The Voices of Fallout 4: Jan Johns [Interview]


Well, we have made it folks. Welcome to our last installment of The Voices of Fallout 4. I really want to thank everyone who has logged in to the series, especially all of the extremely nice people in the multiple Facebook groups who have shown their support and allowed us into their world. There are some crazy die hard Wastelanders out there who have united together to show their support for this amazing franchise. You are all wonderful, and again, thank you so much! And today’s interview is one we are bringing especially for you.

Hardcore enthusiasts of the Fallout franchise know Jan Johns. She has had some great key roles in Fallout 4, but this is definitely not where she started. Jan is actually a very key figure in what may be the franchise’s most esteemed addition, Fallout 3. She is responsible for no less than 16 different voices in Fallout 3. Basically, if there is a character in this game that was a female, she was probably it. And she does them flawlessly (no matter what she says about them herself, she is far too modest!). In our beloved Fallout 4 world, she can be heard as Ellie Perkins from Valentine’s Detective Agency, the out of place/actually sort of decent person Scribe Haylen with the Brotherhood of Steel, and the vengeance seeking Colette who roams Diamond City looking for reasons not to kill you.

While Jan has had a fabulous career in so many different areas, from musical theatre to on screen acting to even more voice over work, for Fallout fans, she will always be best known as a living legend within the hierarchy of this world. She is also a very cool and sweet person in general. And we are so damn excited to have her wrap up The Voices of Fallout. It has been a great ride showcasing these 10 amazing voice over artists. And we can think of no better way to close it all up than sharing a few words from one of the finest acts the Fallout world has ever known.

So please enjoy some very nice words from the legendary Jan Johns!

How did you find yourself in your current line of work as an actress and voice over mastermind?

Mastermind…that makes me sound like a bad ass. I like it. I will love to point out that I have a long ways to go before I could ever consider myself a “mastermind,” but I’ll take the compliment. 😉

To answer your question, I was and am weird. I never fit in as a kid. I spent a lot of time alone. Also, I loved music and found that I could mimic singers which always got attention from family. I would spend hours by myself listening to musicals and Disney compilations over and over until I could sound as close to them as I could. I did the same thing with stand up comedians, movies and cartoons.

I studied musical theatre in college and went on to perform in musicals, plays, tours, on camera and soon after voice over. Voice overs were always what I wanted to do. I just didn’t know how to get my start. That being said, I still don’t. It’s such an individual and winding road of discovering who you are, working really, really hard and meeting the right people. There is no right way other than to do the work, be open and kind.

I understand that you have recently voiced an actual Fisher Price toy? I’ve always been fascinated with this idea, and always wondering who these people are. So what toy did you voice for? And how does this process work? Is it similar to film or video game voice over work?

I still can’t believe I got to voice a toy for Fisher-Price! It was a joy! As far as my experience with voicing for games, it is a bit different. You’re not really reacting to anyone else. You are just communicating clearly for the child. The child is the focus. I realize I am stating the obvious, but truly the child is the focus in that the client (there were probably 8 people patched into the ISDN for this record) had very specific feelings on the sound of the character. It needed to be warm, clear, pure and engaging. We collaborated together until we found the sound they wanted and then we ran with it. That’s actually my favorite way to work. I love collaborating with the client in hopes of helping them reach their vision. When you get it right, it is very satisfying. Wow, I sound like a dork.


You jumped into the Fallout world on the 3rd installment, and voiced what seems like EVERY female character in the game. How was this initial experience for you back in 2008? Where people constantly recognizing your voice in public?

Terrifying. I was so happy and scared to death at the same time. The night before the record my dear friend Wes Johnson (he’s the whole reason why I even got into voicing for games), coached me through what a session would be like and to focus on the acting not the voice. He helped me and continues to help me so much. He’s a great coach and friend.

I will say that the session in retrospect was crazy. The lines for Fallout 3 were entirely on paper (at least in my experience) and it was just like the rest of the sessions I’ve done for gaming…stone cold. No heads up on character, lines, story etc. Like I said…terrifying for the first time. I just wanted to do a good job. They basically handed me the lines of every young female character they had at that point. I’m not sure, but my guess is that they did that with lots of the additional voices just to see what worked and sounded good together. I learned that fear can be a great motivator. Thankfully, the team at Bethesda is pretty freaking amazing! The nicest people you could ever work with. That being said, so far I have been lucky enough to have been directed by very kind people for all the games I’ve worked on. I’m grateful they gave me a chance. I’ll always have a soft spot for Bethesda.

Oh, no one ever recognizes me from Fallout 3. I listen back now and cringe. I wish I could’ve given the gamers better performances. It just went so quick and (other than one other game) it was my first experience.

I will say that Sierra Petrovita was my most organic performance in Fallout 3 in that she is closest to my personality. I was stoked when they brought her back in the Fallout 4 DLC. I had no idea until the session when the voice director said (not knowing Fallout 3), “okay, today you are voicing this chick Sierra…” I lost it. That record was a wonderful day, truly. There are sessions that fondly stick in your mind and for me that is one of them.

And how about Fallout 4? What was it like delving back into this world with some brand new characters?

OMG I was over the moon!!! I had auditioned and they never tell you the name of the game (as they use code names), but when I first read the word “caps,” I might have pee’d a little. I was so excited and hoped I booked something on the game.

Fallout 4 was so different than 3 for me. I was still terrified as I always want to do a go job and make their job easy, but I had loosened up quite a bit as this was now, not my first rodeo.

I had a set of specific characters as opposed to a stack of voices I had to fly through. Also, no paper. The lines were all up on a LED screen in the booth. It’s a nice way to work as the lines are easy to see and get through quickly.

