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  1. Importance of performance : Performance is crucial to many an audio production. It can bring copy to life than simply reading it in your head. And performances in videogames are amongst some of the most nuanced. Copy is more than a collection of words scattered on a page or excel sheet. As a performer the aim is to take the copy and elevate it to deliver the lines that evoke a reaction of some sort. Questions I ask myself about copy include:

    1. What is the aim? 
    2. What is the emotional intention?
    3. What is the call to action?
    4. What is the truth?
    5. What is believable?

    Lorraine Ansell BAFTA Juror Games 2020

    These questions form a start of an interrogation of the copy that is essential to deliver a connected performance. What is connected? I see this as the voice actor connecting with the copy and then being able to communicate the intentions to the audience so that they connect with the character or the copy and the underlying messages that underpin it.  

    I was lucky enough to see this played out at the BAFTA Games awards in 2020. I was asked to be  a juror on the new category of Performer in a Supporting Role. This was a great opportunity to research each performance of the submitted video games and understand the nuance behind each piece. The nominated performances were a very good example of the voiceover work over this year and I thoroughly enjoyed playing all of the games. The games were great in themselves but the artists were able to convey much with their voice. And there lies the talent, performances that were rich in undercurrents, layered and full of quirks and thoughts. 

    The same questions I ask myself I asked of the each performance. To take each moment and connect with what the actor is trying to convey during each scene. Two nominated performances really stood out for me simply because I connected with them and believed them to be truthful in a myriad of ways. Ayisha Issa who played Fliss in Man of Medan, held my attention throughout her time in the game. The nuances of staying in character during decisions choices as well as game play were excellent and I enjoyed her performance. I also enjoyed watching Lea Seydoux in Death Stranding as Fragile. The character warmed up throughout the game and had many layers that I became excited to watch out for. 

     The winning actor was Martii Suosalo who while his character Ahti in Control has a limited amount of game time, gave a thoroughly detailed confident and thought provoking performance. As the caretaker the role and copy could have simply been a few lines read out loud. But Martii elevated this performance to something both sinister and sublime. What I found particularly interesting that all these actors were bilingual and to chomp and change between languages is one of the hardest skills to have. The cadence, word sounds an mouth shapes that have to be achieved are extremely difficult. Martti made it look very easy. A well deserved win. All of the actors I mentioned really gave performances that are worth of study and reflection for any actor. Have a god and play the games, see what I mean. 

     

  2. Working from Home has been my way of life for over five years and even before that I was already shifting to work more remotely. As a voice actor with my own studio I have managed to keep myself efficiently busy with a good work/life balance routine. 

    Working from home is a mindset and when I first starting to work remotely my biggest worry was how I would deal without interacting physically with people. As a person who identifies with physicality as a main language this was a real concern. However I overcame the challenge by identifying how I could work with that language barrier and thrive. 

    If you are starting to work from home then here are a few tips that have helped me. 

    1. Primary Concerns - ask yourself what those concerns are and spell them out for you
    2. Work mode - do you prefer to get up early and work until lunch or lunch until dinner or late into the night. Figuring out what your work mode is will help.
    3. Self care time - what type of self care do you prefer? A cup of tea, a crossword break, a walk around the block, chatting to a friend. Have a few things in mind for variety.
    4. Structure - now you have a rough list of what work and self needs you have, plot them so you can go through them and figure out a working and life day that works for you.
    5. Change - remember it doesn’t have to work from day 1 so change as you need to. Maybe your work ends up being with clients in a different time zone so you can structure your day differently than when you started out. Be prepared to be flexible at first and try different things out.

     Working from Home as a Voiceover Artist

    Avoid thinking that if you work all the hours in one day you will be more productive. It rarely if ever works like that. A simple coffee break or magazine break allows you to breathe and gather your thoughts. The brain quite likes to mull over challenges but a distraction usually enables it to reach an answer. 

     

    In my week, I map out work tasks that I want to complete as well as life tasks that need to be included. I also slot in self care activities and I take care to do these because every time I think about skipping them in fact I feel worse and less creative than when I end up doing them. My dance family are really important to me and as a voice actor where you internalise all the physicality of the roles, it means I can release all that vitalness safely and into something also very creative and rewarding on many levels. I enjoy chatting with friends over a coffee even if its online. A read of a chapter of a book or a set time playing a video game also allows for some down time. Always get up, prepare for “going to work” and that mindset helps structure the day. 

    Whatever system you find that works for you when you work from home, go for it. Just remember, when the conference calls happen, remember to wear clothes!