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Features - Hadley Tomicki Interview
Hadley Tomicki
Name: Hadley Tomicki

Manhunt Character(s): Cerberus #4, Cerberus Guards #1

“Just when I thought that I was out, they pull me back in!” likely the words that Cash thought to himself every time he heard the words of Hadley Tomicki. When not being mauled down or doing the mauling himself Hadley likes to spend his free time reading, going to the beach, listening to music and mountain hiking. Is it all part of ultimate relaxation or preparation for the next hunt? You decide. More recently he has provided work for LA Weekly's Best of Issue and worked on a guidebook to L.A.

Thanks to Mr. Tomicki for taking time out to answer our questions. You can read some of Hadleys writing by heading over to Lataco.

- How do you go about getting the role of a videogame character?

I got voiceover jobs through a friend of mine, John Zurhellen, who works in production with Rockstar Games. Johnny Z! I am a trained actor and he thought I'd be good for a bunch of voices for Vice City. That worked well, so they called me in for Manhunt.

- Did you go in with a character in mind or is it just a case of going in working out who the character is and reading the dialogue?

With acting in general, you're really just bringing somebody's words to life, the writer and director often don't know what kind of character they want themselves, so it really does help to come in with ideas and the more you've practiced and worked on those ideas, the better prepared you'll be. Acting is a lot of work. With Vice City, I came in knowing they wanted a radio reporter's voice, so I'd worked on it, but it most likely changed.

Working with the Rockstar crew is a total blast. They are so professional, but still seem to shoot straight form the hip. They always have a script, but at the same time, will throw out some funny stuff, especially the more adult-related violence and substance abuse related dialogue. So, for example, I did some gang voices on Manhunt and they had me pretending to be high off a substance that a lot of the gangs use in Manhunt (can't remember whether that idea made it)...but the Director, Navid, would just yell out improv lines and have me repeat them in different thugged out voices, like "Aw man, that was some really good shit...." or "the voices are telling me to kill again..." I remember breaking a sweat a couple times in the recording booth just from that, staying on my toes, taking his lines and interpreting them...this is especially true when you're doing the voices of people getting killed or beaten up, you want to actually move like you're getting hit by a shovel to death in the booth while you scream and go "umph," and "ugh," it helps somehow to bring truth to it!

