One of the first questions I had submitted to me when I started this blog back up was about the voice acting done in Legend of the Void chapter 1. I really wanted a speech that conveyed a sense of mysticism and gave the player a feeling of curiosity about the journey they were about to embark on. Finding a voice actor wasn’t hard, all it took was a post on Newgrounds and I had a bunch of people contacting me to take part. After listening to their demo reels I decided on Mick Lauer, professional voice actor extraordinaire! I asked him to spare a few minutes answering your questions…
1. Do you require formal voice lessons to be a “Voice Actor”?
Good question. While, technically, I could say “no”, there are very few people out there capable of just “picking up” how to properly interact with the microphone, learn to “hear” how they sound, and make the right tweaks to their performance or delivery. Even the highest tier of voice actors continue to work with coaches or other professionals to fine-tune their work.
Professional training is a great way to avoid a plethora of mistakes and bad habits, and cut right to what you should be doing in the booth (or in front of the mic).
Aside from the training aspect, it’s a great way to connect with professionals already in the industry. You have no idea how many connections I made while training.
2. Before becoming a “Voice Actor” what should a prospective new “actor” know before hand?
That it’s work. That it’s more than just spitting words in the direction of the microphone. It requires an understanding of your own voice, your tools, and the needs of the client/project.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not “hard-work” in the sense of brute effort, it’s more like surgery combined with acrobatics. You have to be willing to experiment, to fail, to fall on your face and sound like a total idiot, the whole time keeping tabs on your performance and what to tweak or try next.
In short, know your voice, your tools, your goal, and be an idiot.
3. While work is “job dependent” on average how much do “Voice Actors” normally receive for services rendered (ball park figure)?
That range is pretty much the entire spectrum one could imagine. I’ll say this, there are union voice actors and non-union voice actors. On the whole, non-union jobs considerably trump union gigs. That said, some union gigs can pay out better than a solid year’s worth of non-union jobs.
I honestly don’t believe there’s an average. Some people make virtually nothing (many), others make a comfortable living (some), others are filthy rich (very few).
4. What experience did you have prior to getting into the voice acting field?
I attended New York University (NYU) and received my degree in Acting and later trained in voiceover at Edge Studio (NYC).
5. What projects (game/commercial/etc) have you worked on previously?
Well, I just wrapped up recording a Lynx app ad, a presentation for a Lipton Ice Tea social media campaign, and was on two episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal (as Roku, ep 15/16).
6. Lastly, this is sort of an extension of #2, but what would you recommend other people looking to get into this field do?
To practice. Know their instrument in and out. And always keep pushing yourself to try new voices and vocal techniques. A lot of working voice talent are capable to delivering a whole range of sounds and characters. If you want to be a competitive player in the industry, you have to be convincing voice chameleon.
That’s it! I wish I had more questions to ask but I think this serves as a good introduction to voice acting for those interested. If you have any more questions for Mick Lauer, or would like to become a fan, hire him for a job, or otherwise contact him, you can do so via his website MickLauer.com and on NewGrounds. Big thanks to Mick Lauer for his time and I hope to be able to bring you guys more interviews with gaming/entertainment industry professionals in the future!