SCREAM: The TV Series
Voice of the killer in Scream: The TV SeriesVoice
Providing the voice of the killer on the phone for MTV’s Scream: The TV Series was one of my favorite gigs. It also brought me some new fans. Fans who have interviewed me for their podcasts and what have you. Below is one of those interviews.
How did you get into voicing the Lakewood Slasher and how did you audition?
What I did was I got an audition for Scream, they wouldn’t say what it was, so I didn’t know if it was a game or a TV show or what. They kept it all very hidden, and the audition was the scene from the movie with Drew Barrymore, the scene that everybody knows.
I said to myself, “I really don’t wanna do what Roger Jackson did before. I want to do something different, and not really worry about it. Let’s just have fun.” So I went outside to my deck at night, had a cigar and a scotch, looked over the sides once, and said, “Okay. It’s not gonna get anymore loose or fun than the state I’m in right now.”
I went right upstairs into my booth, it must have been about 11 o’clock at night and I literally just ran through the scene once for fun. No editing, no nothing. I didn’t give a shit, just did it for fun and woke up the next morning thinking, “Ah, I’m gonna have to re-do it.” I gave it a listen and said, “Nah, fuck it! Good enough,”
I sent it and there were a lot of wheels behind the scenes that I came to discover. You have no idea as an actor how many people are working on your behalf. It’s a lot!
The casting director knew me from on-camera auditions and callbacks. My voice-over agent knew the casting director and he was saying, “God, I’m having a hard time with this,” and my agent said, “Listen to Mike Vaughn’s file. I think he had the best take on it,” and he did and it was down to me and one other guy and they just made up their mind that it was me, and so, I just had fun with it, and just booked it because of people talking to people and recommending me, and me having an okay reputation of being reliable, and I guess talented, I don’t know, and so I just ended up booking it and no callbacks, nothing. Same way I booked Spider-Man. One audition, and that was it, which is, you know, rare, but it’s nice.
So, it was just a matter of letting go, having fun, and doing that and then you ask, how I got into it and all that. Well, I didn’t wanna do what Roger Jackson does, and so I used all my actor tools, which is what do I want, who am I talking to, you know, and all that, and so my whole goal was to play.
I just wanted to play with the person on the other end of the phone. That was it, and so, how would I play with somebody? That’s all I did, and so I just played with them. I toyed with them, and my first session on Scream, the first episodes, the note was play, play… and play some more. So, it was great. The killer in Scream is a guy with a cat, with a ball. That’s all I was. I was a cat with a toy ball. That was my job, and the toy ball was the people I was calling, and I had my claws out and I was ready to kill them. That’s all I had to do. It was really fun. That was one of my favorite gigs ever.
6. Did you have a favorite kill in the series?
Uh, the barnyard with the saw above his head, I forget who that was. That was pretty good. That one shocked me. I was surprised that went to air… The blonde kid (Will Belmont), he’s sitting in a chair and then Emma spots him and the thing drops on his head, splits on his head, I was like, “Holy shit!” My wife and I were both like, “Oh my god, did they just show that?” So yeah, that was a good one. But yeah, I didn’t get to see a lot of the footage when I was doing my work, cause we don’t have time to watch the show. We just only had time to do the scenes I need to be on. So, I didn’t see much of anything until I watched it as a viewer.
7. How did you record your voice? Did you do it in your studio and just sent them over or did you record it on set?
I went to a studio called Wildfire that’s not around anymore. I would walk in and sometimes there were other actors from the show who were there to fix their lines. I’ve met Tom Maden (played Jake), Amadeus Serafini (Kerian) and Tom Everett Scott (Emma’s Dad). We’d pass each other in the studio, a big recording room with a large projection screen, two microphones, one’s out in the distance, one’s a little closer, and they give me the lines as I show up.
So, that’s the thing about voice work, especially in games, you don’t get the material ahead of time. You have to jump on it ASAP. There’s no time to prep. So you get the lines and you make your decisions fast, and you go and you hope for the best. So, one time too, they wanted me to do lines ahead of time called “scratch tracks,” just so they can edit to my voice instead of somebody else’s voice, and the producer handed me his cell phone, with the scripts on it, and I literally just flipped through his iPhone with my thumb and read all my lines, and two of them went straight to air. Like I paid for that (laughs). I didn’t even have to come back into the studio! So, that was amazing.
8. What were your favorite killer lines to deliver?
“Did you just lock me out or did you just lock me in?” (1×02 Emma’s Call) That’s not exactly how I said it, but I love that moment, and the very last line that I said ever which was “Who gave you permission to wear my mask?” (2×12 Kieran’s Call) Those two were, those were the heroes to me, I love those lines. Those were great. Those were the most fun too cause I knew what was happening.
9. How was it like meeting Amadeus Serafini (Kieran)? Were you guys like, “Hey I’m you!” or did you know he was the killer beforehand?
Uh, we didn’t say that to each-other, cause I didn’t know and as actors, you don’t really talk about like that sort of thing. He was very quiet, he was sort of, you know we’re just there to do our job, and we’re nice to each other and I said, “Hey, enjoyed your work!” You know, and like “Cool man, cool, yeah.” That’s it, and then your gone. Jake (Tom Maden) was a little more friendly, the guy that played Jake… we talked about voice work a little bit.
But yeah, you don’t really talk about the actual project your on, I guess. As an actor, you reserve what your doing, as an actor for the performance, you don’t sort of spill it on somebody else when it’s not recording. Yeah, the Scream stuff was so long ago. I’m sad that Season 3 was all new production crew, all new everybody, yeah, it didn’t continue Season’s 1 and 2.
See more of Mike’s character work.
Voice of the killer in Scream: The TV Series
February 1, 2020