• Rachael Messer

The Difference Between Voice Acting and Voice Over

Hey there guys!

So for the next few months, I wont be able to do the video uploads. I will be REALLY excited to explain why in July’s post! But the monthly educational info will now be in the form of blog instead of vlog for the rest of the year. Same info, just different format.

There are a couple things that will be coming out in the next few months. I will start more of a breakdown per update. The reason Im doing this is while Ive been uploading 10 minute videos and they are a great one stop spot for info, it's hard for people who are trying to find the answer to a specific question in a 10 minute video. So these blog posts will be shorter at times depending on the subject, but it's to keep the info organized and make it easier to find answers to a specific topic. Also, If you have specific questions you’d like answered, please post below or message me directly as some of you already have.

The Difference Between Voice Acting and Voice Over

There is a difference between “Voice Over” and “Voice Acting”. Voice over is any recorded voice. You can hear this in commercials, on TV shows, movies, ect. It is any voice that is heard but not seen. Voice acting has a character associated with it. It’s often found in cartoons, anime, video games, and even some commercials. In commercials, where say a little boy is talking to his mom, there will hopefully be voice acting involved (If the commercial is to be believable) because chances are, that “mom” isn’t actually that kids mother and that “kid” might not actually be a kid at all, but may be an adult voicing a kid. The way I like to describe it best is Music is to Voice over as jazz is to voice acting. So while voice acting is a branch of voice over, it’s not the same thing. While Jazz is a form of music and voice acting is a form of voice over, not all music is jazz just like not all of voice acting is voice over.

There are certain types of people who tend to naturally be drawn into voice acting. This includes Singers/ musicians, Actors, Improvisers, and impressionist. Singers and musicians normally already have an ear for tones, placement, and notes. This comes in handy because they can often match speech patterns, have a greater sense of vocal control, and work well with vocal speed and pitches. Actors are drawn to voice acting because it is acting but also because there is a freedom in voice acting that isn’t found often in film or theatre. In film and theatre, there is often an age range and type casting. While there is still some type casting in voice acting, it is a lot less frequent and the types are a greater variety than what is found in film and theatre. I’ve also found that type casting will change frequently. Example, I will get a mother role in a video game and once I share this online, it leads to me getting other “mother like” roles. This may continue on for weeks and sometimes months, then I may get a different role as say, the little sister and then my type casting will switch to those types of roles. Because voice acting allows actors the ability to not be seen while they work, this allows a freedom to play characters who may be a different age, race, gender, or even species than the actor is which is a very freeing aspect. Improv is also a huge factor in voice acting. This is found more often in Anime and cartoons, but is not unheard of for video games as well. There are moments when actors in cartoons have adlibbed while recording and the reads would be included in the final project. In anime, you may be asked to record 2-3 minutes of background voice work and these scenes are often improvised. Improv can be used in video games as well. From my experience, it is often with attach lines. Impressionist are drawn towards voice acting for similar reasons as musicians and singers. If someone is good at impressions, they often can hear the voice placements, patterns, and tones used by the original actors they are impersonating.

There are a few things that are handy to know when it comes to voice acting. However, it is important to note that these things are not “must haves” for voice acting.

Singing is always a great tool to have. While I have rarely run into the need to have to sign for a character, there have been times when it has helped. However, if you cannot sing, don’t let that discourage you. It’s not needed and the call for an actor to voice a character where singing is required is rarer than most people think.

Impressions can also help at times. Even if it’s not a spot on impression. There are projects that will require voice actors who can do spot on impressions. This often comes up for projects where a line or two needs tweaking and they can’t bring in the original actor again, normally for scheduling reasons. This also comes up if an actor needs to be replaced in a sequel. However, there are also any casting calls with descriptions of “Sounds like so-and-so”. Where the voice of the character needs to sound like a character or actor, but doesn’t need to be a spot on impression. Normally in these situations, the actor can copy the vocal characteristic of the original actor or be inspired by the fore mentioned actor while throwing in some of their own creativity.

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