Do You Have The Skills And Stamina
To Voice Video Games? What To Know ...
August 4, 2015
By Rick Lance
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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