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Looking For Input Regarding Voiceover

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Hi Everyone,

 

My name is John and I run a professional multimedia company. My studio have been mainly focused on the corporate and business side and has done projects for small businesses as well as international brands. We are currently wanting to provide our services for indie game developers as well but this is a new genre for us so I was hoping to receive some input from the good people here regarding what they feel about having voiceovers for their games.  If you could help me with even completing the four poll questions it would help us a lot!

 

Thank you all in advance!

John

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Hey John,

 

Thanks for posting your poll and your input. I'm afraid your poll questions are pretty vague and need a bit more structure to be more useful to you.

For example:

Do you feel having voice in a game is important?
  1. Every game should be voiced!
  2. Would be cool to have but not a priority.
  3. It doesn't matter to me if my game is voiced.
  4. Games don't need voices. Those are just rich people wasting money
     

I would put a 5th option that says "Depends on the game." For example an retro 8-bit platform might do just fine without VO. In fact, VO might become distracting in that case.

 

What do you feel is a fair price for professional voiceover?
  1. $100/Actor
  2. $300/Actor
  3. $500/Actor
  4. $1000/Actor
  5. Why are these prices all so damn high!

These rates don't make any sense are not what you'd get when reading through bids from most professional (union or not) actors. For example, $100/Actor per what? Is that the total cost? Or is that per day? Per line? Etc. Qualify things a bit more. I've had to read my fair share of bids from VO actors and it's usually (but not always) highly specific which helps keep me and the actor completely in the know about the job. Also, I don't think option 5 is really productive or useful to you at all. I'd just leave it out. In fact, a better way to ask this question is to flip it around. Ask "what is your projected audio budget for voice overs?" A good follow up would be "how much would your total audio budget be?" This way you can get a feel for the percentage VO would be allocated.

 

The other two questions and set of answers are fine the way they are. I'm throwing this out there in hopes you'll edit and add in a bit to your poll. I think you'll find the data more clear and useful that way.

 

Thanks,

 

Nate
 

Edited by nsmadsen

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Hey John,

 

Thanks for posting your poll and your input. I'm afraid your poll questions are pretty vague and need a bit more structure to be more useful to you.

For example:

Do you feel having voice in a game is important?
  1. Every game should be voiced!
  2. Would be cool to have but not a priority.
  3. It doesn't matter to me if my game is voiced.
  4. Games don't need voices. Those are just rich people wasting money
     

I would put a 5th option that says "Depends on the game." For example an retro 8-bit platform might do just fine without VO. In fact, VO might become distracting in that case.

 

What do you feel is a fair price for professional voiceover?
  1. $100/Actor
  2. $300/Actor
  3. $500/Actor
  4. $1000/Actor
  5. Why are these prices all so damn high!

These rates don't make any sense are not what you'd get when reading through bids from most professional (union or not) actors. For example, $100/Actor per what? Is that the total cost? Or is that per day? Per line? Etc. Qualify things a bit more. I've had to read my fair share of bids from VO actors and it's usually (but not always) highly specific which helps keep me and the actor completely in the know about the job. Also, I don't think option 5 is really productive or useful to you at all. I'd just leave it out. In fact, a better way to ask this question is to flip it around. Ask "what is your projected audio budget for voice overs?" A good follow up would be "how much would your total audio budget be?" This way you can get a feel for the percentage VO would be allocated.

 

The other two questions and set of answers are fine the way they are. I'm throwing this out there in hopes you'll edit and add in a bit to your poll. I think you'll find the data more clear and useful that way.

 

Thanks,

 

Nate
 

 

 

Hi Nate,

 

Thanks for the quick reply and pointing out some flaws in the polls. I was trying to figure out if game developers view voiceover as something only big budget games need or if it is more widely accepted as a part of gaming in general. I do understand that there are many games for which VO would not and should not be used. I have updated the polls to reflect this as an option.

 

With most of our corporate videos and commercials that we have been doing, the prices are quoted on a per project basis or a per finished audio length basis. I wasn't too sure about how this would transfer into video game voiceovers. I have changed the answers to hopefully better reflect what game developers prefer to see the rates to be. Also, thank you for your tip on asking about the audio budget. Unfortunately, I am limited to four questions that I could ask.

 

Cheers,

John

Edited by Deduction

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I was trying to figure out if game developers view voiceover as something only big budget games need or if it is more widely accepted as a part of gaming in general. I do understand that there are many games for which VO would not and should not be used. I have updated the polls to reflect this as an option.   With most of our corporate videos and commercials that we have been doing, the prices are quoted on a per project basis or a per finished audio length basis. I wasn't too sure about how this would transfer into video game voiceovers. I have changed the answers to hopefully better reflect what game developers prefer to see the rates to be. Also, thank you for your tip on asking about the audio budget. Unfortunately, I am limited to four questions that I could ask.


