dr_fumbles_mcstupid: (Default)
[personal profile] dr_fumbles_mcstupid
So before I even got into podficcing, I had the opportunity to do some voice acting. The experience between the paid voice acting gig and podficcing was vastly different, and in this post I hope to explore those differences.


So one day the director of my Dr. horrible shadow cast came to me and asked me if I would be interested in doing a paying gig for a gundam wing video game. I jumped at the opportunity.

I was emailed a selection of three scripts and asked to work with my director to find one that fit with me best.

This experience was different from what I assume the norm is because
1. The caster had never heard my voice when I was cast, he left the decision up to my director.
2. The voice caster lived in a different state and we did everything entirely over the phone, he also wasn't present in the studio with us


We decided on female H (Shy timid) out of the three I was given for two reasons.

(1. It was something I was comfortable with and was easy to do in my normal voice. As someone the casting director had never heard before he didn't want me to attempt character voices when he (and I) were unsure if I could consistently keep that voice.

(2. We found a way to translate the stereotype to something for wester audiences. The character I chose was the shy timid girl and in asian countries that is portrayed somewhat differently. They speak quietly and haltingly but with breathy pauses. It wouldn't read as well to European general audiences so we changed the breathy pauses for um's.


The next thing we did was get audio samples from the original game's voice actors. The company that hired us wanted us to sound as close to the original voice actors as possible (although from my understanding that isn't always true).

While going through and listening to the audio and matching them up with the lines we noticed they weren't translated well, so we sent the script to the caster for some re-writes. After that we did some general read through and made our way to the recording studio

A sample of the script and audio formats we had to work from


and a link to a streaming version of some of the original sound files I had to work with .

I have no idea what the set up was but we were in a soundproof room with a window and a one way speaker between myself and the sound booth. I had headphones so I could hear myself while recording and hear any comments the sound technician had.

Both the sound technician and I had a copy of the script so he could read along and tell me if I missed something.

So the system we used to show we were ready for recording is that the sound technician would hold up one finger when he was ready and I would do the same when I was done ( I recorded three versions of the line in a row so that with the finished product they would have multiple version to choose from. I usually put emphasis on a different word etc for each reading so they were slightly different). The audio technician would stop me to readjust the settings for the recording if I needed to talk louder and quieter.

Overall I spent just under a half hour for 51 lines

So that was my professional voice actor recording experience. Now I want to talk about how it differs from my podficcing recordings.

(1.Characterization
The thing I noticed the most was how much easier characterization was. I had one character and That is what I stuck with for the video game recording. In podfic I usually record all of the parts and I have to jump back and forth between characters, so immersing myself for the role is a lot harder. So is keeping my character voices consistant. I have toyed with the idea of recording all of a certain character's lines at once, or even having someone else read the character opposite one character so I could get more into the acting aspect of it, but vetoed that as I didn't want to do that much editing. (although i did get record out of order for podfic bingo, so maybe I will do that for something short.) * I did indeed get a chance to record every character separately and there should be a post about it up soon.


(2. Familiarity with the source material
For the recording I was given little to no info about the game (this could be because I believe it was a small arcade style game with minimal plot) and I was only given my lines and did not know anyone else's. It didn't affect the performance much as shown above most of the lines didn't have anyone responding to them. Compare this to podfic where I have read the story at least once before completely (most likely more) and I am intimately familiar with the characters and plot.

(3.Pops and going into the red
While recording at the studio I had both a proffessional pop screen and someone to tell me to re record when I did pop. I also had someone to reset levels and monitor for when I went into the red. When I record at home I usually record and read off of my ipad so I don't see the sound waves as they from so I often don't notice when I go into the red and I just have to re record later.

(4.The equipment
As I stated above at the recording studio there was professional equipment and we recorded in a soundproof room. From the limited audio I heard played back it made a huge difference even unedited. (I found the game that I did the voice acting for, unfortunately it isn't available in the US but it is SD gundam capsule fighter so if you want to hear the audio it will be there)

(5. Editing
When I was done with my recording at the sound studio I left right afterwards and I didn't have to think about it at all after that. Compare that to podfic where I have to do all the editing myself (which sometimes leads to rerecording) and I probably spend 3-4 times as much time with the work in podfic as I did for my professional work. I also did not have final say over the work, I did each line 3 times and then left in in the voice director's hands to decide what to use. In podfic I have the final say and I have to make the decision to keep a line or re-record it.

