I found a piece by the Entertainment Software Association that says there were 2,457 video games companies operating in the USA in 2017. That was 3 years ago, so imagine how much it's gone up by now. And then multiply it by THE WHOLE WORLD. And add in indie developers, bedroom game makers and anyone else out there making games. It made me realise how ridiculously lucky I was to happen upon Polyspice Games....
One of the first jobs I was hired for as a voice over artist was a game.
Up to this point I hadn’t done any voice acting for video games. Actually, I hadn’t done much voice work for anything, but the owner of Polyspice took a chance on me. (For that I’ll always be grateful, and I’ll be repaying him with approximately 3 hits to his website from this blog).
Scrolling through the job listings one morning, my interest was piqued (good word) when I saw this:
Funny voice talent needed for one-liners.
Ooooooh, I thought. Well, I can’t remember if the ooh had that many o’s, but I was certainly intrigued. My brain went through a short assessment process.
Brain: Are you funny?
Me: No, I’m HILARIOUS
Brain: Apply immediately
Me: But I want a biscuit
Brain: DO THE AUDITION
Me: But the biscuit-
So, that’s what I did.
I set up my temporary fort style booth (as was the norm back then) and shouted angrily into the microphone when my blankets and acoustic panels fell down around me. I put everything back in place and shouted angrily into the microphone some more – this time for the audition. The character I was going for was a cancer cell and the player of the game would be beating me up.
After a couple of days, I had a phone call all the way from Denmark - it was Thorbjorn (amazing name), the boss at Polyspice. We chatted for a bit about the game and I got the gig. Huzzah! (Hurrah! if you like modern talk).
Over the next few months I would record a whole bunch of jokes for the game (some of which I wrote and are examples of the greatest pieces of wit this generation has ever seen). For instance:
But my absolute favourite piece of work for that game (and still one of my best voiceover memories so far) was recording lots of silly noises. Like, LOADS. Something I’d grown up doing and still do to this day, would finally become part of my job and I wouldn’t be getting told off for it. I listen to this every now and then and a tear comes to my eye. Such a beautiful time.
Some out-takes from the session:
Unfortunately that game got put on hold for a bit and when Thorbjorn told me this (on a very emotional video call), I grabbed a guitar off the wall and was about to smash it all over my desk.
“You make music?” said the tiny head on the screen.
NOT AFTER I OBLITERATE THIS GUITAR.
“You’re hired for the next game”.
And so, the partnership continued. I’m now working on sound effects and music for a future release in development at Polyspice Games. Oh, and there’s some more silly noises in it. A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN.
As I said, this all happened very early on in my VO career.
I hadn’t worked in video games. I hadn’t even spoken to a client on the phone. And I hadn’t been paid to make stupid noises. Everything was new, everything was scary.
But I learnt pretty quickly that pushing myself into things I’m not always comfortable with can pay huge dividends.
New knowledge and skills, growth in confidence and… probably some other stuff.
Go for jobs you hesitate going for, try things that make you sweat just thinking about them and don’t over-prioritise biscuits.
You never know where it might lead you.