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The Walking Dead Wiki Interviews/Brian Sommer

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BanishU is responsible for this interview, conducted on January 9, 2013.

Brian Sommer is a voice actor. He has been in many video games and supplied the voice of Danny St. John in The Walking Dead Video Game.


Brian sommer
Brian Sommer


TWD Wiki: What was it like to get a role on The Walking Dead Video Game?

Its always good to get that call from my agent saying "You booked it". In this case I was aware of the massive popularity of the TV show, so I knew the project would have a built-in following. To be associated with such an established franchise is not only an honor, but also a big responsibility. I have made a career out of voicing a lot of bad guys, and Danny St. John was a wonderful addition to that resume'. So a great character AND a great franchise. I was, to say the least, thrilled!


TWD Wiki: Did you watch the TV Series or read any of the Graphic Novels prior to getting a role on the Game?

I had not seen the TV show prior to booking the job for the game. But I alway try to do some homework before voicing a character based on pre-existing stories or franchises. In this case I took a look at the Graphic Novels and was instantly impressed. Robert Kirkman presented the subject fantastically. The images created by Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard were inspiring. The writing, presentation and images all set the tone for the project. It gave a certain dark realism to an unreal situation. (At least I hope it is unreal)


TWD Wiki: What is it like having your character's fate up to the player?

In the case of Danny St. John (and so many of the baddies that I voice) they are destined to get the axe (or in Dannys case, The Pitchfork). Danny was so damn creepy I don't think anyone shed a tear when he was dispatched. I believe the game was designed so that he would die either way. By the hand of the player, or by the walkers who were invading the farm.

Dannyinfo
Danny St. John


TWD Wiki: What was it like to work with Dave Fennoy and all the other great voice actors in the Game?

One of the unfortunate parts of voice over is we rarely get to record together (actually that is the only unfortunate part. It is SUCH a fun job). Especially in the case of video games, we record 'wild'. Meaning just one actor records at a time. So we rarely get to experience the talent of our comrades. We pass each other in the halls, or get a few minutes to chat in the lobby of the studio. But the good news is this game has given us the opportunity to get together more. We had a few cast parties and some promo opportunities where we could see each other socially. This game had some fantastic talent associated with it. It's a pleasure to be associated with them, and I am humbled by their incredible performances.


TWD Wiki: How did you gain a role on the Game?

In the usual way. I slept with the producer. No, no I am just kidding. I don't do that (anymore). Most of the big projects are cast in the same way. The producers will send an audition packet to the talent agency which in turn sends roles to those actors they think fit the specifications. So since Danny St. John was a serial killing, child molesting cannibal, they asked me to audition for it. We record an audition based on the dialog lines provided by the producers. Those auditions are sent back to the producers who then make the final choice as to who they want for the role.


TWD Wiki: Do you have any interesting or funny stories to tell?

We actually recorded Danny three times. The first session we played him on the lighter side. When the producers listened to the recordings, the thought we could go a bit darker with him, so I was brought back to the studio and we added some vocal affectations to Danny (stutter, and breathing). There were a few lines where we really turned up the creepy factor on Danny. Well when that session was reviewed, it was decided we went too far, Danny was revealing too much too soon by being too creepy (one of his lines was actually omitted completely from the game… too bad to, it was pretty damn creepy), so we came back in for a third time, and married the two performances together to give you the Danny you experienced in the game. As Goldilocks said “Just right”. (Although I doubt Ms. Locks was referring to Danny at the time)


TWD Wiki: Are you currently working on any other projects?

I am lucky to have pretty constant work. These days the big projects come with Non-Disclosure Agreements so I can't mention any of those at this time. But stay tuned, I am sure I will be coming soon to a game console near you.

Danny01
Danny taunting Lee.


TWD Wiki: Would you return to voice more characters for Season 2 of the Game?

Over 60 "Game of the Year" awards. A fantastic cast. Brilliantly talented writers, directors and artists. Um, yeah, I would be happy to come back for more!!


TWD Wiki: Did the cast or crew do anything special for you when leaving?

Telltale put an event together where the cast was invited to come and play the game. We had a ball. But I must admit, that was the first time I had a game controller in my hands since Atari first came out. Needless to say, I needed a lot of help.


TWD Wiki: Was it hard to play emotions while using a different voice?

As a voice actor you have to be proficient and comfortable with the 'voices' you perform. If you are concerned about the voice and spend too much attention on it when it comes time to record your character, the performance will suffer. So the tone of the voice has to be worked out well in advance. Most of us have a 'tool box' of voices that we have mastered. We take those voices and add the personality of the character at hand. So when it comes time to record, we are putting all our energy into the acting. So actually the answer to your question is YES. It is hard to do. But that is why we are professionals.

TWD Wiki: Thank you again of behalf of the Wiki.

Related Interviews
To read an interview with Melissa Hutchison, the voice actor of Clementine, click here.

To read an interview with Gavin Hammon, the voice actor of Kenny, click here.

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