What better way to end my first week here at Excellent than to attend a gaming voice over convention, created by the lovely Rachael Naylor over at The Voiceover Network. I got the chance to learn about the industry first hand not only from the incredible and inspirational speakers, but from the amazing voiceover artists too. I was blown away by how welcoming and lovely everyone was, definitely a great introduction to the industry.
To start the day off, we had some amazing presentations and speeches from the best in the industry. First we had the privilege of listening to the coolest human to ever exist, Dave Fennoy! Arguably the most iconic voiceover artist in the gaming industry, Dave has been in everything, from voicing Lee Everett in The Walking Dead, to Gabriel the Warrior in Minecraft, Dave’s impressive credits list makes him someone definitely worth paying attention to. He spoke a lot about how important it is to embody the character in the gaming world, and how obvious it is when there are no basic acting skills behind the voice. He advised voiceover artists to think about what the character is doing and feeling as they are speaking, and to remember that how we speak to people is all based on how we feel about them. I think my favourite thing he said was ‘don’t make the words precious, make the character precious’, which I think perfectly sums up the importance of believing in the character that you are playing.
Next up was the amazing Adele Cutting. Adele is a Bafta award winning casting director, most known for her work on the Harry Potter games. Adele gave us some fantastic insight into the process behind making a video game and how much work and preparation goes into the project before voiceover artists are even approached. This presentation was eye opening for everyone in the room, we all gained a deeper understanding into how many changes and alterations go into the game before it is anywhere near ready for the voiceover. Adele also gave many key top tips for the dos and don’ts in the recording booth and how vital it is to listen to direction and ask the questions about the character that you need to ask.
Most notably the voice of Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher series, Douge Cockle was up next. He spoke to us about his inspiring journey into the industry as a voiceover artist and the determination it took to get to where he is today. He told us about the reality of getting turned down for parts and the importance of persistence and taking opportunities as much as you can. It’s very easy to be hard on yourself if you do not get a role, and most of the time it’s nothing personal or to do with the skills or quality of your voice, sometimes you just might not be right for that particular role. Douge spoke about the importance of believing in yourself and trying to constantly improve your craft.
Our wonderful Natalie was up next in the industry panel. She gave some vital advice on how to get an agent and the best ways to send in demos and auditions. She also spoke about the dos and don’ts of voice reels and how important it is to read the brief. Everyone absolutely loved it. Natalie herself also had some amazing things to say about the day – “Get Your Game On 2022 did not disappoint! This was my 3rd time attending and there seemed to be a real sense of magic in the air this time around. I was honoured to share the panel with some of the most prolific Gaming Industry professionals. Their advice is second to none and I’m sure the entire room would echo my thanks and gratitude for being just brilliant. As a Voiceover Agent, my job naturally craves creativity and we are so lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of such a fascinating and passionate community of artists.”
We next listened to the inspiring and passionate casting & voice director Andrea Toyias. Most known for her work on Overwatch and World of WarCraft: Legion, Andrea spoke about the significance of connecting to your character on a deep level and how tapping into your own personal experiences makes for an unbelievable difference in the truth behind the voice. As a voiceover artist you have to be willing to dive into your personal experiences, whether good or bad, to truly believe what you are saying as a character. Andrea spoke with such a raw and passionate manner, everyone in the room was absolutely captivated by every word she spoke.
Next up we listened to the incredible performance and voice director Tom Keegan. Most known for his work on The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty : Modern Warfare Remastered and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (basically if you love video games, you love Tom Keegan), Tom spoke about not only voice over work, but Mo-Cap too. He gave some expert tips for how to audition over zoom, which doesn’t sound like the easiest thing to do, and how important every voice is in a game, even if it is hardly heard – “Remember there is a purpose for every piece of voice in a video game”.
Finally, we heard from the very wise and motivating casting director Mark Estale, known for his work on The Medium and Desperados III. Mark spoke of how your voiceover work is your opportunity to have fun and play with what you are doing and how magical it is to hear a voiceover artist do what they do best. “The most important thing is that the studio is a playground. Your life’s work is dedicated to interpreting humanity” – What better way to end the day than the most inspirational quote you have ever heard!
By the end of the day, my brain hurt a little with how much knowledge I had gained. A truly inspirational day surrounded by eager faces and passionate voices. Can’t wait for the next one! Thank you for having us The VoiceOver Network ❤️