We’re gonna need bigger guns“- Commander Shepard

I won’t bore you too long here and all the thank yous (and there is a lot) will come at the end of the fourth part. However, I do want to stress that the entire interview racks up to a hefty 22,000 words. I sent out emails, tweets and facebook requests to 80 actors. I tried to get everyone but ultimately it’s up to them if they wanted to take part. Still, 30 actors isn’t bad, right? So yeah, it’s huge. This opening part mainly covers all the actors and how they got their roles in Mass Effect. But stay tuned as over the next few weeks I’ll be asking them in-depth questions regarding their characters, how they approach their roles and their opinions on the franchise itself. The interview starts off with baseline questions I ask everyone but soon will diverge into unique sets of questions for each person until eventually converging once again at the end. So, enough of my talking- enjoy!

Retroplayer- First off, tell us a little about yourself.

Ginny McSwain (Voice Director)- I’ve been in animation for over 30 years, have won three Emmys, and have had the privilege of working for every major studio in the business at one time or another, starting with an incredible eight years at Hanna Barbera that started almost as a fluke.

It was 1974, I was newly married and – I thought – destined to become a world-famous actor! After six months of bad auditions and lackluster interviews, I fell back on a series of day jobs, including bank teller (gotta BALANCE that drawer at 5:00) and dental assistant (where I learned that staring into strangers’ mouths was not my career of choice). In those days, you could walk into virtually any establishment and ask if they were hiring. After passing Hanna Barbera every day on my way to work, I worked up the nerve to walk in. Oddly enough, a wonderful producer was standing near the reception area and asked me if I had an art portfolio. “Of course,” I answered, referring to the collection of doodles from my college minor in commercial art. It wasn’t much, but it was enough for the great Iwao Takamoto (creator of all of H/B’s major characters – Scooby Doo, etc.) to take me under his wing and start me on what I now call my master’s degree in animation. Truth be told, he didn’t care about my art, but liked that I had a college degree. Whatever it takes…
In those eight years, I worked my way up through the art department to development, and eventually started a recording department as casting director (under the great Gordon Hunt, who became my mentor).

That experience gave me the education and credibility to go out and do freelance casting and recording direction for other studios. Interactive games entered into the picture when I did my first game in 1997, Baldur’s Gate. And now here we are. My website, ginnymcswain.com offers a more detailed resume.On a more personal note, I take in stray cockatiels and am mother to two dachshunds that will kill you if you look at them (or me) the wrong way.*

Mark Meer (Commander Shepard)- I’m an actor, improviser, and writer. I’m also a geek – I own a large action figure collection and several super-villain costumes, so there’s really no use denying it. Interests/obsessions include (in no particular order) comics, gaming, Halloween, zombie movies, H.P. Lovecraft, and any other number of nerdy things. Speaking of which, I’m also fairly obsessed with improvisational theatre,  and I’m a member of several improv comedy troupes that tour internationally, including the award-winning Rapid Fire Theatre and Die-Nasty, the live improvised soap opera. On any given night of the week, I’m probably doing an improv show, somewhere. I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I have a wife and two dogs… or rather, she has me and two dogs.

Jennifer Hale (Commander Shepard)- hmmm… well… um, human female 5’6″, blue eyes, brown hair, loves to be outside, rock climbing or riding horses, digs travel, food and her family. That’s what comes to mind today.

Kym Hoy (Kasumi)- I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and started singing and acting when I was 9 years old. I studied theatre at Depaul Theatre School and graduated from The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. I’ve had the privilege of performing all over the United States and Canada with the Broadway National Tour of Miss Saigon, have had several guest star appearances on various television shows and have recorded 3 original cast albums for musicals. I currently live in Hollywood, with my two cats and my chihuahua.

D.C Douglas (Legion)- I like the colour beige, short walks at sewage plants, getting caught in a hail storm and virgin piña coladas. Sorry. I’m a film and TV actor in Los Angeles who also makes my mortgage doing voice over. Been in LA for 25 years, so it’s easier to check IMDB out for all the credits, or you can go to http://www.DCDouglas.net for acting stuff and http://www.MyVoiceOverGuy.com for my voice over stuff. I’d think your readers are more interested in the VO work, so a few highlights would be Albert Wesker in RE5 and a few other RE games, Raven in Tekken 6, Grimoire Noir in Nier Replicant, AWACS Ghost Eye in Ace Combat 6 – to name a few.

