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BlizzConline: World of Warcraft: Voices of the Afterlife Liveblog
2021/02/19 at 3:56 PM
BlizzConline 2021 4:10pm PST
World of Warcraft: Voices of the Afterlife
Join us as we take a look behind-the-scenes with the voice actors behind some of your favorite World of Warcraft characters. Hear them share their experiences bringing vibrant characters and stories to life.
For those who can't watch the show, here're the haps as they come at us.
Senior Casting & Voice Director, Andrea Toyias is our host.
She is joined by:
Max Mittelman - Ara'lon
Ray Chase - Sire Denathrias
Debra Wilson - Draka
Alex Désert - Bwonsamdi
Josh Keaton - Anduin
Steve Danuser - Lead Narrative Designer
SD: Due to pandemic they had to figure out how to do voices from home. Or if they even could. Would this be a silent expansion? But the engineers pulled it off.
JK: Got back into playing WoW during the pandemic. It's a way to do things with other people.
MM: Despite being introverts they miss the personal contact. It's harder to collaborate when not in person.
AT: Never take hugs for granted again.
AD: We are not alone because we are all going through the same thing. You need to find the silver linings - like golf is a personal distance game.
DW: As a person with no attachments, who is never by herself but with herself, this was not the dark place in her life. She feels very privileged. It's ok to embrace your darkness to find your light. Has been reaching out to others.
AT: Debra is a Bastion of light.
DW: We need to look at all of the viruses in ourselves. Not just covid but all social issues.
RC: Got married - the pandemic caused his guest list to shrink down to 2.
SD: It's ok to have good days and bad days.
AT: Weird that the world and Shadowlands reflected each other. How do you get creative.
DS: His job is very face to face - brainstorming ideas, selling ideas. Didn't think he could work from home. But it worked. After the third week he knew Shadowlands would still be great.
AT: Working on Shadowlands kept them all going.
SD: Shadowlands was a blank canvas. It was only a concept before this expansion. Humans think of death as an ending. In Shadowlands death is a beginning. Death is a force, Death is an energy. Players can make the same connections with the characters even though they are in the afterlife.
DS: How do you get from the writing process and more races than ever to the voice actors?
SD: Making it happen is a collaborative process. He has a corkboard and starts pinning words up with their associated zones. He creates themes and then connects them. Characters, places, events all have connections.
Revendreth is about Sin, Purging
Ardenweald is about Renewal, the intersection between Life and Death.
AT: When you die in the Shadowlands are you double dead.
DS: It depends....Let's not get into that. But seriously the player characters are tied to the life force of Azeroth so they keep popping up.
AT introduces MM and shows a piece of the Ardenweald cinematic.
AT: The cinematic was recorded before covid but is so relevant. It's so emotional.
MM: It made his mom cry and she doesn't cry at animations. He was in a creative rut. Getting to work on Ardenweald was so fulfilling and such an honor. The writing is so good - it allows an actor to feel this way. The writing is so rich that there are many layers which makes characters compelling.
AT: How did you prepare for your audition?
MM: There was a picture which was helpful, and a little back story. He just went for it and it worked.
SD: They write up a casting sheet about the character. Andrea rewrites them to remove spoilers. Ara'lon needed to be sincere. He sees everything from concept to voice and music and this piece makes him tear up every time.
AT: Ray Chase is pure evil. And has great hair.
Shows a piece of the Revendreth cinematic.
RC: Denathrias is not his normal talking voice.
AT: He had classical music and a cup of tea in his sessions.
RC: He deepened his voice and made it silky smooth, and of course it had to be British. Again the piece, recorded before covid, was so timely. He is such a well designed character.
AT: She casts actors who have a connection to the characters. DW becomes her character.
Shows a piece of the Maldraxxas cinematic.
AT: A strong powerful female character.
DW: Draka is powerful because she's been tortured, psychologically, by life, in death. The pain is important because it empowers her. She uses the loss of her child to push her through what she does. This is on the inside only. As an Orc she perseveres.
AT: Talk about your physicality. You physically shift.
DW: It's immersion. The booth has to disappear. She focuses on every relate-tionship. The ground, the air. She takes her shoes off to feel the ground beneath her orc feet.
SD: This is why Draka had to be Debra. It's a human story, a story of love, of building up and having it snatched it away. And then building back up. You need a special actor for that.
AT: Introduces AD and shows a Bwonsamdi clip - his deal with King Rastakahn.
AD: I love that I get to tap into something I never get to do in my acting career. Be mischievous. This is one of the joys of his life.
AT: We had to keep moving the mic because he was physically Bwonsamdi.
AD: As DW said, the physicality helps. Tapping into ideas. Getting to be dark and mischievous.
SD: We write lines but he makes up his own and they are so much more delicious. We rewrite as he does it.
AT: Anduin. Let's watch some Anduin footage.
Shows the cinematic in which Anduin figures out Sylvanas.
AT: He's all hangry in that one.
JK: He's been in Maw. He's had enough.
JK: He's been through a lot, lost his father, had to be king and he's still a kid. Not all has gone well. But he has this unshakable faith in the light. He may have trusted to much but now in prison he has to step up. He's done with Sylvanas' ish. Anduin to Manduin.
JK: I was a child actor and had a very sheltered life. When I got out into the world life was there and he was unprepared for it. He relates to Anduin in that way.
SD: Anduin is so central to this story. In the cinematic he has all the power. The scene was worked on so hard by him and Terran Gregory and Christie Golden, and Josh and Patty (Sylvanas) nailed it.
Andrea Toyias has them each read lines. This is cool - you need to watch this.
AT: The best part is watching your faces.
She mixes up the lines and has them read each others' lines.
Ray Chase does a mean Josh Keaton impression.
Alex Désert reads Draka's lines as Bwonsamdi.
Josh Keaton does a mean Ray Chase impression.
Max Mittelman is intimidated about reading Bwonsamdi but nails it.
Debra Wilson becomes Ara'lon.
Honestly folks, look this up and watch it.
Parting words words of gratitude.
"When things seem the darkest the light will shine through."
"Take care til next time..."
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Oh. I love things like this. I always appreciate the work VAs put into this game.
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