Haylen, was so noble and I got the chance to dig deep with her. I love her. Her passion for justice and loyalty to Danse was such a joy to voice.

Ellie Perkins was fun to voice and tragic as she searched for Nick Valentine.

Collette was gritty and I love her bite. Which made her all the more tragic when she let her vulnerability shine through. While I was voicing Fallout 4 I was going through a crisis with my Dad back home. He went missing and was very sick. It was a very scary time. He’s doing much better today, but that experience really helped me go further with all of the characters in Fallout 4. Knowing that fear and pain helped me color the performances. Also, selfishly I was able to let some of it out in some of my sessions.

Also, on Fallout 4, I met and became friends with a few of the voice directors so that was a huge bonus. Friends are good.

Has anyone else told you that they were so excited to murder off your character Ellie Perkins (although, not possible) in Fallout 4, or was that just me? Haha. Seriously though, have you received much notoriety as the woman behind so many characters in the Fallout world?

People have tweeted or said to me at conventions that they felt bad killing my characters. Some have apologized and some admit enjoying it. So, you’re not alone. 🙂

I definitely have received some recognition for the amount of characters I have voiced in the Fallout world. However, I think it’s mainly because of Wes Johnson including me on a lot of his panels at recent conventions. I’m telling you, he an amazing human being!

So what does the near future hold for you? Anything our readers should be on the lookout for?

Right now, things are slow in the video game world for me. I have voiced a few commercials recently for Sonic and Food Lion. I was up for something that probably would’ve changed my life recently, but it wasn’t in the cards. I was pretty heartbroken, but at the same time I see the gift in even being considered for this particular series and network.

I do have something a little fun coming up. I’m on an upcoming episode of The Loud House on Nickelodeon. Working with Chris Savino is so much fun. He is a kind and super creative soul.

My mantra is: I want to voice the characters children grow up with and adults belly laugh to. I hope one day that this could be a regular occurrence. As of now and like most actors, my job is to audition and grow in my craft. I am at it every day. It’s not easy, but I love it so much.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

This morning on a walk my dog Mollie thought it would be a great idea to pick up a giant palm branch and run with it. She carried all the way home (almost 1.5 miles). I took a video of it cause I could not believe it and knew my family wouldn’t believe me. She makes me smile. Honestly, she’s my best friend. I spend so much time alone talking to myself she’s probably the only being that can put up with me. 🙂

Check out Jan Johns doing her opening monologue as Ellie Perkins, courtesy of Video Game Source:

The Voices of Fallout 4: Matthew Yang King [Interview]


Today’s subject for The Voices of Fallout 4 is a man I can guarantee you have heard before. In fact, you have definitely murdered him. Probably several hundred times over. Matthew King is a brilliant actor, musician, filmmaker….and raider. Yes, Mr. King is the man responsible for the grueling sounds of many of the male raiders throughout the Commonwealth. He is your natural born enemy in Fallout 4. But, trust me, he’s actually a very nice guy!

Beyond Fallout 4, King can be notably known as a very serious player in the hit television series 24, as well as a nice arc in Numb3rs. He has also provided voice over work for several of video games that I am certain you all know and love, including fellow Bethesda favorite The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. He has also worked on very popular series like World of Warcraft, Resident Evil, and provided the voice of Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.

In both the voice over world and the on screen world, Mr. King is a damn genius, and we are so honored to have him featured on the site. Even more, Matthew brought to our attention a matter that we were originally pretty ignorant to. He mentions it more in the interview, but we implore you to go to gameperformancematters.com to educate yourself a bit on a matter that more gamers need to know about. We don’t like to preach too much here at Trainwreck’d Society, but we do feel like this is an obvious issue that needs to be addressed. Now, please enjoy some amazing words from the great Matthew Yang King!

How did you start out in your current business? What drew you to the world of performance?

I started off as a concert violinist. I realized that I loved performing but not practicing the violin. I did my first play at age 13 and did everything I could to pursue this crazy profession from then on.

In 2016 you wrote and directed your own short entitled Garbage Day. Can you tell us a bit about this film? Was this your first stab at getting behind the camera?

It was my second stab. I just had this really weird door that looked like a nuclear bomb shelter in the basement of the apartment building I used to live in. It was the trash room, and I wondered why the trash needed so much protection. So I wrote the story of a boy who has a monster in the trash room of his apartment building and how it saves him from the humans that are making his life hell.

You had a nice reoccurring spot on the hit television show 24 during its final season. What was that experience like? How did you enjoy working on a production like that?

Great. I had worked with most of the crew on a pilot called Washington Field. I had done some training at the FBI training center and this character they asked me to play was a natural offshoot. It was really amazing being up at 4 in the morning getting shot at while holding a giant piece of armor protecting Kiefer Suthland’s back. Plus, we were chasing down Remi Malik (Mr. Robot) who’s fun to watch work, and Mido Hamada (Emerald City, American Sniper) who’s become one of my best friends. So to watch Kiefer’s process, which I think taught me more than my last year at NYU, as well as seeing burgeoning talent and gain an incredible friendship… I would say that 24 was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

How was your experience working on the voice work for Fallout 4? What sort of Raider lines are you personally responsible for? All of them?

I’m a lot of them. I can’t play that game without killing myself. However, it’s hell on the chords to scream that much.


What is the process like to record this audio? Is it a long strenuous process, or is it pretty much to the point?

