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Video Games - Breaking in for Actors

By Alan Shires. Published Jul 14, 2023. Last Updated: Nov 28, 2023.
Filed Under: Video Games

Video games are a unique, diverse, and ever-evolving industry that requires a variety of skills. For an actor looking to break into the video game industry, there are several routes available, each with its own set of requirements and opportunities. This transition is more achievable than you might think as the industry now relies heavily on professional voice and motion capture actors to bring life to their digital characters.

Developing the Skills to Work in Video Games

Before an actor can start looking for work in the video game industry, they'll need to hone their skills. Video game acting is not identical to film or theater acting. It's a blend of voice acting, motion capture, and occasionally, performance capture.

Voice acting is essential as it forms the basis of character communication in most games. Training in voice acting can help improve vocal control, articulation, and the ability to convey a range of emotions through voice alone. It's important to learn how to maintain character consistency and endurance, especially since recording sessions can be lengthy.

Motion capture is another significant aspect of video game acting. It's used to record the movements of actors, which are then used to animate the digital characters in the game. Physical acting skills and the ability to express emotions through body language are vital here.

Performance capture is a more recent technology that combines voice and motion capture. It records an actor's face and voice simultaneously, capturing detailed performances. Understanding this technology can give an actor an edge in the industry.

Building a Portfolio in Video Games

After acquiring the necessary skills, the next step is to build a portfolio that showcases these talents. A demo reel is essential for voice actors. It should be professionally produced and highlight the actor's range of voices, accents, emotions, and character types.

For motion capture, actors may want to include footage of their physical performances, demonstrating agility, range of motion, and physical storytelling abilities. Where possible, actors should also try to gain experience in smaller projects to build a resume and gain a practical understanding of the industry.

Seeking Representation in Video Games

Like in traditional acting, agents play a crucial role in finding job opportunities within the video game industry. They can connect actors to the right people, help negotiate contracts, and provide guidance throughout their careers. It's beneficial to seek an agent who specializes in voiceover or motion capture work.

Networking and Auditioning

Networking is essential in the video game industry. Attending industry events, workshops, and conventions can provide opportunities to meet industry professionals and learn about upcoming projects.

Once actors have the right skills, a strong portfolio, and good connections, they can start auditioning. Auditions for video game roles can differ greatly from traditional acting auditions. Actors may be asked to perform various random actions or portray emotions and characters without context. Preparation and versatility are key here.

Breaking into the video game industry as an actor requires a specific set of skills, persistence, and a good understanding of the gaming world. By developing their abilities in voice acting and motion capture, building a strong portfolio, seeking representation, and leveraging networking and audition opportunities, actors can successfully find their place in this exciting and expanding field.

Video Games - Breaking in for Actors by Alan Shires

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