John,
I don't think this poll can get you the information you need. How any of us (and those who are in this forum are mostly audio people) "feel" about voiceover in general is irrelevant. When we are working on a game, whether or not the game needs VO is usually not up to the audio people - it's a decision of the design director, usually. And the cost of the VO is usually not the worry of the audio people or the design director but the producer.

Game VO can run the gamut from low-cost low-talent amateur all the way up to polished professional Hollywood talent, based on the project budget and the vision for the game and the plan for marketing the game. At bottom, team members do their own VO or recruit friends or family. At top, they go get world-class acting talent.

If you want to deduce more about how VO in the game industry works, you should network. I see that your company is in Calgary and does business globally. I don't suppose there's much of a game development community in Calgary (I checked on GameDevMap.com just now and I see that the Alberta devs are all in Edmonton), so you'd need to travel. Get on the mailing list for the Edmonton IGDA chapter, if there is one, and subscribe to GamesIndustry.biz and Gamasutra and Kotaku. Plan now to attend GDC and GDC Europe and other game industry conferences. Talk to producers and audio directors and design directors, not so much to tell them about your company as to learn the things you need to know to navigate this industry.

Good luck!

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One other element that this poll doesn't include is localization, which is a major reason why some games choose not to have VO. Or they have VO only in one language and then translate the text only.

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I was trying to figure out if game developers view voiceover as something only big budget games need or if it is more widely accepted as a part of gaming in general. I do understand that there are many games for which VO would not and should not be used. I have updated the polls to reflect this as an option.   With most of our corporate videos and commercials that we have been doing, the prices are quoted on a per project basis or a per finished audio length basis. I wasn't too sure about how this would transfer into video game voiceovers. I have changed the answers to hopefully better reflect what game developers prefer to see the rates to be. Also, thank you for your tip on asking about the audio budget. Unfortunately, I am limited to four questions that I could ask.


John,
I don't think this poll can get you the information you need. How any of us (and those who are in this forum are mostly audio people) "feel" about voiceover in general is irrelevant. When we are working on a game, whether or not the game needs VO is usually not up to the audio people - it's a decision of the design director, usually. And the cost of the VO is usually not the worry of the audio people or the design director but the producer.

Game VO can run the gamut from low-cost low-talent amateur all the way up to polished professional Hollywood talent, based on the project budget and the vision for the game and the plan for marketing the game. At bottom, team members do their own VO or recruit friends or family. At top, they go get world-class acting talent.

If you want to deduce more about how VO in the game industry works, you should network. I see that your company is in Calgary and does business globally. I don't suppose there's much of a game development community in Calgary (I checked on GameDevMap.com just now and I see that the Alberta devs are all in Edmonton), so you'd need to travel. Get on the mailing list for the Edmonton IGDA chapter, if there is one, and subscribe to GamesIndustry.biz and Gamasutra and Kotaku. Plan now to attend GDC and GDC Europe and other game industry conferences. Talk to producers and audio directors and design directors, not so much to tell them about your company as to learn the things you need to know to navigate this industry.

Good luck!

 

Thanks for the tips Tom,

 

I will follow the events and websites you mentioned closely! I thought game designers and creative managers also browsed these forums? Or did you mean that this section is where only audio people come so I should ask about such matters in the game design section?

 

One other element that this poll doesn't include is localization, which is a major reason why some games choose not to have VO. Or they have VO only in one language and then translate the text only.

 

Thanks for the reply nsmadsen,

Do you mean that developers targeting just the local market would not need VO? I had always thought whether to have VO is not related to the target audience size but rather, it's whether it would suit the final product? I would assume games designed for a North American audience would have english as their main VO with optional french for Canadians unless the game itself was designed around a foreign culture such as ancient Japan or something.

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I thought game designers and creative managers also browsed these forums?

Some might. But mostly the purpose of the Music and Sound forum is for discussion about music and sound,
by musicians and audio engineers - and maybe by developers trying to figure out how to create music and
sound for their games.

Or did you mean that this section is where only audio people come so I should ask about such matters
in the game design section?

The game design forum is for discussions about game design. Before you post there, you need to make
sure you actually know what "game design" is. Not everything is "game design." What "such matters"
are you thinking of exactly?

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If you want to deduce more about how VO in the game industry works, you should network. I see that your company is in Calgary and does business globally. I don't suppose there's much of a game development community in Calgary (I checked on GameDevMap.com just now and I see that the Alberta devs are all in Edmonton), so you'd need to travel. Get on the mailing list for the Edmonton IGDA chapter, if there is one, and subscribe to GamesIndustry.biz and Gamasutra and Kotaku. Plan now to attend GDC and GDC Europe and other game industry conferences. Talk to producers and audio directors and design directors, not so much to tell them about your company as to learn the things you need to know to navigate this industry.

 

It looks like the site is a bit inactive but there's a number of links to game dev studios that are still active on http://www.candevs.ca/  Bioware in Edmonton would probably be the most well known studio but there seems to be a fair number of indies throughout Alberta. Google "Alberta Game developers" or whatever city and you get some pretty good results.

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