- Was there an option to which character you could provide voice for?
No option for which voices I could do I don't think...I'd go in and usually do a few characters, for GTA Vice City, I did maybe 5 or 6 different voices scattered throughout the game, like some bikers, the guy at the gun range, the radio announcer at the beginning, the guy whose bike you steal....
- Did you get to meet any of the other actors that also recorded dialogue for the game?
I did actually meet the guy who plays the lead character, Cash, in Manhunt, I remember him as an in-shape guy, looked like a handsome actor-type. I didn't get to meet anyone famous, but I did miss some cool people like Luis Guzman one day on Vice City.
- What was your most memorable moment of working on Manhunt? Was there any one particular thing that sticks out from working on the game?
I think what I mentioned above, the improvising lines along with the director and playing trashy, stoned gang members, that was really fun just to see the Rockstar imagination in full effect.
- Was there anything that you refused to say? Or did you question any of the dialogue?
No, I'd probably say anything, I'm not too shy or puritan, I believe in free speech, as long as you accept responsibility for what you say...including receiving an occasional ass-kicking. Well that being said, they asked me to do a heavy Mexican voice for Vice City for a couple of lines and I felt weird as a white man doing that, like it might not be my place to
play a Mexican man when there are plenty of great Mexican actors to do the same part. That being said, I realize they couldn't hire an actor for a two-word part. But it's weird to have somebody say, "can you sound a little more Mexican than that?"
- Was there much in the way of improvisation? And do you have a favourite line in particular?
I think I probably answered that already. Probably the line about the voices..."they won't leave me alone!" that kind of stuff...very paranoid and delusional.
- What was the most difficult part of recording the dialogue? I imagine that the gargles and grunts must be rather tiresome.
I think you nailed it, Pogo, those can feel the most awkward, groaning and grunting when you're in a Manhattan sound booth during your lunch hour.
- How was the experience working with Rockstar on Manhunt? Would you ever be interested in working with them again?
Rockstar fucking rocks, it's a cool experience doing the work, but coolest is just their product, no one makes games that go as full out in a sense... I would work for them anytime...but I live in LA now, so I haven't really been offered anything.
- How long did you work on the game for? You recorded dialogue for a member of the Cerberus and a Cerberus guard, was this done in two different sessions and did you try to alter your voice for the two?
Yes, as I said, I did some gang voices too, but wasn't credited. Definitely tried a couple of different voices for the Cerebus and the guard. But in the end, it's the editor making the decisions as to what voice goes where and what becomes what. I think I was able to take care of the Manhunt work, as I said, in my lunch hour. Might have been two sessions, I don't remember. I know Vice City, I did my stuff, but came back for more. They work fast though, they're pros and time is money.
- Do you do anything to warm up for a voiceover session in the studio? Or do you have any method of getting into character?
Well, I didn't necessarily know what I going to play for Manhunt. But yes, warming up is important, makes you looser and ready to go, as wel as cutting down on mistakes. So I do one I learned at Lee Strasberg Institute, a little do-re-mi kind of shit.
- Did you use anything to help muffle your voice for the Cerberus or was that all done after the fact?
That was all done after the fact.
- Did you get to see the characters you were voicing when recording the dialogue for the game? Was there any visual aids at all?
No, I didn't have any visual aids, but they explained who the Cerebus were. It was kind of a chilling description.
- Have you had the opportunity to play Manhunt? If so what are your thoughts on the game?
I have played and beaten the game, and even went back for more to try to get some of the artwork. I'd never really played what I'd consider a horror game, I love Manhunt, but sometimes that shit gave me the creeps and I don't scare easily. In general, I love violent video games, and I'm sure a couple of people would say I have a fondness for violence in real life, though I'm not really into seeing dead bodies and guts on the internet. I love one person against an entire army of goons type of games and revenge games.
- What are your thoughts on violent videogames? Do you think they really are the devil reincarnated?
It's a hard one. I do worry about violence in our society and think we are a very sick, very troubled society. I work in the Los Angeles Public School System but went to private school myself....being a young person is hard enough, I can't imagine trying to do it with guns consistently threatening you in and out of school. So, I worry....when I was a kid we had violent video games like Commando, but I was not carjacking people and beating hookers to death at age 10. As I mentioned, I've had a couple issues with violence in my life and think it might have been influenced by the media I consume. I played San Andreas with a friend for a few hours recently, and yes while driving, was a little more reckless, making a gun with my hand and fake shooting people. Now I'm almost 30 and am all for peace and unity, but clearly I was influenced, so I worry about kids getting desensitized. But also, I don't think video games are the devil incarnate. I like a movie called Battle Royale after the Japanese manga. It’s about society putting a class of kids on an island and they all have to kill each other, with the survivor winning. I think it says a lot about society...when things go wrong with the kids, it reflects the adults more than anything, but often the adults retaliate instead of help, and the things they do to demonize kids and the passions they have not only show a confused solution, the solution is harmful. In other words, video games are not ruining kids, not putting priorities in investing in our kids with positive messages and support is not only hurting them, it's often killing them. Wow, ask a simple question, huh?
- Do you play video games yourself? If so what are some of your favourites?
I don't play video games so much anymore, I'm too busy working and playing in Los Angeles. But yes, you know, I have a place in my heart for so many classic Nintendo games, as well as current games Grand Theft Auto series, SOCOM, Syphon Filter (not the PS2 one), God of War, Prince of Persia, anything action packed...I know I'm forgetting a ton of games I like, but those are the ones that come to mind.
- Have you ever had anyone recognise you through your voice work in Manhunt or Vice City?
No, just big fans such as yourself Pogo and my friend Susanna, who found me about a year ago! It feels good to be appreciated. Thank you Manhunt fans!
- How does it feel to think that every day, all over the world someone is digitally killing you? Did that thought ever come into your mind prior to recording the dialogue?
I like that; I think it's cool, although secretly I root for the Cerberus (evil laugh, evil laugh). My good friend Frailman played the guy running across the roof running from you in Vice City, I loved calling him up and saying, "I just blasted your dumb ass, man!"
- Do you find the process of doing voice work harder than acting since you are limited to only your voice? In so many games the dialogue feels tacked on or forced to the point of being unintentionally cheesy.
Yes and no, they both have their challenges. I like voice acting, I think I'm less self-conscious and it's usually done with such a smaller crew.
- Looking at your resume you seem to have worked in almost every department imaginable, do you have a favourite profession? Be it acting, doing voiceovers or writing?
It's hard to say, acting was a dream for a long time, but the pressures of making it a career have been difficult for me and took a little of the passion away. I don't ever want to stop though, just need it to grab me again and I know it will. I'd love to do more voice acting, I really find it can just really go for it and be over the top even. I am very passionate about writing, I love it, and yes, it's paying some of the bills. SOME of them! Lataco is my new project because my friends and I were tired of hearing people diss LA just because they'd seen 1/20th of it while visiting West Hollywood or whatever. So, I've been very into doing that lately and exploring its underground art and its cheap eats and crazy characters.
- When not working, how do you spend your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
I just like doing new things, I love to read, love to go to the beach, hike in the mountains, I love to meet people and people who are different especially whether its a gang banger or a zillionaire, for better or worse everyone is better at something than you and have their lessons to teach...whenever I'm down on people (which happens a lot) I'll meet someone who just defies my expectations as a nice, interesting, or cool person. I think if you cannot connect with people or you spend your life judging them, you'll have a hard time...let's see I love music, love girls—just being around them and hanging with them, as well as more obvious conclusions-- love to eat Mexican food, Indian food, Thai to bodysurf and bike to talk shit to people and be a bit of a gadfly, but I'd say I'm good natured for sure and nice...I love film and comedy.
- What future projects do you have lined up? Anything you can talk about?
Well, nothing video game related. I have some stories coming out soon in LA Weekly's Best of Issue, the next edition of my guidebook to LA The Black Book List is coming out in a month or two... working on mostly writing projects right now and LATACO!!!! Maybe trying to find me a wifey.... maybe. Big maybe.
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