I recently got the chance to talk to Patrick Seitz about his role in the newest ‘Mortal Kombat’ game. Here, Patrick talks about the game, how he got into the business, and the weirdest gifts he has received….
Hey Patrick. Thanks for taking the time out to speak to me. Obviously, we’re here to talk about your role in the new ‘Mortal Kombat’ game that’s been recently released worldwide . First off, were you a fan of the franchise before you signed on?
My appreciation of the ‘MK’ franchise was more historical in nature—I remember playing the first one – especially when there really wasn’t really anything like it in terms of violence and gore. I was never very good. Admittedly; the memorization and execution of combos wasn’t really my forte, especially at the speed you have to pull ‘em off when you’re playing against another person.
You voice the character of Scorpion / Shao Khan (and you’ve also voiced both characters in the ‘Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe’ game too) – how does it feel to voice both of these iconic characters?
Well, I’m not voicing Shao Kahn in this most recent iteration, although the internet insists otherwise. But voicing him in ‘MK vs. DC’, and voicing Scorpion in both of the games, is a real treat. These are characters that have meant a lot to folks for a very long time, and I definitely want to give them the respect they deserve. And Scorpion in particular is so bad-ass—it feels pretty damn good!
How did you get involved in the ‘Mortal Kombat’ project in the first place?
I got involved thanks to the efforts of Brigitte Burdine—a great VO casting director (who became a very close friend of mine, but whom we lost late last year, sadly). She had me audition for a number of roles, and it was my recording on ‘MK vs. DC’, that led to me getting a spot at my VO agency. So it was a very serendipitous experience all around.
Have you played the game yet? What do you think of the end result?
I have not played the game yet, but I’m chomping at the proverbial bit to do so! It looks great from what I’ve seen, and I’ve heard nothing but positive things about it. Also, I’m not gonna lie…the bookends that come with the Kollector’s Edition look pretty sweet too.
If Scorpion and Shao Khan went into an arena together, who out of the two would come out victorious?
I’m gonna say Scorpion, but I’m biased. Not saying it would be an easy victory, mind you, but I think Mr. “Get over here!” would pull it off, ultimately.
Let’s talk about you Patrick – what made you want to get into acting in the first place?
Frankly, it’s fun! To jump into someone else’s skin and experiences—and to sell an audience that fiction—is enjoyable and challenging (and even cathartic, sometimes). My mom took me to see a lot of theatre when I was young—particularly musicals put on by the high school at which she taught—so when I got into that same high school, trying out just seemed like the natural thing to do. I got bit by the acting bug in pretty short order, kept up with musical theatre all throughout high school, did theatre in college, and decided that’s what I was going to pursue, out in Los Angeles. The lady with whom I did the bulk of my training with told me I should look into voice-over work as something to do on the side, and that ended up being where I had the most luck. I was ready for the lucky breaks when they came, but I can’t overstate how integral they were.
What advice would you give for anyone wanting to get into acting or voice-over?
Whether they’re looking at voice-over or acting in general, theatre experience is essential. It’s not a direct translation from the stage to the recording booth, but those fundamentals you nail down doing live theatre will serve you in good stead. Also, I’d recommend that folks think on it and figure out what it is about acting that appeals to them. When I moved out to L.A, (the first time, right after college) I had a pretty horrible time of it. I was working crappy jobs during the night to leave my days open for auditions I had no idea how to get. Eventually, I said to myself, “This is dumb”. Back in my home town, doing community theatre, I at least got to act—which is more than I can say for the last year and half. Funnily enough, it was after I came to that realization and had the proverbial scales fall from my eyes that I started having some luck in the VO realm. There are ways to satisfy your creative urges (whether acting or otherwise) without making it your job. Once something’s your job, you’re waiting for somebody to say yes, to grant permission. Acting for a living is tough. Acting for enjoyment is a good deal easier—and just as satisfying, on a creative level.
You also voiced Artanis in the long-awaited sequel to ‘Starcraft’, – ‘Starcraft 2: Wings Of Liberty’. I honestly thought it was never going to be released…how was it working on that project?
I know I keep mentioning luck, but getting to voice Artanis really was a lucky break for me. I’d gone in to record one of the combat units, and Chris Metzen happened to be sitting in on the session. We got chatting during the break, and it came up that I’d voiced Garrosh to his Thrall, and the WoTLK version of Arthas. He handed me the Artanis copy and had me hop back into the booth to read through it as an audition. We ended the session, I went home, and never heard anything further. I figured we’d re-record it if they decided they wanted me to play Artanis, and when that never happened, I figured, “Well, at least I got to read for it—that’s cool!” However when the game came out, the unit I’d read for had either been eliminated or re-cast, and instead my Artanis “audition” was in the game.
How do you go about voicing a character? What’s your technique?
It’s nothing too arcane—calling it my “technique” might be giving me too much credit. Between the dialogue itself, the input from the director/client, and whatever character art or visuals they may have on hand, triangulating a character’s position is usually pretty straightforward. Usually we’re being called upon to do a voice that’s similar (or at least in the same ballpark) as something we’ve done before, so we can at least use that as a template or starting point. And if you’re working with a director whom you know (which happens a fair bit), they can usually just take you straight to what they want, based on what they know of you, or roles they’ve directed you in before.
Obviously, I’m guessing you go to fan conventions, like ComicCon, etc, so – what’s the weirdest gift a fan has ever given to you or the weirdest object a fan has asked you to sign?
I’m small beer for Comic-Con—I go just to go, but I’ve never done any sort of official appearance or signing there yet. That said, I do get out to a fair number of anime conventions as a guest. I don’t know if I’ve had weird gifts, but a few do stick out in my mind. I got a Subway gift card once—apropos of nothing, but I dig their sandwiches, so it was great! I got a bobble head of one of my characters (Luke Valentine from Hellsing), but the head had fallen off in transit, so when the young lady first gave it to me and I opened the box to find a decapitated Luke, I thought I was marked for death—the angry anime-fan version of the Black Spot from “Treasure Island”. She fixed it, though, as soon as she noticed it. I also had somebody do a charcoal portrait of me, based on a photo—it looks great, and I ended up giving it to my mom. And I’ve definitely signed some odd stuff. Some laptops and cell phones, an Xbox 360 hard drive…those stick out in my mind especially because I felt like I was tagging expensive items. I mean, dude…you just handed me a Sharpie and your laptop and told me to go to town…!
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
Ah, to that question, I must defer to the actor’s curse of not being able to talk about the most current cool stuff i’m working on due to non-disclosure agreements. Suffice it to say I’m keeping busy, and I have some projects I will gladly pimp the hell out of once I get the go-ahead from the powers that be…
Thanks for the interview!