Misty Lee is an improv comic who studied at Second Metropolis in Los Angeles. She’s a magician at Hollywood’s Magic Citadel who’s additionally educated in dentistry, and she or he’s the voice of Princess Leia in Star Wars Battlefront. However she’s additionally the voice of one among TV and video games’ creepiest monsters — The Final of Us’ clickers.
Lee is credited with the creation of the clicker’s click on, a combination of screeching and echolocation, alongside clicker voice actor and PlayStation Studios sound designers Phil Kovats and Derrick Espino. She and Kovats — generally with their clicking combined collectively — supplied the eerie sound for The Final of Us when it was launched in 2013; Kovats returned for The Final of Us Half 2, however Lee wasn’t concerned. HBO’s The Final of Us supplied a possibility for her to reprise the voice she helped create, bringing her croaking echolocation sounds to the small display screen. In an interview with Polygon, Lee spoke to the unique route of the clicker voice, how issues various for the present, and even gave us a lesson in clicking ourselves.
Picture: Frazer Harrison/Getty Photos
[Ed. note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.]
Polygon: Your work is vital to The Final of Us and the sport.
Misty Lee: Yeah, I helped them create the sound. However the sound director for The Final of Us Half 2 was a unique staff. They needed to go in a unique route. One factor I’ve discovered on this trade is that you just personal nothing — I taught Phil [Kovats] how one can make that sound. And so they taught different individuals how one can make that sound. Anyone could make the sound. I’ll educate you how one can make the sound.
I’d love that. I really tried to do it earlier than this name and it didn’t sound correct in any respect.
You may’t print it, however I’ll educate you. [Ed. note: Sorry folks, industry secrets!]
How did you become involved with the primary recreation?
I used to be engaged on a venture with one of many guys. Phil and Derrick [Espino] are two of the blokes that labored on the sound design. Phil Kovats, who was the male clicker, and Derrick Espino, who’s a sound designer. They’re good males whose hearts had been left throughout that recreation. I used to be working with Derrick on one thing else, and I used to be doing a creature. And Derrick mentioned, “Hmm, I’m going to deliver you in on one thing else I’m doing.”
After I began, I went into the sales space they usually had been like, We’re in search of some sounds. These are among the creatures on this recreation we’re engaged on. We don’t fairly know what they sound like. That is what they’re going to seem like, and that is what they do.
As a voice actor, it’s your job to depart every thing on the ground. We began experimenting, and I began doing stuff for them. Once we occurred on the click noise, they went, Wait a minute. Cease that. Can you modify that up? Are you able to do it over and again and again? We simply discovered that sound.
So that you had been doing creature sounds earlier than this, too?
Yeah, there have been only a few girls on the time. There are fairly a number of now who do creatures in LA. However I didn’t know that it was a burgeoning market on the time. I used to be doing a creature with Derrick and he was like, A girl… That’s fascinating. And likewise, these are good noises. She makes issues that aren’t typical. I don’t thoughts getting ugly. I believe it’s enjoyable. You’ve acquired snot and water operating down your face. Don’t put on make-up since you’re disgusting. You’re everywhere in the microphone and I like to get gross. It’s enjoyable. There actually weren’t different individuals doing this on the time. It simply wasn’t a factor. As a result of I don’t thoughts being disgusting, and my background was in improv, it simply grew to become a factor.
I credit score Phil and Derrick, and the success of the unique recreation and their sound design, with type of placing me on the scene. I credit score them with altering a number of the route of my profession. I imply, it’s all the time mentioned we rise as much as the alternatives that we’re prepared for. However these fellows gave me an opportunity. I had no concept what the sport was. I didn’t know what I used to be doing. I used to be simply having enjoyable with some very nice individuals who had been enjoyable to collaborate with.
How did you get to that sound? Do you keep in mind what you rejected earlier than getting there?
It began with performing. One of many issues they mentioned to me early on was to think about I used to be in a backpack alone physique. You may see what’s happening, however you may’t management it. Your individual arms are tearing into the individuals you’re keen on. What does that sound prefer to you? And that was it. That’s the place we began. You reply that query. By answering that query, you make it actual. You begin to really feel that and it begins to get actual, then you definately see any individual in entrance of you that you just love very a lot.
You think about the ache and the anguish. It began with weeping and screaming, and making an attempt to cease my very own arms from doing one thing that they’re not speculated to be doing, and in addition one thing that’s breaking my very own coronary heart. And it simply began to morph and we simply went with it. And I used to be in there, I believe for 3 or 4 hours on the mic on that day. And so they simply hit document and let it go.
