Talking Toy Stir Fry
- Carefully blend the love of childhood
- Mix with 15 parts multiple personality
- One very patient Voice Actor
- Several carefully crafted lines
- A top notch studio/microphone
- Several clients
- One great director
- A slight bit of adlibbing and risk taking
- Mix with an equal consistency of character
Create a carefully crafted budget including session fee, number of units sold and distribution with buy out fee or royalty percentage.
Add a hard working agent to take care of all the rate issues and more
This is one recipe that can be performed at home or in a highly respected studio, but good quality is important with a reliable sound. Most talking toys are done through agents, or reputable studios, but occasionally they can be performed at home. Much like an audiobook recording or long term project, you must use the same equipment, same microphone distance or proximity, same levels and consistent character for any pick ups that may be needed.
If the client is well prepared they will have all of their script completed and won’t need an updated session for pickups or line changes or additions. However if they do, it’s important you know exactly what you’re doing so that you can provide them with the EXACT same sound as the original recording. This also means that you should have a copy of the original session so that you can easily match if required.
Talking toys can be fun and similar to video game characters. In animation the script is usually done in storyline format, where as with Video Games and Talking Toys, this is more line based. The dialogue will change depending on what the customer does with the product. For example a talking doll will say different things based on the childs choices or button pushing.
There are many different forms of talking toys from young children to adults to talking machines, so talking toys covers a larger spectrum than one might think. What is very important is that you know the character you’ve created inside and out. If your character laugh is out even slightly, or you have a more adult voice creep in and your voicing more childlike etc. Your chacter will be played over and over again and changes in the character become easy to spot for the purchasing audience. Not only do you need to act well with the scripts and work hard at making up what you’re reacting to, you really need to be consistent. This is one of the most important traits and actor can possess when voicing talking toys or equipment.
I recently voiced for a talking Princess mirror and I was fortunate enough to voice it from my home studio. Even if the character was out a slight bit (after 5 SEPARATE sessions to complete the mirror dialogue) it was very obvious to the client, and if the client isn’t able to hear it, you need to!
One of the hardest parts AFTER booking a talking toy is negotiating the cost. Even union members will typically do a lot of negotiation and there is a lot to consider. If your client is educated and knows what they are doing, they will be prepared with your large budget quote and questions, however many of them are not and it’s important you know exactly what you’re doing and exactly what to ask for. This is a great time to call upon someone like myself or bring in an agent to negotiate on your behalf or help you determine a fair rate. There is much more to consider than the average project. How many units are being made? Where is the distribution? Will there be a session fee plus a buyout? Or will there be royalties? How long will this buyout be covered? There are so many things to consider and if you don’t know – it’s time to call on the pros.
This is one recipe that I’ll never forget and hope to try on again and again.
Until next time
All my best
VO Chef Deb