What’s the life of a video game voice actor like?
Does it pay be a union talent in the field of video game voice acting?
Find answers to these questions and more by checking out the Voices.com interview with David Sobolov at VOX Daily.
If you’re a voice actor who provides vocal talents for video games, you may be able to relate to David Sobolov, a member of SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and active video game voice actor. This week, I had the opportunity to interview David about SAG related video game voice acting work and asked some key questions that may reveal some of the answers you’ve been looking for if you are wondering if you should be in the union to do this sort of work. Here’s my interview with David Sobolov. Enjoy!
Stephanie: How did you get your first SAG voice acting job for video games?
David: Auditioning via my agent in Los Angeles.
Stephanie: What is an average recording session for video game voice acting like? Can you record some of these jobs from your own studio?
David: The sessions are booked for four hours and what happens during that time varies wildly depending on the project. Sometime I have game play to record, disjoined lines my character says, sometimes 40 pages! Other times there’s a substantial amount of dialogue for cut scenes. That’s happening more and more. It took four sessions to record my part for Sony’s Rogue Galaxy but my three parts in Fantastic Four took less than an hour! These gigs are almost never done from a home studio. They like to see you in person.
Stephanie: What percentage of your voice over work consists of video game voice acting with SAG contracts?
David: All my video game work is on a union contract. I’d say videogames make up about 1/2 my work these days.
Stephanie: Are many of these SAG video game voice acting contracts based upon ongoing work with past clients or does the work come from mainly new business and or referrals?
David: More and more past clients are calling me in or auditioning and bringing me in for multiple games. Just like any other part of the business, it’s all about relationships and about the producers knowing you can give them what they need in a pinch. Once they figure out what you can offer and they like it you’ll often hear from them again and again.
Stephanie: Have you ever been able to turn a non-union voice acting job into a SAG voice acting job for video games? If so, do you find it is an easy task?
David: YES! I recently turned down some non-union work and then the company called me a few weeks later to ask me to help them sign a SAG contract.
Stephanie: Is most of your work local (LA)? Does living in major hotbeds for union and video game voice acting work play a significant role in whether you are hired for a SAG voice acting job where video games are concerned?
David: Yes, most of my work is based in Los Angeles. I agree, you are much more employable doing SAG videogame work if you live in a major production center like L.A. or NYC.
Stephanie: Do people hire you directly for your video game voice acting work or do they go through your agent?
David: Happily, I have some very good relationships with casting directors I’ve worked with in the past and sometimes we email ‘out of school’ – although they always call my agent to book. That’s the protocol out here.
Stephanie: What was your favorite SAG voice acting job in video games?
David: I loved playing the delicious villain Malebolgia in Spawn!
Stephanie: Have you worked on franchise / legacy games? If so, do you enjoy returning to characters you have voiced in the past? Are there any challenges where this is concerned?
David: I’ve been cast in games they intended to be legacy (such as Advent Rising) but sequels weren’t meant to be. The only recurring role I’ve had on a videogame was in the game version of the TV series I did called Sabrina The Animated Series. They had me back to voice the role of Spookie Jar in the game.
Although I might not remember what I did on a particular day a few days later (because I create characters on the fly – a skill you really need to develop if you want to work in games) – I can give them what we did before in multiple sessions if they play a snippet of what we did the last time.
Stephanie: Finally, do you have any advice for people who aspire to be a member of SAG in pursuit of video game voice acting?
David: Voice acting is not just about putting on a fun character voice like a coat… you need to be a very good actor to work consistently. Keep acting whenever and wherever you can!
We’ll close with that thought.
Are you a voice actor who records for video games or a fan of David’s work?
If so, please leave a comment with your thoughts about this interview. We’d love to hear from you!