Michael Beattie (Mordin)- I’m an actor, originally from Toronto Canada, and I’ve been in L.A for around 20 years. You can read up about me at my official website, www.michaelbeattieVO.com. My career has been extremely varied.  I’ve done a lot of theatre, animation, videogames films and television.  Recently I had a nice little role in Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore and I’m now working on a great project, Universal Pictures’ The Lorax. It’s based on the Dr. Seuss book of the same name and written and directed by the same creative team that made Despicable Me. That would be Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul, and Chris Renauld- very creative and fun guys! I’ve also done a lot of on-camera work for Commericals, Film and TV…. the biggest of those being a film with Madonna and directed by Guy Richie called Swept Away… and swept away is actually what happened to it at the box office – dozens of people saw that worldwide…. We actually won the Razzie award for the worst movie of 2002 which I’m pretty proud of.  I also did a short film with Madonna and Guy called Star also starring Clive Owen, and you can still see that on youtube. It’s a very fun little 7 minute film I did with them.

Maggie Baird (Samara)- I grew up in Colorado and then lived in NY for many years working in the theatre and now live in LA. I was a company member for many years at The Groundlings in Hollywood where I also taught improv.  I continue to work as an actor on stage, film and TV and am also a singer/songwriter. I’m married and have two kids. I also participate in aerial Circus arts (trapeze and silks). Oh, I have done some other games too. Most notable probably were Saint’s Row 1 and 2

Steve Blum (Grunt)- Well, according to my mom, I was born in a barn and raised by wolves.  At least that’s how she described me growing up.  Actually I had a rather uneventful early youth in West Los Angeles, California, a fairly wild go in teenage years and a plethora of bizarre jobs as I got older.  I thought I was destined for medicine until I realized how insanely hard a doctor’s life can be.  Then I thought I’d be a musician – played on a mid-to-upper mediocre level in bands for several years, and somehow simultaneously landed a career in marketing and distribution for the film business.  During that run, I fell into dubbing Anime into English for fun on the weekends.  I seemed to have a knack for it, or at least I was really good at faking it, ‘cuz they just kept hiring me!  I did voice work on the side for almost a decade until I finally booked some stuff that could almost support me.  I quit my job and tried it full time.  For you aspiring actors out there, I wouldn’t recommend that route.  I was almost at the point of dumpster-diving until I finally started to become established in the industry several years later.

Now, I’m a happy V/O shmo, with a lot of the same bad habits I had in earlier days, but I love what I do and love the people I do it with – and can usually earn a living at it these days!

I like indoor smog, loud people, lousy music, traffic and aggravation.  Remember, I was raised by wolves.  Wolves love misdirection and trickery, so there’s your puzzle for the day.

Kimberly Brooks (Ashley)- I love voice-over! I’ve been a voice actor for over15 years and I feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to voice characters on some amazing projects, including Mass Effect, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Avatar. I also “work” in other areas of the voice-over industry, including television promos for NBC and Disney, commercials, TV animation, animated features films and of course, games. And when I say “work”, what I really mean is “play”. It’s great fun.

Robin Sachs (Zaeed)- I’m an actor who’s been at it for a long time. I was lucky enough to have parents who were in the business and, after their initial horror at my wanting to act, backed my choices with all their blessings. I trained at RADA and went on to do repertory all over the UK and abroad, interspersed with movies and TV. As with most Brit actors, you tend towards casting as wide a net as possible as far as work opportunities are concerned, so I didn’t really limit myself as far as medium was concerned, until I came to Los Angeles, where your choices really become aimed towards Film and TV, as that’s what being an actor on the West Coast is mainly about.

