This is an exclusive interview conducted by MGS:TUS, with the voice actor Scott Menville. He voiced the character Ocelot's Soldier C in Metal Gear Solid 3.
MGS:TUS: Scott first of all for those reading who don't know who you are tell us a little bit about yourself...How old are you?
Scott Menville: Thirty-three.
MGS:TUS: Where were you born/ Where do you live?
SM: Born, raised, and still living in the Los Angeles area.
MGS:TUS: What are some of the past projects you've worked on?
SM: Over the years I’ve had regular voiceover roles in animated shows like MISSION HILL, CAPTAIN PLANET, BROTHERS FLUB, WHERE ON EARTH IS CARMEN SAN DIEGO?, JONNY QUEST, FLINTSTONE KIDS, A PUP NAMED SCOOBY DOO, and a bunch of others which I’m forgetting right now. I had recurring and guest roles in early seasons of RUGRATS. And I’ve had guest roles on BATMAN, SUPERMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE, POWER PUFF GIRLS, GRIM AND EVIL, BILLY AND MANDY, ROCKET POWER… you get the idea. I’ve also had roles on quite a few interactive games, and lots of tv and radio commercials.
I’ve appeared on camera in a lot of guest roles on tv shows over the years. Most notably were recurring roles on THE WONDER YEARS, THE PARENT ‘HOOD, and FULL HOUSE.
MGS:TUS: What are some of your interests/hobbies?
SM: Music is a definite interest. I discovered punk rock at 11-years-old and it changed my life. After going to a million punk shows, I began playing bass in punk and thrash bands in high school. As my musical tastes expanded I moved on from playing strictly punk and into other styles. I’m the bass player and one of the founding members of my band Boy Hits Car. We’ve been together 11 years, released two albums (one on an indie label and one on a major) and we’re currently in the studio recording the next full-length album. You can get a taste of what we’re about at boyhitscar.com. Other interests and hobbies are surfing and reading.
MGS:TUS: How did you get into voice overs?
SM: As a kid, my parents recognized my ability to mimic people and do character voices. They enrolled me in acting classes at age 9. My dad, Chuck Menville, who has passed away, was a very successful writer/story editor/(and later in his life) producer of many animated tv shows and after school specials. He worked on FAT ALBERT, THE SMURFS, THE REAL GOSTBUSTERS, TINY TOONS, etc., to name just a few. In 1982 he was working for Hanna-Barbera and found out they were making a new animated series of LITTLE RASCALS. I was 11, had a raspy voice, and took direction well. My dad figured I’d be perfect for the show and asked the voice director, Gordon Hunt (one of the best in the business and a truly nice man) if I could audition. Gordon gave my dad the audition dialogue, or “sides” as they’re called, for three of the characters and my dad recorded me at home on a little makeshift Radio Shack recorder. I wound up landing the part of “Spanky”. I got my SAG (Screen Actors Guild) card right away, got an agent, and I have been fortunate enough to work steadily ever since. It’s really a blessing how everything fell into place early on with such synchronicity.
MGS:TUS: You had a small part in the MGS1 remake "The Twin Snakes", how would you compare the work done on TTS to that of Metal Gear Solid 3?
SM: The process was very similar. We recorded both at the same studio with our very talented voice director, Kris Zimmerman. In both games I play a soldier. And in both games I was able to record with some of the other actors, which is always a plus. On some other games I’ve been the only actor in the booth just doing my own lines for hours at a stretch. It’s always great when you can have the other actors there to play off of.
MGS:TUS: How did you get you're part in Metal Gear Solid 3?
SM: I auditioned and was called back for two parts, which I ultimately did not get. But Kris Zimmerman and producer Keiko Ono were very generous and booked me in the part of “Ocelot’s Soldier C” and another minor character. I have worked with Keiko and Kris on many projects over the years. They know me well and I guess they figured I’d be right for those parts. Very cool of them to invite me to the party.
MGS:TUS: Have you ever played any of the games yourself? If so what did you think of them?
SM: I haven’t played them myself, but only because I’m all thumbs on games. I’m still stuck back in the 80’s gaming era. Put me in front of a Centipede, Galaga, or Ms. Pac Man and I’ll tear some shit up. But I do have a lot of friends who are avid gamers. One actor friend of mine, a cool cat in his mid 30’s, was amped when I first told him I was doing a voice in “The Twin Snakes”. “Dude! I play the first one all the time!” he said. Recently, when I told him I was doing Metal Gear Solid 3 he started grilling me for details. Of course, we all signed confidentiality agreements. “Come on, man,” he said. “You can tell me. I’m not gonna say anything.” But I wouldn’t flow the info. I signed my name saying I wouldn’t.
