Voiceovers by Gregory Houser
A man, a martini, and a lot of microphones.: July 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Shauna Perry talks about voice over in SWTOR

What is SWTOR you ask? Well that part is simple, it's the new Lucas Arts MMORPG, StarWars: The Old Republic. But for all of the voice over folk out there, here's a little something which we don't often get, a blog post written by Shauna Perry. Shauna is the Director of Audio and Localization for SWTOR, and she goes into the process of voice acting from the writing to scripting to speaking.

I've got to say that what they're trying to do in SWTOR is nothing short of huge. The game is going to be fully voice acted which could mean a greater sense of involvement in what happens within the game. We're talking hundreds of voice actors being recorded in five major metro areas with enough copy to fill more than fourty novels. If that's not the definition of huge, then I don't know what is. The project is so big that they actually had to develop an audio pronunciation guide in order to deal with all the regionalisms and dialects that the talent brought to the project.

This is probably the largest commercially available voice over project ever produced, and you can read about it all right here.

This might be the one MMORPG that I actually find time out of my schedule to play, if for the voice over aspect alone...

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Robert Englund on "The Spectacular Spider-Man"

There must be something in the air this week... this is the third or fourth interview for "The Spectacular Spider-Man" that I've seen. Whomever is doing the marketing for the show needs to be given a raise for all the hard work they've done as of late.

What makes this all the better is that it's a quality show. It's one thing to see a lot of marketing for something that's sub-par, and it happens often. So I'm more than a little pleased to see so much information about a quality show like this one.

The folks over at Comic Book Resources have a really nice interview with Robert Englund. Now most folks are going to remember Robert for his best known (and disturbingly, most loved) role as Freddy Krueger. What a lot of folks don't know is that he's also done more than a bit of voice acting throughout his career. In the current Spider-Man series he plays the role of Arian Toomes, aka. the "Vulture", and does so (in my opinion) exactly how you'd want to see him, brillant with some things and clueless about the rest, but totally remorseless about it all. It's what makes him a good villian.

Link to the interview can be found here.

...and for those who are interested, Robert Englund's website can be found here.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Interview with"the Spectacular Spider-Man"

Blast magazine has an interview with Josh Keaton, who is currently playing the role of Peter Parker (and of course, his alter-ego Spider-Man) in "The SpectacularSpider-Man"animated series currently airing on CW.

Whether you're a fan of the show or not, it's an interesting interview than ranges from the series and Josh's start in show business to his love of comics and gaming.

A link to the interview can be found here, and a link to Josh Keaton's website can be found here.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bob Bergen Interview at Ponyo Film Premiere

This man is everywhere... and if you've ever taken a workshop or worked with the man, you know that my comment is not an overstatement of fact.

RealTVFilms caught up with Bob Bergen at the premiere of the latest Hayao Miyazaki film, Ponyo, where he talks about the other Miyazaki films he's had the opportunity to lend his talents to, lets people know of some upcoming and currently playing titles he's in for Disney, and is basically his usual exhuberant self.

Hat tip to Voice Chasers for the link.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Confessions of a video game voice actor

If you've got a minute or two, there's a quick interview with voice actress Paula Tiso, who is probably best known for her role as Lulu in Final Fantasy X and the sequel X-2.

Courtesy of AtomicGamer.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Truth in advertising.

I'm running around a lot as of late (more so than usual). Nearing the end stretch of another degree program, voice over work, house hunting, and all of the things in life which whittle away at your free time. Ironically, given all of the additional things, I'm getting unsolicited VO work through my website.

I have no complaints with that =-)

With the work that I've been landing there's been an interesting trend I've been noticing and I think it's worth mentioning since for some, it's been costing you bookings. I think that the best way is to describe a last-minute booking I got a few weeks back. It was Memorial Day, and I got a last minute booking from a new client who wanted me to do a voice over for a video game (my first actually, w00t!). I don't know the specifics or how many people were contacted before the client and the studio they were working with came up with my name. It doesn't matter, but I know that I wasn't the first person they'd tried to contact (the director knew me more from industrials and commercial voice over than from video games and character voice over).

So how did I end up with the booking? The answer is simple. The client needed a voice, they needed it quickly, and they wanted an actor who wasn't originally part of the project. These are all good things, but the problem was that when the client and the recording studio wanted a voice talent who had either ISDN or a phone patch (and also had FTP capabilities so they could get the finished product quickly). Basically, they realized that the odds of getting someone in the studio on a national holiday were slim to none, but they wanted to be able to direct the performance. Having an ISDN or phone patch allowed them to do this, and to also have playback capabilities (if necessary) . I don't know about anyone else, but these seem like reasonable things to ask for from your talent.

I don't want to get into a discussion over the loss of fidelity relating to the bit-rate of audio playback over an analog phone line with a digital hybrid phone patch... for the audiophiles amongst us, we can argue the merits of this at another time.

So down the list they go. Folks with the experience they're looking for, and have listed themselves as having ISDN or a phone patch... shouldn't be too hard, right? So how did they end up with me? The short answer from the engineer on the other end of the line was this: none of the talent they had listed with the pre-reqs the client needed actually had the capabilities they claimed to have. They overstated their capabilities. Eventually, the engineer realized that there was one person they knew who had the stuff needed to do the job. They'd done sessions with this person before, and knew they knew how to operate it (and more importantly, that they actually owned the gear). That person is me...

I now have a very happy client who is already talking about future work they want me to take on (feel free, it was a pleasure working with you =-)

I think that this happens a lot more with voice talent than people realize. What the folks who do this don't realize is that if you're found out, the client/studio who realizes it isn't just going to keep it to themselves. Voice over is one of the most competitive types of acting, but we're also very close-knit (and not surprisingly, the folks in the industry like to talk amongst themselves). I know that in my home market of Philadelphia, if you're found to be overstating your mic cabinet, or home studio capabilities, then you're not too long for this line of work. It's not much different than if you have a bad attitude in the studio... word gets around, and it travels quickly.

I know that we all want to get booked, and to do so regularly. However, there's a line that gets crossed when you start using misrepresentation to promote your business. In the world of security there's an axiom which sums it all up. "If you're deceptive about the little things, then how can I trust you with the important stuff? If I caught you lying about one thing, how many more lies do I have yet to discover?" Trust is given, but must be verified and earned. If you lose that, then you've lost everything. The point is this - if you misrepresent yourself and you get found out (which there's a good chance of happening), your clients and those who work with you are going to start asking themselves just what else you've been deceptive about. Nobody wants to be in that position.

Without turning this into an even longer discussion on morality, you need to maintain truth in your advertising. I've lost count of the U47-owning VO actors out there who thought nobody would notice that they've got a $100 preamp with a $70 mic. I'm not saying that you can't sound good with less expensive gear. You can, and there are more than a few folks in the industry who do (once again, it's not just about the gear). However, you can't be claiming to have one thing and in reality have something else...

At best, it's deceptive advertising of your services. Frankly though, it's downright fraud, and people in the industry are all too willing to let everyone know about it once someone gets caught.

Of all the dumb things one can do to harm their voice over careers, this is one of the top on my list. The worst part about it is that the person you've cheated most is yourself (if you're good enough to book, then the tools you used to get the booking didn't matter to the person who hired you).

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