Keythe Farley (Thane)- I live in Los Angeles with my wife and two daughters. I like baseball and golf. I play the piano, trombone and ukulele– I love music. I moved here in 1985 from Sacramento, CA to pursue a career as an actor. I attended UCLA and received a degree in Theatre, Film and Television. I bumped around for a few years working as a taxi driver, singing waiter and food deliverer. In 1989, I got a job at the Texas Shakespeare Festival in Kilgore TX. That fall, I appeared in a play that was seen by an agent who signed me and started sending me out on auditions. I booked co-starring parts on DOOGIE HOWSER MD, FULL HOUSE, BEVERLY HILLS 90210, STAR TREK: VOYAGER and the HBO movie …AND THE BAND PLAYED ON among others.

In 1994, my wife convinced me to take a PA position at Klasky-Csupo Animation. I worked my way up the production ladder on shows like DUCKMAN, SANTO BUGITO, MAD TV and RUGRATS. In late 1996, my good friend Brian Flemming and I came up with an idea for a musical called BAT BOY. When I asked for three months off to write the show, the folks at Klasky offered me the job of voice directing RUGRATS. That cartoon led to some RUGRATS video-games, and that led to a career in voice acting and directing that continues to this day. And BAT BOY went on to become the Best Off-Broadway Musical of 2001, and is performed all over the world hundreds of times a year.

Fred Tatasciore (Saren)- I was born in New York, raised in Los Angeles.  Graduated from UCLA’s School of Theater Film and Television (Masters in Acting and Animation), worked in Comedy, Theater, around Los Angeles. I now work as a Voice Actor and animator, and live in Venice California with a bunch of animals.

Peter Jessop (Sovereign)- I’ve been in voice over for over 22 years. I’m primarily in commercials but I do enjoy working on animation and of course video games. If you work it right you can usually get a copy. I’m also a gamer so that’s a nice bonus.

Neil Ross (Codex Narrator)- I was born in London, England and spent my childhood there and in Montreal, Canada. When I was twelve we moved to California. We spent about a year in the Los Angeles area and then headed south to San Diego where I finished middle school and all of high school. If I have a home town, San Diego would be it.

In my mid teens I developed a fascination with radio broadcasting and decided to pursue that as a profession. I spent twenty two years as a DJ and production guy. My early years in radio took me to a number of strange places but most of my radio career was spent in Honolulu, Hawaii, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles, California.

As time went by and my interest in radio began to wane, I began to hear about the voice-over business. It sounded like a perfect job for someone with my rather odd skill set so when I arrived to work in radio in L. A. in 1978, my plan was to transition out of radio and into VO. I managed to make this happen in about five years. There was a two or three year period where I worked in both fields. My last radio work ended in 1985. I’ve been strictly free-lance voice-over ever since. I’m married to an artist and have a 23 year old daughter who is an actress.

Kim Mai Guest (Hana Murakami/Captain Maeko Matsuo)-Well, it all started when I was 4 and was a mouse in a school play. Just kidding. Well, not really, it did start there. I’ve always known I wanted to be an actor, even back then. Flash forward to graduating college with a degree in theatre and I’m still playing mice for a children’s theatre company in L.A. I loved it, but it didn’t pay all that well, so I thought, “Well animation is a lot like children’s theatre, and the pay is a whole lot better.” So I took every class I could and landed Mei Ling as my first voice over job (all thanks to Kris Zimmerman, my guardian angel). And the rest is history as they say (and that credit goes to my incredible agents at AVO and all the great people who hire me. In my free time I like to snowboard, rollerblade and rock climb (yes, real rock, not that fake, woosey gym stuff.

Yuri Lowenthal (Daniel/Prisoner 780)- I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, but my father began working for the government so we traveled a lot all over the world. I’ve lived in West Africa, North Africa and Japan, in addition to traveling throughout Europe. I speak several languages as a result. I’ve been acting professionally for almost 15 years now, but only recently (the last 6 or 7) been voice acting (and therefore making a living as an actor). I still engage in (and adore) all forms of acting, whether I’m behind a mic, onstage or in front of a camera. I also write and produce, often with my wife, Tara Platt. We published a book this year called VOICE-OVER VOICE ACTOR: WHAT IT’S LIKE BEHIND THE MIC and our feature film TUMBLING AFTER should be available by the end of the year or by early next year. I’m a total fanboy when it comes to Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books and Movies and I own more toys than most children I know.

