William Salyers may not be a familiar name to some, although you may have noticed some of the characters he has voiced. He's voiced Rigby from The Regular Show and Mordin Solus from the Mass Effect series just to name a few.
Salyers will be in Auckland, New Zealand later this month to attend the Armageddon Expo. The Armageddon Expo is at the ASB Showground this Labour Weekend. Before he comes down to New Zealand though, Techday had a chance to interview Salyers. Salyers it seems is a funny man behind the scenes too.
How did you get the job of voicing Rigby from the Regular Show in the first place?
Here's the weird thing: I auditioned for it. In the VO world, getting a great job as a series regular by simply turning in an audition just doesn't happen. Usually, someone on the project has to already be familiar with you as a friend, a co-worker, someone they went to school with, etc. In the case of my first cartoon, MORAL OREL, one of the series creators happened to be my friend Scott Adsit. He was familiar with my work from seeing me perform in theater, so he asked me to come in and read for the role of Reverend Putty.
With REGULAR SHOW, I didn't know anyone. I turned in an audition for the pilot, a short film that later became the episode “First Day”. I got a callback, booked it, went in and did the job, and didn't hear anymore about it for months. After Cartoon Network decided to green-light the show, they put out another casting call to hear different actors read Rigby. Eventually, they brought me in for another callback, and I got to do the hamboning bit from “The Power.” JG Quintel (Regular Show’s creator) laughed at my read, which I thought was a good sign, but I still didn't really expect anything. A few months after that, my agent called to tell me I got the part; so I guess you could say I won the role of Rigby twice.
Could you explain to me how you came up with Rigby's voice? Did you have to experiment first on his high pitch?
Not really. I knew he was a raccoon, and that his dialogue was pretty angsty and high-energy. It seemed like a natural choice for him, and it also seemed to contrast nicely with JG's more laid-back voice for Mordecai. The only time I have trouble with the pitch is when I'm sick, or I've been doing work on something else that roughs upmy voice. I learned the hard way that I should never do a video game session the morning before a REGULAR SHOW record.
Were you surprised the first time you read the script from a Regular Show episode? Watching the show the first time I thought it was really out of this world...
Me, too! I quickly grew fond of the show's weird sense of humor, and to this day, every time I read a new story board, I laugh out loud at LEAST once. I don't know how our writers are so dependably funny... and twisted.
Are there any other characters that you do voices for in Regular Show?
We all do incidental voices, as needed. My favorite so far has been Percy the Creepy Doll from TERROR TALES OF THE PARK. I'd love to revisit him, some day.
What was your first reaction knowing that Skips is played by Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)?
OH, MIND = BLOWN! I grew up with the original Star Wars, and had seen Mark do lots of other things over the years. Here was this actor – not just an actor, but a cultural icon – that I idolized, sitting across from me in the booth. I met him when I did the pilot. When I first walked in, he and I were the only actors at the session. We introduced ourselves, and I thought I did a pretty good job of playing it cool.
I had a big travel mug of hot tea, and as I sat down at my mic and took a sip, well, I guess the lid was loose, because a stream poured down my front like I was drinking from a dribble glass. I was mortified, and glanced over at Mark, who seemed preoccupied with his script. Just as I was thinking, “Cool, I got away with that,” he looked right at me and said “Oh, I'VE got a mug that does that.” So much for playing it cool.
What has been your favourite episode from Regular Show so far?
Hmm, that's a tricky question. We're way ahead of the audience in terms of the scripts we've recorded versus the ones that are presently airing. I think I have to say that my favorite episode hasn't aired, yet, so I can't say much about it. All I can tell you is that the fans will find out some REALLY interesting stuff about Thomas.
Do you share some similarities with Rigby yourself?
Um... my face is hairy. And I love junk food. And my voice creeps up and starts to sound Rigby-like when I'm pissed off, which my wife finds hilarious... so, yeah, I guess so.
Who is your favorite character from Regular Show and who is your least favourite?
Ooooh, that's a hard one. My favourite is probably Rigby, because he so often acts like a self-absorbed ass-hat. My least favourite is probably Rigby, because he so often acts like a self-absorbed ass-hat. Outside of my own character, I LOVE the giant babies, Thomas (Death's kid), and of course, Eileen. My least favourite character from the show will be the studio exec who someday, in the future, will have to tell us we're not getting renewed.
You've voiced in three video games, which role was your favourite?
(Snooty voice:) Well, actually, I've voiced over 20 video games, so let’s get THAT straight. :) I'd have to say my favourite, character-wise, was Mordin Solus from Mass Effect 3. I took the role over from Michael Beattie, who created it. To this day, I don't know why Michael didn't reprise the role, but it lead to one of my favourite game voicing experiences. For sheer challenge, as well as longevity, I'd say Male A in Sims 3. That job consisted of improvising “Simlish” (gibberish) to animatic videos, and it was always tough and interesting. Also, there were many expansion packs, so the job lasted several years.
Are you a huge video gamer yourself?
When I have the time, absolutely! I love the big titles, like Skyrim (which I'm also in), but I also like smaller indie games with really good writing. Right now, I'm playing through The Cat Lady, which is very simple, but very creepy.
Would you be open to voice acting in future video game roles?
Why? Are you offering me a job? ;) You bet I would!
Are there any differences between voicing in a video game compared to a cartoon?
Plenty. In REGULAR SHOW, for instance, we try to record together, at the same time, as much as possible. In video games, you are almost always alone in the booth. Also, in animation, you have a story, with a fixed plot. With video games, the story can change dramatically, depending on what choices the player makes. Because of this, you record many different possible interaction with your character. Also, prolonged dialogue is rare in video games; your work usually consists of hundreds of shorter lines, often written one after the other on a spreadsheet.
Are there any other voice roles whether it be TV, Film or Video Games you have lined up in the future?
I have some really fun video games coming out soon. Fans can hear me in Sunset Overdrive (an Xbox One exclusive from Insomniac) as one of the quest givers, and also as Hank, one of the lead hunter characters in Evolve, an exciting new multiplayer experience from 2K Games.