Hello everyone and let me assure you that this post is not to say you should always be told exactly how to say your line, but if you have a good actor for a director, who knows how to communicate in terms you understand and can react to correctly OR who can speak your line exactly the right way in a close pitch to your character, you should not defensively think this is a bad thing.

I get the knee jerk "I hate line reads" comment mostly from Drama students or people with a theatrical background who think it's always best to let an actor "bring the words to life" without stilting the process with another person's interpretation. Get over yourself. That works for stage and screen a lot more than it does for VOs especially since a good producer or director should have a lot better handle on the project than any actor who just got a script and has not been in contact with all parties.

As far as computer games, often there is no real thespian acting needed or possible. You may be clicking on someone you encounter in the game (a non player character or NPC) and all they do is mutter something irrelevant, or they may have one line that gives you a mission or a clue to what else you might explore or do. Yes, it's nice to make every line the best it can be, but again, you may not be talking in a conversation to anyone. You are giving information, and it has to be clear enough so the player can remember what you said since they can't rewind the game to play you over again....but you want to do the line without a ton of improv like thoughtful hmmmms, and breaths, just so you get more time in the 'spotlight.'

Reality check time: Most gamers don't care about the voices or the acting. If it's blatantly bad script and the acting follows suit, then people take notice and pan the game with bad ratings. But there was that one game with such bad translations, it was comical "All your base are belong to us." That phrase is now a common idiom.

So let down the defensive mode and realize you may not know what will come out of your mouth after you're directed. If you try something and it sounds horrible, you can ask the director in another voice, "Should it be more even keeled like this?" or "Would you like it lower and more mean, like this?"

I'll wrap this up by agreeing that it's frustrating to be directed like, "Do it differently?" "I don't know, just different." "I'll know it when I hear it." OR they line read you and you imitate them perfectly only to have them not like their own direction. By then offering them more of a multiple choice in different voices or using different emphasis on words, you become part of a team that together should get a nice result, instead of having two preening prima donnas gritting their teeth, each thinking the other person's an idiot.
Last thing to note,,,,,,not all directors are the same. So you should not announce, "I want to give you three takes, then if you don't like something, we can try it again. I prefer not to be line read."
Often if the session is tight on time, you may not have time to do 4-5 takes including direction.
Relax and leave the attitude at the door. You'll find a lot more people will want to hire you again if you do.

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Thanks! I have worked with people for decades in various "venues" of life. The same principles apply. It's called humility. Much appreciated.
And how.....!!! It kills me when I have a complainer who makes it seem like he or she's being tortured, ruining their voice or how everything is "really hard" to do. Often clients buy into this and start thinking they should pay these people more because they're working so hard and suffering more than is normal.
Geesh! Humility goes a long way in my book.
Getting a line read to me is evidence of a director who knows EXACTLY what he or she wants.
As an actor I think it's a great advantage having someone who completely "gets" the big picture of the project guiding me efficiently toward a performance that moves the game forward.
I don't know... When being directed I just let the director do his/her job. You get an idea pretty quick what their style is like and I follow their lead. I look at it this way: they hired me to do a job. I will do that job any way they tell me to. At this point I'm not fussy.
...is often incompletely demonstrated by those possessing said trait.

You got talent?... OR... are you always "in the game".

The real treasure in recognising your talent(s) is knowing when to exercise them properly.

When you're being directed, you're nothing more than a "tool".
A project production team has determined your value to their program much like an instrument in an ensemble... You're only a tool.

You're getting paid to "do it" in a manner pre-determined by those issung forth the direction AND the compensation.

Knowing this... we can extrapolate...
"YOU" (whomever you might be...) are more than "just a tool"
(well in some cases... ..."tool" may be more than applicable)

You're a cognitive tool that MAY have something to offer in the execution of the direction... BUT
IT IS NOT your call... the good ones know to come in... listen and "act / perform" as directed.

Next time remember this simple writing.

Your call isn't for your ego, opinion, value to humanity or anything other than a part of the much larger construct... even when you're "the star"... ("star" = silly western terminology that should be trashed in the past)

Mssrs. Sorenson, Taylor and Ms.Monaco Boland all have it right... and may I add...Humility may be only the first step toward making yourself a real talent...

Consider... open your mind and empty all thought...
let the director fill that space...
let the director guide you ...
(after all, said director should already have some idea of what to do with you and your "talent")
...that's when it's good... "fantasy" is the best part of reality...
...knowing the difference of the two is a little part of life's reality mastered

Once you've had it that way... hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....

