Introduction by RA Hawkins
I remember years ago when I first realized that the Briefing Officer from TIE Fighter was none other than Mr Guy Siner, or, as I knew him a the time, LT Gruber from 'Allo 'Allo (a British sitcom set in occupied France during WWII). LT Gruber, with his 'little tank' and mannerisms that stemmed from 'being very lonely on the Russian front', was one of the highlights of the show. It was as astounding as finding out that SGT Zimm from Starship Troopers was Mr Krabs of Spongebob fame.
During my work on the “X-Wing in TIE Fighter” project – more about that some other time, I hit upon the idea of contacting Guy Siner and talking to him about his experiences with TIE Fighter. After contacting him via his website, http://www.guysiner.com/ , he agreed to answer a few questions, as he remains very busy! And so, below you will find my amateurish attempts at an interview with a true gentleman of the acting world. I can't even begin to tell you about the stupidly large grin I had when I got my reply.
The Guy Siner Interview
Thank you very much for agreeing to have me ask you some questions! As a long time fan of TIE Fighter (and, of course, ‘Allo ‘Allo!), it is a real privilege to get this opportunity!
I apologize that it has taken me so long to get round to it. It’s partly laziness, of course, and partly the fear that I remember so little after all of 20 years. But mostly laziness.
Our gaming club, the TIE Corps, is primarily built around our shared love of TIE Fighter. Despite being released back in 1995, the game still frequently either tops or is near the top of ‘best ever Star Wars games’, and can often be found in top 100 PC games ever. What were your impressions of the game as you were working on it? I had read in an interview it took four and a half thousand lines!
LucasArts is based in San Francisco and I when I arrived on the first day at the recording studio in Los Angeles I asked Khris Brown (the director) ‘why here and why me?’ She told me she had auditioned every voice in San Francisco without success and then moved on to Los Angeles and as soon as she heard me she knew she had what she wanted. Go figure.
It is certainly the most arduous job I have ever done: there were indeed four and a half thousand lines and I spent nine days shut up in a tiny recording booth; I was allowed regular breaks lest I go stir crazy and/or cross-eyed, and they made me wonderful smoothies… The writers, bless them, came up with half a dozen vital extra lines some weeks later, by which time I was doing a play in Edmonton, Canada, so I recorded them in a studio there.
I have to admit it’s rather nice to think, all these years later, that people are still enjoying my work and that the game is thought of so highly.
Did you ever get the opportunity to play the game, or any of the others you worked on? If so, how did you do? What were your impressions of it?
For some reason I never tried ‘TIE Fighter’. I think they sent me all the games I did voices for and I did play ‘Force Commander’. I tried to recognize myself but couldn’t remember all the voices I’d done, several of which were uncredited. I enjoyed the experience – being lost in another world…
Your character – the Briefing Officer – a role you took in other games, is such a huge part of the TIE Fighter game. That level of character interaction was unheard of at the time, and rare even today. How did you prepare for such a role?
I didn’t really prepare at all. I asked the director what she wanted before we started – did a few test lines and took her notes – and then got on with it. Since I seemed to be what she wanted – I was what she got. I remember we did very few re-takes – obviously there was the odd fluff and occasionally she wanted a slight change in tone, but for the most part I guess she liked what she heard.
I am currently creating my own new content for TIE Fighter, and have some friends providing the voice work. What advice would you give doing voice work for a Star Wars game?
The new films are now very much on the horizon. Is Star Wars and the extended universe something you are interested in?
I have a lot of friends who were involved in the movies and so I feel I know the world, but actually I haven’t seen them all. Occasionally I catch one on tv and enjoy it.
I hope my other answers are helpful.
Good luck to you all in your ventures and kind regards,