Voice actors are asked to go through a lot. It’s a tough job, and they don’t get enough love. Voice actors need fans, too.This article might also be titled, “Why The Vocal Range Exists”.
In any cartoon or video game worth its salt, the characters need to feel “real”. A simple reading might come across as robotic or boring. At the same time, a voice that’s been injected with too much drama and theatricality is just embarrassing to listen to.
In other words, voice actors need to be actors first and foremost.
And of course, that’s not all. All that great acting needs to be done entirely in the audio realm, with absolutely no body language or facial expressions to support it. We communicate non-aurally more than most people realize, and creating a strong character with only the element of sound can be quite difficult.
But still wait, there’s more! Voice actors usually need to come up with all of this on the spot. In most cartoons and especially in video games, actors are typically not given the script beforehand. They’re lucky if they receive a few stage directions and a pronunciation guide for the names.
That’s especially important in modern productions, which are more and more embracing the hard sci-fi/fantasy tastes of today’s audiences. If you hadn’t heard the name a hundred times out of the lips of your favorite characters, how would you pronounce Ahsoka Tano, Kanan Jarrus, Toph Beifong, or Krombopulos Michael?
To be fair, Andy Daly probably could have pronounced Krombopulos Michael any way he liked. It’s doubtful that the showrunners at Rick and Morty micromanaged him to that degree. They seem pretty mellow.
In musical terms, most voiceover artists are sight-reading all the time. They’re required to give an emotional, believable performance, get through all those crazy words, and do it in a unique voice. And they do this with a script they’ve seen for the first time that morning.
For all that, they get almost no credit and recognition. With a few notable exceptions, they don’t feature prominently in the credits of shows and movies. Certainly not in the credits of video games.
Their pay is a tiny fraction that of “real” movie stars, even when those stars are working in animated features, performing as voice actors themselves.
Even online, there isn’t much in the way of celebration of the voice actors themselves. The actors at the very top of the trade have their following, of course, but only those are the very top. Mark Hamill gets his due, but so many other’s don’t.
For the most part the blogs and news sites prefer to cover the projects over the people. You’ll find plenty of sites that will report on the new Voltron, but not on what Troy Baker is up to. For fans who just think voiceover is cool, there’s not much.
A Fan Blog for Voice Actors
So, that’s why I started The Vocal Range. I’m not a voice actor. I don’t intend to become one. But I am a fan, and I just wasn’t finding enough info out there to geek out on.
This site is for people who love games and animation, and who get as excited over the acting as they do over the art, story, and gameplay.
Hope you agree, and hope you’ll join me!