Doing Voice-Acting Right

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Rosstin2
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Doing Voice-Acting Right

#1 Post by Rosstin2 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:55 pm

Personal question here. As the producer, I need to get the voice-acting done for Queen At Arms, and I want to get it done right. I was hoping I might get some advice from more experienced producers who have done high-grade voice-acting for their games before.

I have a budget of $2000-$5000. Obviously I prefer to err on the lower-end, but bad voice-acting can really break a game and I want to make sure we get the highest-quality acting we can afford.

I personally tend to have more money than time, I have about 10 hrs/wk that I can budget towards recruiting/coaching/wrangling voice actors.

What's the best way for me to get this done? I live in Los Angeles now, and part of me feels like I should just grab the best voice-actors I can find in the city and roll with that. Another part of me thinks that I should get the best VAs I can find on Lemmasoft and then deal with leveling the audio.

There are a minimum of 6 characters with 20 lines each and a maximum of 9 characters with 40 lines each.
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Re: Doing Voice-Acting Right

#2 Post by truefaiterman » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:27 pm

I'm afraid I'm no producer, but I am a voice actor, who has mostly work in Spanish, and have some experience on indie games (to give you an example, I played 7 characters on the Spanish version of Unepic) so I'd like to give you my point of view:

-Budget can be negociated, I'd say you should open auditions and then talk to the actors to know their conditions and/or negociate the payment (in a certain project, currently WIP, there were actors asking for 50cents per word, and actors willing to work for free).
-If you want to have good voice acting, I'd dare to say you NEED a voice director. A good direction may change a mediocre actor to an amazing one (I myself changed in an amazing way whenever I got a good director). That director should know the plot well, and be familiar with the characters.

-About L.A... I don't really know how is it, but I'm absolutely sure if you go to a voice acting studio with that budget, you'll have a hard time, even though you don't have that many lines. Take this with a grain of salt, since I'm, once again, in Spain, where things work in a completely differente way than the US, buy my experience tells me with that budget you'll have to stick to freelances.
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Re: Doing Voice-Acting Right

#3 Post by Rosstin » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:59 pm

One thing I'm interested in, is a full list of vocalizations for voice-acting. This is the best I've found so far: http://voiceactingalliance.com/board/sh ... and-Female
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Re: Doing Voice-Acting Right

#4 Post by truefaiterman » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:04 pm

Uh... the avatars confused me a lot xD I guess you two are different people in the same project...

VoiceActingAlliance is the most recommended VA related web I know, as far as I've seen, but I can tell you if you open auditions here or there, you'll have a LOT of people interested. In the projects I worked on, I saw up to +100 auditions of all kinds.
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Re: Doing Voice-Acting Right

#5 Post by Rosstin » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:07 pm

Oh, gosh, no, they're both me. I accidentally have two accounts.
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Re: Doing Voice-Acting Right

#6 Post by sake-bento » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:47 pm

With your budget, I think you'd be able to get good voice acting, although I don't know if you could get an LA sound studio for that. If you've got your own studio or you can find LA actors who have their own setup, then that would work. Being that you're in LA, you do have proximity to a lot of great actors. Keep in mind that as an indie project, you won't be able to hire union actors (there are loopholes in the rules, but those are complicated), and LA is also full of union actors.

I've done pretty much all of the above for my games including hiring actors online, getting local actors to come to my studio, and hiring out a local studio with pro quality equipment and engineering.

Hiring Online (Pros):
-Cast the widest net for talent.
-Cheapest option, as each actor will be expected to have their own equipment and many people online who are starting out are willing to work for a little less.

Hiring Online (Cons):
-Lots of work for you. You'll have to level and clean all the lines yourself, which is time-consuming.
-Inconsistent sound quality. Mics (even pro quality ones) often sound like they come from different places.

Locals at your Place (Pros):
-Consistent Mic Sound Quality
-Still not as expensive as hiring a studio and engineer

Locals at your Place (Cons):
-You still have to edit and level all the audio files
-Smaller talent pool to pull from

Locals at Studio (Pros):
-Best sound quality, consistent
-Engineer does all the sound editing work

Locals at Studio (Cons):
-Most expensive option (especially if you need someone to come back and do a couple more lines or fix something)
-Have to schedule around other groups for studio time - my current work in progress got bumped two months to make time for a video game from a bigger client

I've seen big projects (Cryamore, Hat in Time) go with the hiring online system without getting too much flak for it. I personally prefer using a studio, since I have so little time on my own, I don't want to spend it all editing audio when someone else can do a better job. With your budget, either of the first two options seems most feasible unless you know a studio who likes you.

Blah, I don't know if that answered anything or just rehashed stuff you already know. Uh, feel free to ask for more info or clarification if you want.

