Modding, Mission Design, and Coding > Voice Acting

Tips for aspiring actors.

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Colonol Dekker:

There's a neat section here.

Namely this board

They obiously can't spell a lot.

--- Quote ---Software:
Good software makes it easy for the average voice actor (VA) to stretch their talent by sometimes modifying the voice in order to get a certain effect (Example the Monitor's Hollow Voice from the Halo 1 game), as well as make clear recordings to be used. Software that allows multi-tracks, allows for Voice Actors to add Music and/or backroud sound in order to create professional sounding demo reels.

Demo reel:
A demo reel is important to show case your ability in a short amount of time. Most demo reels for are either 30 seconds, 1 minute, or 1 minute 30 seconds. VA's need need to show ability without boring the person looking for that "Perfect Voice". Also vey long demo reels make it hard for potential Producers to Find the right voice of yours without all your characterization running together. If you have an online resume, you can list multiple demor reels in order to give the perspective producer a choice. (Examples Being: Scarry Characters, Non human Voices, Accents, Impressions, etc.)

Unless you already have your head shots from Glamor Shots and your demo reel mix by DJ Carl, your going to want to start with an online resume.

There are alot of similaries to Newgrounds Voice Actors Club(Nod in Haruko/Kagome's direction) in this example of what to put in the resume(Aside from cute picture and things that draw the eye-DON't go crazzy with bells an whistles(if your limited in bandwidth) it's Your voice they are after not the website):

Real Name:
We All have our Net handles, but have a way people can refrence you that won't have them getting confused with the other SUPERSPARTAN2K's on the Net. Some put their "Net Name" between their first and last name. Make sure your net handle is something people will "WANT" to recognize..Swear words handles are now always good when producer are looking to credit you or your "Net handle"

Location: Anyplace USA/UK/Aus/Rus,etc, Greater Land Mass, Earth
This allows people to understand when you'll be awake or asleep

Ways to contact you:

If you are part of a VA studio outside the bring in more possible VA's for the studio.

Links to your Demo Reels and Vocal Samples:
It is more helpfull and less jumbled on your webpage if this is a separate page.

This can be it's own page if it gets really long.(Like some +200 project, people I know out there )

This should include:

Completed work:
Like it sounds..What work have you done, What production, what characterm, and what medium is it in (Flash, Radio Play, Cinematic, FanDub, Studio Dub) and what year it came out. If it's on the net or has a web page..Link it!

In production:
Works that you have finished the VAing for and have yet to be published online or on digital media for the masses. Due date are helpfull if you have fans waiting for your next VA work.

Outside Work:
Stage Actors, Improve Comedians, Summerstock...if you have this it shows your diversity in differnt mediums of work that require clear voices.

Microphones are very important in order to create good audio.
For voice actors it is very important that your work be clear and easy to understand as well as free from "Pops" and "hisses" that can be created by human breath To undertand what I mean place you hand 2 inches from your mouth and say "Peter Picked a Pickeled Pepper"..What you feel on your hand can be picked up on a mic as FFF or SHH or PAH sounds. Not Good. Ambient noises (such as a TURBO CHARGED cooling fan on your computer, or the dog barking) are also bad.
Depending on your sound card or whatever. It may determin what type of mic you should get.
Here are the main important things to remember about mics. Most studio voice actors utilize condenser mics. A condenser mic has a big aperature and diaphram to collecet all the little nuances of your voice. This allows for people who do high and squeeky as well as low and gravelly to not loose any of the undertones in their voice and to make the "stange" voices sound as though they really exist in normal everyday life. Condenser mics are also good for those of you who play Unmodded Acustic Guitars.
Now for you singers, you CAN use a condenser mic to pick up your work but finding a vocal mic is probably better.

So how do I get started?

Pro sound on a Budget:

The software:

Audacity is a freeware (FREE!!!) product that allows for direct audio recording from any allowed audio source. The program is out for Mac/PC and has many basic bells and whistsles that anyone wanting to record audio would find usefull (Check website for details). It is a very robust product for being freeware. Keep in mind that the Noise reduction features are beginner level and pretty decent, but not the current industry standard for noise removal.
Costwise a step up from this is/was Cool Edit Pro (Google it) wich may have been bought by Adobe's Audition (A very HIGH END $$$ Product).

The microphone:
Low End Cost (Decent to Okay):
Radio Shack (Non Condenser Mics) and Best Buy ($20-$50) or the mic that came with your computer. You will be able to record your voice and it may be even pretty clear. Even those $20 mics people use for gaming are okay but it's hard to keep from "Pop"ing in them...Case in point..Almost all the original male Voice acting in Bonus Stage. Keep in mind you can still produce wonderfull and clear demo's and lines with these but you have to look very carfully before you buy. Make try to find those that supports up to 44-48 kHz sampling rates. Many Webproducers want you to be able to record your work in this frequency.

High End Range: Condener Mic($80)
Samsion Audio has put out a studio USB Condenser Mic that runs on Mac and PC. A much step up, with a larger diaphram than your average mic. This has it's own phantom power supply(Via USB) and allows for line in clarity(Trust me it's alot clearer)

Reume and Audio Reels:
If you have your own web page already, that's great. Here is a good choice for beginners.
There are many free web spaces out there...Do a Google search and you'll run into a ton. Things to remember when selecting your location (If free is your budget).
1.The size of files you can up load.(If a file of yours is 3 meg, you need to be able to upload it.)
2. Bandwith per month.(If you only have a small amount when people DL your Demo reel. Others won't be able to see your resume...Ways around this...Free linking Audio streaming sites like <Drawback is they'll be able to hear it but not DL to desktop>)
3. Webspace.How much can you put on your site?

--- End quote ---

Very useful indeed. Also this part:

--- Quote ---Technical

-Do not put the microphone too close to your mouth. Chances are it will result in a horrible distorted sound, as well as unwanted breath huffs. (However, you don't want to overdo it and stand halfway across the room either - it will be far too echoey!) As a general rule you should be at 3-4 inches away, but experiment with your mic until you find a setting that works because some are more sensitive than others.

-To avoid clipping, turn your mic volume setting down enough to where it doesn't "peak" on the shouting lines. Some people stand far away for the yelling, but this is generally not a good idea as it can make you sound like you're recording in a tunnel. Just turn the input volume down low and record at a normal distance and you should be fine.

-Don't move the mic around or fidget with the cord while recording your lines. Get a stand if you need to. Also, don't click the switch on and off in the middle of recording. Any extra noises result in an unprofessional sound.

-Cut out excess breathing, coughing, sniffling etc. from the beginning and end of your lines. Audacity or pretty much any audio editing program will allow you to see the waveform of the line you just recorded and delete any extra noises, so be sure to clean that up for a more professional sound.

-Say the audition lines, and the audition lines only. Don't ramble at the beginning or end of your audition files or say things like "Hey, this is my first time trying out for voice acting, here's how to contact me.." That kind of stuff goes in your .txt file or in the body of your e-mail.

-If you mess up a line, start over. Don't say something like "Oops I messed up" in your recording and then finish the sentence.

-Standard recording format is 44100 mp3. Either mono or stereo is usually fine; a producer will specify if s/he has a preference. WAV files are large and take up lots of space, so always save in .mp3, not .wav, unless the producer has specifically requested .wav files. Other recording formats, such as .wma or .ogg, are generally not accepted, so please download any codecs that you may need in order to save your lines in mp3 format directly from your recording program - it will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

-Static is nasty. We all know that, and unfortunately there are limited options for fixing it. These include noise removal (quick fix), buying a USB mic (better), or buying a new sound card or a preamp (best, but expensive.)

-Don't overemphasize your consonants - this often creates what is referred to as a "pop". Also, watch out for hissing "s" sounds and breath huffs that tend to occur on certain words. Some people put tissue or pantyhose over the mic. Your best bet, however, if you become serious about voice acting, is to invest in a pop screen. They generally cost about $20 and can be ordered from online music stores. You can also look for sites that show you how to make your own using pantyhose and a coat hanger.

Remember that any technical issues will reduce your chances of getting cast. Cut the distortion, static and breath noises and you will sound much more professional.

Voice Acting Itself

-Slow down, take your time, and know what you're going to say. It is a common habit of many beginners to feel nervous or embarrassed and therefore rush their lines. But if a character talks too fast, it is hard for the listeners to catch the dialogue. Make a point of doing them at a slower speed than you think you would normally talk. It will probably sound awkward to you when recording it at first, but listen to the playback and it will sound much more clear. It's also a good idea to quickly skim over your line before you say it so that you don't get hung up on a word you don't know how to pronounce or a typo which breaks the flow of your line.

-Enunciate your words. It may make you feel like a total geek or sound ridiculous to you as you're recording, but when you play it back it will sound much more professional.

-EMOTION. Voice acting is not simply reading the text in front of you. Get into the character's mind and personality. That is ultimately what makes a character believable. You want the audience to think of it as the character talking, not a person in front of a computer. This doesn't mean overexaggerate your lines, but don't sound like you're about to fall asleep.

-One very important part of acting is knowing your character. You may have to be assertive with the producer and ask him or her to provide you with pictures and a backstory on your character (Who are they? Where are they coming from? Why are they acting this way? Why are they saying these words?) The producer may give you leeway to "make up" your character's personality. If so, do it. Know who your character is - don't just read words on a page. And don't be afraid to vary your emotions and explore the lines - rarely is a character one-dimensional!

--- End quote ---

Colonol Dekker:
I should've run spellcheck over the quotes before i posted. My diction brain is choking.

Colonol Dekker:
Sticky? :3

<Thaeris advocates sticky.  :yes: :yes: :yes:>


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