For this particular blog post, we would like to share with you all our thoughts and impressions one week after our first voice-over attempt. Effectively, we had to prepare and submit a complete level for two upcoming events: Indie Cade and Indie Megabooth for PAX. As such, we decided to include a voice-over narrative to entice an immersive experience for the player. Just last weekend, we went to a friend’s studio and went all out on the mic (not really). So here’s a short resume of our thoughts and reactions now that this process is completed.
1- What was it like to undergo this sort of process? Did it meet your expectations of what it would be like to do voice-over work?
DAVID: I saw some voice acting in documentaries before, so I had some sort of pre-conception of what it would be like. But it was my first personal experience and I can tell, it was a lot of fun!
We were lucky because JP (owner of the studio) has some experience on everything that touches audio. He also has some very good (and expensive!) equipment. But even with all of this, the setup felt a bit home-made, so it fits perfectly in the spirit of indie development.
BEN: For my part, I had a rough idea of what it was like, but doing it is entirely different. It was a bit embarassing at first but once I got into the character, it was hilarious and amazing. A great thing to try once in your life!
2- What was the most surprising to you (either something good or bad)?
DAVID: It’s the first time that the team does that kind of recording and surprisingly, it’s been smoothly. Ben had most of the voice acting to do, and he was great. He said earlier he hated hearing his voice, but it didn’t stop him from doing great. He never complained during the process and kept acting all the way through!
It also took more time than I expected. We recorded for about 5 hours for a script of what… 2, maybe 3 minutes?
BEN: Ah… thanks for the kind words David, that’s bro love right there. But yeah, as he said, it was a long process. I didn’t expect it to take this long but I guess it will go faster now as it was our first time (hopefully haha).
3- How do you breathe life into a character and create a new voice?
DAVID: On one hand I’m lucky because I had only 2 paragraphs to say. But on the other hand, I had to do a girl, so it was quite challenging (haha)! Hopefully JP will be able to do some magic with my voice because it wasn’t that much convincing.
Mat didn’t act himself (since we needed only 2 voices anyways) but he was quite a skilled director! Having someone in the room willing to speak up the flaws and provide directions on how he sees the characters really helped. I am not a professional actor (I program for a living, you remember?) so sometimes, I was more focused on the text than I was creating the emotion I had to express and Mat helped a lot on that end.
BEN: For me, I tried to imagine the character in my head and once my shyness went away it really helped me get into his skin. I tried to see the world in his own eyes, and tried to react as this imaginative figure would in this situation. As David said, having Mat take a more distanced look proved beneficial. I did some drama classes back then so I tried to remember some tips and things I learned in the past.
4- Was it any more difficult to do the voice-over in a language that isn’t your native one?
DAVID: I’d say that my first fear was about the accent. But in the end, Mat convinced me that it didn’t matter. Accents sometimes even add to the characters, so I stopped worrying and went all out.
But I remember there was a word I had trouble saying. People would simply not understand what I would say, so we changed it for a synonym and it was done (damn french accents).
BEN: Well it sure created some hilarious moments. We had a good laugh about it after it was done but yeah some sentences and words were a bit rocky to say live in the action. I remember having to do like 10 takes to finally get a sentence right, my mind just wouldn’t process it right and I would say the wrong word. If I remember, it was to ‘live’ but I kept saying to ‘leave’. The guys had a good laugh about it!
All in all, it was a really cool experience and we’re just getting started as we have many more levels and bits of story to narrate. The best tip we can give you if you ever get into this kind of work is to do your best and just have fun with it. They say we are our own worst critic and it’s true. Just enjoy the process and go crazy over the mic!
Finally, we would simply like to thank our friend JP Tessier who was so patient with us newbies! Talk to you guys soon!
Here’s a few photos of what it looked like in the studio: