[Article] Transcending the Actor in Voice Actor

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[Article] Transcending the Actor in Voice Actor

Postby IskatuMesk » Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:44 am

This article is wrote based on my views as an individual. They do not represent the views of CC as a whole and should not be treated as such. This article may not be recited anywhere else, in part or in whole, without my written permission.

Hi. I'm IskatuMesk. You may remember me from such titles as In The Admiral's Service, and Undying Fury, and Mr.Freak's The Gallantry and the Retard Lords.

Why do I mention these three specific mods?

Because they are the largest sources of my demonic and villanous voice acting.

Transcending the Actor

Voice acting is a skill in high demand these days. Every tom and dick wants his next big FPS to have big burly men moaning as they slap each other in underwear. Everyone thinks their campaign is totally amazing and should be fully voiced. In recent years, this has been responded to by a huge uprising in amateur voice actors. Every James and Jamie thinks they have what it takes to fill the needs of their friends and deliver a bombastic finalle and thunderous choir of applause from their fans.

Except this is rarely the case. These amateur voice actors, without experience nor a means to properly explore their fledgling talent, end up running into the same problems over and over again, failing to be realized in part or in whole for what they're trying to do. Their voices all sound the same, all lack emotion, don't portray the character at all, and their sound quality makes you want to kill yourself if the blood streaming from your ears hasn't already done so.

There's plenty of tutorials on their about configuring your microphone, what hardware you should look out for, and all of that. I believe Maglok wrote a good tutorial about this exact subject somewhere, but I don't have the link on me at this time. In any case, I don't plan to really get into details about this, so I'll summarize it.

If you're serious about voice acting, dead serious, you're going to have to realize it's an investment. You get what you pay for in terms of hardware. Your cheap ass $20 radioshack mic, laptop mic, and headset will not suffice for voice acting. Please, please do some research and invest in a real honest-to-god piece of equipment. I did some research and invested in a fairly cheap but still perfectly functional Samson QU-1. Not exactly mainstream, but it delivers.

Had I a more controlled environment, I'd invest a few hundred into a condensor microphone and some really fancy hardware to go with it. Even though right now I am plagued by serious mental problems and have ceased offering major services to people, I still consider voice acting one of my strongest points outside of writing. I've voice acted for well over a decade, first starting with the old MFTG tape shows. When I got my first computer 10 years ago, one of the first things I did was get into sound editing. Ever since then I have voice acted every single production I've ever made. I may not know a heck of a lot about hardware, but I know how to make your penis shrivel up into a tight ball and refuse to come out. I know how to turn a child inside-out with a single word.

[youtube=425,350]_LFDhGkPges[/youtube]

Voice acting is not for everybody. It also depends on what you want to voice. Ultimately it is the actor that makes the voice and not his fancy hardware. The hardware merely allows the actor to express himself more cleanly.

I voice villains. Period. I voice evil guys. I voice demons. Dragons. Corrupt wizards. Zerg.

I can't voice humans. I can't voice aspiring knights. I can't voice admirals. My voice simply is not believable enough. Not naturally deep enough.

To become the demon, to become the devil, I reflect upon myself as a person. I am a very angry individual, a very random and crazy individual. My mood can flip at the turn of the dime. I know what it's like to be stark raving mad, to be pissed enough to tear the skin off of a living puppy, to kick every dog in every neighbor's lawn for a thousand miles. I regularly scream obscenities and racial slurs at the top of my lungs for the simplest mishap. I regularly scold people for their stupidity and clumsiness.

I am, for all logical purposes, an asshole. I am the Villain. To me, a life of setting castles on fire and stealing beautiful princesses off to my lair is far more inviting than sitting in a study all day. I despise the system and I despise people. I am, by nature, hateful and deceptive. Flowing into these roles is extremely natural for me. It is a rare gift, but also a disadvantage.

Because of my nature and the way I use my voice, it is extremely difficult for me to assume the role of the Good Guy. To sound disciplined and trained. To naturally add age to my voice. My voice is loud and harsh, and I can change it dramatically at will, but my natural skills are not enough to assume the role of a 60 year old veteran of world war 2.

Becoming the Voice

To correctly voice act, you must transcend the line between Actor and Actee. You must become the character you are trying to voice. For me, this is easy. My imagination is strong and my ability to assume characters of my creation is child's play. To assume another person's character, like the female Shadow Elves I voiced for Rommel's Heart of Storms, I needed an entirely different approach. I needed to lop off my balls, put on some revealing clothing, and extend my ears. I needed to prepare myself for an unusual transformation in mind and body.

To do this I try to empty my mind of all thoughts and all interferences. For me personally this is virtually impossible because of my schizophrenia. This is what makes voice acting for me so incredibly difficult when I am voice acting for other people, and it's why I don't voice act for other people anymore. It is simply too hard to assume another character because of my mental illnesses.

Assuming another character, becoming that warlock about to strike down the paladin with his Wicked Staff of Vorpal +42, requires you to displace your consciousness from your body and become the character you seek to portray. You must imagine yourself wielding that ridiculously powerful weapon in your hands. You must smell the blood, the sweat. You must hear the paladin's cries for mercy. You must feel the inbred rage of the Warlock's past when catholic priests fondled him over and over. Feel the fire in your veins, and speak the words to shatter the world. Sometimes listening to music right before I voice act, pertaining to the environment the voice will be heard within, helps me set the mood.

"Uther, son of Lothar Megadoack, I sentence you to death by Wicked Staff of Vorpal +42."

Then his gibs spray across town square.

As a random individual who spends his days trudging along in high school or college, becoming a character derived of fantasy is not something you will learn overnight. It takes much practice and talent. But if you are devoted to becoming a Voice Actor, you will have to learn how to make the physical world around you disappear, and assume the role of an angry man in a comical black robe with a staff so powerful it'd make every God in D&D explode on contact.

You must make the audience believe that what they are hearing is indeed a man who has been wronged and whos remaining life has been built upon the pillar of pure evil. You are not acting. You are becoming. Your are not simply reading out lines. You are downplaying that poor paladin in front of everyone. You're swinging a huge staff into his face.

This is what separates the voice of true actors from the mishappen masses beneath them. This is why Blizzard needs to actually hire official talent instead of relying on random employees.
Last edited by IskatuMesk on Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Warning: dialogue contains politically incorrect content. Viewer rearsore may occur.

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