Interview: Actress Wendy Braun Loves Her Craft
A few days ago, we told you we'd be talking to actress Wendy Braun, who has lent her voice to the popular and acclaimed Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises.
Her work goes well beyond Gianna Parasini in ME; she has also been involved with Rainn Wilson's hit web series, "The Flipside" and has over 50 film and TV credits, including guest starring roles on "Bones," "Criminal Minds," "The Mentalist," and others. All told, she has racked up over 1,000 total voiceover credits and you know, when someone really loves their job, it shows.
Here is our interview, in which Wendy answers our questions along with a few submitted reader queries. We always involve ya.
PSXE: How did you get into voice acting for games? Was the Mass Effect gig your first?
Wendy: "I think Dragon Age was the first one. I had been doing acting for years; TV and film and commercials, just doing all sorts of voiceover stuff. You have auditions for all kinds of roles and I had an audition for Dragon Age. One job begets another job, and this was great because you get to go to a place you couldn’t go to in the physical world. So Dragon Age and Dragon II were lots of fun."
PSXE: What kind of background information do you get on the game before such voice over parts? And do you have anything visual to help guide you?
Wendy: "They’re just so amazing, they give you so much. They’ve drawn such a rich character so you get a great description of what’s happening and what’s going on. They give you an idea of the scene, and it’s really fun because you get to play the scene in different ways. In TV or film, you can’t really do that but in the game world, you can take the scene in different directions. You get a sense of it at first, and then you bring in your take as well. It’s sort of a co-collaboration. And I’m always amazed to see the finished project. It’s just so wild to see what they do and how they put it all together."
[For the visual aid part of the question]
"It’s not like you get to watch something and record the voice to an animation; there is no live animation. You’re alone in a booth so you have to create all the fundamentals you’d normally get on a film set. It’s kind of a solo activity. But it’s still a full-body experience; it isn’t just your voice, you really have to physically go there as an actor."
Tangent- As our interviews are more discussion-based than direct-fire Q&A, this got us talking about motion capture, and I asked Wendy what she thought about doing mo-cap for games.
Wendy: "I think part of the reason they’re starting to do that [motion capture] is because they’ve realized the voice actor can do so much with their physicality. If you were to film me recording Gianna for Mass Effect you’d see that she’s doing just about everything I would do. I’m really feeling myself in the moment and if I’m not able to do that, the audience knows I’m not. So yes, it would be more fun to do that kind of thing; physically shooting it."
11/30/2012 Ben Dutka