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Features - Chris Mckinney Interview
Chris Mckinney
Name: Chris Mckinney

Manhunt Character(s): Ramirez, Wardogs #4

We where fortunate enough to get some of our questions answered by Chris McKinney, the voice of Ramirez and Wardog number 4. Ever wondered how that came to be? What race Ramirez really is? Or a theory behind how Ramirez may have lost his eye? Then read on to find out.

Thanks to Mr. McKinney for taking time out to answer our questions.

- How did you go about getting the role of Ramirez? How was the audition process, did you have to submit a demo real and were aware of any competition for the role?

I work with an agent and I get all my commercial and video game auditions through them. Unless I see some one I know at the audition I am not aware of the competition. I do know that the people who audition in my type range most likely auditioned too; you get to know who these people are over time. The audition process is simple: you walk in to facility the accommodates these type of auditions and you wait in the lounge until your name is called. Then you go to the studio and you read the script you studied while waiting in the lounge. In sessions like these the producer of the script will be there to hear you and give you directions. In the video game world the scripts are for each character are produced separately by different producers. As a result of this quirk I got another part in the game.

- How was your experience working with Rockstar on Manhunt? Would you be interested in working with them again?

I would love to work with Rockstar again. It was a great experience and it's the kind of voice over work that allows me to really stretch my voice and do some acting. No PR problems.


- What was the process like? How did you get yourself into the correct mind frame?

I have the script which is formatted to be read one paragraph at a time. All of the characters lines are recorded in one day. So, I will read off a list of all of Ramirez' lines and then I will read a list of sounds and responses; like... uh! ow! It's alot to record and we work quickly. If your not trained well and you strain to much you can hurt yourself.


- Where did you record the dialogue for the game, was it at Rockstar in New York?

No. It was recorded at a studio rented by Rockstar here in New York.

- As I understand it the audio for the cut scenes was done by another studio, did you have to go to different locations of was this all done after the fact?

I don't know. I just showed up and recorded without any visuals. My job was done.


- How long did you work on the game for?

2 days one for each character; an hour for each session.


- The game was made in Scotland but I assume it was an American casting agent and voice director that was on hand?

Correct. No casting agent just the producer/writer of the recording.


- Did you ever get around to playing Manhunt? If so what are your thoughts on it?

I have not. My nephew is a big fan. I don't own a system.


- Were you aware of what Ramirez's role in the game was going to be at the point of recording his dialogue?

I don't remember having any photos or anything like that; it's not unusual. Most of the times the actors don't have any input on the look of the character; unless the character hasn't been drawn yet. Then maybe the voice of the actor might affect how the artist draws the character.


- You also voiced a member of the Wardogs, who are under Ramirez command, so in a way you gave yourself orders, did that ever spring to mind when recording the dialogue?

No because I recorded Ramirez first with one producer and then the war dogs with another. By time I recorded war dogs I had already put Ramirez behind me.


- Is there a particular line that you are most fond of? Where you able to ad-lib at all?

'Bleed motha fuckah Bleed'. Not much ad-libbing.


- Is there any additional information on the history of your character(s)? For instance do you know how Ramirez lost his eye? Ramirez racial background is also subject of curiosity, African American, Hispanic/Latino, and biracial have all been brought up. Was Ramirez given any specific racial/ethnic profile, or was it meant to be ambiguous?

I don't know how Ramirez lost his eye. I suggest that he lost his eye in a fight while in training with the french foriegn legion. Incapable of meeting their requirements, he was discharged and this is how he became a mercinary.

Whats in a name? I have the last name McKinney; does that make me Scottish. I'm biracial; so perhaps that makes Ramirez biracial. For the most part a lot of people in the Americas are mixtures of the same heritage as I am: European, African and Native American. So weather they are from Panama, Brasil or Cuba, et al... if your brown most likey you share some combination of this mixture. So any of the above mentioned in the question will do; but one thing he is for sure is an American. No where else in the world will you find an as ethnically rich and culturally diverse group of nations.


- Have you ever looked on the internet for fan reaction to your work?

No but I would like to.


- Do you have an opinion of violence in entertainment?

You are what you eat; so don't eat too much.


- What influenced you to become an actor in the first place?

I didn't want to be stuck in an office. I was also raised in an artisic enviroment so... after I tried the other arts this one was where I had the most natural talent. So, I took a risk and auditioned for Juilliard and was accepted.


- What is your advice to others that wish to become an actor?

Study, read, travel, enrich your life with shared exploration and get into a classroom.


- You seem to do a lot of dramatic work, are those parts more fun to play?

I'd like to do more comedy but I gett called for a lot of the dramatic stuff so... I take what I can get. No hate mail.


- You have appeared in TV, theatre, video games and on the big screen, on reflection what seems the most wild?

Theater is real rush in performing.; it is also the most difficult but what I wish to do is more film.


- A lot of actors move on to directing movies, have you ever thought of directing?

Most definatley. When you are an actor you're the paint on the pallete; I want to be the painter.

- Away from acting how do you like to spend your time unwinding?

I write my own music and I play civ 4.

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