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14th December 2014
Exclusive Interview: Brett Kelly (née Madden), Voice Actor for Alice Wake

Today we have a special surprise! We recently interviewed the very talented Brett Kelly (née Madden), who many of you will recognise as the voice of Alice Wake in the Alan Wake series. She kindly answered some questions about the process of recording, the challenges of the role, and what she would like to see in Alan Wake 2. Many thanks to Brett for doing the interview! You can read her answers below:

(Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Alan Wake series.)



How did you get the role to voice Alice Wake and at what stage of the game’s development process did you become involved in the project?

I auditioned through my agent. We recorded a selection of Alice’s lines they’d sent to us and my agent then submitted that to them. I didn’t hear anything for- I’m pretty sure- some months later- and at that point if I remember correctly I auditioned again, same process, and booked the job after that. The mystery of the months long gap, (AKA- I just figured I hadn’t gotten the job,) was solved when I heard that someone else had originally gotten the part, and that it hadn’t worked out for some reason, so they started over again casting for Alice, and there ya go. As far as what stage of the process I became involved, I have no idea.


Do you have any particular techniques or routines to help you get into character?

I review my character’s circumstances in whatever moment is currently being worked on, and most often I play it as if it were me in a correlative situation. However, if I know that I would react differently to a circumstance or situation than my character would, (and I do know exactly how my character reacts to anything because it’s all right there in the story and the script,) I adjust the circumstances internally to something that would bring out whatever it is that needs to come out for Alice (or whoever I’m playing) in that moment.


At the end of Alan Wake Alice escapes the Dark Place only to find the cabin and Alan gone. How would you like to like to see Alice's story continue in the next instalment?

Well, of course I think Alice should take the bull by the horns and go find Alan! She should have her own game!

Alice at the end of Alan Wake.


How did it feel returning to voice Alice in the spin-off title, Alan Wake's American Nightmare. Did the experience feel different compared working on the original game?

Actually, yes. We were in a completely different studio, so it just felt different because of the new setting, in the sense that it’s not the same old stomping grounds from all the other sessions where I tend to get my heels dug in and feel at home at bit. But that factor coupled with a time lapse element, (quite some time had gone by when we ended up recording the American Nightmare session,) added good flavor to Alice’s parts because both of those circumstances are also true and applicable to her current situation.


Was there anything that stood out about the series for you, either while you were working on the project or while playing the games?

Well, I grew up on Mario Brothers, Street Fighter, JAWS (loved Jaws), and also some Sonic the Hedgehog, and then eventually went though a teeny Quake phase, which I stunk at, but admit to never putting in the time and commitment to get any good at that. My point is, I was thoroughly disconnected from the world of modern Video Games when I saw the visuals of Alan Wake and learned about the story and how it worked. I had never seen anything so realistic looking and so much like an interactive movie in so many ways. It all truly amazed me and I was THRILLED to have the opportunity to be apart of it.


Is there any other part of acting for a video game that you would like to try?

I would love to try motion and facial capture, it sounds like it would be a lot of challenging fun.

Alice and Alan's arguement at the start of Alan Wake.


How did voice acting compare to your work on television and stage? Were the challenges different?

Bottom line, yes. I’m alone in the booth (99% of the time) and am not in dialogue with the other actors. Sometimes the producer will help by leading with the other character’s line before mine, but the majority of the time I’m imagining the other actor’s lines and responding to the voices in my head. Another difference is that my job for voiceover doesn’t carry the responsibility of conveying any part of the story to the audience in a visual capacity. So for instance, I don’t have the added layers of blocking or costume or angles, etc. But with that being said, it’s the same in the sense that when I’m in the booth, using my body in tandem with the voice to express what is required in each moment of the story (which is done in real life of course as well as acting) can really enhance and even specify the vocal performance that comes out into the mic.


Has your view of voice acting changed since the role?

Yes in that I realized I needed to learn to scream properly so that I didn’t obliterate my voice for the next few days. Okay it was never that bad, but my Mom absolutely thought I was my Grandma when I called her the day after a scream session. Okay that is not true either, but I swear I bought “The Art of Screaming” on DVD after that job. It’s still sealed in the cellophane wrapping.


What projects can fans see you in next?

I want to tell you I’m in the new Hobbit movie, but that would be another fib. Mostly commercials and voiceovers lately, but continue to love what I do and look forward to more opportunities to voice some games! Alan Wake has been the most rewarding and satisfying voice over work of my career so far. Seriously.


Thanks again to Brett for doing the interview!

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