Anime voice acting, particularly when it comes to screaming, can sometimes build an image of a bizarre horror movie. However, in the realms of anime and video games, screaming is far from a rarity. In fact, it is more of a common, integral part of the narrative than you might have originally thought. So, the question is, how does one master anime screams without damaging one's voice? And what are the unique challenges one might face in this process? In this discussion, we're focusing on Anime voice-acting screams. Make sure to also look at our article about video game VO screaming.
Before proceeding, it's crucial to have an understanding of emotes, which are essential to anime voice acting. If you're not familiar with this concept, we recommend studying emotes first.
The first rule might sound cliché but it is of utmost importance: Drink ample water. This isn't merely about hydration but also about lubricating your vocal cords sufficiently to withstand the upcoming strain. Warming up your voice is an expected part of the preparation, whether you're preparing for a screaming session or not.
A crucial piece of advice is to schedule any screaming or shouting parts toward the end of the recording session. The logic behind this is simple - if you happen to strain your voice during these intense parts of the sessions, you would have already completed recording the regular lines.
One golden rule is to stop immediately if you experience any pain. Never push beyond your comfort zone. Remember, with time, feedback, and practice, screaming will get easier. Start small and gradually increase the intensity of your screams, similar to a kettle heating up - it begins quietly and escalates into a loud whistle.
Experimenting with pitch can also enhance the delivery of screams. You might find that certain screams sound more authentic and powerful when you use a deeper or lighter tone of your voice.
From a performance standpoint, immersing yourself in your character's situation is essential for a convincing scream. A scream has to sound genuine and believable, requiring complete dedication and sincerity. It cannot be done half-heartedly due to its inherently intense nature.
Using your personal experiences as a reference point to channel the required emotions could help you remain true to your character. Remember, commitment is key! Once you've committed, move forward with determination.
Keep in mind that you can't easily overdo a scream performance. Most of the time, directors want more intensity, not less. In the rare instances when your performance is considered too much, the director will request a toned-down version. This could give your voice a well-deserved break. However, more often than not, a heightened performance is typically preferred. So a top tip is to go in strong so you do not have to repeat the intense performance again and again.
Anime Voice Acting Screams by Alan Shires