S.W.A.A.T.

Let us bring your script to life!

S.W.A.A.T. (Specialized Workshops And Actor Tactics) is an elite team of actors and motion capture performance artists who bring years of experience and specialized training to help hone in on issues with scriptwriting, actor blocking, and character development.  This elite team of actors seasoned in motion capture performance, stage blocking, theater, voice acting for video games, radio, and animated television shows and feature films is essentially a free tool which garners high reward when deployed, abating potential risks to your project and saving you time and money.  S.W.A.A.T team members can be invaluable and unmatched in situations that stretch beyond the capabilities of producers, writers, and in-house staffers who will sometimes take on a character role at a table read.  Give your project the power and depth it deserves and deploy the team that brings ‘something special’ that connects the audience with players and launches hugely popular games, shows, and films.

Meet the S.W.A.A.T. Team Captains

Jennifer Hale

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Jennifer Hale (@jhaletweets) is an actress and singer who has built a vast and varied resume, appearing in hundreds of cartoon episodes and taking on roles in well over 185 video games, winning multiple awards.  Her varied roles include Commander Shepard in ‘Mass Effect’, Rosalind Lutece in ‘BioShock Infinite’, Cinderella in both games and animation, Leah in ‘Diablo III’, Naomi Hunter in the ‘Metal Gear’ series, roles in ‘The Power Puff Girls’, ‘Justice League’, ‘Avengers Assemble’, the Emmy award winning ‘Lost In Oz’ and dozens more.  In a five-page profile of her, THE NEW YORKER, coined Jennifer Hale, ‘The queen of video-game acting’ and “a Kind of Meryl Streep” for “her performances in... video games”.

 

Jennifer lives in Los Angeles with her family and her animals.  She runs a podcast (‘The Art of Money with Jennifer Hale’, available on iTunes) to help people take back control of their money and thrive.  Jennifer spends any free time traveling, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking and anything else she can find to do outside. 

Cissy Jones

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Cissy Jones (@cissyspeaks) is an award-winning actress whose voiceover career spans the gamut from animation to video games and everything in between. Besides winning a BAFTA for her performance in the 2017 Indie video game FIREWATCH, Cissy has also cemented her role as a new animation actress, so watch for her part as the lead in a yet to be announced new Disney animated franchise. When she’s not creating characters that kids of all ages adore, she’s lending her voice to projects such as the Academy-Award nominated documentary WINTER ON FIRE, as well as many national commercials, feature film trailers and network promos 

Sarah Elmaleh

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Sarah Elmaleh (@selmaleh) is a SAG-AFTRA actor and voiceover artist, best known for voicing player character Katie in Gone Home. She can be heard in over two dozen games, from critically acclaimed indies such as Pyre, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, and Galak-Z, to AAA titles such as Final Fantasy XV and For Honor (as The Raider.) Active in the games community as a developer advocate and proponent of deeper actor/dev collaboration, she has also judged, organized or spoken at major games festivals and conferences such as the Game Developers Conference, Independent Games Festival, IndieCade, and Games for Change.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What is S.W.A.A.T. an acronym for and what does it do?


S.W.A.A.T. stands for Specialized Workshops And Actor Tactics. (Because, video games!) We are a self-vetted group of experienced and passionate union actors who lend their talent (and, if asked, insight) to workshopping scripts in the pre-casting stage of development. It was founded by actors Jennifer Hale, Sarah Elmaleh, and Cissy Jones along with The Halp Network. The rest of the team is made up of highly seasoned, skilled and professional actors and performers from various mediums whose identities must remain undisclosed.




Who are the people involved in S.W.A.A.T.?


Founded by actors Jennifer Hale, Sarah Elmaleh, and Cissy Jones along with The Halp Network. The rest of the team are made up of highly seasoned, skilled and professional actors and performers from video games and animation whose identities must remain undisclosed.




What does S.W.A.A.T. cost?


Nothing. S.W.A.A.T. services are free of charge. Seriously! No joke! Really free. Pretty wild, huh?




How will S.W.A.A.T. benefit me and my project?


Actors and writers both know that dialogue can sometimes sound very different read aloud versus on the page. Phrases that seemed perfectly natural can suddenly sound stilted when delivered by a real, live human being. Strange scene rhythms, unmotivated turns, or forced characterization can come into clear view. Much of this clarity also depends on the skill of the reader. With non-actors, it can be more difficult to tell what to attribute to their relative abilities rather than the effectiveness of the writing. Some studios have in-house table reads or hire local actors to help discern whether scripts are working well or not. S.W.A.A.T. offers as vivid and reliable a sense of your script’s strength and readability as possible by filtering it through some of the best talent in the entire industry. (Perhaps your script is in fantastic shape and full of wonderful, defined voice already! Why not build on it with the confidence of confirmation?)