Jake la Mata Hari
I appreciate your comments JS and again I reiterate that I do not line read every line or presume I have to have actors read like I'm thinking in my cadence or personality. I also ask actors ahead of time if they mind if I line read them if needed. I'm considered to be a good actor, and open-minded individual, who, as the director and casting director, has taken a lot more time than a actor who was cast in a game---- to talk to the clients, ask questions about everything from stealth mode or over battle noise? how far away are we from the person we're speaking to? How much realism or caricature sound is permitted? How much accent? Why are we saying this? etc Then I convey what I know and let the actor do their thing. But as you know, games require more "oomph" "Action" and strange emotes than any other genre of acting, including cartoons....since sometimes we have to be a bit over the top without being cartoony.

I often hear a line said differently than I would have said it and I will definitely take a quick second to evaluate if it works as well or better than I intended and I accept the read gladly.

I also would like to say that acting is not the same as voice acting and while having a theater background is definitely an asset that helps voice acting, often the most experienced voice over people cannot effectively put the appropriate action in their voice. This action is what makes games unique and more demanding in that respect. If someone is atop a metal cage straining to reach a rope which is dangling over hot lava and then they leap for it, miss it and fall to their death, there are a lot of variables that can go wrong if an actor has no guidance and has never tried to voice actions instead of doing them physically.
The straining for the rope might sound like someone who is constipated or someone pushing a rock instead of lightly making scared breathless grabbing sounds.

Of course if someone is line read every line, it could be very stifling and I never have done that nor will I.
But I am the first to illustrate how to get whatever action emote is needed which helps talent a lot.

Gifted talents are indeed a blessing. So are talents who have at least read their scripts before getting behind the mic instead of stumbling all over the place and getting frustrated when they might have to add body or facial gestures on top of their cold reading ability.

Don't interpret my original post as my saying I am a dictator who wants everyone to be me. Hardly. I do try to find out what actors work well with, as far as directing style. I will conclude by agreeing that some people take direction better than others, have voice control so they can implement changes right away, and the overall best ones are the ones that work as a team and appreciate the fact that my assistance or guidance can only make the result better and they get the credit for it, not me.

I back off and accept lines just the way they are read too, you know. Don't presume I'm up there with a whip and a bullhorn leading boot camp. But I still stick to my guns when I'm told right off the bat what to do or not do by an actor who later proves to be very one-trick, who doesn't put the action in the voice, won't even try my suggestions, and who cops an attitude. I have always asked first if they mind line reads.
And I reserve them for when all else fails. Then if they still put the emphasis on totally the wrong word, or their voice doesn't come down in pitch at the end of a sentence...... I play back their takes so they can hear themselves. You'd be surprised how many actors hear the problem, do the line again the same way, say, "Damn, I did it again!" and get frustrated at themselves. I try to give other suggestions to get beyond the impasse. It's not always a line read at all.

Actors who are most sought are the ones who strive for excellence without being narrow-minded, pre-set in their ways (just like a bad director) who can't change mid-stride, and who act like t
(continuing) ---good actors= who act like team players.
All for one and one for all. Ok Musketeers! Let's rally together!! Hoorah!
If I may...

Lani Minella has made a huge difference in the way I work with her direction.

Choosing to forego peer recognition... I work in the trenches with clients of all calibre...
in small markets to major metro spots...

I have no reason to pander when I say Lani has an almost "organic" skill enabling her to extract "sound" in a manner I never thought possible... and clients have noticed a huge difference in my work since Lani has coached and directed me...

I'm glad I paid her instead of buying that new fender guitar... now I can afford three new guitars!
Thanks Lani :-))

I know there are 100's of great directors and even more great talents... SO...

My statements are only a tiny part of the huge machine we all service daily...

Speaking from a long (far too long in my opiniion) record of studio and stage appearances...
as a talent I like the way Lani works... and so do my clients...

She's worth every investment I've made!

Perhaps this comment is a little less then objective... and yes there are lots of great folks out there but Lani's advice is good... ... there is iron in her words....

(line from Josey Wales featuring my hero Clint Eastwood... as spoken by another hero... Will Sampson...ok so I'm a movie fan)
No problem buddy...

...you are also a great person..
I suppose my comment would simply be a statement and nothing else...
and I tried to make it clear there are lots of really great talents and directors...
I hope I didn't offend... Lani did help me a lot!

I enjoyed reading your post!
In fact, re-reading it made me want to write what I did!

I hope we can work together sometime too...

Thanks heavens for "Chunky Monkey" !!!
(Damn I love that stuff but it makes me fat!)

...and for Lani Minella!
Can I get a amen brutha Gilbert?

Take care...feel free to ask for help should you ever need it...
As I said, All for one and one for all. It's hard to convey smiles and good intentions with emails and I don't take anything as an affront to me or my weirdness or strange style of doing things. Heck I know I'm tough and goofy and not everyone's cup of tea, and yet I do appreciate what everyone has to offer. That means you too, JS, and Roy and the whole voice-over universe. Sorry if I came across as defensive or anything. Thanks again for all input. :)

The "cat" of approval...
Let's see. Give the client what they want. Hmm. Yeah, I like that!


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