MGS:TUS: How would you best describe the experience of working with Konami over TTS and MGS3?
SM: Great experience. Nice people involved across the board. It’s very cool to be a part of such a prestigious title. You say Metal Gear Solid and every gamer knows it. I was auditioning for another game and one of the creators of that game knew my name from The Twin Snakes.
MGS:TUS: What was it like working with the voice cast of Metal Gear Solid 3? Who did you get the chance to work with?
SM: When producers put together a project of this magnitude that is so involved with so much dialogue, I’m sure scheduling actors and keeping the studio sessions efficient and moving on track must be quite a challenge. I didn’t record with David Hayter. Although our characters were in scenes together, we were scheduled to record at different times. But he and I have worked together in the past when he guest starred on the CAPTAIN PLANET cartoon series I was on. Very nice guy.
I did get to work with four other actors but I’m not sure how much info I’m allowed to divulge beyond that.
MGS:TUS: What were the greatest challenges doing voice overs for the MGS3 game, or any voice project in general?
SM: Each project brings its own set of challenges. It could be the challenge of recording by yourself; Without any of the other actors to run the scenes with it can be challenging trying to figure out the exact nuances and inflections to give the character so that when the scene is edited together with the other character it all flows in a seamless fashion. Or it could be the physical challenge of having to scream for an entire session doing fight sounds, punches, kicks, getting hit, crying out in pain and making sure you pace yourself so your voice holds strong.
MGS:TUS: What were your thoughts while reading the script for MGS3? What should we expect out of this game?
SM: I have to be careful here, since I did sign that confidentiality agreement. I’ll just say that I got to see some cool character designs and the script had a lot of interesting characters and scenes set in interesting locations and scenarios with good dialogue and lots of action. I’ll leave it at that.
MGS:TUS: What had been your favourite (voice) project to work on?
SM: I really love voice acting in general. It’s a great gig. It’s hard to narrow the projects down to a single favorite. I was a lead character on a short-lived primetime animated show called MISSION HILL. I absolutely loved every minute of the process on that one. Cast and crew were great, scripts were sharp and witty, and the character I played was a blast to perform. Although it was quickly cancelled (too hip for the masses), Cartoon Network snatched it up and now has it running on Adult Swim. The show has gained a small loyal cult following.
MGS:TUS: Do you have any projects (voice or other) in the works now? If so can you tell us a little about them?
SM: You can currently hear me as “Robin” on the Warner Bros. animated series TEEN TITANS, running on Kids WB and Cartoon Network. Also running on Cartoon Network on Adult Swim is the hilarious cartoon series I mentioned before, MISSION HILL, on which I am the voice of one of the main characters, “Kevin”, as well as “C-Dog” and various supporting characters. Just released and soon-to-be-released games I can be heard in are TALES OF SYMPHONIA, SHADOW OF ROME, MEDAL OF HONOR, CALL OF DUTY, and XENOSAGA 2.
MGS:TUS: What would your best advice be for someone trying to break into the world of voice acting, or acting in general?
SM: In LA there is a publication called the Voice Over Resource Guide. It is updated every four months and has an A to Z list of everything from training to talent agencies. My advice would be to find a good class or a good teacher and study. Take some workshops. Train. Learn. Be careful, there are some scams and time wasters out there, but there are also many great teachers. Some of the top voice actors and directors in the business teach both classes and privates. When you feel you are ready, you’ll need to make a demo. Call some demo producers and meet with them. Find the best one for you. Cut a demo and shop it to agents.
One of the interesting things about the acting world is that there is no one specific way to do it. There are many different paths to living one’s vision. However, I do firmly believe that in order to “make it”, and each of us has his own definition as to what that means, you have to love it. If you love acting, I mean absolutely LOVE it, and you have a passion for it and you HAVE to do it and cannot imagine yourself not doing it, then go for it. That passion will carry you through all the rejection and fear, doubt, worry and hard times. If you don’t absolutely HAVE TO DO IT, then don’t. You’ll save yourself a lot of time, energy and potential heartache, and you can go shine your light and give of your talent in a better area more suited for your soul.
MGS:TUS: Scott thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to do this interview. Are there any closing comments you'd like to add for our readers?
SM: Love is stronger than fear.
-- Interview by Brian Barnes-Spencer, 27.09.2004