For quite some time now, it has been an ambition of mine to be a voice actor in videogames. Throughout my career it has always been there, chuntering away in the back of my mind while I continued jobbing away on stage, on set or in the booth. Regardless of the success I’ve achieved in other areas, it’s one thing that has always proved elusive.
I’ve come close a few times. A couple of auditions have almost panned out and for fairly big roles too, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. I’ve attended training seminars and webinars and workshops and so on. Each time coming a hair closer or ‘grinding away’ to use gaming parlance.
A bit of backstory.
When the world broke because of Covid I thought about jacking in the whole acting bit. Just give up the life, the dream, and get a nine-to-five in a store, stacking shelves. It was one of the only options at the time and for some it was a valuable lifeline. I’ve done it before and it’s harder than it looks so bollocks to anyone that says it’s unskilled. You try getting four roll cages of tinned goods cleared during the Friday night ‘big shop’ rush.
Through luck or fate or whatever I managed to land a salaried job for a small publisher. It was a dream job, for most. Reading and critiquing fantasy and science-fiction (as a nerd this was doubly exciting), collaborating on creative ventures, meeting and communicating with authors, some of whom I call friends now. It was all wonderful. But… it wasn’t right. The whole while I was missing something. A particular creative itch wasn’t getting scratched.
I used the money from that job to invest in myself. Using a mix of holiday time and annual leave I took classes in stage combat, mocap (Motion Capture) and P-cap (Performance Capture). I reached out to and found agents who could help me progress in my career. And recently I attended a conference all about the art of voicing for games. This was Get Your Game On 2022, hosted by The Voiceover Network.
Oh, My, God!
I’ve not come away from a weekend so emotionally vulnerable in a long time. Anyone who’s done an Improvathon/soapathon will know what I mean. There was so much positivity floating around I began to wonder if the coffee came with a free shot of dopamine. The talks from each of the speakers gave an additional layer of insight. The breakout workshop from Mark Estdale and Chris Mead was a delightful exercise in freedom using improv as a tool for voicing characters.
The highlight of the weekend came in the form of the intensive workshop from Andrea Toyias, Casting and Voice Director for Blizzard Entertainment. If you’ve not heard of her or the company that’s grand, but trust me, they’re a big deal In the game world! It was a truly demystifying, exhilarating, talent-affirming, friend-making experience. Not just kum-by-yah-ing but learning real, practical advice for acting in videogames. Note I didn’t write voice acting but acting. Because that’s what you do. You act, you become the character and pour forth their pain, desires and dreams into the microphone.
And I’m pretty fucking good at it.
That was another aspect of the weekend. There were nearly twenty people in the workshop and all of us, at some point, were convinced we were the shittiest actor in the world. That we should have our throats ripped out as punishment for being so gods-damned bad. A mirror was held up to each of us, in turn. That mirror reflected back a talented, worthy performer, and rays of light burnt away that tiny dickhead that lives in our brain that tells us we’re not good enough or we shouldn’t take up space. Fuck that Dickhead!
Long story short, I’m going to act in games if it’s the last thing I do.
Lots of Love, Trev.