What kind of genres or scripts can use S.W.A.A.T.? What state should my scripts be in?


You will likely wish to test scripts with enough material to fill a workshop time window, and are somewhere between first drafts and being locked. Ensemble reads will greatly serve scenes where characters interact with each other (linear scenes map well to the table read format, for example). Clearly story-driven, dialogue-heavy scripts stand to gain the most from this service - but any script that relies on human delivery in the final product will benefit from being spoken aloud by professionals. And, after all - it is totally free.




Um, our scripts are barely final for the session…


That’s not a question :) But yes, we’ve been in that situation! We know that scripts change a great deal over time, and sometimes very suddenly. We suggest that IF the time and capability is there to do multiple drafts and polishes of scripts - and to hear it delivered aloud by people who bring the best out of it - you’ll be very pleased with the results.




Can I record during a S.W.A.A.T. workshop?


No. Recorded voices are our stock-in-trade, for pay. Script labs are designed to provide a live sense of the script, and creators, producers, and writers are welcome to take as many notes about the experience as they can physically jot down. However, when you are ready to record the voices (especially if you like the actors you’ve already heard), The Halp Network can assist in all facets of audio post-production and project management, including recording, editing, localization, signatory/payroll services, negotiating, casting and directing.




How long is a S.W.A.A.T. workshop?


2 hours.




If we make rewrites, can S.W.A.A.T. come back?


Yes! There is a limit of two rounds of S.W.A.A.T. script labs per project.




Can I ask for specific S.W.A.A.T. members? Will roles for the reading be cast according to fit or type?


No. Our actors may need to remain flexible for paid work - we will provide you with enough character voices to hear your script, but cannot guarantee locked scheduling for particular actors. As for casting, that’s properly suited to actual casting rounds!




What about SAG-AFTRA? Does my project need to be union?


No! Not for S.W.A.A.T. workshops. S.W.A.A.T. is not affiliated with any union and use of members, who ARE union, does not obligate you to make your project a union project. However, when the time comes, you will only need a union agreement if you decide to cast S.W.A.A.T. members in your union project, and The Halp Network is happy to help.




If I use S.W.A.A.T., do I have to cast them in my project?


While we would LOVE that, the answer is “absolutely not”. You are under no obligation to hire any of the actors you see or hear. We are here to help you bring fit, form and finish to your final script. But, in doing so, if you liked what you heard or saw, and you would like to hire the talent for your project, just let us know! You’ll be gaining an invested partner who will already be versed and rehearsed!




I am thinking about Performance Capture. Does S.W.A.A.T. do that?


Many on our S.W.A.A.T. team are experienced Performance Capture (PCAP) actors. And, The Halp Network has relationships with premiere capture studios in Los Angeles. If this service is something you’re interested in for your project, we can certainly help. Write us at swaat@halpnet.com and we can discuss your needs.




S.W.A.A.T. sounds fun, can I join?


It is fun! Script labs are super fun. For the time being, however, S.W.A.A.T. members reserve the right to scale slowly and, by referral only, to democratically maintain quality without an unmanageable administrative burden of thorough review.




My content and materials are highly confidential, will S.W.A.A.T. sign an NDA?


All S.W.A.A.T. performers are well-versed in the norms and considerations of confidential materials, and will treat your project information with the care and discretion it requires. We are happy to sign your NDA - and, if you don’t have one drafted up already, we have taken the initiative of offering one of our own!




How do I book time with or contact S.W.A.A.T. ?


Send an email to swaat@halpnet.com with the date, time, place, and number of roles/voices, with at least 1 week notice before the time of the read. More lead time may be necessary for VSL services. You are welcome to provide the script in advance or on the day (actors may turn around NDAs before receiving the script by email, or on the day itself.) Be aware that actors may not have time to review the script in advance, but many are happy to if they can (and they’re very accustomed to cold reading)!




Where is S.W.A.A.T. located?


The team management and its members are primarily located in the Los Angeles, California area.




Does S.W.A.A.T. operate outside of Los Angeles? Outside of the United States?


With adequate planning and if you are willing to cover such expenses as transportation, lodging, food and negotiate a reasonable stipend to offset the potential for LA work in your timeframe, you are most welcome to open a conversation about your particular project needs! As an alternative, you may also wish to consider using our Virtual Script Lab service.




Virtual Script Lab, what's that?


Virtual Script Lab (VSL) is a FREE pre-scheduled service to assist out-of-area clients who wish to avail themselves of the S.W.A.A.T. services, but are not at a location where the team can meet in person. Through the use of video and chat telecommunication software like Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, our team will meet with clients online at a predetermined time, providing all the services mentioned above. But, please note, these meetings also may not be recorded. The number of participants may be limited due to the specific software limitations.





© 2020 by The Halp Network, LLC.

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