Voice Over for Video Games
How to get started working in video games
Just how big is the video gaming industry? Globally, the market size is estimated at over $200 billion and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.4% from 2023 to 2030. In other words, it's HUGE. And it's one voiceover genre that's unlikely to be taken over by AI voices any time soon.
Did I say it's also a fun industry to work in? So I've heard, and that's why I'm spending 16 hours this weekend in a workshop training on the ins and outs of voicing characters for video games. It's not as easy as you might imagine, but my instructor Dave Fennoy is an absolute master at it. He should be - he's an award-winning, internationally recognized voice actor and considered one of the very best in his field.
This is what I'm learning in this virtual workshop.
Every character is a world unto themselves.
Working the ol' acting chops
Acting ability, training, and experience is a must. The process is not much different from preparing a character for film or TV roles. You have to understand the situation and truly visualize the situation.
What's the character doing before the action?
What's the character feeling, thinking, and doing in the scene - and why?
What's the relationship between the character and the others in the scene or storyline? And how does that relationship affect the character's actions?
Most importantly, the voice actor has to connect with the character and make the scene come alive for the video game player.
Real, believable characters
Even in fantasy worlds, the characters have to come across as utterly plausible. Real people reacting in believable ways, even though their situations may be magical, apocalyptical, or set in space or the distant past or future. Human beings acting as people always have, no matter the setting or circumstance.
Oftentimes, actors are asked to use their real voices and natural ways of speaking. It can make the situation even funnier, if an everyday human voice emanates from a giant hedgehog or an alien robot, especially if there is humor or a personality quirk involved. It's all part of the storytelling process ... it's just that the players are not passive audience members; they're actually deciding with their choices the next actions for many of these characters.
The character needs to be fully fleshed out in the mind of the voice actor, complete with a backstory, likes and dislikes, preferences and biases, personal strengths and flaws, etc. Then, and only then, does the character's personality shine through in what they have to say. The character comes first, not an interesting voice.
"Every character has a voice, but not every voice has a character." -- Dave Fennoy
Laura's Quick Tips
Video gaming is a huge industry for developers, gamers ... and voice actors.
Want to play a character? Take plenty of acting classes first.
It's actually quite challenging to play a normal, everyday, conversational type of character.