As a kid, we always cheered for the hero, but as we got older we start to admire the villains. It could just be for their personality on a cartoon or tv show, or it could also be their outfit and fighting style if you’re playing a fighting game. If you’ve ever played a video game that involves a villain, than you’ve probably heard the voice of Patrick Seitz. Seitz has a reputation in the voice acting world as the go-to guy for all things antagonist. With voice acting roles such as Scorpion, Dracula, Bass Armstrong, and Kunzite, it’s not hard to see why he has earned that kind of reputation. Despite always playing a villain, Seitz was nice enough to discuss his voice acting career so far in video games as well as give us a small sneak preview of what to expect in Sailor Moon Crystal.
GC: How did you get into voice acting?
PS: The short version is that I moved out to L.A. to pursue the on-camera acting, studied voiceover on the side, had no luck with the on-camera stuff, and then was fortunate enough to fall in with a dubbing company on what was only their second or third anime series (so they were a noob, but so was I). They kept bringing me back, which eventually led to actors introducing me to more companies/directors. That led to more voiceover gigs, but also writing/directing opportunities, eventually. I’ve been lucky enough to do some mixture of the three as my full-time job for the last 12 years now.
GC: Most anime fans (and me) probably know you best as Malachite/Kunzite in Sailor Moon. How did you come about?
PS: The process by which I was cast as Kunzite was pretty straightforward–I got called in to read for him, and then a few weeks later, they followed up with a call telling me that I’d been cast. I think he’s the only one I read for, if I’m remembering correctly.
GC: Since you will be reprising the role in Sailor Moon Crystals, do you plan on going back and sounding the same, or do you plan on taking a completely different approach to the character?
PS: So far, they’ve been having me play Kunzite the same as far as how he sounds. I think the biggest departure for him in Crystal versus the original re-dub is the fact that he and Zoisite are no longer romantically involved. That’s taken some getting used to–but they still seem to be side-by-side all the time in Crystal, so maybe they’re just keeping it on the down-low.
GC: Judging by your resume, Is there something about doing the voice of villains that you enjoy?
PS: Villains are great fun! They’re often more interesting than the heroes who are sent out to stop them. A lazily-written hero can get away with just being reactive and focusing on stopping whatever the villain’s up to, but the villain himself has to have a compelling back-story to earn whatever dastardly deeds he’s up to.
GC: What was your first voice acting role in a video game and how did it come about?
PS: My first video game role was Prince Neidhart in Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song. He even had his own theme song, which I thought was the most bad-ass thing in the world. That role came about because the game was localized by New Generation Pictures, with whom I had worked on a great deal of anime, so they gave me a shot at auditioning.
GC: How different is it for you doing voice-over work for a video game compared to an anime?
PS: Video game work goes a lot quicker, since you’re usually recording dialogue dry (i.e. not to specific lip-flap). Sometimes you have less context for what’s going on, or don’t exactly even know what your character looks like. Sometimes, you’re just looking at a script that only has your lines, so you don’t know what the surrounding dialogue is saying. The better the budget and/or more love a project is being shown, the less chance you’ll have to contend with those issues. But they’re definitely a challenge. Also, speaking on a strictly mercenary level, video games pay far better than anime.
GC: Whenever you do a voice for more than one character in the same game such as Valkyria Chronicles or Street Fighter X Tekken, do you ever get worried that they will sound too much the same?
PS: Thankfully, when I’m called upon to provide more than one voice for a project, the characters in question are usually pretty different (as was the case with Radi and Leon in Valkyria Chronicles, and Bob and Hugo in Street Fighter X Tekken). The challenge is when they bring you in to voice three big, gruff soldiers, or three monsters of the same type. Gotta get a bit creative to mix ’em up without giving anybody a voice that’s just not right for the character.
GC: How big of a challenge is it to do fighting scenes? It seems like you would have to get into an angry mindset to do them.
PS: Fight scenes–and exertions in general–are definitely their own beast, but you don’t have to get mad to do them. A lot of time, the energy of the physicality informs the read, and vice-versa. You can’t go flailing around in the booth, but you can usually give a fighting exert a little jab or fist-pump to give it that tiny bit of action, and that energy is reflected in the voice.
GC: You did the voice of Dracula in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia and Castlevania: Judgement. Did you find it easy doing the same character close together as they were only released weeks after each other?
PS: Even though they were released a few weeks from one another, I think the gap between their recording sessions was a bit longer. That said, it wasn’t a problem. When you voice a recurring character, the director and engineer will play you a vocal ref–some examples of what you’ve done before–just to make sure you’re staying consistent with the sound and characterization. Whether it’s been years or just a few days since my last session, I always appreciate getting to hear it. Better safe than sorry, I say.
GC: How did you feel when you got to do the voice of Dracula as not only is he popular in the Castlevania franchise, but also one of the most famous horror genre characters of all time?
PS: There have been a lot of Draculas in a lot of different mediums over the years, so I’m just grateful that I’ve gotten to voice him a few times. The original Castlevania was one of my favorite games when I was a kid, so any involvement with that franchise is a real treat.
GC: Do you feel that it is different doing the voice of Scorpion now compared to when you started back in 2008?
PS: I feel like the biggest difference I’ve experienced with Scorpion over the years has been the depth of the characterization. In these last few iterations of MK especially, they’ve really knocked it out of the park with the storytelling and the character motivations, and all of that makes playing him a really rich experience.
GC: What kinds of memories do you have when you voiced Bass Armstrong in Dead or Alive 5?
PS: I remember that Bass was loud, had a motorcycle (on an oil rig–not much room to ride it!), and loved his daughter to bits. I was a bit disappointed that the guys in DOA didn’t have the same jiggle-physics as the women, just to even the playing field.
GC: What video game role would you say is the hardest to do?
PS: The hardest–and most rewarding–video game role I’ve gotten to voice would be Garrosh Hellscream from World of Warcraft. No doubt about it. The voice itself wrecks me, but the character is so well-written and his motivations are so true, it was always a thrill to play him
GC: Do you have a “Dream Role” that you would like to have that you haven’t had the opportunity to do so far?
PS: I try not to think about “dream roles,” since the odds of them happening are slim–no point setting myself up for disappointment. We audition for so many gigs, and book so few–even for working actors, the odds aren’t great, what with how many hundreds of auditions the companies are hearing for any one part. At this point, I’m just glad to be working, whether I’m the hero, the villain, some random soldier, or background walla.
GC: Is there a video game character that you have voiced that you would say is like you personality wise?
PS: I don’t know if I’ve voiced anyone who’s like me, personality-wise–I’m usually voicing really aggressive characters, or monsters. I’m no Protoss, but I guess Artanis would be somewhat in the ballpark. We’re both worried about doing the right thing, and could probably stand to let down our hair a little.
GC: What kind of advice would you give to somebody who has an interest in Theater and would like to get into voice acting?
PS: If you have an interest in theater, go for it! It doesn’t matter if you ever get paid to do it, so long as you enjoy it. Having the thing you love be the thing that pays your bills can be complicated–I’m a big proponent of finding ways to feed your soul that you can do whenever/however you want. With acting, unless you’re writing/producing your own project, someone else needs to give you permission to play. But if you can draw, or sing, or play an instrument, or whatever, then you have control of your own creative process. It’s important, but I don’t think people really think about it much.
GC: Are there any upcoming projects or conventions that our readers will be able to see you at?
PS: I’m still getting my 2016 con schedule figured out, and I don’t think there’s anything I’ve worked on recently that I can talk about yet. I’m wallpapered with NDAs. Story of my life.