Mark Meer's interview

Mass Effect Saga

Sacrifars - Mardi 09 Avril 2013 à 19h45 - 7 commentaires - News
Cet article est l'interview originale réalisée par Hadès de l'article précédemment traduit par Karrie et Kelrin. L'article français est par ici. // This article is the original US interview by Hadès of the previous article translated by Karrie and Kelrin : here is the French article.

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Hi, Mark. Thank you for your time, we are very proud to interview you. So first, would you please introduce yourself for
the heretics who do not know you much, and tell us more about your career?


Hello - thanks for having me. I'm Mark Meer, and I'm an actor, writer, and improvisor from Canada. I'm probably best
known for playing the male version of Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect video games from Bioware. I also play a
number of other characters in the Mass Effect trilogy, including all members of the Vorcha and Hannar species
(including Blasto the Hannar Spectre), several Volus (including the Biotic God Niftu Cal), and many others. Besides voice
work in video games, I appear on Canadian television in the TV shows CAUTION: May Contain Nuts and Tiny Plastic
Men (both of which I also write for) and on CBC Radio’s sketch comedy program, The Irrelevant Show. I also do quite a
bit of live theatre, specifically improvised comedy with the improv soap opera Die-Nasty and Rapid Fire Theatre.


How did the Mass Effect Adventure begin for you ? Had you ever worked in the videogame industry before?


I’ve been working with Bioware since 1999 – my first job for them was in Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn and
Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. I’ve appeared in most of their games since then, including the Neverwinter Nights
series, Jade Empire, and the Dragon Age series. I also recently did some work for Overhaul Games on Baldur’s Gate:
Enhanced Edition.


How do you embody such a character, with so much lines?

Commander Shepard is an interesting character to play, because so much of his (or her) personality and behavior is
determined by the person playing the game. He (or she) can be everything from a noble hero to a ruthless bastard, so
that's a challenge that both Jennifer Hale (who plays the female Commander Shepard) and I faced. Each game took
many months to record, given the amount of dialogue.


As a voice actor, how do you find the voice that will be an unforgettable performance, since you can’t use your body to
give your identity to your character?


I work with my directors to find the specific voice for each character. I’ll usually bring several options, and my director,
along with input from Bioware, will help me find what fits best.


How did you find the voice of Shepard, which is different from the voice of Jon Grissom?

Well, neither of those voices is too far away from my real voice. It’s voices like the Vorcha, Hannar, or Volus that I play
that are a bit more challenging..


We are very curious about your role in the saga. Did you choose your character? Were you able to modify some lines?

As I mentioned, it is the player of the game who determines much of Shepard’s character. The one thing that was
constant from my point of view is that Shepard is a military officer who is used to giving orders under extreme
conditions. The lines must usually stay as written, because both Jennifer Hale (FemShep) and I have to say the same
thing.


Did you play to the game before doing the voice acting?

Well, no. The game did not exist yet!
However, I played Mass Effect before recording Mass Effect 2, and played Mass Effect 2 before working on Mass Effect
3.


What is your typical day as the main voice actor of Mass Effect?

Recording sessions were never more that four hours long, because it’s important that your voice not become tired.
These four hours would be spent working with my director and technicians to record the dialogue, and drinking plenty
of hot water or lemon ginger tea. We’d save any additional characters besides Shepard (like the Vorcha, for example)
for the end of the session.


How do you work with Jennifer Hale, your female alter ego?

Jennifer and I did our work separately, since she lives in Los Angeles and I’m in Edmonton. But I did eventually have
the pleasure of meeting her at EXPCon in Florida, and I was a big fan of her work in games and cartoons even before
we worked together. We’ve managed to meet up again since then at various events in Los Angeles and in Edmonton.


How was it to go through such a saga, that has started over 5 years ago? How were the relationships with the rest of
the voice cast?


