With television appearances on 24, CSI, and Prison Break; video game voice contributions for Borderlands 2 and Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 among others; and more than a decade of work in the English Dragon Ball series, there is a good chance you have seen or at least heard Dameon Clarke. Dameon recently spent some time answering our (and your) questions about acting methods, aliases, and why it’s so fun to play the villain. Check it out.
Fizmarble: Thanks for agreeing to speak with us, Dameon. Or should I say Dartanian Nickelback? Is there a story there?
Dameon Clarke:Dartanian Nickelback is not me. It’s some guy running around pretending to be me that works on video games and anime. He may look and sound like me… but not me. Which pisses me off because I hear he’s a great guy. Nice to the elderly, and small children and what not. Someone I really strive to be. Which is why if I ever meet the guy I’m going to punch him in the throat.
Fiz: Voice Actors are seemingly part of an exclusive club so you must run into each other occasionally. Did you share the studio with any Dragon Ball alumni or anybody from your other previous projects?
Dameon: I try to avoid those people at all costs. Especially Eric Vale. Nah, I kid. Everyone’s great. Except that dip sh*t Vale.
You run into people every now and again, but it’s mostly in the hallway. Our sessions are not communal. But when you do get a chance to catch up in the steam room, it’s nice. Unfortunately On BL 2 though I didn’t see too many people. They have a tendency to avoid the studio if they know I’m there.
Fiz: How did you get the Borderlands 2 gig?
Dameon: I was doing DB Kai and they asked me to do a few voices on the game. Then the producers said “hey, this guy is such a colossal A-hole, he should totally be the voice of Handsome Jack”.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into as I am not a huge gamer and had no knowledge of the first one, but they gave me an idea of what they were looking for and we went from there. I hadn’t even seen a picture of Handsome Jack until we had finished recording that day. That said, it is by FAR the most fun I’ve ever had voicing a character.
Fiz: How long did it take to record all of your lines in Borderlands 2?
Dameon: About a month. All told. A lot of fine tuning as it were.
Fiz: Much of the voice acting for BL2 is very funny. How much of it is improv and how much is excellent writing?
Dameon: Both. They had it all on the page and then said feel free to improv. We all had some good chuckles trying out random stuff here and there.
Fiz: You must have had a blast playing Handsome Jack. Who do you have more fun playing, the hero or the villain?
Dameon: There aren’t a whole lot of “heroes” on my resume, in film, TV and VO. So I guess I have more fun playing villains. Villains with a heart of gold. Heroes tend to stick to a pretty staunch moral regimen which can be limiting. The best character to play is one with the fewest limitations.
Fiz: How much input do you have in developing the voice for a character? (Does a director usually sculpt you or do they give you liberty?)
Dameon: In this case I gave them the voice and feel, they helped tweak it. They guys over at Gearbox were very helpful with this character as they had an in depth knowledge of where we needed to be at what point in the game. In general though, it’s 90% what you bring and 10% collaborative refinement. God help you if work with a director or producer that isn’t collaborative. I know a few. It sucks.
Fiz: You have voiced characters in quite a few games, do you personally play video games, if so what are you playing now?
Dameon: I get “Less than Zero” with video games (80’s reference for the kids). I lack an off button. So I have to be very choosy about what I play. I ask myself if this game is going to be worth the next month of my life, locked in doors with tin foil on the windows. Currently I’m still playing Dead Space 2. It’s delicious.
Fiz: IMDB tells us you are in the upcoming film “The Bystander Theory”. Can you tell us more about it?
Dameon: Bystander is JFK conspiracy flick I did with Brad Leland (Friday Night Lights). I don’t want to tell you what kind of character I play on account of giving away the tantalizing ending. Should be a fine film though with some Six Flags dips and curves. Shot that in Austin in December. Forgot how feakin’ cold it is in Texas in the winter. They leave that off the brochure.
Fiz: Do you prefer “on screen” or “voice” acting? Why?
Dameon: Both. They’re completely different mediums with different things to offer. With on screen stuff you get to meet a lot of great people and take a character places you just can’t with just voicing him with more subtle nuances. You can say things without saying them. There’s a actual connection you get between people that’s difficult to achieve with VO. On the flip side, with VO you can play a character that is limited only by the budget of the game. Unreal, otherworldly circumstances completely imagined. That can be a hell of a lot of fun.
Fiz: Do you have any other projects pending, either on screen or on mic? When can we expect to see/hear from you again?
Dameon: Got a fun Honda campaign coming out on the Webbernet and TV soon. We just finished shooting that about three weeks ago. Hopefully it’s funny or I have failed. Also “Hawken”, based on the video game. A live action series from Warner Bros and Joel Silver that will be out soon as well. I’m told that will be in theatres, TV, DVD and the net. All I can say is Google it. Jerry O’Flaherty directed it and he’s a freakishly talented director. I play Otto. Other than that just sleeping late and tending to my kitten farm.
Dameon also had these kind, parting words:
Thanks for reaching out guys! I really appreciate it. This was a lot of fun. And thank you to everyone for the support and kind words. Even to those who say mean things…. Thanks!
Peace and happiness.
Find out more about the man and his voice at his website, as well as his IMDB page below.