In the Studio

Jon, Paul, and Matt
Hard at play at the studio, March 2018.

Had a hot date with a microphone at Matt Smith’s LiYang Studio in Taichung, Taiwan this week, contributing lines for an add-on character for a video game which will be named later. This is a challenge for me because I’m a couple decades behind on my video gaming. I had an Atari 2600 back in the day, and my son plays Minecraft and something where Marvel superheroes and Lego intersect. The VA director, Jon Taylor is doing a bang-up job getting me focused on the style of vocal performance excellent video games are now incorporating.

I’ve been watching cut scenes from various games while taking breaks from grading papers. Firewatch, Red Dead Redemption, and Final Fantasy have come highly recommended and really opened my eyes to how incredibly different the computer game experience is compared to what I remember from my limited experience with a handful of games that are floating around in the dustbin of my mind.

If you had told me last year that I would be spending my days off watching YouTube videos of computer games, honestly, I might have told you to do something impossible or possibly uncomfortable. My son watches videos of people shrieking their way through the  Minecraft universe and it drives me absolutely up the wall. I have no idea what that is about.

I’m getting the picture, however, that the pace for game VA is much different. Jon has shown me examples of games with horribly slow, dramatic, or campy actors. There is no room for scene chewing. I’m focused on enunciation, sentence stress, and dynamics like never before. It is challenging work, but I find the difference a few takes makes entirely heartening.

Got any computer game suggestions for outstanding voice work? Leave me a comment so I can continue learning.

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