Even with a small game development team, there are many different roles to fill. It’s easy for us, as players, to forget that. We can take issue with or enjoy things like sound design, visuals, or individual characters, but it’s rare for us to know the names of the folks behind those things. Even when you don’t know the names, you definitely know the characters and games. That speaks to the importance of the work these actors do. Recently, BAFTA Guru shared a compilation video featuring several voice actors talking about video game voice acting, specifically: Ashly Burch (Life is Strange, Horizon Zero Dawn), Nolan North (Uncharted), Cissy Jones (Firewatch, The Walking Dead), Valerie Rose Lohman (What Remains of Edith Finch) and Abubakar Salim (Assassin’s Creed). Note: these actors have appeared in many games, but the ones listed are among the most notable performances.
The commentary from the voice actors starts with the basics and describes the ways that video game voice acting is set-up. While some games use motion capture for things like cut scenes, other times the actor is isolated in the booth. On that note, one of the biggest skills a video game voice actor can have is the ability to cold read. Often times, an actor doesn’t have a script before hand, doesn’t know what character they would be playing, and doesn’t know what game you’re in. An actor has to know how to embrace those situations. Each of the actors spends time discussing experiences and challenges of the craft, while offering advice as well.
Valerie Rose Lohman says it’s important to “know what makes your voice special and know what makes you special,” considering all the people out there trying to break into the industry. Likewise, it’s important to stay healthy and continue practicing. Lohnman says it best when she tells us to “know what you do best and go after it.”
Cissy Jones advises aspiring actors to “find a coach, a reputable [one]. Somebody that’s not gonna [just] take your money and promise you a demo at the end of it.” And I think all of us can learn from Abubakar Salim when he says, “Something that I’ve tried to really do is just focus on my own journey, not compare myself to other peers. [But instead] just do what I love and try to keep that love going… cause it is tough… If you really want to do it just keep going. It will happen. Because the more you kind of give off to the universe [the more] it will give back in some way, shape, or form.” The video concludes with Ashly Burch and Nolan North individually stressing the importance of being a good actor.
For more advice and inspiration from BAFTA winners and nominees be sure to peruse their channel. And for more on voice acting definitely check out our interview with Cissy Jones who will be voicing Fury in Darksiders 3.