Yes, yes, no. It’s a very strenuous process. It’s not coal mining, and I’m VERY lucky to be able to do it, but it’s basically screaming Cochella-loud for 4 hours straight for days on end. Which can be harmful over time and actually one of the things that we’re currently striking against.

gameperformancematters.com has some very strong information about the whole schmealy deal.

You’ve also done numerous voice over work for several other games as well. In your long career of doing this work, what project truly sticks out in your mind?

I LOVED doing Alpha Protocol because as an Asian American actor, I rarely get to do accents outside of Asia. Playing an 80s-Breakfast Club-loving-psychopath was joyous.

And with that, are there any characters you have done voice over work for in the past that people call you out on the street as being?

Illidan from Warcraft.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug here?

Yeah, I’m currently developing The World of Steam (a steampunk television show) with The Henson Company based on a webseries that I kickstarterted in 2012. It’s been this really long process of finally getting this thing off the ground with multiple huge setbacks. So it’s amazing that it’s moving forwards.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Climbing a waterfall with my kids.

Check out Matthew Yang King being murdered several times over in this video courtesy of YouTuber Jason Dunn:

The Voices of Fallout 4: Jonathan Roumie [Interview]


Today’s feature for our Voices of Fallout 4 series is a seriously interesting specimen. Not only has Jonathan Roumie done no less than three very interesting characters in the Fallout 4 series, he has also worked in the voice over world in other spectacular projects, and also had a very different gig in the entertainment world prior to finally putting his amazing vocal chords to work.

Prior to Jonathan’s work as characters like Jack Cabot, Honest Dan, or Doc Weathers in Fallout 4, he had a very different career as a location scout. He was scouting locations in one of the biggest cities in the continental U.S., for some of the biggest projects you know and love. From films like Spider Man, to National Treasure, to I Am Legend, Mr. Roumie was there at work. But, what is most incredible about his work beyond the world of Fallout, is some of his other impeccable work in the world of voice over as well as on screen acting. He voiced several characters in the hit MTV claymation series Celebrity Death Match. He’s also worked on very popular video games like Evolve, Mafia II & III, and The Darkness II. On screen he has appeared in such hit television shows as The Good Wife, As The World Turns, and Castle. He’s a real force of life this one, who has worked on so many different aspects of the entertainment world.

And we are so fortunate to have been able to have Jonathan on the site to tell us all about them. He is a fascinating cat, and a very provided amazing voices in our beloved Fallout 4. Especially with Jack Cabot, who I always look forward to murdering when the time comes. Seriously, who could really side with him over is creepy and rightfully psychotic father? Anyway, please enjoy some amazing words from an even more amazing actor and voice over artist, Jonathan Roumie! Enjoy!

When did you first realize you wanted to join the world of acting and voice over work? Was it always a passion of yours?

My first love as a performer was for voice acting. I never actually wanted to be an actor or work on camera but my dream was always (and still is) to work on an episode of The Simpsons. I’ve always been a good mimic so as a kid I’d act out scenes for my friends from The Simpsons and many other animated shows of my childhood; G.I. Joe, Thundercats, The Critic among others.

When I finished college in NYC, I actually tried to figure out how to get into the animation business – not the easiest thing to do when you don’t know anybody. So I persisted and dug and asked around and did the research, which eventually led me to MTV for the show Celebrity Deathmatch in the late 90’s – early 2000’s.​

You have also worked extensively in the film business as a location scout. I have to be honest, this sounds like a freaking dream job to me! How was it for you? And how were you ultimately able to decide that a location was right for a film?

Yeah it was pretty sweet. I got to explore New York (as well as other cities) very intimately, with access to areas that most civilians never get access to; rooftops, subway and abandoned tunnels, etc., simply because of my job working on movies with folks like Robert DeNiro, or Anthony Hopkins or Will Smith. It’s a part of my life and my career which I look upon with extreme fondness and gratitude. It the reason I ultimately broke out of my shell as a person to be comfortable enough to legitimately consider acting as a profession.


What were your travels like?

Travels were typically limited based on where you were scouting. A scout’s strengths are based on how well he knows an area so NY-NJ-CT were the areas I focused on since that’s where I lived at the time. There was one time where I actually got to go to Martinique in the Caribbean to work on​ ​The Thomas Crown Affair (​with Pierce Brosnan)​. My job there was to basically look for a secluded island hideaway, so for two weeks I drove around the island with a guide exploring different homes tucked away in this tropical paradise. It was extraordinary.

Did you get much time to enjoy yourself in different places? Any cool stories?

When I was Martinique for example, evenings were spent drinking great​​ ​wine and smoking Cuban cigars so yes, I would definitely say I had some time to myself to enjoy just hanging out. One of the most interesting areas I got to scout was while on the movie I Am Legend with Will Smith. I got to explore these abandoned tunnels that run alongside the entrance to the George Washington Bridge, in New Jersey. They were using those tunnels as storage when I last scouted them, so you had​​ ​these artifacts and pieces of construction history from New York City that are just lying in boxes in these tunnels for 30 years. Some pretty amazing stuff.

Not sure if this counts as a cool story or more of a one-of-a-kind experience….​I worked on the first two Spiderman movies with Tobey Maguire and director Sam Raimi back in the early 2000’s. I photographed a lot of rooftops as you can imagine while looking for the right location and I would have to say that one of the most breathtaking views of Manhattan is standing on the rooftop of the Flat Iron Building in the middle of Chelsea in New York City. It’s so central and so immersed in the middle of all these vertically constructed icons of the NY skyline, there aren’t very many views like it. It’s not the tallest but it’s definitely one of the prettiest in the city​ and knowing that is a spot most people (for liability reasons) would never be able to experience that is something I cherish.​

Some of your earliest voice over work was on the amazing show Celebrity Death Match. How was it working on this program? What would you say was your favorite match you provide voice over work for?