They made notes when issues had been fascinating to them, and would collaborate and bounce in and go, That’s tremendous cool. Are you able to do this 3 times?
If you’re weeping and moaning and screaming and crying, and in addition being a monster — you’re in there being a monster — you’re adopting proclivities that aren’t fairly human, that change your voiceprint. And what I imply by that’s, for instance, should you’re a canine, you don’t have a human cranium, you’ve acquired an extended nostril. You would possibly need to flip your tongue to the facet to make that form, change the form of your instrument, based mostly on the posture. If you’re doing a creature, you’re going to need to attempt to seem like them, to face like them.
You begin with that, and with an image of the clickers. They don’t have a voice — they’re probably not a voiced character. Their voice field has been overwhelmed, it’s been contaminated. We need to keep away from something that sounds too human, however remembering they had been human as soon as. We don’t need to take away humanity utterly.
It was such a outstanding visible to provide somebody. It’s such a tremendous factor for an actor to really feel. You’re tearing aside your loved ones and you may’t cease it. What? Wow. It was such an unbelievable emotional soul second. We began there. We modified shapes. Exhaled, screaming, weeping. We discovered it.
Is it completely different recording for the online game and recording for the present?
Sure. The online game was all blind creation — that they had one inventive image of the clickers. For the present, we recorded to image. And that’s actually the place figuring out the place the sound lives and having the ability to act is available in. If you’ve acquired a clicker strolling, or simply randomly in search of one thing —
[Lee does an inquisitive clicker sound.]
— like, Is there something on the market? Versus:
[Lee does an alarmed, alert clicker sound.]
[which is] them discovering one thing. And now, an assault:
[Lee does an aggressive clicker sound.]
It’s important to know the distinction. There’s a scene the place Ellie hadn’t seen clickers earlier than, within the museum. Do not forget that?
The very first thing we did was to image, and it was that clicker strolling and going [Lee does curious clicker sounds] and just like the clicks, the shaking — it was shifting, it was strolling, and all you noticed was its hand going [Lee does a clicker sound].
We had been capable of watch it, and Craig [Mazin, The Last of Us showrunner] had us observe it, the entire battle.
They’d present us the scene, after which beep us into the scene. They normally have you ever put headphones on they usually play, very quietly, the audio with out the music. There’s no clicker noise, so that you make the clicker noise dwell whenever you’re watching it. Phil and I’d every take turns, then we’d do issues collectively.
Does it harm to do the clicker sound?
After I had that session with them, I used to be down for 4 days. It doesn’t harm to do the sound, however what it does is it causes injury. I’ll educate you ways. I used to be down for the rely on vocal relaxation, and had a sore throat. It’s in all probability extreme vocal injury. It didn’t scar, however I’ve to watch out. The sport was one session. They acquired every thing from me in 4 hours. For the present, it was twice — we went within the first time and did a number of episodes, and went again to do some issues they shot later.
It was an unbelievable vocal stress. However now, the union has put a moratorium on our vocal stress. Even should you’re simply shouting, it’s laborious. If you do one thing like Name of Responsibility, you could have 300 strains that you just’re speculated to get by in a few hours. And so they’re all, GRENADE! It’s life or demise. You’re at battle, and it’s loud battle sounds. So it’s two hours now with union classes which might be vocally hectic. You’ve acquired to guard that stuff.
Do individuals ever ask you to do the clicker voice, like your pals or household?
I simply had a buddy right here final night time, he tweeted one thing about how a lot he beloved the present. And I used to be like, Get your ass over right here and watch it with us. He came to visit final night time and I used to be like, Do you need to discover ways to do it? And he was like, Sure, sure I do. He came to visit final night time, watched the present with us, and I gave him a clicker lesson. He went dwelling figuring out full effectively how one can do it and apply within the automotive.
I’d like to study.
[Lee instructs Nicole to make the sound. Nicole tries and fails. Misty encourages Nicole some more. She is embarrassed, but eventually makes a weak clicker sound.]
In the event you do it loads, you’re going to get hoarse. Think about hours of doing that and making an attempt to make any individual joyful, as a result of that’s our job as actors. However they had been like, We simply need bizarre noises. When he mentioned that to me, somebody who likes to play and be gross — watch out what you want for! However we acquired what we had been in search of. It wasn’t till they acquired that click on the place they went, Oh my god, that’s it. Like I mentioned, the clickers don’t have any eyes. They’re not human, not anymore, as a result of the fungus has taken over. What do they name the last word evolution of a Pokémon? It’s extra fungus than human. They’re in search of issues by echolocation. What does a mushroom want with an eyeball?