Gideon Emery (Chellick/ Kenn)- I’m a British South African American resident. I started out doing stand-up comedy and theatre. Although I did over 3,500 voice-overs while in South Africa, there weren’t any games, so my first encounter with VG voices was with Everquest 2. And I love my job.

Marianne Copithorne (Calantha Blake/Dr. Ross)- Marianne is an Edmonton based, award winning Director/Actor/Playwright and the Artistic Director of the Freewill Shakespeare Festival. Having received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama (1982), and her Masters in Fine Arts Directing (2003) at the University of Alberta, she has spent 28 years acting, directing, teaching, and collaborating with playwrights on new works. Although Edmonton is her home, her work has allowed her to work in Victoria, Vancouver, Vancouver Island and British Columbia, Edmonton, Calgary, and throughout the province of Alberta, Saskatoon, Regina, Toronto and Southern Ontario, Montreal, and Quebec City. She lives with her husband, actor John Wright in Edmonton. When not preparing for and launching the Freewill Shakespeare Festival, Marianne continues to be a freelance director and actor with other theatre companies.

John Wright (Barla Von / Expat / Fist / Gavin Hossle)- A 37 year veteran of the Canadian Stage, John has appeared across the country from Halifax’s Neptune Theatre to the Vancouver Playhouse. He is also a regular TV & Film performer whose credits include CBC Opening Night, Chasing the Chameleon, Mentors, MacGyver, The Beachcomers, Danger Bay, Ray Bradbury Theatre, Small Sacrifices and the features Deadly Arrangement. Walls. and The Assassination of Jesse James.

Chris Edgerly (Captain Ventralis/Cole/Powell)- I grew up in Savannah, Georgia and spent my childhood like a lot of performers – locked in my room doing voices on a tape recorder and drawing comics, etc. I was always the cut-up, the guy making his brothers and friends laugh, and writing little stories to amuse myself. How I managed to finish school is beyond me. In college I discovered stand-up comedy and toured for ten years around the country, doing gigs in comedy clubs, dive bars, and about every other kind of place in between. There was some on camera acting sprinkled in there as well. Finally I settled in Los Angeles and decided that voice acting is where I wanted to focus. It’s been seven years since I made that decision and I haven’t regretted it for a second.

Simon Templeman (Admiral Han’Gerrel vas Neema/Dr. Gavin Archer)- I am from England, East Grinstead in Sussex. National Youth Theatre. Central School of Speech and Drama. Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre before coming to the US in 1986 with “Nicholas Nickleby.” I now live and work here in LA. Lots of TV and film work in America including “Northern Exposure ” “Just Shoot Me” and “24″.

Josh Dean (Horftin/Jonn Whitson/Corporal Richard L. Jenkins/Schells)- Name’s Josh Dean. I hail from Edmonton, AB (home of Bioware) but I have lived in Los Angeles for the last 6 years. I’m an actor, writer and improv comedian. I’ve starred in series and pilots for ABC, Comedy Central and a few for FOX. I’ve also acted in movies which have been winners at film festivals around the world. Also, I am a crazy huge video game nerd and have been for my entire life.

Richard Green (Vido Santiago)- I am a professional storyteller. Like any artist, I work in different mediums but always telling stories. I do voiceover for TV radio and movies, act (last film role was as the Magician in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive). I direct – 7 Year ZigZag (feature film in rhyme) and over a hundred commercials, promos and demos. I produce – music, TV, film. I write – songs, scripts and stories. I perform- as singer, actor, entertainer. All ways of storytelling.

Vanessa Marshall (Saphyria)- First off, let me say thank you for asking me to do this interview.  I wish I were better at single player games to see how they all turn out, but I will say that it was an honor to be involved with MASS EFFECT.  From what I have seen so far, it is simply amazing.

