“Do it again! But really sell it this time!?
With the ever-increasing use of digital technologies in our every day lives, the need to voice our creations arises, and bringing those characters to life are voice actors.
Games present an interesting acting challenge, unique to the interactive nature of the products. When voicing a movie, there’s a set script. But when voicing a game, there could be several possible outcomes to a given scene, resulting in an equivalent number of lines to perform.
To discuss the differences, we had a chat with Gemma Laurelle, a professional Australian actor and voice artist, whose work spans across gaming, film, and television. Gemma is here to give us a look into the opportunities, challenges, and joy to be found in pursuing a career in acting in the games industry.
Thanks for chatting with us Gemma, I guess our first question should be about yourself, why did you become an actor?
For the joy of it, essentially. I am drawn to adventure, learning and sharing and found that acting provided an avenue to enjoy all of these passions. To use the imagination, invite others into the experience, to play and create with others, to question why we do things – it was too attractive to ignore!
Acting is such a broad skill set, reaching across the breadth of the entertainment industry, where does your passion to be involved in the games industry come from?
Having played video games for over 20 years now, I realised the common thread for me was the discovery of the new and the endless adventures that can be experienced. Immersive worlds, emotional journeys, finding connections with stories and characters – these are hallmarks of being human, and provide many ways to be involved in the games industry.
Gaming is the largest entertainment industry globally, what opportunities are available for actors to get involved?
Acting is all about storytelling and immersion. Gaming provides opportunities for roles needing diverse creatives – from the acting aspect such as voiceover and motion capture work – but also every stage along the way. For example, writing stories, directing, marketing and developing content – it broadens an actor’s opportunity to be involved in many phases of game development and the entertainment industry as a whole.
What are some of the differences, and similarities you’ve experienced working as a voice actor in games vs. your roles in more traditional film and television-based entertainment?
The similarities are that it is all about serving the story, delivering truthful performance in character and leaving your ego at the door of the studio. Be professional, do the work and bring your passion.
The main differences are firstly, Voice acting is mostly a solo venture. You’re in the booth on your own, with nobody to work off in front of you. Having a fantastic imagination and ability to quickly visualise where you are and what you are doing, is critical. You’re staring at a microphone or the script, so you better know how to imagine it as delicious food, a hidden treasure, or a hot lover if you need to!
Secondly, there is, for want of a better way to phrase this, a certain level of “overacting” involved with voiceovers, because of the reliance on your voice acting ability. The player is not going to see your facial expressions, so you have to really ensure your voice is delivering all the emotional range, so that the animated character has depth. With film acting, we read so many visual cues with facial and body language that vocal nuances are only one piece of an audience’s experience.
In one of the fastest moving industries in the world, the games industry can be both hard and confusing when trying to get your foot in the door, if you were trying to break into the industry today, where would you start?
Start with knowing what genre of gaming you’re passionate about. Passion will drive everything, otherwise, it’s just too hard to stick with it. Practice every day, get a demo reel together, offer to help local dev teams and college projects – start where you are. Word of mouth will do the most work for you, so be the best you can be where you’re at.
It was great meeting you Gemma, and thanks again for chatting with us!
Thank you for your time – lovely chatting with you!
Gemma will be speaking at the above Horror Video Games panel at PAX AUS on Saturday 27th October, so be sure to head along and say hello!
Learn more about Gemma’s work, and get in touch by checking out her amazing portfolio at gemmalaurelle.com/