Yeah, that was my first foray into the animation industry so I have to say I learned about this world in a trial by fire. It was a great experience and Eric Fogel (one of the creators) were really supportive of me, knowing I was a newbie to the game.

My favorite match? That’s a tough call. I’d say it’s a toss up between playing James Hetfield of Metallica fighting Fred Durst and playing Russell Crowe fighting Charleton Heston which i think you can find online as one of the series’ top 10 matches. But every episode was a blast to work on.


You had some of the best characters in Fallout 4, in my opinion. And you voice them amazingly well. How did you become involved with this project? What drew you to the Fallout world? Where you previously a fan?

Thanks man! ​ This was particularly one of this gigs that my agent submitted me for and I booked. When Voice Actors first read for these types of projects, we generally don’t know what we’re going in for which was the case for me here. This situation is actually something that the actor’s Union (SAG-AFTRA) is trying to change in order to give us more time to prep and really knock auditions (and the gigs themselves) out of the park.

It was also my first time working with the guys from Bethesda who were awesome, Kal-el Bogdanove, Wes Gleason, Phil Bache; they were all awesome Voice-Directors. Really great experience for me. ​
I was definitely a fan of the franchise but had limited experience playing because I didn’t have a newer system until recently.

What are you thoughts on the final product that was Fallout 4? Have you been called out as Honest Dan or Jack Cabot on the streets?

This game is phenomenal. The breadth and depth of the world is ridiculous.

I’ve never been called out on the street, though from time to time I actually look like a younger version of Honest Dan. But I have been acknowledged by the amazing fans online, specifically on Instagram by folks like @Fallout_temple, @nukacola_ceo, @falloutziege and a bunch of folks on Twitter as well. The fans are straight up hardcore and some of the most dedicated and best out there. They respect the storytelling and the voice-actors bringing them to life. Much love for the Fallout Fanbase!!


What is next for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Well I’d love to plug a couple of games coming out in the next year or so that I worked on but I’d get sued, lol. You’ll just have to keep an eye out. 😉

I’m also gonna be playing Jesus for a film in Chicago later this March so that for me will be a challenge. People don’t realize how complex a character Jesus actually is. Truly an actor’s role. I’m psyched to tackle it.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

​My girl is competing at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Sports Festival this weekend in Columbus, OH, so watching her run her routine is pretty amazing. She’s super-talented so I can’t help but bust a smile watching her be awesome. So proud. @jaggasaurus on Instagram.

The other thing is getting to respond to these questions. It’s a real honor that you guys take interest so thank you for this!

Check out Jonathan Roumie in action as Jack Cabot in this YouTube video courtesy of FluggyNinjaLlama:

The Voices of Fallout 4: Ogie Banks [Interview]

 

Here we are folks! We are kicking off the last week of The Voices of Fallout 4 series with another fabulous interview! Today we are featuring a very cool guy who may have only had a small part in Fallout 4, but is one that is definitely memorable and very cool. But more importantly, he is one of the biggest names in the voice over world today. His name is Ogie Banks, and he was Nelson Latimer. The wise talking son of a Diamond City gangster who (usually) finds himself on the shit end of a drug deal gone bad, and happens to be carrying a huge pocket full of caps, right about the time you could probably use them, if you start the Diamond City Blues quest very early on in a play through. Not too mention a shit ton of chems that can be sold for a decent amount as well. And how could we forget Ogie’s voice work for Vault 88’s notorious cheating husband, Holt Combes, who just never wants to speak with you, ever.

And who is Ogie Banks? Well, he is a person that you have definitely heard somewhere before, with hundreds of credits under his proverbial belt. Fans of popular animated series like Ultimate Spider Man, Fatherhood, Class of 3000, and the Monster High movies should recognize his voice. And gamers who enjoy the Saints Row series have likely heard him throughout the entire series. He’s also been featured in two different Final Fantasy games (include the latest, Final Fantasy XV) and two different Lego themed games (Marvel’s Avengers and Batman). Basically, he is a genius in this game, and we are so honored that he has decided to take some time out of his busy schedule to talk with us.

So with that, please enjoy some very nice words from the voice over legend, Ogie Banks!

How did you find yourself immersed in the world of voice over acting? Was it something you have always been passionate about?

I kinda fell into the world of voice acting. My on camera agent, Sid Levin, sent me on my first VO audition. I booked the job, the character was a charismatic hip dog character for a frozen pizza [commercial]. I loved the whole voice over experience. So after that job I started my research about VO & started asking all my contacts a million questions. I signed with my first VO agent, Dean Panaro, and we are still working together today. It has been an Awesome journey.

And what do you still enjoy about the work? What keeps you going in this world?

I enjoy the recording process a lot. Usually I’m in a room by myself & able to really put myself in the moment of the scene. Playing several characters on a project is a challenging treat for me as well.

In your obviously expert opinion, what is the different between doing voice over work for an animated film or series and video game work? For those of us with absolutely no knowledge of the business, how do they differ?

There’s a big difference in doing an animated series as opposed to doing a video game. For instance, on my show Ultimate Spiderman where I play both, Luke Cage and Miles Morales, I’m able to work and feed off of the whole cast. The show grows as well as our performance because we are working together weekly or every other week for like 22 weeks or so. A video game job usually consist of maybe up to a week or so of work. Also I’m in a big recording room by myself intimately working with the director & writer. Also with video game acting I feel that I’m able to really take my time with my reads.


What was it like to work on a project like Fallout 4? Is it surreal to be a part of the biggest video game franchise in history?

In this VO world there’s always a new cool project to work on and with each project I’m able to meet more & more people. Makes life exciting and keeps me going in this world.

Working on a project like Fallout 4 makes me feel like I was invited to an exclusive, guest list only, party. Everything is hush hush so it makes the project that much more fun & mysterious. I didn’t even know what character I was going to play until I arrived at the session. Then when I finished I couldn’t let anyone know until the drop date of the game. So I had to hold on to the secret for months. It IS surreal to be a part of the biggest video game franchise. I think the coolest part of that is knowing that the game is going to be of quality & possibly a classic.

Are you experienced with the game at all? For instance, do you get offended when people you know choose to off Nelson Latimer?

Yes I’m experienced in the game, I will admit that I’m awful. Honestly I like to go online & watch others play. Hahaha! I don’t get offended when people choose to off Nelson Latimer. I’m more concerned about my acting and making sure it’s on point.


What is next for you? Anything you would like to plug with us?

Next up for me is a new exciting animation show I’m working on that should be out by the end of the year. That’s all I can say because with everything now days they make us sign a hush hush contract.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The last thing that made me smile was, hmmmmmm…well my joke of course. Okay I gotta say, I think I’m very very very funny. I make myself laugh like everyday. I’m laughing as I’m writing this right now.

Check out Ogie in action as Nelson Latimer in this YouTube video courtesy of Twothless:

The Voices of Fallout 4: Chelsea Tavares [Interview]


Today’s subject of The Voices of Fallout 4 is with a wonderful actress who is probably pretty well renowned to people much younger than I. Chelsea Tavares starred in the popular Nickelodeon shows Unfabulous and Just Jordan, that I was unfortunately a bit too old to be drawn to during their run. But, I’m certain she was fabulous. I am even more certain though, that she has done an amazing job as a voice over artist in our beloved Fallout 4 series when she voiced everyone’s favorite Railroad martyr, Glory. One of my favorite characters in the series.

Glory was the type of character that I was always desperately hoping to see more of. In fact, it is the only real downside of Fallout 4 for me that this amazing character wasn’t in the game enough! I was really hoping she had the possibility of reaching companion status, but unfortunately it wasn’t quite in the books, as we all know her fate in whatever direction you might have decided to take the story line. But in looking back, she was quite the badass, and an all around great character for the short time we had her.

And part of the credit for Glory’s appeal has to go to the amazing young woman who voiced her. Chelsea Tavares has already had a very impressive career thus far, but there are no signs of stopping in her current progression. She is surely due to be a household name. She appeared (briefly) in the remake of of our old friend Tom Holland’s film, 2011’s Fright Night. If you find yourself with the chance to check out her work that didn’t quite make the final film, you will know that she was fantastic! There is just no stopping this wonderful force of life who was kind enough to lend her vocals to the Wasteland’s biggest badass, and was also kind enough to share a few words with us here today. So please enjoy a few words from the great Chelsea Tavares!


When did you decide you wanted to make acting your occupation? And what were some of your earliest influences?

My mom took me into the industry when I was young and I started print work first. Then I started commercials, I just always loved the stage and expressing my emotions. I am NOT shy, at all. I’m also a singer and one of my earliest influences was my mom. She used to sing around the house and I knew I loved both acting and singing.

What was life like for you as a working teen actress on shows like Unfabulous and Just Jordan? What was set life like for you at that age?

When I first booked UnFabulous I was in 7th grade so at that age being on any Nickelodeon or Disney show is a dream. It’s really nice when you’re that age because you aren’t thinking about the money you’re thinking about your craft.

You appeared in the great 2011 remake of our old friend Tom Holland’s film Fright Night (which also featured our old friend Lisa Loeb), and were phenomenal. How did you enjoy working on this project? Were you a fan of the original film?

The fact that I got to work with DreamWorks was a humbling experience, because it taught me a lot about the movie making industry. I actually got a lot of my scenes cut out so it’s funny how you say I was phenomenal when I wasn’t really in it ahahahaha. It’s okay though, that’s why you have to have the mentality to be ready for whatever happens and persevere until you reach your goal. The cast was amazing and everyone was super nice while we filmed in New Mexico. I love any movies about vampires, so both films were awesome! RIP Anton Yelchin. I send my blessings to his family, it was great working with him.

How did you find yourself in the Fallout 4 world? What drew you to do the voice over work for the legendary Railroad agency we all knew and loved, and hated to see die, the great Glory?

I’ve been doing voiceover work since I was young. I voiced a few characters on video games, including my first one ever, which was The Lion King videogame in the 90’s. I was about 8 or 9. Playing Glory was really dope, what drew me to her was that she was a natural badass and I love playing the aggressive, no back down type of female.


How do you enjoy the work as a voice over artist? Would you say it is easier or more difficult to do compared to on screen work?

Being in the voiceover world is much easier. You don’t have to be TV ready, so I can basically go in my pajamas and record in the booth. It also takes less time, which is amazing, but you do have to take care of your voice. It’s sometimes challenging trying to convince the audience that the character they see on on screen, would really have that voice.

So what do you have coming up? Anything you can tell us about coming in the near future?

