voice acting?
- I think one of the strongest foundations to have is a solid core of work and training as an actor. If you are serious about a long and creatively rewarding career as a voice actor then, yes, the acting part is pretty vital. After acquiring those skills it's pretty much "practice makes perfect" and looking after your voice, as well as fine-tuning various tones, intentions and accents, is vital. Your voice is an instrument - the more you practice with it, the richer it becomes.
19. Are there any game series you would want to be a part of as a voice actor? If so, which?
- Yes yes yes! But I am far too shy to say so publicly.
20. When can we expect to see (or hear) more from you in games?
- Unfortunately I can never say too much until the games are actually released. But I can confirm that I am working on two very exciting game projects right now, as well as having two features films and two short films in post-production. Follow me on Twitter @alixwiltonregan or the Alix Wilton Regan Facebook page to find out more.