I want to be heard!

It’s a poorly kept secret that I would love to be ‘a voice’.  I’m not talking ‘Voice of the balls’ here, just to have an element of my career path which is voice work, characterisation, recording or even just chatting. I’ve done a few podcasts in my time and plan to do a few more, but I think the ultimate goal would be to be a voice in a game.

Yep, that's me at work.
Yep, that's me at work.

Now as games become as big as, and in some cases bigger than, movies in terms of production I realise that this goal is becoming more and more distant and the talent for major games is rapidly becoming the same talent as the movies they now rival in terms of reach and revenues. But this doesn’t stop me from dreaming and hoping.  The problem is I don’t actually know where to start, I mean how does one become ‘shopkeeper #2’ or ‘passer-by #5’ or even ‘henchman #27’?

I decided to seek information from a very knowledgeable source – Google – to see what the options are:

  1. Sign up with an agency
  2. Record some example work and, sign up with an agency
  3. Create a website showcasing your talents and describing your skills
  4. Sign up with an agency

I saw a pattern emerging here… do you see it, do you?! Yes it seems that the only way to get started is to sign up with an agency specialising in vocal talent. Most of these folks like you to have some sort of vocal signature or quirk, be it an accent, a tone, a depth or a range which should ideally be demonstrable through a recording.

But there is another way into this and that’s through personal recommendation, you know the kind of thing… Mr BigDog GameProducer is looking for voices and says in passing to colleagues and friends, “I’m looking for a really strong male voice, distinctive and with presence, know anyone?” and someone sitting at the table/bar answers “Oh, yes I do in fact… there’s this guy called John, he’d be perfect!”

I live in hope that this will one day happen and I’ll be ‘discovered’ but in the meanwhile it looks like I need to sift through Mr. Google’s listings of voice agencies and see if I can spot a winner, the one which will deliver up the opportunities which I know are out there, just waiting for me to come along. Those unspoken phrases just waiting for me to give them life.

Great voice with great lines.
Great voice with great lines.

Because I have this particular bent I’ve probably spent more time than is normal listening to the games I play. I finished OverLord 2 the other night and it’s got some of the best voice performances I’ve heard in a game. My favourite has to be the voice behind Gnarl – the OverLord’s chief Minion sidekick and advisor. The writing has to be good, don’t get me wrong here but the performance is what gave Gnarl his personality and ultimately added some significant levels of enjoyment to the game itself.

Think about some of the RPGs you’ve played, even about of the cut-scenes which are used in most action games to provide the story hooks and you will have noticed those performances which stood out becaue they were wooden, stilted or just badly written. The good performances simply carried you along and in some cases, provided some depth and reality to the characters: that’s the power of the voice in our games.

So I’m going to see what I can do to perhaps BE one of those voices, to provide that characterisation, that depth to the worlds our games build in our minds.

If you do overhear a conversation though…







One response to “I want to be heard!”

  1. Rhyle avatar

    Wouldn’t we all.

    I’d recommend first speaking to an agent about reputable names to train with. That’ll do more for networking and getting your name out there than anything else.

    Especially this or advertising in Loot or on Craigslist…

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