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VOICE ACTING
Do You Have The Skills And Stamina
To Voice Video Games? What To Know ...
August 4, 2015

By Rick Lance
Voice Actor

In the last decade or so, video game voice over has grown into one of the biggest genres in the VO industry. Games have evolved from single-player arcade games with basic graphics and sound into multi-player story challenges with advanced sound and pictures. 

Part of the sound in a modern video game comes from narration and character conversations, which is where voice over actors come in. 

If you’re thinking about breaking into the ever-growing genre of video game VO, here’s what you need to know.

PRODUCTION PACE

Video game voice over doesn’t operate at the same pace as television or radio VO. It’s much faster, and the scripts are notorious for being challenging due to lack of prep time.

Oftentimes, actors don’t even see the script until they’re reading for production, and depending on their role, scripts may be between 4,000 and 5,000 words. 

Cold readings are tough enough, but with the quickened production pace, video game voice over is no joke.

MULTIPLE ROLES

Actors supplying the voices for video game characters are usually responsible for multiple roles. This means that the talent has to be ready to shift from one character to another quickly and seamlessly to keep up with the production pace. 

ACTION ACTING

Just because it’s a video game, it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook in terms of actual acting talent, either. Even if you’re just reading quick bits of dialogue, like "He’s down!” or "Let’s get out of here!” you still have to do so in a convincing manner. 

Remember, video game players are often heavily invested in the games they play, and they’re not going to buy into a game where the voice actors aren’t lending sincerity to the characters.

IT'S DEMANDING WORK

Overall, video game voice acting is extremely demanding.  Between the faster pace and challenging scripts, it takes a true professional to master this genre. 

Additionally, there’s often not a lot of context for the actors to work off of, especially if they’re switching characters and reading for a variety of "levels” within the game. 

Vocal stress is another factor, as most actors are expected to deliver high decibel performances for long periods of time.
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ABOUT RICK
Rick Lance has been working as a voice talent since 1993, transitioning from singing demos and personal projects in Nashville’s music business to voicing hundreds of commercials, then promos, narrations, character voices and more. His vocal style is described as Americana, the voice of the Heartland. He is currently the voice (narrator) of three hunting programs and one outdoor program on the Sportsman Channel and the Outdoor Channel. His client list includes Toyota, Harley Davidson, Sony Entertainment, Coca Cola, Life Care Centers of America, John Deere, Jordan Outdoor Enterprises and Sacred Seasons II. He has also become a leading voice for the industries of construction, manufacturing, energy production, trucking, agriculture/equine, outdoor sports, travel, community banking, finance and health care. And he is a colorful voice for film, television, museum and corporate documentaries. "I’m lucky to be working within my comfort zone," he says, "literally living out my voice acting life as an outdoorsman, horseman, weekend cowboy and working man, gentleman farmer on my six acre mini ranch with my horses, dogs, cats and my wife near Nashville.”


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Comments (4)
Kent Ingram
8/4/2015 at 3:55 PM
Some of these experiences I've had, others not. The pace and emoting levels are definitely a challenge! I remember having to re-do two lines of dialogue 2-3 times, to get the forcefulness required by the client. What I thought was over-the-top acting was actually just what they wanted. You go with the flow and deliver what they want! Nice article, Rick!
dc goode
8/4/2015 at 2:03 PM
Indeed Rick...no place for sissies.
:-)
Hope all is good with you!
dc
Rick Lance
8/4/2015 at 1:59 PM
Hello Nano,

In response to your question, here's what I can tell you.

First of all, it's good that you have a theatre background and I'll assume you are up to par with your voice acting skills, studio equipment, business skills, etc. You should understand that my entry into video game work did not come easy. This work may have been a bit more accessible if I were living near California's movie business. Since that's where most of this work was initially generated. I've gotten into it by way of auditioning through several agents that I have throughout the country and from audition websites that I work with. Sometimes through referrals. And the bulk of my voice acting work is NOT for gaming. My character voices are actually limited compared to many others who can perform a much broader range of characters. Maybe you fall into that category... good for you if you do.

So I'd say, find the auditions wherever you may and audition like crazy!!! There's only room for a few "celebrity" voices in these games and the more minor roles go to the lesser -knowns... you and I! Let your agents know you're interested in this work and get the word out in your promotional efforts... your website, postcards, emails, etc. And keep polishing your acting skills. The more you can do the more hirable you can become.

The good thing is that we all have greater access to all types of voice acting work via the Internet.
Take advantage of that and keep reaching out and researching on line. Good luck... be well!
Nano
8/4/2015 at 5:58 AM
Yes I can see all that and would still very much like to do video/computer games as my background is in theatre.
Tell me how do you get in to do them?
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