The rise of video games as a dominant form of media has opened up new avenues for voice actors to generate income. From small independent studios to multi-billion dollar franchises, there is a demand for talented voices to bring characters to life and enhance the player's immersive experience. In this article, we will look at the landscape of video game voice over work.
Finding Opportunities: Voice actors can find work through a variety of sources. Talent agencies and casting directors play a key role in the industry, connecting actors with video game developers. Many voice actors also find opportunities on online platforms such as Voices.com, voices123, or through social media and networking events.
Diversifying Revenue Streams: While large projects offer significant earning potential, consistent income often comes from diversifying revenue streams. Voice actors might balance their video game work with other voice-over jobs in commercials, audiobooks, animation, or corporate narration.
Compensation Structure: The compensation in video game voice acting can vary greatly depending on the project's budget, the actor's experience, and the role's complexity. Rates may be negotiated per project, per session, or per line, with professional rates typically ranging from $200 to $500 per hour. Voice actors may also receive additional compensation for challenging vocal requirements or for re-use of their work in sequels or spin-offs.
Royalties and Residuals: A landmark 2019 agreement between the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the video game industry introduced a residuals structure, meaning actors can earn additional money based on a game's sales. This arrangement often benefits actors working on high-profile games that sell millions of copies.
As in other acting fields, establishing a personal brand can significantly enhance a voice actor's earning potential. Those with a unique, recognizable voice or a large fan following may command higher fees. Personal branding also includes developing a strong online presence, showcasing a diverse voice-over portfolio, and networking within the industry.
Successful voice actors invest in their craft by receiving ongoing training and using professional-grade recording equipment. While these expenses can be significant, they often pay off in the form of higher-quality auditions and performances, leading to more job opportunities and higher compensation.
Video game voice acting offers various avenues to earn money, from direct payment for work to potential residuals. The key is to build a strong portfolio, establish a unique personal brand, diversify income sources, and consistently deliver high-quality work.
The Landscape of Video Game Voice Over Work by Alan Shires