Tips for Video Game Voice Acting

Tips for Video Game Voice Acting

So, you want to be a video game voice actor? Get ready for an exciting, challenging, and sometimes bizarre journey into the world of pixels, polygons, and perilous Princess rescues! But before you start practicing your best plumber or hedgehog impression, let’s dive into some tips from the pros who’ve brought your favorite characters to life.

First up, nailing the audition. As voice acting legend Nolan North (Nathan Drake in Uncharted) puts it, “You have to be able to cold read, you have to be able to take direction, and you have to be able to think on your feet.” No pressure, right? The key is to showcase your range and ability to embody different characters. And if you’re lucky, you might just land a career-defining role, like Jennifer Hale did with Commander Shepard in Mass Effect. As she recalls, “I was just blown away by the script. I knew it was something special.”

But the real fun begins when you step into the recording booth. Get ready to make some serious noise! As David Hayter, the voice of Solid Snake in the Metal Gear series, explains, “In video games, you often have to do things that are a little more exaggerated than you would do in a film or TV show because you don’t have the visuals to support it.” So go ahead, let out that blood-curdling scream or over-the-top evil laugh. Just maybe give your neighbors a heads up first.

And then there’s the physical side of things. With the rise of performance capture technology, more and more voice actors are suiting up in mo-cap gear to bring their characters to life. As Troy Baker, who’s voiced Joel in The Last of Us and Booker DeWitt in BioShock Infinite, describes it, “You’re in this giant empty room with cameras all around you, and you have to imagine everything.” It’s like a high-tech game of make-believe, except with way more spandex.

But even if you’re not doing mo-cap, getting physical in the booth can help bring out your best performance. Just ask Ashly Burch, the voice of Aloy in Horizon Zero Dawn. I’m a very physical actor,” she says. “I’ll be jumping around, doing action sounds, making faces. It helps me get into character.” So don’t be afraid to flail, gesticulate, and make ridiculous faces – just maybe warn the sound engineer first.

Of course, it’s not all fun and games (well, technically it is, but you know what I mean). Voice acting can be downright exhausting, especially when you’re recording battle cries, death screams, and other “efforts” for hours on end. As veteran voice actor Fred Tatasciore (Gears of War, Overwatch) puts it, “You have to pace yourself. You can’t just go in there and scream your head off for eight hours straight. You’ll destroy your voice.” So take breaks, drink plenty of water, and maybe invest in some honey and lemon tea.

But what about those iconic villain roles? DC Douglas, known for his portrayal of Rayvis in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor and Albert Wesker in the Resident Evil series, has some insight. “Playing a villain is so much more fun because you get to let your id out,” he says. “The key is to find the humanity in the character, even if they’re doing terrible things. That’s what makes them compelling.” So go ahead, embrace your inner bad guy – just remember to leave it in the booth when you’re done.

But perhaps the most important tip of all? Have fun and stay versatile! As voice acting legend John DiMaggio (Marcus Fenix in Gears of War, Bender in Futurama) sums it up, “The more you can do, the more valuable you are. If you can do drama, comedy, action, sci-fi, horror, all of it, then you’re going to work a lot.” So keep honing your craft, exploring new genres, and bringing your unique flair to every role.

And remember, even the biggest names in the biz started somewhere. As Nolan North reminds us, “I started out doing car dealership commercials and stuff like that. It’s all about persistence and never giving up.” So keep at it, aspiring video game voice actors! With hard work, dedication, and a willingness to make funny noises into a microphone, you too could be the next big thing in pixels.

– TSG Management Guest Post