Animation and Video Game Character Gumbo
Animation & Video Characters in Voiceover
Put all these ingredients together in one flavorful dish:
– 1 extremely creative imagination
– Saturate your mind with tons of Video Games and Animations for ALL ages
– 1 Handheld recording device
– Several Character BreakDown Sheets
– 1 great mimic
– Add a generous portion of people/object watching.
Once these ingredients are blended together, this dish turns out better than you might think! It’s much easier too.
Much like standard characters are used for things like commercial and narration, creating characters for animation and video games is similar, but there is usually more detail needed. You still need to have tons of variety and a great imagination. You also need to know what’s current. It’s great that you do Speigel from Lord of the Rings – but so does a ton of other people and how often do you think they are hiring for Speigel soundalikes. It happens, but it’s rare. Watch animations and play video games for ALL ages so you can create relevant characters that are popular in today’s world. Most of us are guilty for NOT doing this. We might watch things we’re interested in, but don’t forget about things that may not interest your age. In this world you are catering to ALL types.
When it comes to animation and video games, you are either a total natural, or it’s a bit of work. I have to admit that while I create characters all day long, I get character blocks. Much like writers block I get an audition and then I feel lost. This is why I started doing tons of research. Started watching things I normally wouldn’t watch. Loved a character or the idea of one, so I would write down the show/video/web address of what I was watching and a time code so I can easily find the character. This helped me to keep creative and current at the same time. I would write down the line they would say and use that as my character’s catch phrase.
The thing about animation and video games is that the sky’s the limit. Many times they don’t need over the top characters, but many times they do. You need to consider what is hired most often that suits your voice. So if you’re a male baritone and can’t really get into those younger sounding pipes and squeaky voices, then have a good understanding of where your strengths are and what is hired most. Perhaps you’d be a great commander, bad guy, strong man, monster etc. Find characters to bring out what is more natural to do at first, then keep adding to it.
I’d like to think that EVERY ONE of my students is out there with a hand held digital recording device recording random people/relatives/colleagues/shows etc and finding ways to bring them to life. Start taking notes. Know where you found the voice from, time codes, phrases the character commonly says etc. Use a Character Break Down sheet so you have an idea of things to consider when developing the character. But remember you can’t just mimic the character/person, you have to BECOME. Know everything you can know about the character. The more details you put into the character, the stronger they become.
Then there are creatures and others, animals, aliens etc. The sky’s the limit here. The key however to making good solid characters is to know them inside out and create scenes that suit the character. Try different voices with each one you break down. Record yourself and play it back. Some things will work and others won’t.
Once you’ve nailed the characters and they resonate with you, then you need to create character scripts for them that become their catch phrase, and/or demo scene. You can’t just create words that this character would say, it needs to feel like a real scene from an animation or game. This again means homework! Study a variety of different styles of animations and games so you get the right variety of characters that are current. Take notes, and create original characters based on what you’ve assessed, real life or fictitious, that suits what you can do, and is lead role type material.
This should be a process you never stop doing. I’m always taking notes or hitting record and preparing for that next demo or audition. I strongly encourage you to do the same.
If there is anything else I can do for you to help you prepare characters or your demo copy/characters, please don’t hesitate to contact me
All my best
VOChef Deb – aka Deb Munro