Yes, I do actually! This past summer I shot a series called Tycoon, which will be released on this new streaming platform called Black Pills. It’s essentially like Netflix and Hulu, but with it’s own variety of shows. I also shot a movie in Chicago called Death: Take 2. I got to work with the wonderful Grant Rosenmeyer and Jon Lovitz.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

 

Check out Chelsea as Glory in one of the most impactful moments in Fallout 4:

 

The Voices of Fallout 4: Jessica Straus [Interview]

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It is Day 5 Everyone! And damn it all if we don’t have an AMAZING interview for you fine folks today. Not only do we have a woman featured today who has done some amazing voice over work on our beloved Fallout 4 and more video games than you could shake a dead molerat at, but she has also personally proven herself to be a genuinely kind person by nature. Jessica Straus was kind enough to go far more in depth on an interview with us than I could ever ask a person to do. And I could not be more excited about it.

In the voice over world, Jessica is one of the giants of the industry. Beyond the Fallout series, she has worked on a plethora of different video games that I am certain you have played, as they are some of the greats. She has also performed magically in the world of anime and other animated series. She is just one of the greatest in the business, and most importantly to us, she is an extremely nice and wonderful person. She gave us not only one of our favorite and longest interviews for this series, but one of our favorite interviews we have ever had on Trainwreck’d Society. When an interviewee is this enthusiastic, it is always a real treat.

So, where I would normally implore you all to please enjoy some words with Jessica Straus, I know I don’t really have to. I can guarantee you are going to LOVE this interview. So have it folks!

How did you find yourself working so continuously on voice over projects? How did it all begin, and eventually come to the fruition that it is for you today? What were some of your earliest influences?

My first voice acting influence in playing badass women for games was watching Lucy Lawless play Xena from Xena Warrior Princess. After watching her performance, blending feminine strength, sexuality and tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, I booked my first big video game role as Amazon on the well-known Blizzard game, Diablo 2. Diablo 2 was booked through my on-camera agent at the time, so that is what got me started in voice over. I didn’t even have a voice over agent, nor did I plan on having a career in voice over. But I got the VO bug, and was hooked! Around this time, I also booked the highly popular EA game, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, voicing EVA, the lead female computer. That I booked on my own via an ad in Drama Logue, believe it or not. (I don’t think that would happen in today’s world, however.)

I got my first voice over agent soon after, took commercial VO classes with Dave Williams and made my first commercial demo with Nick Omana and the rest is history. Both of these men are icons in the VO business. Nick also gave me some of my early work on an educational DVD series where I voiced a bunch of characters, including my first little boy voice. After a few jobs and VO training and a little marketing, voice over work started flowing in, especially after I got involved in dubbing for Anime. I was cast in my first Anime series, I’m Gonna Be an Angel via an ad in Drama Logue.

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Things have definitely changed in the voice over business since I got started many years ago, so the way I got in may not be the route everyone takes these days. Everyone in VO has different, interesting stories of how they started their careers. In my case, I really think my many years of theater training and performance experience helped me leap into a successful voice over career more easily. The really cool thing about voice over work in games and animation is that you get to play roles you would never be cast in for on-camera jobs, or even on stage. Being a character actress, I loved using my voice to explore roles of all ages, genders, in-human and/or weird creatures, many of which were really different from myself. On camera focuses on the acting, but also how you look. Voice over just focuses on the acting. Period.

I feel very grateful and honored to continue to work in such a fun job, filled with so many incredibly talented and friendly people. And, listening to the brilliant work of my many co-workers has and will always continue to inspire and influence my work in the industry.

What do you enjoy about this line of work? What keeps the job exciting for you?

When talking about voice acting, I like to think of the analogy of jumping out of an airplane and never knowing exactly where you are going to land. Which is exciting, a little scary at first, but oh so cool when you fly! Being an adventurous person, I love this kind of feeling. Free-fall.

Improvisation is an essential voice over skill, especially for work in games. You rarely if ever get the script in advance these days, and once I work with a director and establish what they want for the character in a session, I really enjoy seeing where that character goes, being surprised by their twists and turns in the story line and really just letting the character take over. That’s the flying part…when the character is in charge, and I am surprised by what they do, not over-thinking it as an actress. Just being the character. I like it when characters make me laugh, or feel something, or experience a part of being human that didn’t know about before. It’s just…well, exciting & fun!!

You have done voice over work for a great abundance of video games. Just SO many great ones too. So from your technical expertise, what is the major difference between doing voice over work on a video game as opposed to an animated series? And how are they similar, besides the obvious of using your great voice to portray a character?

They are similar because both require you to be in character often for many hours, take direction well, change your emotions on a dime, play multiple characters within a project (love that part!) and have well-honed acting/improvisational skills. They both require me to access the little kid in me and play full out! In the end, voice over in games and animation is really just me using my imagination and playing around, like when I was a kid.

The differences between animation and games are many.

Games scripts are not given out in advance because of NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreement). Secrecy in the gaming industry, and the incredibly large casts and lengthy scripts make it impossible for them to send all your lines in advance. Even in a session, I may never know who I’m talking to as only my lines are on the page. I often have to say one line several different ways, and come up with them quickly on the spot. Your character can talk for a very, very, long time in a game these days. If you are doing a lead, 4 hours is the norm for one session, sometimes longer, and there are often multiple sessions. So, you are talking for 4 hours straight with only a few breaks. I think games can also be more vocally challenging sometimes because so many of them are fight oriented – so all the war cries, death screams, and battle lines can be vocally taxing. Lots of stamina and quick improvisational skills are needed for games.

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In animation, there are also NDA’s (Non Disclosure Agreement) involved, however, you often get the script in advance. The sessions can be long, but sometimes you get to work with other voice over actors and play off them, which is so great! Thus, there are times when you can rest your voice in a session. While in games, you usually are just by yourself in the booth, imagining that you are talking to someone. In general, the scripts in animation, unless you are doing a movie, are much shorter too.

