For many aspiring voice actors, lending their vocal cords to video games is a dream—but knowing where to find auditions and how to slay them can be tougher than defeating that final boss. If you’re interested in doing video game voiceover but don’t know where to start, this guide is for you.
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Voice acting boards: The Voice Acting Club forum regularly updates its casting call list.
Private casting list rosters: Sign up for email lists such as those by Sara Secora for auditions you might otherwise miss out on.
Social media: Indie game developers will often post audition opportunities on social media. Look for hashtags like #indiedev, #videogamevoiceaudition, #gamedev, #gameaudio, and #indiegame.
VO agencies: Once you have some experience under your belt and you land a voiceover agent, they should help find you auditions.
“Red Dead Redemption 2” Courtesy Rockstar Games
As discussed in our comprehensive guide to becoming a video game voice actor, to catch a casting director’s eye (and ear), you must perfect your demo reel, submit yourself for gigs, and learn how to roll with the audition punches.
Refine your craft: “Be an actor first,” advises video game voice actor Darin De Paul. “Everyone will have their own path, but for me, it is all about the acting. It is not about just doing funny voices. It is about creating characters. It’s about knowing timing. [Make] interesting, honest, [and] strong choices. Develop your own characters. Remember, a really bad impression may lead to a new voice. One of my most popular current characters is my father’s voice heightened several levels. Most importantly, love everything you do and approach your work with passion.”
Perfect your demo reel: The voiceover demo reel is a one- to two-minute video of your best, most exciting work. It should showcase your unique voice, personality, and range. Include a variety of character types you can feasibly perform in long recording sessions. Can you create the sound of a strong fighter? A frail but wily thief? A goofy sidekick? “I’m a huge fan of the character acting,” says video game casting executive Todd Resnick. “Try to cover the whole gamut. Narration is big; maybe even work the accents to show us range.”
Submit: Once your demo reel is on point, it’s time to submit for auditions. Be on the lookout for gigs that fit your vocal type and sound; if chosen for the part, you’ll need to be able to perform it for hours on end.
Prepare your voice: Keep your voice healthy and ready to perform by doing the following:
- Hydrate: “Drink plenty of water at least an hour before a session, in order to moisten all the tissues in your mouth,” says voiceover actor-producer Marc Cashman. “You want to eliminate any noises in between words and sentences, or within words themselves, so [that] you’re speaking clearly, with very little mouth noise.” Drinking two liters of water a day should properly hydrate your voice before an audition.
- Humidify your home: Using a warm steam vaporizer overnight to get your room humidity between 30–50% will help moisten your cords before an audition.
- Warm up: Within 30 minutes of your audition, spend about 15 minutes doing vocal warmups to ensure your voice sounds its best. Use our guide to vocal warmup exercises to learn how to loosen up with stretches, sharp exhales, elocution, slides, flexes, lip flutters, and fake yawns.
Do your research: If you’re asked to audition, it’s vital that you conduct research about the project, the game franchise it’s a part of, and the studio and CD you’re auditioning for. This will provide you with foundational knowledge and prevent accidental mistakes—you don’t want to send in a lighthearted self-tape for a horror game audition, for example.
Be flexible: Video game CDs want performers who respond well to instructions and are able to think on their feet. Be prepared to take on an array of challenges and situations.
Persevere: Landing a part as a video game voice actor is tough, even for seasoned veterans. Instead of letting the rejections get you down, “Do your research, trust your instincts, bring to it your own personality, and as soon as you’re done auditioning, don’t ever think about it again,” says VO talent agent James Murray.
Things to consider when auditioning for video games
You’ll have to hustle: “People ask [me], ‘You don’t have to audition anymore, do you?’ ” says Yuri Lowenthal (“Spider-Man,” “Prince of Persia”). “I still audition all the time and still only book 2% of the jobs I audition for.”
“We throw spaghetti against the wall and hope something sticks!” says Cissy Jones (“Firewatch,” “The Walking Dead”). “It can be really hard to let go of that and not constantly think, Did I book that, did I book that, did I book that?”
NDAs are common: The nondisclosure agreement guarantees that proprietary information about a project will remain confidential. Video game companies use NDAs to prevent voice actors from leaking information before a game release. “We get blasted a series of sides from our agents, and we typically have to sign NDAs,” Jones explains.
Flexibility is key: “Memorize your lines, but also be willing and open to change, because they’ll rewrite lines on the fly, and you’ll have to figure out how to incorporate the new lines with the ones you’ve already memorized,” Jones says. “That’s true of any session; you always have to be flexible.”
“It’s all about being able to take direction…being able to work with other people really quickly and [adapting] super fast,” says Inel Tomlinson (“We Happy Few: Lightbearer,” “The Solitaire Conspiracy”).