A little background?  I went to  Princeton University and then got masters in acting from the New York University Graduate Acting Program.  I began my voice-over career performing commercial campaigns for Propel Fitness Water, Mervyn’s, and BMW, among others. In the world of games, I played Olga in “Metal Gear Solid 2,” H.Q. in “Socom II” and Jan Ors in “Star Wars: Jedi Knights II.” Today, I can be heard as Mary Jane in “The Spectacular Spider-man,” Wonder Woman in “Justice League: Crisis of Two Earths,” and Irwin, an African American boy, in the cartoon “The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy.”  Additionally, I narrate shows for E!, WE, and VH1, as well as promos for CBS, FOX, and MTV.   As a stand up comic and former “plus-size” model, I also created a successful one-woman show “Got Phat?” that ran successfully in both Los Angeles and New York City.

Patricia Zentilli (Shadow Broker DLC character)- I am an actress and a singer and now a mother! It’s the best job ever!

Steve Staley (Dr. Palon/Officer Eddie Lang)- I’m a voice actor living in Los Angeles for the past 23 years after moving from Colorado to attend Chapman University in Orange, CA. I’ve been doing voice overs for about 16 years.

Shanelle Gray (Dr. Alestia Iallis)- I am a married mother of 1 and almost another, we are 6 months pregnant with Baby #2!! My husband and I own a large acting & Voice Over school called Gray Studios!www.graystudiosla.com. I love to play poker, and hang with my friends and Family!

Dave Fennoy (Warlord Okeer/Ronald Taylor)- I was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, went to collage at Macalester college and majored in theatre and finished at Howard University where I studied Jazz Studies. I went on the road playing music for a few years as a singer songwriter but after getting marries and having a daughter I decided to go into radio to stay close to music but not be travelling around too much. I settled my family in Berkeley Ca and worked at a number of San Francisco stations, including morning drive at KDIA and KSOL using the very radio name Billy David Ocean. While doing radio I discovered voice over and soon picked up stakes and moved to LA to pursue a voice over career. Since coming to LA I’ve been on numerous commercials and TV promos, narrated documentaries, played a variety of characters and creatures good, bad, and ugly. And of course I’ve been on a lot of games, including Worlds of Starcraft 2, Mafia 2, and Mass Effect.

Wendy Bruan (Gianna Parasini/Arcelia Silva Martinez)- I was born and raised in a suburb outside of Chicago, Illinois.  I began acting at age 12, as The Scarecrow in The Wiz, and continued performing in musicals and plays throughout high school and college.   After graduating early from Indiana University, (I was in a big hurry to start my career!) I moved to Los Angeles and started doing lots of national commercials and starring in independent films.  The films won awards at film festivals all over the world, and helped me to get noticed.  I’ve spent the last decade playing wonderful roles in film, television, commercials and voice-over. (You can check out the long list here at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0105876/ ) This all started out as just something I loved to do as a young girl, so I feel blessed to have made it my career.  I’m also married to actor, Josh Coxx (he’s coming up in the new THOR movie ( http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0185104/) and we have a sweet 2 year-old son.  We’re outdoorsy types who love southern California, and spend a lot of our time biking along the beach, surfing, and  snowboarding.

Anndi McAfee (Emily Wong)- Anndi McAfee was born on September 28th in Los Angeles, CA. She began performing on stage when she was seven and soon began working in film when she was eight. She enjoys sports, racing her car, dancing, and spending time with her family and friends. In 2004 she received her Master’s degree in Communication Studies.

Rana McAnear- (Samara’s face model)- I was born and raised in San Diego, California along with two younger sisters and an older brother. I moved to Los Angeles almost 8 years ago to pursue a career in acting. Along the way I found modelling and wardrobe styling. I’ve just started going to school for fashion design and I love it! One of my passions is volunteering at a camp in San Diego for the American Cancer Society every summer for the past 15 years. I’m a survivor myself so it’s great to be able to give back!

Retroplayer- How did you land your role in Mass Effect?