I didn’t get to meet most of the cast during recording of the first games. I’m based in Edmonton in Canada (where
Bioware has their offices), and many of the other actors were in Los Angeles or London. However, since then, I’ve had
the pleasure of meeting Jennifer Hale, Martin Sheen, Seth Green, Raphael Sbarge and Courtenay Taylor. They’re all
great folks, and I’m honored to have worked with them. The first of my cast mates I ever met was Lance Henriksen, back in 2008. We were introduced by my friend Nathan Fillion at Dragon*Con in Atlanta. I’ve been a big fan of Lance’s
for years, so I was thrilled to meet him. He was very friendly and we had a good chat about voice acting. I'm going to
be meeting Steve Blum for the first time in March 2013, when we're both guests at MomoCon in Atlanta.


How do you work with the foreigner voice actors?


We use a system called VADA, in which we can hear the other actors saying their lines while we record ours. Even
though we might not be in the same country, we still get to act together, in a sense.


What is your relationship with John Shepard? What kind of Shepard do you play?

I usually do two playthroughs, one as Renegade and one as Paragon. I play Renegade first, so that I can feel like I’m
redeeming myself on the Paragon playthrough.


Mass Effect is such an immersive universe, don’t you have some troubles with your identity when you play?

I’m an actor, so I think I’m used to it...


What was your favorite moment in the Mass Effect trilogy?

A single favorite moment is hard to pick… I really liked Renegade interrupts, though.


What would have been your perfect ending? Did you wish to go with your love interest on the beach, with your kids?

I’m pretty happy with the new DLC Control Ending, where Shepard gets to become an all-powerful, immortal Reaper
God… Also, I got to do the voiceover for that particular ending.


What was your favorite scene to play and on the other hand, what was the most difficult one?

I think the final scene with Anderson on the Crucible was one of my favorites to play. Getting to do a scene like that
with Keith David was a real honor for me.


You did know before anyone else the tragic fate of Shepard. How did you prepare yourself to say farewell to your hero
and your companions?


Well, since we still record new Mass Effect downloadable content every now and then, I haven’t had to say goodbye
quite yet…


Would you come back for a voice cameo in the next game, or in the movies?

Of course!


How did you come out with the idea to play Jon Grissom in Red Sand? How were the reactions of the fans, who might
have seen the face beneath the voice of their favorite character for the first time?


The Mass Effect fan film Red Sand was a class project by students at the University of Advancing Technology in Arizona.
Their instructor, Paul DeNigris got in touch with me through my agent and sent me the script, written by Caleb Evans. I
enjoyed it, and they were willing to wait for me to have time in my schedule to come down to Arizona for a few days. I
think the students did a great job! The response from fans has been very positive, but yes, some are confused to hear
Shepard’s voice coming out of my face.


What are the reactions of the Mass Effect fans that you meet and who recognize after a while ? Do you have funny facts
to tell us?


I will refer you to this video of me wearing my Commander Shepard armor in the 2012 Dragon*Con parade (video
attached):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOj7UMLmvms


What are your next projects?

I’m currently recording the new season of The Irrelevant Show for CBC Radio in Canada and helping edit the last few
episodes of my newest TV show, Tiny Plastic Men, for Super Channel. As I type this, I’m in England preparing for the
2013 London Improvathon, a 50 hour-long improv comedy show that many of the actors involved perform without any
sleep (including myself). I'm also doing some writing for Overhaul Games on a new project which I can't speak about
yet.


Could you tell us a final word that would go to the French community?


I should go.


Thank you a lot for a time, once again. We are great fans of your work here, and hope to see you again in other
projects ! Good luck and Keelah se’lai, commander !


Thanks for having me!
Commentaires
TheMetroidPrime - 10/04/2013 14:14
Vous lui avez envoyé le lien ?  :)
Karrie788 - 10/04/2013 14:18
{s}On{/s} Sacri l'a taggué sur Facebook et il l'a remarqué !
TheMetroidPrime - 10/04/2013 17:24
image

Sacrifars - 10/04/2013 19:43
Tu peux t'inclure dedans Karrie ;) (Plus on est de fous plus on rit).

TMP merci.  ;D
Kelrin - 10/04/2013 19:51
*a encore été oublié dans les crédits de traduction :( *
Hadès J Danceny - 11/04/2013 7:45
Les coquilles de la présentation de l'article ont été corrigées - attention Sacrifars par rapport à l'exactitude des informations pour la prochaine fois ;)
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