Secrets to Your Success: Jennifer Hale

"I can be anything in voice over. I can be five, or I can be 85. I can be an elephant, or I can be a human," says Jennifer Hale, a singer, actress, and voice-over queen. "Some of my characters can be all about seduction," she explains, "and others, it's about a five year old going, 'I want that!'" Originally moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting, Jennifer quickly found voice acting work on cartoons and video games. She says she's now appeared in over 130 games.

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As a child, Jennifer says she loved books, animals, and singing. A self-proclaimed "dork," she began singing and performing in clubs in the 10th grade while a student at a performing arts school in Alabama. She says singing is what she really loved, but Jennifer got a job at a video production house next to an audio studio where they would ask her to come do voice overs. "I was just blown away that they'd pay me $30 to go talk," says Jennifer.

After moving to Los Angeles, Jennifer was getting more and more calls to do video games. Today it's what she's known for, including video game characters like Commander Shepard from Mass Effect and Sarah Palmer in Halo 4. Jennifer says the experience is like taking a movie script, cutting the lines into strips, throwing them in the air, putting yourself in front of a green screen alone, and making sense of each strip from off of the floor. "I create my physical environment in my imagination. I create my person I'm talking to, what's my history, what do I want from them, and how does this character that I'm playing go about getting what they want," explains Jennifer.

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Jennifer's most famous video game role is as the female version of Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect series. As the lead character, Shepard was written so players could have the option of playing as a man or as a woman. Jennifer says Shepard is a leader, willing to go to the ends of galaxies to save others. "Women don't get enough opportunities like that, to play those people," she says.

"I suck at playing video games," says Jennifer. She would rather be outside, gathering life experiences that will add interest to the characters she voices in video games. Being a voice actor has been the perfect field for Jennifer, who says she could never sit behind a desk from 9 to 5. Her advice is to figure out who you are, stand by it, and work hard. "I never set out to be a voice actor. It's just what came my way," says Jennifer. "I am lucky!"

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