Blade Edge

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Workin the vocal chords

October 12th, 2008 · No Comments · Personal

So after I noticed the Facebook staus of one of my game developer friends up in NYC saying ‘Looking for VO talent’, my first question to him was ‘are you going through an agancy?’ I have no doubt that there are plenty in NYC, but I also knew he was a small indie developer and so I was betting more on him searching out the talent on his own (hence the FB status). My hunch was right, and on Friday he sent me a small email with files including the backgrounds of the game’s male characters and a few short lines to read for each one.

Obviously the game is still under development so I can’t reveal much of anything. There are 16 male vocal parts in the game and I read for all of them. The background sheet included a description of the character’s purpose and history in the game as well as some artwork depicting the character itself. This was very helpful to me in determining what kind of voice I wanted to lend to that character. My normal voice is on the deeper side if the vocal range, and I can pitch it as low as James Earl Jones although I can’t quite capture the pure baritone nature of it. So it’s more of a “tough guy” deep voice – which actually suited one of the characters perfectly as he was a bodyguardish type.

Other voices I did were an old-style western accent, a debonaire style, a funny mix of italian/russian mobster (that I quite liked, personally), a private-eye Dick Tracey-type voice, and a British lit. I also pitched my voice up and down for some characters, and just kept it normal for three – two of which I just couldn’t find a proper voice for.

I would start by reading through the lines to get familiar with them, and determine how I wanted to read them, where to stick the proper inflections. For example, should I say “I didn’t say that” like I’m being accused, or as a firm statement? Where the lines were part of a conversation, seeing what the other person was saying to me helped a lot with those decisions. Other roles just had voice bytes, seperate lines of dialogue that could be thrown out in response to in-game actions or character interactions. Like a taxi driver shouting at traffic.

After deciding how I wanted to read the lines and in what kind of voice, I’d record myself going over the lines several times, as many as about 5-6. Then I’d stick the vocal track into an editor and play it back to see how I sound. My mic is a $15 logitech headset so it’s not the best at picking up full vocal ranges, especially for a pitch like mine, not to mention even deeper ones I do. Since it’s best at mid-level pitch a lot of what I said sounded higher than it really is, so I made note of that when I emailed my friend the voice files. Anyway, after picking the best lines, sometimes re-cutting it to get the best segments of lines together, I’d output it as an MP3 file.

All in all it took me about 5 hours over the last two days to record and cut together all 16 voices. Seeing that doing voice over is something high up on my Bucket List, I’m hoping I land some parts (as they’re looking for someone who can do multiple parts – hence the many different voices). My throat is a little sore now 😛 Got my fingers crossed, should find out tomorrow what the deal is.

In other news, I’ve been going through all my show tapes and making note of what’s what and where. I’ll have to post up some Batman Season 1 show videos for people to check out. I have half a Season 2 show but can’t find the rest, have some more tapes to peruse tho. Stay tuned!


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