And And One BIG Thing Missing from Most VO Auditions
Danny Scott • 3/5/2020
Also published on the Voice One Verve
Last weekend I attended a conference dedicated to voice over in video games called Get Your Game On Los Angeles. Presented by the Voice Over Network, the conference was an all-day event with incredible presenters who are well-established in the video game industry, including voice actors, casting directors, and voice directors. Suffice it to say, the day was jam packed with content and impossible to unpack in a single article.
The final panel of the day featured an array of the day’s speakers who were all asked “What’s one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring voice actors?” Here are their responses:
7 Tips for Video Game Voice Actors
1. “Don’t Give Up!”
— Andrea Toyias, Casting & Voice Director at Blizzard
Simple, yet powerful, and something we all probably need to hear from time to time. And coming from the Senior Casting Director at one of the biggest video game companies in the world, I think it’s safe to say this advice is universal and needs to be heard by everyone from the beginner to the seasoned VO veteran.
2. “Play the character honestly.”
— Dave Fennoy, Actor
Dave urges us to remember that “our characters don’t have scripts.” We, the actors, get to read our lines over and over again, but each time the character says it, it must be as if for the first time. And playing a character honestly comes down to strong acting.
3. “The craft (and working on the craft) is a spiritual journey. Come back to your own power.”
— Tom Keegan, Casting Director & Motion Capture Director
You should love the learning process. It is full of self-discovery and personal growth. The actors who best connect with their characters are those who have learned to connect with themselves.
4. “Let go of the shit you can’t control!”
— JB Blanc, Actor, Voice Director
Focus instead on what you can control:
- be on time
- bring your director something to work with
- play the role & be the character
Everything else is out of your hands. The performance that you bring to the table is just one part of the larger puzzle.
5. “Everything you bring is unique to you and special to you. Believe in what you have.”
— Mark Estdale, Voice Director, Casting Director, Owner of OM & Vault 501
Don’t make the mistake of trying to be who you think other people want you to be. When you do that, you leave behind the one thing that sets you apart from everyone else – yourself.
6. “Celebrate. Look ahead and celebrate the opportunities you are going to get. Nobody is guaranteed anything. Celebrate every audition. Celebrate the moments.”
— Neil Kaplan, Actor
In addition to letting go of what you can’t control, do yourself a favor and stop dwelling on what isn’t happening for you and shift your focus to the positive, to the little things you achieve every day. Okay, so maybe you didn’t book the part, but you got the audition! Celebrate that!!
AND ALSO FROM NEIL KAPLAN –
7. “There are other actors who sound like you. But there are no actors who sound like you who also think like you, who feel like you, who emote like you, who have had the same life experiences as you. So put your alchemy together and create your own gold!” – Neil Kaplan
The perfect quote to button up this list. Just… wow.
So, what’s missing from video game auditions?
Andrea Toyias revealed that the number one thing missing from auditions right now (drumroll, please)….
Read that again, and let it sink in.
Among the hundreds of auditions she receives, she says less than 10% have good acting! And you’d be sorely mistaken if you think that the need for good acting only applies to the lead roles, she says, “because even if you’re an orc, troll, demon, or goblin, video games are about the human experience.”
Well, there you have it. Good voice acting –surprise, surprise– requires good acting.