Audio: The Value of VARIETY

by Kevin Delaney

At my last online Voice Acting for Video Games class, we did a “speed round” at the end, intended to mimic the process of recording an audition at a busy VO agency.

The idea is to first do a short bit of the read, to show us what you have in mind for it, then slate and record a take, as if you were reading for the part.

U.K.-based Howard Ellison did just this, and gave what I thought to be of a very compelling character performance. I liked it so much, I interrupted him halfway through — I felt that if he could add just a bit more variety to the lines, we’d really have an audition take to be reckoned with.

Listen to the segment from class: (3 minutes)

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Variety is the art of changing it up — it means not getting “stuck in the rut” in a performance.

Anything can become boring and repetitive after a while. In an audition especially, we need to keep our performances sounding fresh from line to line. It’s important to show those who are listening that you’re a versatile actor, who can explore different facets of a character.

In my classes, I often have students do an exercise where we’ll take a random line of dialogue, and they’ll repeat the line over and over, each time doing something different with it.

When recording VO for a video game, this skill is particularly important. Most games are recorded line-by-line, and often the director will have you do two, three or sometimes more variations on each line before moving on to the next one.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Howard Ellison December 28, 2012 at 2:44 am

You can’t believe what fun it is to work with Kevin! He gives you a tip that sounds simple – and then the instant you put it into practice – it’s like, wow, did I do that?

Cecil Archbold Jr. December 28, 2012 at 6:46 am

Howard definitely has the chops for a great video game character!

Howard Ellison December 28, 2012 at 8:56 am

Hey, Cecil – thankyou! Wish I were gifted with your warmth and strength of tone though. I shall be asking Kevin how to get there!

Cecil Archbold JR. December 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm

We ALL have some sort of gift. The key is discovering what it is and using it to it’s fullest potential. Happy New Year to you!

Harry December 31, 2012 at 11:54 am

Howard, very nice to hear your voice. Especially as you adjusted for the changes in direction. The more I hear, the more I need to learn. Thanks to you and Kevin for the demo on how to implement changes in direction.

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