Casting Director: Devs Need to Cast Voice Actors Sooner

Casting Director: Devs Need to Cast Voice Actors Sooner

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Casting director Mark Estdale wishes game studios wouldn't leave something as important as choosing voice actors to the last minute.

"It is common (and bad) practice to seek voice actors late in the development process when the script is almost finished when 'getting the voices in' is high on the agenda," said Estdale.

The immersive experience of a game hinges more and more on a properly delivered voice acting experience, Estdale said, but unfortunately, many developers are not giving it the attention and polish it needs. The problem, he said, is a lot of studios don't understand the role and requirements of voice actors in their games.

Estdale likened the voice acting experience to that of an actor in a movie. But while few will doubt the importance of an actor in delivering a proper movie experience, the contribution of a proper voice actor is much less recognized. "In performance terms, games by their interactive nature demand a far greater precision and attention to detail than with any linear production. The non-linearity of interactivity means the audience may spend, hours, days, even weeks with your character. The slightest blemish will be under a microscope. It is the tiniest flaw can shatter the audience's suspension of disbelief, even if NPC 3,102 blew it," Estdale said.

So what is needed to solve this problem? Education, Estdale said. "Game developers are masters of game development (sometimes) but they frequently don't understand the art and craft of performance. It's a young industry, they will learn and what the future will bring will astound us. From my experience the teams that produce good voice work are simply those lead by senior decision makers who are passionate about, and understand the power of voice (and audio) and they factor into their schedules and their budgets what is needed to facilitate results. They know."

Is this likely to change any time soon? Estdale notes the industry is still in its developing stages, as movies took about fifty years to come into their own. What is important for producing proper voice work is the developers understanding that the selection of voice actors needs to be an integral part of the scriptwriting process, not something to be tacked on at the end with whatever budget is left. Still, Estdale said, things are getting better.

"It's a great industry. I love its genius and its youth. What is done with voice isn't core to creativity. Yes it has value but the beating heart is genius otherwise directed. Every day I still wake up inspired. Things will change," Estdale said.

Source: GameCulture

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I have to tally agree with him. With voice acting becomin a huge part of gaming now its important that everything about it feels right...and, if they are not getting the right talent in early enough, so it can be tailored then its going to feel awkward, and like cardboard.

Hopefully, developers will start to listen

I agree. I utterly hate bad voice acting. It can really annihilate the immersion in a game. I'd rather they spend more time on getting good voice actors in than just rushing it at the end.

How many times has there been a thread on "The best lines in a game"? Voice acting, these days, is an absolute game maker.

What would really boost things is if there was more ... "geographically relevant" voices in games.

Um... before the voice acting thing, could we just fix one little thing? Its for First Person games specifically.

*Ahem*

PROGRAM IN SOME FUCKING FEET IF YOUR GOING TO HAVE THE GAME IN FIRST PERSON!

I don't care how immersive your game is, I don't care if your voice acting is the best ever, none of it matters when I can look down and instantly be reminded I'm just a freaking floating camera with arms.

Sorry for getting off topic, but the industry seriously needs to start programming in some damn feet.

And no, I will not shut up about that. Ever.

Irridium:
Um... before the voice acting thing, could we just fix one little thing? Its for First Person games specifically.

*Ahem*

PROGRAM IN SOME FUCKING FEET IF YOUR GOING TO HAVE THE GAME IN FIRST PERSON!

I don't care how immersive your game is, I don't care if your voice acting is the best ever, none of it matters when I can look down and instantly be reminded I'm just a freaking floating camera with arms.

Sorry for getting off topic, but the industry seriously needs to start programming in some damn feet.

And no, I will not shut up about that. Ever.

Don't shut up about it ever. We need more feet!

*I am serious.

Thank you for bringing this story to attention. The voice over industry is only now understanding how large a role video games will have on employment and progression, and the more attention brought to this area will benefit both industries.

Voice acting thread? Woot! Excuse to post a link to Ear Rape: The Game.

The_root_of_all_evil:

What would really boost things is if there was more ... "geographically relevant" voices in games.

I dunno, after hearing some of the crazy faux-Ye-Olde-English accents from the Fable games, sometimes the 'geographical relevance' can come back to bite you in the arse.

Wakefield:

Irridium:
Um... before the voice acting thing, could we just fix one little thing? Its for First Person games specifically.

*Ahem*

PROGRAM IN SOME FUCKING FEET IF YOUR GOING TO HAVE THE GAME IN FIRST PERSON!

I don't care how immersive your game is, I don't care if your voice acting is the best ever, none of it matters when I can look down and instantly be reminded I'm just a freaking floating camera with arms.

Sorry for getting off topic, but the industry seriously needs to start programming in some damn feet.

And no, I will not shut up about that. Ever.

Don't shut up about it ever. We need more feet!

*I am serious.

play thief 3! its not a shooter but its mainly first person and you can see your feet and chest and arms!

I'm going to go ahead and add my voice to the mass here: voice acting is a huuuge part of games these days (am I the only one of remembers when computer games had nothing but text? ;) ), and it's a mistake to rush the process. Voice acting can make or break a game, simple as that.

Yeah, people need to be less dumb... I hear this in many places, not just video games.

Korten12:

Wakefield:

Irridium:
Um... before the voice acting thing, could we just fix one little thing? Its for First Person games specifically.

*Ahem*

PROGRAM IN SOME FUCKING FEET IF YOUR GOING TO HAVE THE GAME IN FIRST PERSON!

I don't care how immersive your game is, I don't care if your voice acting is the best ever, none of it matters when I can look down and instantly be reminded I'm just a freaking floating camera with arms.

Sorry for getting off topic, but the industry seriously needs to start programming in some damn feet.

And no, I will not shut up about that. Ever.

Don't shut up about it ever. We need more feet!

*I am serious.

play thief 3! its not a shooter but its mainly first person and you can see your feet and chest and arms!

Listen to these guys. They are absolutely fucking right.

Isn't this a response to an article that was severely criticizing the industry for doing a really shitty job with managing its vocal talent?

It painted a pretty grim picture in terms of how developers handle the casting and directing of the voices in games.

As a Voice Actor, I'm in full agreement with Mark. We live in a MULTI-Media World. Part of the word Multi is VOICE. Hey Game Developers...you want to pay 50 bucks for a voice actor...that's what you get. It's time you all got a bit more PROFESSIONAL.
Thanks
Bryan Cox

 

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