While most know Ross Marquand for his role as Aaron on The Walking Dead, he has also recently gotten into the world of voice acting with roles in Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine and Battlefield: Hardline. We spoke to Ross at Alamo City Comic Con to learn more about his favorite video games, voice acting, and impressions.
Gaming Conviction: You mentioned that you have done voice acting for some video games. Do you have a favorite?
Ross Marquand: For me I would have to say that Battlefield Hardline would have to be my favorite to work on, but I’m currently working on one right now that involves motion capture. I can’t say what the project is, but it’s very secretive and under wraps. I do believe it will be one of the best video games to be coming out within the next year or two.
GC: How hard is it to keep some projects under wraps given how fun you are having?
RM: It’s actually quite easy when you realize just how easy it would be for them to sue you if you say anything. It’s like on this show where I don’t want to say anything rude cause I want to stay alive and not be sued.
GC: Are there any companies or franchises in general that you would like to try and get into?
RM: I always enjoyed working on the Battlefield Hardline because I’m a big first-person shooter. I also feel like Grand Theft Auto is one of the best immersive game where you can pretty much do whatever you want. Of course there is always great voice work you can do in Fantasy. Final Fantasy is one of my favorites that I’ve always loved. I think that they have always had a strong emphasis on the story. That would also be one that I would look forward to doing next.
GC: Have you gotten to play the new Final Fantasy?
RM: I haven’t yet.
GC: You’ve mentioned that you play a lot of Xbox. Is there a favorite game on the system you enjoy?
RM: For me it would have to be Gears of War. Especially when it first came out it really revolutionized the way first-person shooters were played and how you maneuver through those worlds. I don’t feel like there has been a game that has come close to that cinematic feel. When you’re playing that game, you feel like you are watching a movie. That’s what I really love about it. You feel like you are being transported to those realms.
GC: Has the gaming industry affected how you play a character?
RM: I will say that when we were doing Battlefield Hardline, they did ask me to do a Matthew McConaughey type character for one of the bad guys. The funny thing about video games that people don’t realize is you’re often in these booths for extended periods of time and there are just spitballing you with different ideas. You, the director, and the editors are working together to create some of these characters on the fly. For that game in particular, I probably voiced around 25 different characters over the span of 18 months. I did Russians, Bulgarian, Florida swamp redneck guys, Texas redneck guys, everyone that you could possibly think of in the world just kinda gets thrown into a hodgepodge of different ideas. All of these voices would come up on the spot. Finding these voices, they would often be like “Hey, try this guy with a bit of a twist.” That was when you realize just how much work goes into these video games.
GC: Has your experience doing impersonations had gaming companies seek you out?
RM: Yes! The thing about most video game companies is that they seek out somebody who can do several kinds of voices. They not only want someone who can do one voice very well, but to get the most bang for their buck. So they’re going to go to someone who can do several voices at once. Luckily I’ve developed lots of voices over the years. At the time I was just doing it for fun at parties. I’m so happy that that nerdy stupid obsession of mine finally paid off.
GC: What got you into doing impersonations?
RM: I just pay attention to who some of my favorite actors are and listen to what their voices sound like. If it seems close to mine in tone then I’ll try it. I get asked to try and do women voices, but my tone is so low that I just can’t get there. It’s difficult to get my voice to do that much of a shift, but if it’s a guy like Bobcat Goldthwait he could do it very well.
GC: Is there any tips you can give to anyone who is looking to get into comedy impressions or voice acting?
RM: Study the movement. People just try and focus on the voice and people need to understand that the voice is informed by the body. Everybody’s throat and how they hold their body is going to inform the sound that comes out of their mouth. It’s just like an instrument, the way you play with the chords and manipulate it is going to effect the way the sound comes out. So don’t just focus on the voice, focus on how the person holds themselves. That will help a lot.