Interview: Jennifer Hale Talks Voice Acting, Mass Effect

Posted on by Kara

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Jennifer Hale is no stranger to the world of voice acting. 90s kids might know her as the voices of Miss Keane and Sedusa on The Powerpuff Girls or her numerous roles on Johnny Bravo. Video Game fans know her much such roles as Sarah Palmer (Halo franchise), Rosalind Lutece (Bioshock Infinite), Naomi Hunter (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriot), and of course the female Commander Shepard (Mass Effect franchise). We sat down with Jennifer at Dallas Fan Expo 2017 to discussed everything voice acting and the world of Mass Effect.

Gaming Conviction:How did you get into voice acting?
Jennifer Hale: I use to work at a video production studio in Birmingham Alabama called Leo Ticheli Productions and a little studio called Boutwell Studios was next door. They would ask me to come over and do some commercials for them sometimes and I thought it was awesome. So I worked at it, treated it like a business, and got a career out of it.

GC: Who are some of your inspirations in the voice acting world?
JH: Every single person that I work with. Dee Bradley Baker, Rob Paulsen, Jeff Bennet, Tress MacNeille, Kari Walhgren, the list is just humongous.

GC: Was there something early on that clicked where you realized that you could do this for a living?
JH: The first time someone paid me $30 to talk. I was like “What!?! Yes Please!!”

GC: How different is it to do voiceover work for a video game compared to a cartoon?
JH: It’s very different. In a cartoon we usually have a script that it 32-28 pages depending on how they did it. Sometimes it can be 15 pages. We all share the load in that. We take turns talking. In a video game we measure those scripts in inches. They’re usually 4-8 inches thick. It’s a one-person show for 4 hours. It’s very intense.

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GCAt what point did you realize that the Mass Effect series have become a phenomenon?
JH: I don’t really go into a project thinking of it in those terms. I was really struck at just how much the fans loved it. Even though I knew there was going to be a second game, I was surprised and happy when we got to do the second game. After we found out there was a third game, I was still very happy.

GCHave you ever done voiceover for a videogame that was ultimately cancelled?
JH: Oh yes, I even did one where they motion captured me as part of a role. 

GC: When you’re going through your daily routine, does one of your thoughts come out as one of your characters?
JH: Occasionally you do hear voices in your head and they’ll speak in some sort of voice, but if I’m with my horses there’s sometimes a cowboy voice that will tell me what to do. I often think with a British voice in my head and sometimes French. All sorts of things.

GC: Have you ever cosplayed as one of your characters to see if anyone recognized you?
JH: There may or may not have been an incident where I may or may not be the voice of that I’ve dressed up as. It may or may not have ever happened.

GC: Do you ever go back and look at some of the faces you’ve made while doing voices for characters?
JH: Nope! I’ve never had and would be very embarrassed to do it