Animation, in my experience, needs lots of acting chops and stamina, but the storylines are more obvious when you are acting in them, as the entire script is usually right there in front of you and you’ve read it ahead of time. Often, in animation, I get more of a chance to explore my goofy, funny side, which I love! I used to draw cartoons as a kid, so my brain understands cartoons.

In the end, both games and animation are places where I can play multiple roles and enter an imaginary world that can take me, and hopefully the listener, to another world where they can believe anything is possible, and bring a new perspective of life via laughter, storyline and/or heroism.
Do you ever get stopped in public by avid gamers who happen to recognize your voice? The WoW players are very fanatical, and I feel like they would definitely recognize you? Is this true?

I have never been stopped in public just by someone recognizing my face. I have, however, come across many fans of my work when I let people know what I do. I’ve come across avid gamers and WOW fans when talking to my bank, cell phone company, kids of friends, and of course, at conventions/public gatherings where I’ve been invited to speak about voice acting.

I’ve come across a lot of WOW fans on my facebook account over the years. Here’s a link to my Facebook Fan page for those who want to join me there:

https://www.facebook.com/Jessica-Straus-Voice-Over-Artist-266473873382327/

I’m also on Twitter more these days, as well, so I often chat with fans here:

I just started an Instagram account as well:

https://www.instagram.com/jstraus.jessicasvoice/

A long time ago, I did have some kids in my neighborhood find out I worked on Blizzard games, and they drove by my house and yelled “Hello, Amazon!!”… Scared the crap out of me. He-he….I’d actually rather they didn’t do that…but I appreciate their enthusiasm.

Once I was at a party with a VO cohort and she told the host that I was Amazon in Diablo 2, and the whole party found out and everyone cheered. It was my first experience with being “known” in voice over. At the time, it was a little surprising to me and I didn’t take it very seriously. I was surprised and flattered that everyone liked the character.

I am still surprised by how many fans there are for voice over roles in general. Being a voice over artist is not as private as I assumed when I got first started. I think Facebook, social media, cell phones, etc. have a lot to do with that. Fans for games are everywhere these days!

The same question could be asked for your work in anime, which is numerous and impressive as well. Does the anime viewing community welcome you with open arms? How has it been to be a part of this world?

I have not being doing quite as many anime series of late, but I have done a lot of Anime games, which are dubbed from the original Japanese version. Playing Juri Han in Capcom’s Street Fighter IV & V is a favorite role of mine, that has received a lot of attention and enthusiasm from fans, and, is most likely my most popular role to date. Juri is a real kick in the pants to voice, and I know and love many of my cast members. There is so much great talent on the game and in the Anime world in general.

Here’s a clip of Juri’s cutscenes from Street Fighter V (look for the sassy, sexy gal with the eye patch in purple):

My early work on Anime series really helped not only hone my acting chops for games and animation, but also taught me the often-difficult technical skill of dubbing. Anime series work was kind to me in early VO years, but since my natural voice grew to be lower and deeper over the years, I think I navigated to games for some reason. It just happened…but I still love voicing the higher voices of kids, girls, etc.

That said, I just auditioned for a few roles for Anime series, so it could come back! You never know. I still have fans contact me regarding my work when I first started, from Anime series like Wolf Rain; Blue, Code Geass: R2 Empress Tianzi, Eureka Seven – Gidget, the movie Appleseed; Deunan Knute and most recently Ikki Tousen 4 – Moukaku, to name a few….in addition to many other Anime games, including .hack//GU -Pi, Tales of Xillia – Muzet, Star Ocean: Last Hope – Myuria, and Persona 4; Saki/Hanako…along with so many titles.

Note: Click on these links to access a partial list of my credits. Wikipedia may be the most accurate partial list of credits, although IMDB is also good too.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessica_Straus

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0833767/

Jessica Strauss is Polly

Jessica Strauss is Polly

While Fallout 4 is just one amongst your numerous voice over credits, it is the one that I am the most familiar with, because I am still obsessed with it and it is one of the biggest selling video games in history. So does your work on this game stick out to you at all? Was there anything exceptional you could tell us about your work on the wonderful Fallout 4?

I had a blast voicing a robot with a mid-Atlantic accent! So much fun! However, when I booked the job after auditioning via my agent, I had no idea what game I was working on (I sort of guessed after the session because of the script), and discovered what the role was at the session. When I voiced her I didn’t know what she looked like or how she would fit into the game exactly. Thus, you just have to make up stuff on the spot with the guidance of a great director and script.

When I found out I was definitely on “Fallout 4”, I was very honored and excited that I was part of such a popular game. Supervisor White is certainly the most unique and fun robot role I’ve ever played! I like playing automated beings with lots of personality!

Here’s a clip of Supervisor White:


Have you received any type of reaction from Fallout 4 fans for your work on the game? Particularly, have you managed to watch anyone interact with your characters in the game?

I’ve had fans on my FB and Twitter feeds say some very kind things. Actually, the compliments that stick out are not from fans, but from people that do casting for voice over in LA. When VO directors or peers compliment my work, it really means a lot, and I had some nice “at-a-girls!” from industry people after working on this game. It certainly is a game that was a great honor to be a part of. Incredible cast, including Courtenay Taylor, Brian Delany, Matt Mercer, Keith Farley, and Linda Carter…too many brilliant actors to name here. You can hear them all if you buy/play the game.

Yes, I have seen YouTube clips of people playing the game, interacting with my character. I always enjoying knowing how those random lines I said fit into the game. I also voiced one or two other small roles on the game…but those are harder to find.

