I, Rat Creature

edited August 2005 in Bone
Greetings Everyone,

I feel like a bit of an outsider here, Iam not quite forum-savvy. Well lets face it, Iam not exactly computer literate either (I have a sharp stick and a cave wall at home). But before I ramble much further, let me introduce myself....

My name is Brian Sommer, and Iam the voice over artist that plays one of the Rat Creatures in the upcomming Bone Game. (I play the gray one....the one WITHOUT the quiche fetish. The one you hear in the trailer....."Look who joined us for dinner).

I went to the website recently and took a look at the trailer. It still floors me how these brilliant artists can take "ones and zeros" and create such a beautiful three dementional environment. Really great stuff. My hats off to all the folks at Tell Tale.

So while I was visiting the site, I took a peek at the forums. I must say, you guys are a very spirited bunch. I applaude anyone that has such passion and protection for characters and stories that they hold dear. I just hope that we were able to due justtice to the images in your heads. It is definately tough to be the person to voice a character that has such a following, that has never been voiced before. When ever you READ a novel or comic, you always develope your own take on the characters sound and personality. So when some guy comes around and actually voices that character, many times, it does not match the "voices in your head" (Iam not making any psychological acqusations here!!!). A short trailer is sometimes not the best way to judge what the character will ultimately turn out to be. But again, I really appreciate such passion and commitment to the 'protection' of the characters by some of you.

When it is all said and done, I hope you all enjoy the experience. And if I have had a small hand (lets make that "vocal chord") in the overall experience, then I am truly pleased.

All my best.



  • edited July 2005
    Hi Brian, nice of you to stop by. And by 'nice' I mean 'brave'. ;)

    Can you tell us how you came to be voicing a Rat Creature in the game. And what else have you lent your vocal talents to?
  • edited July 2005
    Well if this IS actually the guy... hi there.

    Not to blow smoke, but the rat creature in the trailer was actually my favorite part. I haven't read the comics at all, but the voice was delightfully evil.

    Just out of curiosity, did they do any post-processing to your voice to get the effect? And how did you get involved in the production? Was it through the Bay Area Sound Department?
  • edited July 2005
    Brian, I want your job. Gimme.

    Seriously, voice-over work sounds like a DREAM JOB. I envy you.

    As for your part as the rat creature, I suppose it's about what I'd expect for that character, but as you said, it's hard to tell from one line from a trailer. If I had any complaint about the rat creature's voice, it would be that it sounds a bit too over-produced (if that's the term), and not entirely natural-sounding. But, of course, that wouldn't be a knock on you. It would be on the voice director and his or her expensive sound equipment, I guess. ;) Again, it's hard for me to really judge with only one line to go on. It's the only thing that bothered me, but even then, it didn't bother me that much. Just a thought.

    Nevertheless, I have a feeling I'll enjoy the characters you guys are bringing to life regardless of any of my pre-conceived ideas of what they might have sounded like. They're going to be ideal for the particular medium in which they're being presented, which in this case is a game. I think it would require a far different approach if someone was going to cast voices for a straightforward readthrough of the comics themselves, or even a radio drama.
  • edited July 2005
    Hello JP,

    "Brave" is right, I knew I would be sticking my neck on the chopping block for some of you to take a swing at, but hey.....I thought I would say hello anyway. To answer your question about how I booked the Rat Creature job, most voice over gigs are booked in the same way. The client (in this case Tell Tale Games) will send out scripts (called "sides") with a brief description of the characters. A picture usually accompanies that as well. The talent agencies (in my case Iam signed with "Stars, the Agency", in San Francisco) record their artists auditioning the lines. That is sent back to the client and they choose who they want for the job based on the auditions. In this case, I was told that Jeff Smith personally picked who he wanted to voice each of the characters from the artisits that auditioned.

    You asked what other projects I have been associated with. I would invite you to take a look at my rather silly website to see a list of my credits. WWW.briansommer.com

    Greetings Telarium,

    Yes, I really am "the guy". But I can completely understand your hesitation. One of the more interesting aspects of the internet is the annonimity of it all. You think your actually chatting with an 18 year old cheerleader, but it turns out to be a 40 year old used car salesman (sigh!).

    Thank you for your "non-smoke-blowing" compliment. It is much appreciated. As far as the post-processing on the character's voice (or "sweetening" as they call it), I think what you are hearing is the compression. It actually sounds 'slowed down', but Iam assumng that is just for the trailer. I recently was recording another job with Bay Area Sound (yes you were right about that part) under the expert direction of Julian Kwasneski. He mentioned there was a discussion about 'sweetening' some of the characters, but my Rat Creature was not one of them. So we will all have to EGERLY await the finished project to see how he turned out. Iam glad you found him "delightfully evil". That is definatley what I was aiming for. However, he is a bit neurotic as well, so we had to throw that characteristic in as well. There are some VERY funny dialogs between the two Rat Creatures that I think you will enjoy.

    And hey there Artwking4.....

    Well I have to agree with you. Voice over is a BLAST. I really enjoy getting in the booth and making a complete spectical of myself. Your observation of the voice being "over-produced' it think rings true, as I discussed with Telarium, But I think that is just the way the trailer sounds. So we shall see.

    You are absolutely correct about different kinds of voices being used for different 'deliveries' of the same project. Animation is more charater driven when selecting a voice. In the case of Narration (as you stated), the voice would not be as 'over the top'.

    To all of you. Thanks for the warm welcome. I hope the answers were entertaining, if not informative. (I try to make stuff up that sounds convincing....but you're all to damn smart for that!!!)

    All my best to everyone.

  • edited July 2005
    I hope the answers were entertaining, if not informative.

    Success! On both fronts.

