Fifteen years in Los Angeles made me really wary of accepting an invitation to go to a private home in Encino to "work." But when that invitation comes from Keith Arem of PCB Productions, you risk it.
Brief background item: I'm a Navy brat raised by two other Navy brats. Pretty much every adult male in my life growing up was a veteran. As mentioned before, I punched my ticket in the film industry by working as a horse wrangler and military background artist on Civil War films.
In 2002, I used money I'd saved from dressing up in wool for Ted Turner on Gods and Generals to attend an introductory Voice Over class I'd seen advertised in the back pages of the Washington Post. Thanks to David Goldberg at Edge Studios in NYC, I cut a demo and became an adolescent Voice Over artist.
A decade later, the discrete strains of my odd professional origins braided together with a fortuitous audition for "R1," a secretive video game project. I yelled and shouted into a mic, sent it off, and thought nothing of it.
Weeks later, I'm in Encino sitting inside the nicest home studio I've ever seen as Keith Arem is pouring out loquat sour throat syrup so I can keep battle barking for a highly anticipated video game release from Respawn.
Respawn's creative team is a top-notch developer studio with origins in the Call of Duty franchise. Not a bad pedigree to have when you're putting together a multi-dimensional first person shooter. I honored their acumen by bringing my best.
A VO artist is typically responsible for delivering copy in a way that draws inspiration from the text to bring new depth and life to soundscapes. It's a spatial job as much as it is an emotional job. Our voices carve out aural room and fill these cavities with color and verve that contribute to richer user experiences.
With Titanfall, the onus fell on the VO artist to stand in a plexiglass-jacketed booth and use vocal chords, physicality, and reading intelligence to piece together the urgency and complexity of battle.
Session after session, I ran in place and layered a gritty, no-frills read into a very expensive microphone. Each session worked its way up from conversational volume to full on yelling. Because of the advanced development schedule, recording intervals fell on successive weeks, necessitating days of total non-speaking recovery before and after each studio visit.
The game itself pits the evil IMC versus the cavalier Frontier Militia. You can hear me extensively in the Frontier Militia game play. So much so that I was brought back in 2016 for Titanfall 2, which was recorded at Warner Bros, not far from the Animaniacs water tower.