Developing Characters In Writing, With An Actor!

Recently I got in touch with Cryus because I saw he was working on a super cool vampire game, so of course I had to let him know how super cool that is!

But then, I found this talk he did at GDC that he’d posted… and OMG THIS WHOLE VIDEO!! Thank you, Cyrus for sharing your thoughts on this.

Hearing – and seeing, if it’s in a live session – your writing performed will help shape the script; allowing characters to feel natural, authentic, and even inform their development in your story.

Did you know I provide discounted rates for internal scratch/development VO?

I help writers in games, audio dramas, animations and more, with exactly this. If it turns out you want to use the voiceover we recorded in your final release – that’s cool! You can pay the outstanding usage fee at that time.

What are “Usage Fees”?

When quoting for voiceover work, there’s a lot to consider: industry standards, market value, investments we’ve made into our training and tech, etc.

Collaborations like student projects see artists working together, for free, to produce portfolio pieces for marketing themselves. It’s tit-for-tat! Everyone knows it’s an entry level gig.

But in business, where profits are intended to be made from the collective value we provide, a fee is typically already included in most public-facing use cases for VO as a licensing, or “usage,” fee.

The more broad the reach of the product, the more potential revenue is made for the business, and our value contribution also increases. Notice how commercial voiceover can be quite expensive? Advertising is one of the most lucrative ways companies make their money. So, voice actors who license the use of their voice for those ad spots get a slice of the pie too!

With projects such as videogames, “buyout” is usually included in the fee. This means the client has essentially bought out the license to use the voiceover recordings for that session in the videogame that it was intended for; no re-using the VO for sequels, DLC, or stand-alone advertising! But it also covers situations where those voice lines may incidentally appear in ads, trailers and the like as part of the game footage.

However, many creatives out there use scratch VO. It’s used as a placeholder or reference for developing associated visuals during production – timing, lip sync, etc.

This practice also extends to writers in video games, podcasts and more, but for a slightly different purpose. It’s a proof of concept. A development tool. A way to get a better sense of how their words sound coming out of a human. The written word and spoken word are so different. Subtle nuances in how characters speak can be written into future scenes from the insights gained in a development session this way.

Developers and producers working on iterative prototypes, pitches, or non-commercial experiments tend to opt for these discounted rates, on the proviso that recordings produced won’t be used publicly – payin’ for skilled labour, as it were!

But… what if the project… succeeds? What if you want to make that money, baby?

No worries! Again, just let me know when you make that choice. I’ll invoice you the outstanding usage fee from that quote I sent you 😉

Voice actors are more than the icing on the cake, we are your creative partners!

Shoot me an email if you have questions about this process.

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