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Re: Doing Voice-Acting Right

#7 Post by Rosstin » Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:12 am

I'm willing to negotiate with a studio. The last time I used a studio, I found a really cheap one that charged us $100/hour. This was in SF though. Honestly sound quality doesn't concern me in any way. I have a great sound engineer on my team who will be able to come to the studio with us and handle everything.

I'm really really not looking forward to interviewing ~15 voice actors though. I don't where I'll find the energy to interview so many people.

Our game has about 8 unique characters who are all key enough to need their own voice effects. These don't have to even be lines of dialog, just unique sounds each character makes like grunts and sighs.

I tried doing the voice-acting at GDC with people I knew in the games industry. People who are not voice-actors. :-P
We did practice sessions and stuff too, and we had a $100/hr studio.

My team feels that the quality of the acting isn't high enough to move forward... I really want the voice-acting to be good, or why bother? So it's hard for me to really know what to do. Generally my rule is "get it done", but voice-acting is really all-or-nothing in my book. If it's bad, people despise it. If it's good, it isn't noticed.
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Re: Doing Voice-Acting Right

#8 Post by trooper6 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:50 am

Perhaps you need to hire a voice director?
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
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Re: Doing Voice-Acting Right

#9 Post by sake-bento » Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:12 pm

trooper6 wrote:Perhaps you need to hire a voice director?
This. What you're looking for is a casting director. They already have connections with actors and agencies, and they'll organize auditions for you. Generally they'll send the top auditions your way, and then you don't have to sift through 500+ auditions or something. I do this a lot, so if you're interested, feel free to PM me. I also have a list of other people who will do it for a significantly lower rate. It needs an update, but I'll see if I can find it and paste it here.

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Re: Doing Voice-Acting Right

#10 Post by trooper6 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:43 pm

sake-bento wrote:
trooper6 wrote:Perhaps you need to hire a voice director?
This. What you're looking for is a casting director. They already have connections with actors and agencies, and they'll organize auditions for you. Generally they'll send the top auditions your way, and then you don't have to sift through 500+ auditions or something. I do this a lot, so if you're interested, feel free to PM me. I also have a list of other people who will do it for a significantly lower rate. It needs an update, but I'll see if I can find it and paste it here.
Asterazul may need more than a casting director if s/he isn't experienced in directing voice actors and running a recording session.
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
Check out My Clock Cookbook Recipe: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 51&t=21978

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Re: Doing Voice-Acting Right

#11 Post by Rosstin2 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:37 pm

I've run them before, check out King's Ascent. But I want to do such a good job that people don't complain.

I don't even need that much content. But I want what we do have to be great.
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Re: Doing Voice-Acting Right

#12 Post by sake-bento » Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:47 pm

Alright, here's the list of the active online voice casting/direction groups I know, listed in alphabetical order.

Asynja Casting (contact info) - Projects: Icebound, Pyrite Heart
Cylight Studios - Projects: Orion, Seduce Me, Pizz'Amore
IUCasting - Projects: Seasons of the Wolf, Princess Battles, Backstage Pass, Jisei
Sound Cadence Studios - Projects: Dread Out, CHANGE!, Burn Your Fat With Me!!

Other groups I know of, but haven't heard from lately:
Azurous Studios
Shining Star Casting

To be entirely honest, most of these pull from the same online talent pool (online voiceover is a pretty tight-knit group), so if you're not looking for a director, it's really just whichever group you think you'd get along with most. IUCasting is my group, and I'd advise against using us if you're only interested in the casting component. Hope this is useful.

P.S. I merged your previous posts, since double-posting is against forum rules.

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Re: Doing Voice-Acting Right

#13 Post by Rosstin2 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:11 pm

My apologies, sometimes I'm on mobile and it's so much easier to doublepost. I'll try to be better about that.

I'm definitely going to contact some casting groups. I would love to work with an experienced group that can handle these things and paying them is no problem as long as I can get good results.

Which group do you think produces the best results out of Asynja, Cylight, IU, and Sound? Are they listed in order of your preference?
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Re: Doing Voice-Acting Right

#14 Post by sake-bento » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:50 pm

I just listed them in alphabetical order. IU is my top choice, because I run it (ha), but our main selling point is my studio and direction, neither of which appear to be a resource you're looking for. I've worked with Asynja and Sound Cadence before, and both are run by good people. If I had to compare, I'd say Sound Cadence is a little more organized, but Asynja's also taken on some pretty big projects (like Icebound), so those are obviously more difficult. I've not worked with Cylight, but they have the biggest social media presence of all of the ones on the list, and would happily give your project a little bit more exposure.

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Re: Doing Voice-Acting Right

#15 Post by Rosstin » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:11 am

I mean, if it's within my budget, I can easily provide an extensive list of our requirements and hand it off to someone such as your group. As long as it sounds good by the end and works in the game, I'd be ecstatic, and not having to manage it all myself would be great.
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