Mark Meer (Commander Shepard)- I’d worked on a number of Bioware Games before, starting with Baldur’s Gate II back in 2000 (my part consisted of one line in a cutscene right at the end of the game). I’d worked on pretty much all of their games after that, in some capacity or another (Neverwinter Nights, KotOR, Jade Empire…). At the time I was asked to audition for the role of Commander Shepard, I was already working on Mass Effect, doing some preliminary development work for them on how the various alien races would sound. I did the audition, and sort of forgot about it, since I didn’t think I had a chance at it, and just sort of assumed I’d get some work as aliens and what have you. Then I did a callback, and another, and then was informed that I had the part! It floored me – especially when I found out that Jennifer Hale was playing female Shepard. Quite an honor to get to be her “other half”. She’s one of the best and busiest voice actors in North America.

Jennifer Hale (Commander Shepard)- I was called in by Chris Borders who was handling the casting for Bioware and read for the director Ginny McSwain and got the part that way.

Kym Hoy (Kasumi)- I have an agent who sets up auditions and I have a home studio where I record my auditions and submit them in an mp3 form, and that’s how they found me for this job!

D.C Douglas (Legion)- I slept with several audio engineers until I found the right one at Technicolor in Burbank.  The spike in Herpes outbreaks in sound studios across LA would be because of me – my bad.  Oh, okay! I auditioned for it.  Some copy (script) showed up in my email from my agent, I popped into the booth and recorded it, sent it back.  A few weeks later I was booked!  Not an exciting story, but VO people love it – a job!  Only recently did I actually get booked for a video game without an audition.  Twice for two big games coming out in 2011 that an NDA prevents me from naming.  But they’re cool!

Michael Beattie (Mordin)- I did something very unique… I read for it! I went into the booth with my voice over agent and read for it.

Maggie Baird (Samara)-  I just auditioned from my kitchen. That is where we have our computer and recording equipment set up. We get auditions sent to us from our agents via email and then both my husband (also a VO actor) send them in. From oneof those I got the role of Samara.

Steve Blum (Grunt)- Huge bribes and a lot of nudity.  Not mine though.  That’d just be wrong.  Actually, I auditioned from my home studio, if I remember correctly. And was lucky enough to get “the call.” I REALLY got lucky with Grunt.  He was the one I was hoping to book!

Kimberly Brooks (Ashley)- I did it the old-fashioned way. I auditioned! I gave it my best shot and booked the job. Although, rumour has it, that I was not Bioware’s first choice. I apparently replaced another actress, who shall remain nameless.

Robin Sachs (Zaeed)- Bioware requested an audition from my agent and I was happy to give ‘em one.

Keythe Farley (Thane)- My agent submitted me for it. Funny story. I was at a friend’s house for a dinner party and he had a recording studio at his house. I asked if he would mind recording my audition for this warrior/ monk that my agents had sent me. He agreed on the condition that, if I booked the job, that I would take him out to lunch. I actually didn’t hear that I’d been awarded the role until months later, and when I discovered that it was the audition that I’d sent from his studio, I phoned him up and we went out for a steak salad together.

Fred Tatasciore (Saren)- As I recall, I auditioned the role, and think Chris Borders (someone I have had the great honor working with as a director), had cast me.  I’m not sure what the whole process was, but I am grateful.

Peter Jessop (Sovereign)- I auditioned. I had been following the buzz on it before they had put it together and it sounded like a project I would really like to be a part of. So, when the casting call went out I read for a number of roles. The audition for Sovereign came out much later than a lot of the roles and I had already recorded several other parts in the game. I guess they liked my take on Sovereign.

Neil Ross (Codex Narrator)- The same way one lands 99 per cent of the work in this business – I auditioned for it. I think I was asked to audition for this role because I’ve done a lot of documentary narration over the years and the work I did for Mass Effect was so similar. Also the producers know that, because of my years in radio doing live commercials and rip and read newscasts, I’m able to get through a lot of relatively unfamiliar copy with minimal mistakes.

Kim Mai Guest (Hana Murakami/Captain Maeko Matsuo)- Well, I’m not sure really. They just told me to show up. I’d worked with Bioware on Jade Empire so they knew me. But I think it might have been the wonderful wizard Chris Borders who might have just called me in to fill a few roles. Or maybe the fabulous Ginny McSwain (I believe she directed me that day). Often you just never know what benevolent force is at work.

Yuri Lowenthal (Daniel/Prisoner 780)- It was just an audition like any other. I hadn’t played ME before then but knew about it because it was so popular and because it had gotten high marks for story and characters.

