Tuesday, December 5, 2017

How to Find Voice Actors For Your Indie Project, Part 3 - Once You Have Your Actors

Today we review the final part of this three-part series on how to cast voice actors for indie projects like video games and web animations. You can read the first part detailing how to prepare for casting here, and the second part on holding auditions and finding voice talent here.

Part 3 is about how to manage your voice actors once you've got your cast, maximizing efficiency and minimizing miscommunications and stepped-on toes. Your auditions are done, you've spoken to the people you believe are the right fit for your characters, and you're ready to move onward. ...How?

Friday, December 1, 2017

How to Find Voice Actors For Your Indie Project, Part 2 - Holding Auditions

Last time, I waxed briefly on some expectations and guidelines of the voice over casting process, at least as it pertains to indie projects like video games and web series. If you haven't already read it, I highly recommend you do, as it focuses on a different aspect of casting, that aspect being how you should prepare before opening auditions.

Today, however, we're talking about actually holding auditions. It is entirely possible to contact voice actors directly and therefore skip the open audition process altogether, which is sometimes preferable if you're trying to keep certain parts of your project under wraps. (For instance, there were no open auditions for Quantum Suicide, a video game wherein I play charismatic medical officer Nikolas Vogel, as the game developer wanted to keep the English voice acting a secret until a specified date.) You'll still probably want to ask them to audition, though, rather than outright hiring them unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt they're the vocal embodiment of your character. Regardless of which method you use, consider the following pointers to make the casting process far smoother.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

How to Find Voice Actors For Your Indie Project, Part 1 - Before You Begin

So you've got yourself a video game. No, not from the store – this game you're developing. You've got coding, animation, music, writing, everything you need to make your vision come to life. But you're going to take it a step further – you're going to incorporate voice acting. Words will spew from your characters' mouths, players will hear them, and they will love them. (Hopefully.)

Ah, yes. Hmm. Voice acting. A new beast to be tamed. You conquered coding, you recruited animators, you have a regular A-team going, but mayhap the whole VO thing is uncharted territory for you. Where do you even begin?

Now I know if any agencies or experienced game developers are reading this, they might scoff, throw back their manes of hair (because they're sassy, you see, possibly also from an 80s hair band), and say, “You think we don't know any of this?! You sad, silly little man!” However, a lot of indie game developers just don't quite know where to begin, and even if they do, they often accidentally step on a lot of toes. A friend of mine once lamented that there was no template for indie game developers to hire voice actors, leading to a lot of confusion, misinformation and wasted time. This article is my attempt to correct that.

You may also consider reading Tamara Ryan's own article on hiring voice actors for indie projects, as it offers some new perspectives and insight this article might not spend as much time on. (You remember Tamara - we just interviewed her a month or two ago.)

This whole series will be split into three parts focusing on three different areas - Before You Begin (what to expect and how to prepare), Holding Auditions (rules and guidelines for finding voice acting talent), and Once You Have Your Actors (advice for efficiently getting the reads you need from your hired actors). Today we're focusing on what you should bear in mind before throwing wide the doors to your auditions.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Voice acting demos and how to market them - interview with Tamara Ryan

Voice actors have a tendency to spend so much time and stress working on their demos that they don't always consider what in the blazes they're going to do with them once they're created. To help demystify this effective marketing tool, I had an interview with LA-based voice actress Tamara Ryan (Android 18 from the Bang Zoom dub of Dragon Ball Super, Falan from Magi: Adventures of Sinbad, plus many more roles). I told her the interview would probably be between 10-20 minutes. The following video is almost 50 minutes long. My sense of timing sucks.

However, that's 50 minutes of useful information to voice actors wondering how to start using their new demos, including what attitude to use when emailing clients, what information to give up front, techniques and websites to use, whether or not to create physical demo CDs, and much more. Since it is a truckload of information and I don't blame you for being hesitant, I've created timestamps allowing you to jump around to the topics you find most interesting for the video below. I've also summarized the points made during the interview so you can read them at your leisure. There are many things I must learn about conducting interviews, such as not saying "a little bit" so much, so bear with me as I grow in this.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Don't let the thing you love become painful

Imagine being locked in a box with a ceiling so low you can't stand, so narrow you can't lay down, stifling with heat, the only available light coming through a tiny slot to reveal the outer world - nay, freedom itself - from your lonely coffin.

I could be talking about either an old French prison or any number of my previous voice over booths.

My booths have gone an evolution from the "Death Cubicle" - marginally effective, short-lived and possibly lethal, composed of three mattresses, some unstable wooden planks and a blanket or two - to the Coffin, which was basically an old French prison - to four sound curtains suspended from a ceiling in someone else's garage while I hid under a blanket - to my current booth, which is an entire room with ample lighting and plenty of leg space. Right now, I've got it pretty good. My booth is literally just my bedroom, so all I need to do to record is hook my laptop up to my interface and boot up Audacity.