    Yeah, "slowed down", that is how the rat creature's voice sounded. I couldn't quite describe it, myself. It's only just a little bit noticeable. And the more I listen to it, the more I realize it's nowhere near as altered as they could have made it. I thought it might have been a bit more complicated than that, but, hehe... I don't really know all that much about sound production anyway. It wasn't really covered in my Theatre Arts classes at college. Unfortunately. :p

    So, yes, welcome to Telltale and such. Make sure they give you a free download/activation of the game. And don't be a stranger around here, y'hear? :D

  • edited July 2005
    Hiya, Brian.

    Nice of you to stop by. This is the kind of interaction many of us would like to see more of I think. Fun and informative posts from involved parties. Great!

    Short question (if you should keep popping by):
    Did you know the Bone comic before getting involved with this game?
  • HeatherleeHeatherlee Telltale Alumni
    edited July 2005
    Well if this IS actually the guy... hi there.

    I am pleased to vouch for Brian here. He is in fact one of our actual rat creatures. Er...rat creature voices that is. And the brave fellow even volunteered to post here!

    Thank you very much for doing so, Brian.
  • edited July 2005
    Why, hello there!
    Nice to see some of the people involved in the game dropping by the forums to talk to the fans/gamers.

    Good job on the voice by the way Brian, sounds evil, but not in the same old cliche way, maybe slighly more dumbed down. I get the impression your character isn't a goon, but far from a merciless mastermind either.

  • edited July 2005
    Hi, Brian! I am one of the ones who never really envisioned the rat creature's voice like that, but I really like what you're doing with it (although it does sound slowed down)! Thanks for posting here, it's always nice to talk to those actually working on what we're all so desperate to play!
  • edited July 2005
    Swashbuckler, I must admit, I had never heard of the Bone Comics before I was attatched to the project. But since then, I have bought two of the hard back books and LOVE them. When I heard about the auditions, I did do a little research a the boneville website, just to see what the characters were all about.

    Which brings us to SMNMX and Robopenguins comments. I would agree that the Rat Creature is just a hair higher on the evolution scale from a 'thug', and well below that of the criminal 'mastermind'. I really love playing the bad guys. They are usually the most interesting of all the characters because of their duality. Most of the villians or henchmen have that very powerful evil side, but almost always there is a certain insecurity to them that can rear its ugly head. In the case of the Rat Creature, it seems that thier incompetence can be their downfall. I was just looking at the 'specs' given at the audition (I saved the script). It says, "....when hunting and fighting they are single-mindedly vicious......they are not completely stupid, but rather exhibit an extremely transparent cunning and often lack good judgement......they argue amongst themselves.....Pouty, whiney, and vicious, and can switch from one mood to the next very quickly." That is a fun character to read!!!!

    One of my favorite parts in the script (taken from the book) is when the two Rat Creatures are bickering about how to cook fone. My character, frustrated with arguing in front of the soon-to-be meal, turns to fone and asks him to come back in 30 mins when they will have the argument squared away! Effectively letting the 'meal' escape. Thats good stuff.

    For those of you who heard the character differently. Would you mind sharing your thoughts on what they might have sounded like. Iam curious what your take is. Share the 'voices in your head'.

    Take care,

  • edited July 2005
    I had much less of a "monstery" idea of the character. Pretty generic, now I think about it.
  • edited July 2005
    I guess the voice in my head was more pure evil and had more groveling/puffing/wheezing in it. like some mindless predator with a hiss at the end of each sentence. not sounding stupid, but more just "ok, i'm evil. it's not my fault i'm bad at it, but atleast it's in my nature, and my voice is built for evil". I kinda whinced a little the first time I heard the ratcreature voice, but I'm sure I'll grow accustomed to it. Hard to judge from just a small clip anyways, but it sounded like quality voice acting, not reading from a papersheet, having no interest in the character, which is probably most important anyways.

    That being said, i'm REALLY looking forward to seeing what you've done to these characters, and what i heard in the trailer didn't dissapoint, apart from the aforementioned "stupid stupid" line, which did seem a little bland (maybe taken out of context, who knows). Now if we just get that voiceactor here too, the chaos can commence. Uhm, I digress. My point being that whatever voices people have in their heads or ideas of how the gameplay/voices/characters are supposed to act/blabla, there's no surefire way. Just a question of quality vs. quantity. You can't please everyone, and people should just enjoy the ride, even if they live and breathe Bone (I don't. I do actually look up from the comicbooks once in a while to post on this here internet forum). Surely going in with too much or too little expectations can be bad, but understanding that you can't have it exactly as you had envisioned it in your head anyways, is a nice start. The worst that could happen is that the rare occurence where the product tops what you envisioned.

    Oh, yeah. I forget. Hi. Apignarb here. Nice rant eh? Now I'll let you other guys talk again.
  • edited August 2005
    Describing voices is painfully difficult for me, but I always imagined rat creatures having 'higher' voices than in the trailer. Something akin to Gary Oldman, even though not exactly that.

    Still, now that I think of Fifth Element and that phonecall Oldman's character receives, I understand why I refer to him. While otherwise the characeter isn't terribly applicable, the style of voice certainly was fairly close to what my view(?) of the rat creature duo voices is.
  • edited August 2005
    Well, there you have it! Two very different opions on the voice from unikki and apignarb. Both points presented well. And that folks brings up one of my favorite sayings....."That is why Crayons come in a box of 64". Someone might want Orange, while another wants Burnt Umber. But as long as we stay in the lines, it should work out just fine.

    Thanks again for the comments and for giving your reasons why. As a voice over artist, i really am interested in what the opinions of the audience are. I hope the premiere will not disappiont.

    Looking forward to more chat.

Sign in to comment in this discussion.