Metamorph At Large
"Stars" and Union
Great Talent: Audition Secrets
to hear Lani's Voiceover Demo Reel
Credit list - Voiceover talent
for over 400 games
Credit List in PDF format
Metamorph At Large
(Pro-Motions Production Company)
After doing over 300
game titles, 365+ voices, casting, directing and writing for all platforms,
I am still amazed at how many people do those things the hard way. Guess
what? You can have gobs of fun, get the best voiceover talent and not
be bogged down with "Hollywood" hype. Let's dispel some myths first:
1. It's okay to
save money and use in-house people for voices.
In house talent who are not actors or professional voice people will
inevitably sound dead, take 10 times longer to record because of all the
mistakes, and take longer to edit in post.
2. Use a Hollywood
casting agency or send your needs to talent agents who will supply you
with just the right group to choose from.
Agencies deal primarily with radio, TV, and largely with commercials.
Games have entirely different requirements. All casting and talent agents
have are headshots and cassettes that feature ads or narratives. Many
don't know what their actors can do, nor are they expected to be good
judges of great acting ability. They send out pics and tapes based on
whose picture fits the description or whoever's tape they happen to have.
You might get their house CD with everyone doing one voice with "Today,
shop at Sears!" commercials on them. When acting and/or voicing games,
voice-over actors need to do things more emphatically and sometimes with
expletives not found in real-life. For example, on the "Die Hard Trilogy
2"—as voice over characters we all had to make different noises when dying
by a bullet, a grenade or a rocket launcher in 1.5 seconds or less. Other
games have voice-over talent making attacking noises, which differ from
using a club, a fist, a flame-thrower, acid venom, sword, or even unleashing
a psychic force. No "traditional" actor who has not done games can effectively
sound like he is dying in lava versus having his throat slashed unless
you use a good director and an actor who takes direction well.
3. Use celebrities
to give your game notoriety and marquee value.
This is like presuming that starving Ethiopians will be better nourished
by rice boiled in Evian water. Gamers are not going to buy a game because
a star's voice is in it. But you sure can waste huge wad up front and
maybe even royalty points later on when you sign legendary acting talent.
For example, one major company had a list of possible talents they wanted
to go for to voice their lead cartoon character, which needed to sound
like a 16-year-old boy. Their wish list included over 20 names from Stephen
Baldwin to Ray Liotta, and even Dennis Miller and Freddie Prinz Jr. It
is doubtful that you could get any of these people for less than $75,000
and it could cost over a million easily with a cast of celebrities. Compare
this to the minimum union day rates for good, non-celebrity talent and
you will wince.
4. Spend most of
your money on music and sound effects. - Whatever is left can go
to voiceovers. Also, wait until all else is done before thinking about
recording the voices. I always get those last-minute panic calls from
people who need something yesterday, but still do not have the script
finalized. They ask how much it would cost to get everything done - or
they want me to give them a general quote for no specific amount of dialogue
so they can formulate a budget. This is like asking an airline reservationist,
"How much does it cost to fly somewhere? I don't know where or when yet,
or how many are travelling, but could you give me a rough idea?"