Exclusive Interview With Earl Baylon (Jonah Maiava – Rise Of The Tomb Raider)

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GS: As a man of many talents including acting, comedy, improv and writing, tell us about some of the projects that you’ve been involved in.

EB: Haha, well… I’ve been involved with a lot of stuff over the years, much of which will languish in obscurity forever (hopefully). Just kidding, sorta. Currently, I’m the Artistic Director of an Asian-American Improv troupe called Room to Improv. We do monthly shows at a theatre here in Los Angeles. I also blog for a site called Agents of GUARD – we cover all things geeky. For example, my latest article was a primer on Dungeons & Dragons. I’m also currently doing punch-up on a friend’s feature-length script. In a past life, I used to write and perform for a sketch comedy group called SketchComedyShow.com. We were together for about five years; then everyone started growing up, having families, and going to grad school. We had a good run, though.

GS: When did you decide that you wanted to become an actor? Was it always an intended career path? 

I’m the Artistic Director of an Asian-American Improv troupe called Room to Improv. We do monthly shows at a theatre here in Los Angeles.

EB: Oh, acting came late for me, at least the notion of doing it professionally, anyway. I was always a performer growing up, piano and guitar recitals, school musicals and all that. I had a Boyz II Men-esque 3-person a capella group when I was in junior high – and another 5-man group in college. What I actually went to college for, however, was a degree in Biological Sciences. I was Pre-Med at the time. I loved performing, but never really saw it seriously as a career path. After college I ended up joining the aforementioned improv group, and then started with the aforementioned sketch group. Then, all the evil people I met there convinced me becoming a professional actor was a good idea. I jest. I really love what I do, for reals. Sure it’s feast or famine, but it’s awesome in that way. And, as you may have surmised… I never became a doctor.

GS: I’m aware that you’re a keen gamer. Tell us about some of your favorite games.

EB: OK, so, for a long time, I was stuck on World of Warcraft. I’ve played that off and on since vanilla, both Horde and Alliance. I was mainly PvE, and played a lot of dual-wield melee Shaman. I only recently stopped playing at the end of 2013. But, Warlords of Draenor got my itch started again. I don’t know what I’m going to do when Legion drops. Bad things will happen.

I’m also into RPGs, Turn-based Strategy, and Adventure games. Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy X, and KOTOR probably rank highest in my favorites list. Definitely KOTOR – I’ve played that game through at least 7 times, probably more. Games like The Longest Journey – I love that stuff. Fire Emblem on the GBA, I was hooked on that for a long time. And finally Zelda 3: A Link to the Past – I bought that game 3 different times, for SNES, GBA, and on Nintendo Virtual Console. 

for a long time, I was stuck on World of Warcraft. I’ve played that off and on since vanilla, both Horde and Alliance.

GS: Of all the Tomb Raider games, which one is your personal favorite, and why?

EB: I am so biased. I haven’t had the chance to play Rise of the Tomb Raider yet, so I’ll say it’s gotta be Tomb Raider 2013, and not just because I’m involved with the game. I thought it was legitimately a lot of fun. I love the shooting/cover mechanics and the platforming. In fact, after I finished 100%-ing the game, I’d sometimes boot it up just walk around, climb ledges, and shoot stuff. Ask me again in a week, I’m sure I’ll say, “Rise. I love Rise of the Tomb Raider.”

GS: Finally, what has been your favorite aspect of working on the Tomb Raider series so far?

EB: Really, the fandom. The fandom has been nothing but awesome to me, and I love how absolutely die-hard they are. Plus, they put up with me tweeting about burritos all day. They’re a tight-knit bunch, and that’s awesomesauce. Also, I secretly love wearing tight, black adult onesies covered in reflective balls.

We’d like to thank Earl for collaborating with us. You can follow him on Twitter @earl_baylon, and Instagram @earlybgoode. Be sure to check out his website as well, which you can find at www.earlbaylon.com.

Rise Of The Tomb Raider is available now for Xbox One and Xbox 360.

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