Overall it was a really fun experience doing the professional voice work. It was a lot less time consuming than podfic, i enjoyed it just as much as podficcing but in a different way. It was a similar experience but at the same rime very different. I definitely think that in the end I care a lot more about the things I podfic. I choose those things and spend huge amounts of time with them all just for my own enjoyment, whereas with the voice acting gig I was handed a character and story and told to roll with it.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-08-09 11:39 am (UTC)
anatsuno: a white woman presses earphones to ber breasts (podfic!)
From: [personal profile] anatsuno
this is so interesting! thank you for taking the time to share with us :)

(no subject)

Date: 2012-08-09 07:08 pm (UTC)
juice: (Default)
From: [personal profile] juice
The comparison was interesting! I hadn't broken it down like that myself, but my experience recording my demos was very very similar to yours (except you got paid and I was paying *g*) and the difference recording podfic is similar too. It's so much easier when you love the source material to really tell the story instead of just read it.

Congrats on doing a game voice, btw. That's a huge market and now you have a foot in the door if you decide to pursue it. It sounds like you had fun doing it too.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-08-09 09:18 pm (UTC)
juice: (Default)
From: [personal profile] juice
I'm trying to break into voice-over work. I recorded commercial and narration demos, and then recorded a separate audiobook narration demo.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-08-09 08:03 pm (UTC)
heard_the_owl: (ST Femmeslash)
From: [personal profile] heard_the_owl
Heehee! This is the perfect post for this exact moment because I was just looking over the fic you linked me and thinking - how should I do this? should I read each line a few times so they can pick their favorites? And so, YES. I'll do just what you explained and record each line a few times, just in case. There aren't many so...I'll just leave large chunks of space in between for easy cut/paste.

AND, MAN! THAT WOULD BE SUCH AN AWESOME JOB! (And I love Gundam and now wanna track this down and listen. From the link?) :D

<3 Great post! Thanks!

(no subject)

Date: 2012-08-09 08:26 pm (UTC)
jelazakazone: man wearing tesla coil hat (tesla coil hat boy)
From: [personal profile] jelazakazone
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your experiences. It was interesting to read.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-08-13 08:10 am (UTC)
shellbelle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shellbelle
So late to the plate! This is super interesting, though, and I wanted to weigh in. I actually work on the other side of the glass. I monitor voice actors for the listening comprehension section of an English proficiency test. It sounds really different than your experience!

Our set up sounds similar, but I don't know much about that stuff either! I work with a sound technician, though, who mans the computer and looks out for pops and clicks and all that jazz (her ear is amazing). She does all the editing, too, after the actual recording, she edits and then we check the finished product. Everything has to be perfect - not a single dropped article or changed preposition - or it has to be re-recorded. It's actually really hard to get out of that headspace when I record my own podfic.

In my case, I actually look out for too much characterization! One of our voice actors (who is totally awesome) tends to get into it a bit too much and I have to tone him down. We don't want too much... color in it, for lack of a better description. It has to sound natural, but still, test-y. They're also recording at the same time (which I think might be kind of unusual?) because we want them to have similar pacing and tone and pronunciation.

Our voice actors always read cold and they almost always nail it, which amazes me. We work with two of the best, in my opinion -- I've heard samples from others in the biz here and none of them have ever remotely compared to our two main actors. I seriously covet our female voice actor's voice, which is... kind of creepy, but there you have it.

Also, I'm a big fan of your podfic! I've only recently started listening but I already absolutely adore everything you do. I'm crap at leaving feedback, but I'm totally gonna go back and comment on it all because you're awesome. <3!

Also! I was totally expecting your samples to be in Japanese because, y'know, Gundam, but they were in Korean! And I am working in Korea! I... don't know why I think this coincidence is so cool, but I totally do!

omg this is so long. I'm sorry!

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