May 28, 2011 11:16 PM | Cassandra Khaw
Sitting in on a voice-over recording session can feel rather voyeuristic. It's intimate. It's walking on a game half-dressed. It's seeing all the important bits, not quite done up, being put together for the grand show. It was one person trying to write a personality into someone else's mind; none of the lines were being recorded in order, resulting in the need to help the actress visualize the scene properly. While this might not be true for bigger companies, it was certainly the case that afternoon at Dave Gilbert's apartment/studio. I had been invited to take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the fourth Blackwell game but had not had the opportunity to do so up till recently.
By chance, it was also the same day that Rebecca Whittaker, the voice of Rosa, was recording some rather tantalizing lines. A tall, striking redhead with an easy smile and a forthright manner, Whittaker spoke with the barest hint of a Southern twang when not otherwise in character. Almost disarmingly flippant, Whittaker, at first glance, couldn't be anymore different from her character. "I'm horrible with computers." She confessed in the short interview that followed. "Games are beyond me. I literally don't know anything about computers. I can barely sign onto my email."
More Jessica Rabbit than mousy geek, Whittaker had a different view on her resemblance to the character. "I see a lot of myself in Rosa or, well, a lot of her in me. I think there's a lot of confidence in Rosa but she needs to unearth it." With a grin, she added. "She really just needs to take off her clothes. She'd be totally cool!" Like most voice actors, Rebecca Whittaker has a day job. When not otherwise serving as the voice of a psychic, she's a burlesque dancer performing under the stage name of 'Gal Friday'. When asked about getting into character, Whittaker said, "You know, I think if Rosa was way-out-there, it'd be difficult to get into here. She's pretty grounded so it's not particularly hard."
A consummate professional, Whittaker's throaty drawl evaporated completely during the actual recording session. "We usually record for about 2 hours." Dave Gilbert explained. "Anything more than that and voices start getting scratchy." Whittaker then added, "The voice gets tired fairly quickly. There's things you can do, exercises and such but, after a while, it gets tired. Like, on an off-day, it's really hard to get on. It's an instrument. You don't even think about it till you actually use it. If I'm tired, forget it. I just can't."
In regards to Rosa, Rebecca Whittaker observed, "Her confidence is coming out slowly. With every game, you see more and more of it. I think there's a sassy broad hiding in there." Is there? It's hard to say. However, Blackwell Deception recently entered alpha stage and we might soon find out exactly how well Rosa Blackwell will fare against fake psychics and whether she has any hopes at being a cat burglar.
Those interested in keeping track of Blackwell Deception should probably bookmark the Wadjet Eye Games development blog.