Ryan Drummond interview by Pachuka
From Sonic Retro
Pachuka: Starting off, when did Sega contact you for the original Sonic Adventure game, and were you clued in to what it was before they decided to use you?
Ryan Drummond: Sega didn't contact me for the first game. I went to an audition like someone would for any acting or VO job, which I heard about through my voiceover agent. When I got there I was given pictures of all the characters and I had a few moments to come up with what I thought would be the "right" voice for each one. I tried out for every voice I could, but the only one I felt like I really had nailed was Sonic's voice. I guess I was right because they offered me the job about 15 minutes later and I've been doing it ever since!
Pachuka: What studio did you use, a Sega owned studio or an external one choosen by them?
Ryan Drummond: An external studio. Actually a couple of them in San Diego, CA. We used Lightning Studios and also Bill Corkery Productions. Sega America headquarters are up in San Francisco (about 10 hours away by car), so they were nice enough to come down here where most of the talent for the game was so we all didn't have to travel up there.
Pachuka: Did you record any audio that was scrapped or unused? Not so much outakes or takes they didn't like, but actual samples they decided not to mess with at all.
Ryan Drummond: I'll tell ya, the script for each game is like a book. It's a lot of pages, probably with about 10-15 lines on each page. It ends up being hundreds of lines that I record, so I have NO clue what they use and what they don't! :) Usually when I hear the final game, I don't remember even recording any of the lines that are in there!
Pachuka: Were you clued into the storyline, levels, or setup of the game before or during the production of the game, or did they keep you in the dark?
Ryan Drummond: I only received a general direction before recording each line, like "you're scared here", "this one's angry", or "you're running while you say this". That's all you get. So you just have to hope that how you're delivering a line is going to work for the visual that goes with it. For SA1, we actually did "looping" which is recording the lines WHILE you're watching the animation on a screen. That is technically harder to do, but then you're sure your delivery is going to be correct. For SA2, we just recorded lines and were coached on how each line should be read by the Sonic Team.
Pachuka: during production, were you in contact with the development team, or did you go through lower level production people who reported to the dev team?
Ryan Drummond: Both really. There can be a lot of people listening in when you record your lines. They all care about the game and want to make sure it's up to their standards!
Pachuka: How many takes did you normally have to do per line? I ask because they didn't sync your voice to the japanese speaking 3d models, and I'm curious if they attempted to.
Ryan Drummond: Takes ranged between 1 and 10, depending on what the line was and how difficult it was. And yes, the lips in the game are speaking Japanese and we're speaking English, so they don't really line up. :) They attempt to make the English line start when the lips start to move and stop when the lips stop, but it can't always work out because in general it takes a lot longer to say something in Japanese than it does in English! This process was easier for SA1 when we could see the animation, but in SA2 we were just told, "this line needs to be 6.4 seconds long", for example. Then they'd time each take and use the one that was closest to 6.4 seconds.
Pachuka: Did they bring you back into the studio to redo some voice samples or to create new ones for the updated games?
Ryan Drummond: Just a few. They mostly used the same samples from older games.
Pachuka: Were you suprised that sega called on your services again?
Ryan Drummond: Not really. Sega America and I really get along and I knew they'd like to keep using me. Also, there are alot of fans out there who have "approved" of my voice for Sonic, and when the people that buy the games speak, the company listens! Yes, you do have the power! I'm hoping that 4Kids Entertainment will agree with that theory and use me for "Sonic X"!
Pachuka: Are the situations the same as they were for the adventure series of games, or have things changed in the way you do them?
Ryan Drummond: Things are always a little different: method of recording, location, who's there to listen, etc. All in all is basically the same.
Pachuka: Are you ONLY doing Sonic's voice this time, or are you doing others as well?
Ryan Drummond: Only Sonic. The folks at Sega didn't really want me lending my voice to any other character, just to concentrate on being the best Sonic I could be! The only exception to this rule was made for SONIC SHUFFLE, where I also did the voice of Knuckles.
Pachuka: Have you been told about the storyline of Sonic Heroes, or any aspects of it?
Ryan Drummond: Very little. It's still in production stage, so even if I knew something about it, it would probably change within the next week or so!
Pachuka: have you been requested or approached by anyone about doing Sonic's voice for Sonic X when it comes to America and Europe?
Ryan Drummond: Unfortunately, no. I'm hoping that will happen soon, however!
Pachuka: Thank you very much Mr. Drummond