Feel Good Fridays: Skyrim voice actor Dan Donohue

Friends, geeks, dovahkiin, lend me your pointed ears… If you’ve played The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim with the official add-on Dragonborn, you’ve probably met battlemage extraordinaire Teldryn Sero. The dark elf quickly became my favorite follower in the game, with his potent combination of fire spells, swordsmanship and entertaining dialogue, delivered with slick sarcasm and theatrical flair. Together, Nightingale and spellsword, we cleansed the bile-spewing Afflicted from the underground fortress of Bthardamz, read the Oghma Infinium, released a trapped demonic pirate from the bowels of the mage school, and joined the Imperial side of the war to liberate his fellow Dunmer in Windhelm. I was so impressed by the character, I looked up Dan Donohue whose voice brought Teldryn to life. Turns out, he’s a Grammy-nominated Shakespearian actor who’s appeared on several TV programs, including Shameless, The Drew Cary Show, In Gayle We Trust and The Closer, and he portrayed “Scar” in Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway. He kindly agreed to answer a few questions about what it’s like to be a part of the 2012 Ultimate Game of the Year.

  1. How did you become involved in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim?
    I auditioned for it this past summer in Los Angeles, and was cast and recorded it shortly thereafter.
  2. Can you describe the process of voicing a video game character?
    Though I am just beginning to dip my toe into the world of voiceover acting in Los Angeles, I have really enjoyed it thus far. My work on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was relatively quick. I had two days of recording time at a sound studio in Burbank. To me, the odd and interesting thing about the process is that when you record a character for a video game, you generally don’t see the script beforehand. In fact, most of the time you don’t know exactly what you are going to record until you are standing in front of a microphone in the recording booth. This forces you to step into the world of the game one line at a time. The story of your character unfolds to you as you record each piece of dialog. And even then, you don’t know precisely what the character is seeing or hearing. It forces you to activate your imagination – and to trust the producers and the director to let you know if your interpretation. or your characterization, begin to veer from the intended path. To work this way, you have to bravely step into the darkness of that unknown in order to illuminate it.
  3. What were your inspirations for Teldryn Sero’s voice and personality?
    Teldryn Sero’s voice was hatched out of an audition I did for the character Modyn Veleth – Captain of the Redoran Guard. I had auditioned for a few separate characters in the game – Modyn being one. The folks at Bethesda responded well to the voice that I had created for him, but they felt it was a better fit for Teldryn. (JLH: Another character Dan voices in the game is the Dremora Merchant summoned by the Black Market ability.) I was given some general background information about the world of the game when I auditioned, but the director and the producers helped me to play catch-up on many important specifics as we worked to record the part.
  4. I recently listened to the audiobook of Hamlet in which you portray the Prince of Denmark and which garnered a Grammy nomination in 2012. It was a stellar performance. Where can we see more of you?
    Thank you so much! For the past 20 years or so I have been working primarily in regional theatre. It is a nomadic life – you go where the work is – so I have been a bit of a moving target. That said, I will be playing Richard III at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2014 – which I am very excited about. For fans of Shameless, I guest-starred in the recently-aired episode “Civil Wrongs.” And I just finished working with Alfred Molina on an upcoming film, Return to Zero. Currently, I am filming the FOX Digital Studios film, ETXR.
  5. If you could portray any non-human character (movie, tv, video game or book), who would it be and why?
    I know this is sort of a cheat – but truthfully, Teldryn Sero would be at the top of my list. I would love to have the opportunity to play him again. Though, I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to voice him once already.

Maybe it could be a live-action portrayal? Because Dan haz some mad sword skills, too!
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_QCtD9QtAo&version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0]
For more information about Dan Donohue, visit his website at www.DanDonohue.com or find him on IMDB.com

About JLHilton 12 Articles
J.L. Hilton is the author of the post-cyberpunk Stellarnet Series published by Carina Press and a jewelry artist featured in the books "Steampunk Style Jewelry" and "1000 Steampunk Creations." Find out more at JLHilton.com or JLHjewelry.com.