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A Look at Voice Acting for Video Games

Voice acting for video games is one of the most challenging jobs for a VO professional. To flourish in this niche industry you will need lots of practice, proper training, and dedication.

Pursuing a voice-over career is already a difficult occupation. The internet has changed the profession by giving anyone the opportunity to pursue VO jobs. The video gaming industry has evolved at a rapid pace while voice-over competition has only become stronger. Video game developers were only scratching the surface with dialogue back in the day. Now, video game creators need to make detailed storylines that submerse the gamer into a creative fantasy world.

This article will explain a few key points to contemplate as you work your way into a video game voice-over jobs.

Voice Acting for Video Games is Demanding

As a voice-over artist for video games, you need to convey an authentic and relaxed speaking method for the characters you depict. The speed of production is also much faster than a cartoon TV show or an animated instructional video. Many games have thousands of lines that you’ll need to read and record without much preparation or time for multiple takes.

You will most likely have little time to prepare or learn about the game.

Performance on the fly and working comfortably with a director’s instructions is a must. If you get lucky, the entire script will be provided so you’ll have some insight into what the other characters are saying. Even with some context, you will still have to cold read most of your lines and be ready to work at the pace of the director or with vague directions from the game’s developers. You might only have the chance to read each line a few times as you move rapidly through the script.

The Sessions will Test Your Vocal Cords

If you score a voice acting job for a video game be prepared for 3-4 hour sessions where your voice will be pushed to the limit. Think about all the times that a video game character gets blown to pieces, set on fire, falls from a great height, shot to death, or attacked by an enemy. These kinds of events happen hundreds of times throughout a game.

Your vocal cords will need to be able to endure a lot of talking and different inflections. Unlike a typical narration – shouting, roaring, grunting, and yelling are routine vocal styles that you must be able to perform. Speaking in these vocalizations is challenging and can damage your vocal cords if you don’t practice the proper technique.

Man yelling into a microphone

Plan Your Schedule

Detailed planning will help prolong your vocal stamina. If you know that some of the game’s scenes require screaming, save them for your final sessions. Make sure to adequately space your days in the studio out so your voice will have plenty of rest before the next session starts. Remember, its important to maintain the same tone of voice throughout the entire production.

Maintain Proper Technique

When pushing your voice to the limits without a correct approach, you might have to end your sessions early, lose the job to a replacement, or cause serious damage to your vocal cords. Let’s look at a few tips on how to safely scream and shout for video games.

  1. Warm-up Properly – A proper warm-up will help lower the risk of sustaining a vocal injury. Prepare yourself to make as much sound with as little tension as possible.
  2. Breathing Support – Practice your breathing exercises and fully activate your diaphragm.
  3. Safety – Listen to your body’s signals and give yourself rest if you feel pain or discomfort with your voice.

Use Your Imagination

A strong imagination will take you a long way in the video game business. The director and game developers may give vague instructions during your audition. If so, trust your intuition and be brave to make choices on the fly. Exemplifying your imagination and speedy work ethic will help you nail the audition. Even if you don’t land the job, you might find yourself on the top of the call list for a future project.

Prepare Yourself by Playing Video Games

Landing video game voice-over jobs is difficult. It’s very helpful to play different game genres to familiarize yourself with the kind of vocal styles that are used. Pay close attention to the different characters’ voices and the flow of the gameplay. Just like any other form of acting, emotions and authenticity are necessary ingredients to bring the scene to life. Khris Brown, who has worked extensively on Ubisoft titles like “Assassin’s Creed” says, “I look for people who can truly convey the heart and soul of a character”.

Man sitting down and playing video games

Practice, Persistence, & Demo Reels

Like all voice-over jobs, the more you practice the better suited you’ll be for nailing your audition and getting a callback. Work on your characters, track your vocals with new techniques, and use the right equipment to perfect your workflow.

Persistence is necessary for breaking into the industry as well. Like most acting jobs, you might have a tough time landing any big-name video game auditions without living in Los Angeles. Don’t let this keep you from casting a wide net. Many smaller roles for computer games and mobile phone games are listed online every single day. Get creative too. If you know a new game is being developed, attempt to reach out to its developers on social media to let them know you are looking forward to the release and tell them why how you’d make the character come to life with your voice.

Demo reels are a must have. As your repertoire grows, make sure you have a way to submit your best work to stand out from other candidates.

Growing your career as a video game voice actor is a difficult endeavor. However, with perseverance and a creative approach any professional voice actor can break into the industry. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next big star?

RSR: Cheyenne Medders – Songwriting and Producing Indie Rock And Folk

WhisperRoom™ is a proud sponsor of the podcast Recording Studio Rockstars. In each episode, Lij Shaw interviews music producers, engineers, studio owners, and other professionals to bring you inspiring stories, tricks, and insight from the recording industry.

You can listen to the entire podcast archive of Recording Studio Rockstars here or from your favorite podcast app.

RSR: Episode #243: Cheyenne Medders – Songwriting and Producing Pop Indie Rock and Folk

In Episode #243 of Recording Studio Rockstars, Cheyenne Medders talks about writing songs and finding your own lyrical voice, knowing what to write about, making a living as a songwriter, mixing with templates and referencing, plus The Artist’s Way and The War of Art.

Listen to the full episode here or stream it in the video below!

Recording Studio Rockstars – Episode #243 – Cheyenne Medders

Who is Cheyenne Medders?

Cheyenne is a singer-songwriter, producer, and musician living in Nashville. Originally from North Georgia and taught guitar by his father, Cheyenne started writing songs and playing music with his brothers as a young teenager. In 2005 he moved to Nashville, where he produces his own music and helps other artists bring their ideas to life.

He is a member of the indie rock band The Nobility and produces lo-fi electronic music under the name Bellbear. Additionally, he is a member of the Real Sword music collective in Nashville.

Cheyenne runs a home studio called Departure Room and has produced, mixed, written on, played on, or otherwise worked on recordings by The Secret Sisters, Sarah Darling, The Kernal, James Paul Mitchell, Z Swann, Jude Smith, Svrcina, and more. In 2019, he released 3 new singles from his upcoming full-length album Sapphired Up, due out in 2020.

Film Sounds: The Noise of Video Production

The audio of video production is just as important as the visual component, if not more so. Film sounds add context to the visuals and help inform viewers of what’s actually going on in a scene. When properly combined, audio and video work together to create a one-of-a-kind experience.

It’s helpful to understand all the different sounds you hear while watching videos.

The Element of Sound

Novice filmmakers, film critics, and general viewers often overlook the element of sound. So much precision goes into the subtle differences in a scene. When done well, sound design and sound effects should be indistinguishable throughout the film. A key to the power of sound design is its invisibility to the viewer.

3 Essential Catagories of Film Sounds

The three essential categories of film sounds are dialogue, sound effects, and music. These three types of sound are crucial to the viewer. A film’s sound team works to create a perfect combination of these different forms of audio to hook the audience and create a memorable viewing experience. Remember, the eyes see what the ears hear.

Dialogue

Dialogue is a vital component of any screenplay. It brings characters to life and adds context to each scene. The dialogue explains who characters are, what they are trying to accomplish, and who they might develop into later in the story.

The audience needs to be able to hear what the actors are saying in order to understand important plot points and to know what’s going on in the film. As a story line evolves, viewers become emotionally attached to characters because of what they do and say.

Sound Effects

Sound effects are another important element of television shows, movies, and feature films. Modern recording technology and editing software have changed sound effects production into a booming industry.

You can hear sound effects on the radio, in podcasts, movies, video games, theater, films, and TV. These important sounds help guide the audience to believe what they are seeing and anticipate the expected – or unexpected. For example, something as simple as the doorbell ringing while a family is eating around the dinner table or a car engine struggling to start will provide clues of what might happen next.

In many instances, several subtle sound effects are happening simultaneously during a scene. This creates a sense of reality. Background conversation, the sound of lockers clanging in the hallway, overhead announcements, and a school bell ringing might be noises you hear during a scene at school.

As expected, the recordings of authentic sounds are usually more realistic than stock sound effects. The production team can edit or enhance real sounds by adjusting the pitch, volume, and intensity.

Film Sounds infograph

Sound FX and Foley Effects

Traditionally, sound effects are cut to a film and Foley effects are performed along with the picture. Sound FX Editors make the complex sounds like machine-gun fire and computer noises while Foley artists focus on realistic footsteps, movements, and specific props.

In post-production, the Foley artists will record realistic footsteps along to the film. These experienced professionals typically record in a Foley pit and have hundreds of props on hand to help them achieve whatever sound is needed for the project.

Capturing movement is another important aspect of the Foley artist. They are responsible for creating realistic noises that synchronize with characters’ movements. A dog rolling around in leaves, a jacket zipping, and a warrior putting on heavy battle armor are all examples of noises made by the Foley team.

There are specific props that Foley artists are responsible for creating sounds for. These props tend to be items that the characters interact with, like a magazine being loaded into a gun, the sound of a hammer hitting a nail, or a vehicle’s door being slammed shut.

Delve into the world of film sound effects with Pinewood Studios’ Foley team.

Music

The importance of a film’s music is often unnoticed by the viewers, but it greatly adds to the experience. For years, soundtracks and scores have played a huge part in film and television. Music creates an atmosphere, evokes emotion, foreshadows plot developments, and adds an extra dimension to the audible part of a film. According to George Lucas, “…sound and music are 50% of the entertainment in a movie.”

The music you hear in a film is either part of the score or the soundtrack. A score is specifically written to accompany the film while a soundtrack is a collection of previously recorded songs. Both are used in film and television. With a little bit of luck and a lot of planning, the right song at the right time can create an iconic cinematic moment.

Watch this video to see how music can change how your brain perceives a film.

Video by Now You See It – a film analysis channel

Diegetic Sound vs. Non-Diegetic Sound

Diegetic and non-diegetic sounds comprise the sound design for every TV show, Hollywood movie, and video production that you watch.

Diegetic sound

Diegetic sound is any noise whose source is visible on-screen or is implied to be present by the action of the film. These sounds can either be on-screen or off-screen depending if its source is in the shot or not.

  • The sound of characters voices
  • Sounds made by objects that are part of the storyline
  • Music that is represented as coming from instruments in the story

Non-diegetic sound

Alternatively, non-diegetic sound is any noise whose source is not visible on the screen and is not implied to be present in the action of the film. These sounds are represented as noises that come from outside the story.

  • The sound of a narrator’s commentary
  • Sounds effects that are added for a dramatic effect
  • Music that is added for mood (the score and soundtrack)

Videomaker demonstrates how diegetic and non-diegetic elements are used in film productions.
RSR: Glenn Fricker – Spectre Sound Studios Heavy Metal YouTube Channel

WhisperRoom™ is a proud sponsor of the podcast Recording Studio Rockstars. In each episode, Lij Shaw interviews music producers, engineers, studio owners, and other professionals to bring you inspiring stories, tricks, and insight from the recording industry.

You can listen to the entire podcast archive of Recording Studio Rockstars here or from your favorite podcast app.

RSR: Episode #242: Glenn Fricker and Spectre Sound Studios Heavy Metal YouTube Channel

In Episode #242 of Recording Studio Rockstars, Glenn Fricker talks about making heavy metal records at Spectre Sound Studios, taking his YouTube channel from zero to 350,000 subscribers, why you shouldn’t cup the microphone, how to get awesome metal guitar recordings, and much more.

Listen to the full episode here or stream it in the video below!

Recording Studio Rockstars – Episode #242 – Glenn Fricker

Who is Glenn Fricker?

Glenn Fricker is a musician, an engineer, and the host of a very successful YouTube channel at Spectre Sound Studios. On the channel, he teaches great insights into recording and mixing heavy metal, and also offers fearless and ruthless gear reviews.

Glenn loves making records, and after doing it for sixteen years, he wanted to pass on what learned through tutorials on how to record guitar, bass, real drums, and vocals. You will find reviews and demos of tube amps, amp sims, drums mics, preamps, outboard gear, and plugin effects. Everything you’ve wanted to learn about recording Hard Rock & Heavy Metal can be found at Spectre Sound Studios.

Glenn also designs guitar pedals. He recently designed the SMG Cock Blocker Noise Gate to create perfectly tight heavy guitar performances. Check out a review of his pedal and some other videos from his YouTube channel below.

Ola Englund demos the Cock Blocker Noise Gate
Bass guitar – the overlooked instrument
7 Benefits of Silence: Why We Need Less Noise

The world around us is often difficult to cope with. Many of us tend to lose focus and find it difficult to remain consistently productive. With all the distractions of our daily lives, it’s easy to recognize that we need less noise in order to keep our concentration.

Forbes reports that successful business leader, Vijay Eswaran has built his career on his ability to meditate in silence each morning. He seeks to spend some time reflecting on the day ahead and discover its importance. Eswaran has created a theory of business management based around developing his productivity by spending a little time each morning in silence considering what information he needs to consider each day and what can be pushed aside.

A little less noise is good for all of us, so let’s take a look at 7 incredible benefits of silence.

1. Silence Helps You Concentrate

One of the major reasons why silence has become an important part of everyday life is the ability to focus as the modern world and its various noises enter your brain all at once. The ability to focus on different tasks is often accompanied by a little background noise.

Focus is almost always lost when a sound reaches around 80 decibels. A silent environment or one with just a little background noise will help you concentrate the best.

2. Silence and Creativity

Without a doubt, creativity is an important part of life, and silence is an important part of the creative process. Some studies have shown how important silence is to the success of individuals as they move through the creative process. An article on Medium explains that visionary scientists like Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton worked almost exclusively alone for the majority of their lives. Psychoanalyst Ester Buchholz has previously explained the best creative work is often completed in solitude or after a period of solitude.

Brainstorming with others offers its own set of benefits, but some of the best creative work happens when the outside world is shut out and your craft gets all the focus.

3. Awareness is Achieved Through Silence

Many distractions and noises flood our world. You may never discover how you can improve your life when your attention is always being drawn away. However, you can improve your awareness by practicing silence. Taking time to self-reflect will help you figure out if your life is working the way you’d like it to. Once you become aware of the changes you’d like to see, you’ll be able to make a conscious improvement to the patterns of your life.

Several benefits of silence: concentration, creativity, and awareness

4. Silence Provides You with a Sense of Calm

When struggling with the stresses and strains of life you may have difficulties with staying calm. Stress is one of the most difficult aspects of modern life. The American Institute of Stress reports around 77 percent of people in the U.S. show some physical signs of stress in their everyday life. A period of silence each day allows the chance to relax and reduce stress levels.

Nick Seaver presents a TED Talk on The Gift of Silence

5. Noise Has Been Linked to a Lower Level of Learning

UPMC Health has reported a link between the level of noise a child is exposed to with their abilities as a student. The more noise a child is exposed to, the worse they perform at school and the harder they find the concentration levels to work with. In the 21st-century, the exposure of children to tablets, cell phones, and video games has increased the level of hearing impairment which affects their ability to learn and develop correctly.

6. Productivity and Silence

How do you measure productivity? If you are running on very little sleep and trying to complete as many tasks as possible in as short a time as possible, you may be missing out on the benefits of silence. In an article by Inc., research suggests that doing nothing and remaining silent has been reported to increase the production of new brain cells which could make you more productive in the future simply by doing nothing. Taking time to daydream may actually improve your productivity tenfold.

7. Silence Gives You More Patience

Constant noise from the media and our day-to-day lives causes many of us to miss out on the benefits of silence. In today’s fast-paced world, almost everyone has a short fuse for frustration. Learning to enjoy silence cultivates calmness and peacefulness. When regularly practiced, your tolerance levels for becoming impatient will likely grow too. When you learn to savor silent moments, you’ll have more patience in daily hassles like traffic jams and long lines at the store.

Several benefits of silence