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Giving Games A Voice: Sony's Dialog Manager Greg deBeer Speaks
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Giving Games A Voice: Sony's Dialog Manager Greg deBeer Speaks

May 28, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 5 of 6 Next

In terms of barks and things that happen frequently, what kind of advice do you give to the actors in terms of variation? I don't know if there's always room to have variation sometimes.

GD: Well, the more variation you can have, the better, especially with next-gen titles. With the huge amount of room we have on disc, there's no reason not to have as much variation as we can.

Advice to actors is that we'll generally say, "Here's a line. I want you to read it to us three times, and give us your own personal three different interpretations of it," and kind of leave it at that. Directing is always a fine line. It depends on how strong of an actor you have, but it's better to let the emotion come from inside the actor, as opposed to trying to force a performance onto an actor.

How much do you tell an actor what the mood of a character should be? I've heard a lot of actors will just show up and see the script for the first time, and it'll be hard to connect with the character.

GD: It is very hard, and that gets back to what we were saying about celebrities versus voice actors. A lot of this comes down to how well we've prepared. Sometimes we won't really have a script together until a day or two before the session, and there's not time to get the script out to the actor.

The ideal situation, of course, is to have the script done a week or two weeks before time, get it out to the casting director, get it out to the session director, and get it out to the actors a day or two before their session, so they can read it over and get that sense for themselves of the whole story.

It's great if we can get it in a movie script format -- a format that they're familiar with -- with scene settings and all that, but that's not always possible. When that's not possible, we do as much as we can in the session. We try to set aside fifteen or twenty minutes if we can. Obviously, we can't set aside the whole time, because we're trying to get through using a very large amount of voice recording, but we'll bring character art.

We'll have a producer there -- someone who's very passionate about the game -- explain the scenario, explain the mood, explain the theme, and explain the general arc. Then, when we're in session, we always have a professional voice over director that's familiar with the script that can speak the language of performance that can take a performance out of an actor without shaping it for them.

And we'll have the producer there, who can interface with the session director, who can get the, "Okay, this is what's happening in this scene." The director can take that and understand what needs to be said to the actor to get the performance out of the actor that's appropriate for the scene.

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