Gideon Emery (Chellick/Kenn)- I auditioned for a few roles for an upcoming game and a few weeks later found myself recording.

Marianne Copithorne (Calantha Blake/Dr. Ross)- I was contacted by the casting director Caroline Livingstone from Bioware. I auditioned and got the role.

John Wright (Barla Von/Expat/Fist/Gavin Hossle)- I was contacted by the casting director Caroline Livingstone from Bioware. No audition required.

Chris Edgerly (Captain Ventralis/Cole/Powell)- I auditioned like everybody else and was chosen.  I don’t know if I remember the process, since it was a few of years ago that I worked on the first one.  but there’s nothing too exotic or colourful to share.  it’s yet another story of “man speaks into microphone, man gets job out of it.”  my favourite story, of course.

Simon Templeman (Admiral Han’Gerrel vas Neema/Dr. Gavin Archer)- I got the role in Mass Effect because I had worked for Bioware before I think.

Josh Dean (Horftin/Jonn Whitson/Corporal Richard L. Jenkins/Schells)- I have known some of the higher ups at Bioware for a long time, I even used to perform improv at their christmas party, so when they needed to cast actors for the games they were working on they asked me to audition. The first one I did with them was the player character for an E3 demo of SW:KOTOR a loooooong time ago. I’ve since appeared in almost every game they’ve made (but not all the add-ons). My biggest parts were Furious Ming and Henpecked Ho in Jade Empire and Ferron the Iron Golem in Neverwinter Nights.

They’ve also been kind enough to have me do other work for them including mocap and expression recording for Mass Effect and Dragon Age, game testing for KOTOR and I also put desks together for them when they moved to their new offices.

Richard Green (Vido Santiago)- Through the regular agent’s audition process though in this case there is an interesting story.  My name, Richard Green, is a common one.  In fact I was named after the famous British actor of 40′s film and 50′s TV Robin Hood fame (Richard Greene).  There are other Richard Greens (with different spellings) in the union as well.  In this case, a very nice guy named H. Richard Greene, was mistakenly brought in for my role. They liked him so much (he is really a fine actor) that they gave him a different role and then brought me in to do mine.

Vanessa Marshall (Saphyria)- I auditioned for it.  I was very lucky!

Patricia Zentilli (Shadow Broker DLC character)- I recently moved to Edmonton and got in touch with Caroline Livingstone at Bioware to let her know I was in town and interested in doing any voice work she may have for me! Lucky for me she brought me in to voice some characters!

Steve Staley (Dr. Palon/Officer Eddie Lang)- As far as I can remember, I read for the game as part of my usual stack of auditions at my agents office. I was there reading commercials, cartoons, games, etc.

Shanelle Gray (Dr. Alestia Iallis)- I auditioned for the role at my VO agencies office and I booked it!!

Dave Fennoy (Warlord Okeer/Ronald Taylor)- I got the role in Mass Effect the old fashioned way… I auditioned for it.

Wendy Bruan (Gianna Parasini/Arcelia Silva Martinez)- I auditioned in my agent’s recording booth.  Every week I audition for a variety of projects–ranging from commercials to promos to animation. I take a lot of time with each audition to thoroughly read the script I am given and try to understand everything that is going on in each scene.  So much of acting is about the thoughts between the lines, and the emotion that is going on inside the character.  I try to bring out my unique take on each audition, and then let it go.  The rest is up to the Universe.  I’m just glad that Mass Effect thought I was a match with Gianna Parasini.  It’s nice when it all lines up!

Anndi McAfee (Emily Wong)- I’m not exactly quite sure how I landed the role of Emily Wong. I was simply called by my agency to show up for the job, not knowing anything about the character or game. I’m not sure if they heard my VO demo, or if the producers heard me on something else prior, etc. Not knowing anything about the job though, I was a little nervous at that session!

Rana McAnear (Samara’s face model)- I answered a casting BioWare posted on a website called model mayhem and submitted my pictures to them. It was actually very easy on my end except for the anticipation waiting to find out if I booked the job!

-Read Part Two