What does the future hold for you? Anything new coming out soon that we can expect to hear or see you in?

I just did a session…that I can’t talk about. And, I have something coming out in the Spring and Fall…that I’ve signed NDAs for. They will all be exciting roles to announce when they do come out. For now, NDAs have me bound to secrecy. (It’s like I’m in the FBI, but it’s less dangerous. Although I can get in big trouble if I talk about a project before it’s released.)

The last game that I had the “green light” to announce came out at the end of 2016. A little… highly popular, award-winning game called Dishonored 2 which was developed by the brilliant creatives at Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda. I voice Dr. Alexandria Hypatia, a Dr. Jekyl/Ms. Hyde type role, whom the player must save. She was certainly a great acting challenge, a darkly written role, enriched with lines to sink my acting chops into. ☺

Just found this clip from “Dishonored 2” of the “Good Doctor”


What was the last thing that made you smile?

Several things:

The lines I had to say in a session last week (NDA…really great character).

Multiple hummingbirds fighting for sugar water from my feeders and dive bombing my head.

Sunny skies with clear vistas in LA.

A hug from my sweetheart.

This interview.

Thanks so much for asking me to join you! Great questions.

The Voices of Fallout 4: Alejandra Gollas [Interview]

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Welcome to Day 4, and the start of the second week of The Voices of Fallout 4 showcase here at Trainwreck’d Society. Today’s interview is one that I was most looking forward to since I came up with this idea. Alejandra Gollas voiced a character who embodies the main reason I wanted to do this showcase in the first place. You see, Gollas voices one of the great many merchants in Fallout 4, the sometimes frustrating Myrna, in Diamond City. And in any given period of hours where I find myself in a Fallout 4 session, I am sure to visit Gollas’s character at least a few times. I have come to depend on her supplies, but never really thought twice about her. Until now.

Alejandra Gollas is the woman behind Myrna, as well as the Sanctuary resident we all love to hate, Marcy Long, and is also an amazing actress with roles that cross borders and boundaries in a fascinating way. She has done some amazing work, and we are so excited to ask her about Fallout 4, and the rest of her illustrious career. So please enjoy some amazing words from the great Alejandra Gollas!

When was it that you decided that you wanted to be a part of the world of acting? Was it a very early yearning?

I did my first TV commercial when I was five years old. It was a really long and exhausting day of work… But my mom says I was super professional and never complained. When I finished I was really tired and just wanted to go home, but I knew right then I loved acting and that I wanted to do it for the rest of my life!.

We love getting insights from the film and television world across the globe. With so much experience in both the U.S. and Mexico, what would you say are the major differences between the two? And what is the same?

I feel that Mexico’s industry is much more relaxed, it’s a smaller world than the US one, so it’s much more about people getting recommended, word of mouth, knowing casting directors personally. The US entertainment business is a whole different monster, at least that has been my experience…. there are so many rules. You can’t approach a CD directly…. it is always through an agent. Mexico doesn’t really have that manager/agent industry fully developed. And in the US it seems you can’t get anywhere without one. Mexico in general, and I think it’s just because of the culture and how we are raised is very family like, people are much warmer and open. The US business is just much colder and distant. However I have met amazing and very talented and creative people in both.

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Having been in the game for quite a while now, how are you digging it? What keeps you motivated to perform?

It’s a hard job, has always been. You have to really love it and not want anything else in your life. Fortunately I decided to marry an amazing man and have a family and even though that has made it much more difficult to continue with my acting career, because of how demanding it is, ironically it is that family and my loved ones who keep me motivated to perform, to continue fighting for what I love to do. Experience in life and having things other than acting has given me perspective and now I am in it with a much healthier attitude than before.
How did you come to work on the Fallout series doing the voices of Myrna and Marcy Long, staples of Diamond City and Sanctuary, respectively?

I landed the gig through my voice over agent at AVO, I auditioned for the part and got it! I really haven’t done a lot of video games, but this was an amazing experience, really enjoyed it… they were intense sessions….. it requires a lot of screaming, intense emotions, sounds, and even though it’s a lot of fun I was exhausted by the end of them!

What has it been like for you since the game came out? How does it feel to be a part of one of the best selling video game franchises in history? Have you played the game or watched the game played? Thoughts on it overall?

Wow! I didn’t know it was one of the best selling video game franchises in history! That is so awesome! I have never really been in to playing video games and haven’t played this one, but my son and husband were excited about it! 😉

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If you were handed the opportunity to portray any historic figure in Mexican history, who would you choose?

The part I have always wanted to play was a very important Mexican painter and artist, her name was Nahui Ollin….. she belonged to Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo’s circle… was photographed by Edward Weston and had a very passionate and intense relationship with another Mexican painter, Dr Atl. I love her paintings and her life… she lived very intensely… she loved passionately… and said what she felt. I sometimes think about things too much and I admire people who live based on what they feel and who are emotionally driven. She was very beautiful and talented, but died very poor, selling her photographs on the streets of Mexico City.
What is next for you? When can people see or hear you again?

Well….. I am continuously doing voice over work, basically comercial stuff, in Spanish and English. But just had a really fun role on the Disney’s cartoon Elena of Avalor, which I really enjoyed! I will be shooting a wonderful movie in May called “Love is not Love”, directed by STEPHEN MILLS. It is an amazing screen play and will be shot in a very experimental, actor friendly way…enjoying the creative process. I will have the opportunity to play a type of character I have never done before, so I am very excited!
What was the last thing that made you smile?

Spending time with my amazing husband and two beautiful boys!

Check out Alejandra as Myrna in this YouTube video courtesy of El Zilcho: