Details Define the Game

Scott Burns

I recently had my eyes opened — to roughly the size of a high-quality porcelain 6½-inch diameter Micasa Infinity Band saucer.

This socket-popping moment came after a lunch meeting with the senior sound designer at a major game developer in the Seattle area.

Our discussion involved putting on a workshop for students interested in performing characters for Animation/Games. We figured it should also describe how casting for these projects have evolved over time.

It’s become a challenging field for all involved, including its voice actors. For starters, this particular company hires only union talent, which right there narrows the field to actors with a certain degree of experience, training and skill.

Add to THAT the trend of using famous names and celebrities to voice high-profile games, and the competition gets kicked up yet another notch.

Today’s goal in game casting? It’s to convincingly portray “reality” in fantasy … be it the way game players interact with each other, or the characters’ cinematic dialogue, or shredding your larynx to emit battle cries, exertion sounds, and death by falling, explosion and the ever popular incineration.

The degree to which game developers go in achieving such realism is staggering. In just ONE weapon alone, there can be as many as a thousand individual sounds. Each bullet fired needs to sound different from the one before it. Sound designers also manipulate how that particular gun sounds from three feet away, after you’ve handed it to your buddy in the game. And how it sounds in various sized rooms, and outdoors.

That’s just for ONE weapon.

I also learned there’s an approach called the “Super Session” — where a talent spends up to six hours in the booth, rather than two separate four-hour sessions.

Walking back to my car, I thought, “Man! I’ve experienced success in this genre, but to do games at this level, I need to UP my game!”

These people are applying incredible amounts of attention in crafting their product, so it’s d**n sure they’re going to expect the voice talent to perform at the same level. That means working out with acting classes, and for that matter, being physically fit.

Daunting? You bet. It’s definitely something to consider as you work towards a voice career in animation/games. I think I have it figured out though: Beef myself up with exercise … and make Roger Craig Smith’s eyes pop when he hears me.

Scott Burns is an Edge Studio coach. For more information about coaching with Scott or any other Edge Studio instructor, please call our office at 888-321-3343!

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