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The Buzz About Characters!

Big thanks to all of you for your lovely comments about my first newsletter! • Plus, checking out my ElaineClarkVO website • @ElaineClarkVODemos YouTube Channel talent database • Real Talking Tips podcast •  There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is & Voice-Overs For Podcasting books • and Activate Your Voice & Adding Melody to Your Voice apps.


1.  A Bit of Video Game History


In the mid-1980s, Silicon Valley techies coined the term “multimedia” as the combined used of text, sound, and graphics in the computer.


CD-ROMs in the 1990s moved the genre forward when it replaced the 8-bit cartridge with hundreds of times more storage capacity.  A plethora of video game companies like Nintendo, Sega, Sony, and Atari entertained us with a wide variety of games and game consoles. I, along with a handful of others, took on this challenge as the first video game voice-over directors in this burgeoning video game industry.  Technology and the number of bits of resolution dictated the performance requirements for the system to capture the volume and pitch variables.  Fewer bits allocated for the voice required that the actor perform with clearer enunciation, expressive nuances, and a tighter vocal range.  Rather than projecting like a stage actor, the actor had to implode the intensity by pushing the emotions deeper into the heart and gut.


Mobile gaming started in the late 1990s and took off in the 2000s.  For actors who were used to performing short oohs, ahhs, and yipees in early low bandwidth video games, it provided a bit of 3-5 second performance déjà vu. 


While the term “Virtual Reality” was coined by Jaron Lanier in 1987, VR arcade machines, headsets and glasses became a sensation in the 1990s.  As VR transitioned to home use, I had the privilege of experimenting with some prototype VR goggles. Not long after Oculus launched, I recorded Lucky’s Tale, one of their first games. 


Today, most video games in this multi-billion dollar industry are rich with content and are downloaded or streamed to consoles, PCs, and mobile devices.  Acting in the games has become more realistic as the gamers set a high bar on performance and game play expectations.  And many actors perform the visual movements wearing special performance capture suits!

2.  All the World’s A Stage, and that includes Video Games.


Lily Janiak, writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, interviewed me and several others in this great article that explores stage and video game acting. Kudos to John Blanchard/The Chronicle for his retro photo art.

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Read What Elaine & Others Say About Acting on Stage and in Video Games

To casual observers, theater and video gaming might seem to hail from different universes. One is typecast as high art, analog and old-school, defined by its flesh-and-blood togetherness; the other is thought of as low — if it even is considered art at all, with its supposed screen-bound mindlessness and solitary, disconnected players. 


But for the many Bay Area playwrights, actors, dramaturges and designers who have found work in the booming gaming industry, such trite assumptions aren’t just passe. They prevent us from seeing the ways the two industries and, yes, the two art forms might cross-pollinate and learn from each other…

Read Article at SFCHORNICLE

3.  Game Developers Map

Want to know how to locate video game companies around the world?  

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Go to gamedevmap.com and click on the cities that interest you for a list of game companies in that area.

4.  VOAtlanta 2023

One of the Breakout Sessions I attended at this large voice-over conference was about VR and AI with Jason Bermingham and Simone Kliass.  Here are my two major take-aways:

  • Performing the character in a Virtual Reality game, the actor’s voice should sound like the player/character’s internal dialog, deciding what action to take.

  • A single actor can provide multiple character voices using AI.  The actor performs/records all the roles.  Then, selects and layers in a separate AI voice for each of the characters.  The up-sell to the client on each of the AI altered characters provides additional income to the individual actor.  

To find out more about VR & AI, take a dive into Jason’s article about Immersive Voices: Producing Narration & Dialogue for Virtual Reality & 360° Video.

5.  Game Developers Conference

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I was thrilled to join BRAVA CEO Melissa Thom at GDC 2023 as part of the UK Government's Department for Business and Trade Games Mission.  There was much talk about the Metaverse.  CEO of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, defined the metaverse in his keynote speech as “An online social entertainment experience in a real-time 3D setting.”  You can read more about it in his interview for The Verge.


It was also fun comparing parallel video game directing and casting experiences with Randall Ryan and Gillian Brashear.  Plus, introducing the BRAVA talent database to numerous GDC producers.

8.  Animation/Video Game/Character Demos

Need a new demo?  Click the link to hear some of the character demos I’ve produced!  I’d love to work with you.  

Contact me at:  elaineclarkvo.com/contact or by email: elaineclarkvo@gmail.com.

9.  @ElaineClarkVO YouTube Talent Database

Click below to hear more demos that I produced.  Plus, how this exciting free ElaineClarkVO VO talent database can be used by casting directors, agents & producers.

ElaineClarkVO.com - Demo Production and Voice-Over Talent Database

Check Out Elaine Clark’s Books & Apps!

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