Voice actor Chris Edgerly is checking in today with the eighteenth video in the #VONotes series and in this episode, he’s talking about voice acting in video games! The #VONotes series is a video series designed to answer questions about the voice acting industry and each video contains some great tips and references for aspiring voice actors everywhere! If you missed the previous videos in the #VONotes series you can catch up on those here.
Voice Acting in Video Games: Tips From Voice Actor Chris Edgerly #VONotes
Today we’re gonna talk about VIDEO GAMES!
What’s the most common thing you hear in a video game?
What’s the second most common thing you hear?
Video games are one of the largest parts of the voice acting industry and have been for years!
The stories get more and more detailed and elaborate. The characters get deeper and deeper. The universes just get bigger and bigger and yes, a lot of stuff gets blowed up real good!
The actual voice acting can be, sometimes, incredibly mundane. All of those times you hear “Going through the door”, “I’m gonna check that lock”, “Hey, pick up that item”, “Hey, pick up that second item”, “Hey, I found something”…
The script for a video game can be a very, very long column of lines that you have to do three or four different versions of. So, as a voice actor, you’ve got to be really focused. You have to be just as intense on the fourth take as you were on the first, and, you’ve got to have some stamina! Which means, get yourself some good breakfast before you show up for that session!
And, another facet of it is the vocal strain.
You have a lot of yelling, a lot of screaming, you’ve got to be able to do fight noises, small, medium, very intense, you’ve got to do pain noises, you’ve got to do death noises! Every character in a video game dies!
I did Senator Pat Geary for The Godfather II video game. Senator Pat Geary does not die in The Godfather II movie…but in the game, he dies because the director said to me: “Look, if somebody wants to pull a pin on a grenade and throw it at the Senator, he gets blowed up and you’ve gotta do the voice for it!”
What this all adds up to is: you’ve got to do everything you can to protect your voice and you’ve gotta have a good technique! That means diaphragmatic breathing and diaphragmatic shouting. There are some great YouTube videos on how to do that.
You also do get to do very rich characters who have a ton of lines – more than you would get in a normal movie because the world is so expansive.
It more and more feels like you’re playing in a movie or a TV show, which is all great for the playability of the game itself!
There’s also a very large performance capture element to video games nowadays. You wear the entire suit, you have sensors all over your face, and you have to be aware of a camera at all angles. It’s really helpful if you’ve done theater – especially theater in the round.
All performance capture is done on what they call “a level”. That’s a stage with a marked off boundary and there are cameras everywhere. The actors move around inside that level and they have to be aware of every degree of their body being recorded.
So, an actor doing performance capture has to be really aware of every angle of their body.
There is also what is called the NDA – the non-disclosure agreement.
Video game work can take a year, two years, even longer for the game to be finished. The actor is going to have to work on that and keep their trap shut the ENTIRE TIME and not go to social media and tell everybody what great thing they’re working on because the video game company needs to control the promotion of that game.
Hope this has answered some questions for you if you have any more put them in the comments section below and hit that subscribe button so you can see more #VONotes as I make them!