Many times, we are expected to voice several video game characters in a single recording. Each one needs to sound unique and fully evolved. For example, in a session for DC Universe Online, I recorded lines for three very different characters: Catwoman, Black Canary, and Indigo-1. In order to switch between the three characters, each one needs to be fully realized, grounded, authentic, and most importantly, different than the others.
Here are three pro tips for voicing video games:
Follow the artist’s lead: Character illustrations give you a lot to go on. Is the character’s chin up, is she proud? Or does she have a smirk on her face, showing she’s the haughty type? Look closely at the character’s facial expression and body language, as well as physical characteristics. Even if you only have one or two stills for reference, the artist’s rendering can tell you a lot about your character’s personality.
Strike a pose: Find a posture that suits your video game character. Black Canary is sassy, and so was my posture in the booth – loose and flirty, with one hand on my hip. Indigo-1 is dignified and serious, so I kept a strong, wide stance throughout my reads. Embody your character physically and the microphone will follow suit.
Do your research: When I know I’m voicing video games for a specific character, I do a lot research in advance to make sure I know the history of the character I’m playing, as well as the world they’re living in. The latest episode that included my character, Catwoman, was a throwback to a World War II-inspired universe. I worked in some subtle differences to convey a vintage feel. It’s all in the details, so learn as much as you can about your character before you arrive for your session.
If you aren’t provided with any artist renderings, character descriptions, or synopses ahead of time, ask your director specific questions when you arrive. Remember that they are on your side and want you to succeed. Plus, they tend to love to talk about their games and will be flattered that you care enough about your performance to ask.
What video game character would you like to voice? Leave your comments below!
Want to connect with other voice-over talents? Continue the discussion on our Facebook page!
About the Author
Kelley Huston caught the acting bug at the ripe young age of 8 and has been at it ever since. After finishing college with a degree in Theater Arts, she stepped into a vocal booth and felt immediately at home. With over two decades of experience behind her, Kelley brings a sense of approachable confidence and a playful wit to her reads. She is skilled at a range of styles, but is known for her authentic and genuine delivery. Her commercial & narration clients include Adidas, Suburu, Lean Pockets, Fisher-Price, American Greeting Cards, Target, Aquafor and Dell Computers to name a few. She also voiced Catwoman in Sony Online Entertainment’s Playstation game, DC Universe Online and has enormous experience as a narrator for eLearning courses. Kelley also has 10 years of experience as a line producer in the commercial industry, giving her a unique perspective on voiceover within the field of advertising. A few of her production credits include major brands such as Lowe’s, Nike, Purina, Kellogg’s and Anheuser-Busch. She finds coaching to be incredibly rewarding. Being able to share her enthusiasm and experience with students is a real treat.