Interview: Splinter Cell’s Kate Drummond

Kate Drummond is one busy actress. After walking away from a twelve-year career of teaching elementary school students, she’s landed roles in SPACE channels Cat 8, Clara’s Deadly Secret, and Being Human.

Now, she’s joining the cast of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist as Grim, the technical operations manager of newly-created Fourth Echelon, whose job is to provide Sam Fisher with data transition and interception in the field, before the Blacklist hits zero.

How is video game voice over work different from some of your other acting challenges?

Acting in a video game is definitely different than working on any film set or stage. Splinter Cell Blacklist was created using full performance-capture technology, however, which is different than voice over work. Performance-capture synchs the actors’ voice, motion and facial data in real time and allows us to act together, as if we were on a traditional set. There were some key differences though. For our shoots, we wore motion-capture suits and head mounted cameras! Not your typical wardrobe! Our set was a big open space called the “volume” and we had very few props. We relied solely on our imaginations and the detailed diagrams from the artistic team to help us visualize our environment, and this in turn helped us to authentically behave in the reality of each scene. It definitely took some getting used to but it was so fun!  It reminded me a lot of being a kid at the playground actually: everything was make-believe but felt so real! The monkey bars were always a spaceship for me and I knew exactly where all my crew sat and what high-tech gadgets I had, even though there was nothing there. It was the same thing. We got to be kids again!

Do they give you an advance copy of Splinter Cell?

No, I’m counting down to the release date like everyone else! But I did get to play a bit of Blacklist when I was at Ubisoft last time. I was really bad at it!  I was so distracted by awesome it looked that I just kept running into walls.

Who’s more rambunctious: a room full of elementary school students, or a server full of gamers?

A room full of elementary school students. Hands-down. You haven’t experienced mayhem until you’ve tried to get 25 five year olds ready for the bus. I wonder how Sam Fisher would handle that one?

What’s your advice for launching a career change as radical as yours?

Follow your gut, listen to that inner voice and look for inspiration in the stories of others who have done it. Leaving the stability of a teacher career to be a full-time actress was the biggest leap of faith I’ve ever taken, and I was scared. My family even had an intervention! It’s never easy to leave your comfort zone, but I knew that I’d live with this regret for the rest of my life if I didn’t take the chance. My advice to anyone who has an unanswered calling is to go for it. I have this quote hanging above my bed, “Sometimes the only available transportation is a leap of faith.” I believe it.

What’s your favourite cocktail?

A nice glass of red wine or a gluten-free beer.  That sounds so boring! I wish I liked something sophisticated like scotch or bourbon.

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist will be released for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, and PC on August 20. 

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