Game Mode: Acting for Video Games

Understanding Video Game performance through vocal placement, exertions, scenework, & character psychology
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Hosted by

Chris Okawa

Course Overview

Dive deep into Acting for Video Games

Game Mode is a dynamic VO program taught by Chris Okawa based on his monthly workout series Cricket Fam VO Jam curriculum he's taught at Cricket Sound for the past 3 years.

Week over week it folds-in vocal disciplines specific to the video game genre, a genre unique for the opportunity to play the entire lifecycle of a character, it's epic theatrical scenework, and a branching, complex narrative structure.

Learn how to bring fights to life, spur the Player on, and access new and under-utilized corners of your voice. 


Course Outcomes

Analyze Characters:
To be able to deconstruct existing and construct original video game characters from psychology, to physicality, to unique sound.
Scene Work:
To be able to "read the room" on your audition sides, knowing your role in the grand story arc and playing the scene not the line.
Vocal Strengths:
To find healthy, sustainable vocal placement throughout your natural range to evoke believable performances.
Freedom to Perform:
Find freedom as an empowered actor, with concrete tools and reference points to let that performance rip.

Hosted By

  • Chris Okawa

    Founder of Cricket Sound
    Chris is a full-time voice talent, running Cricket Sound from his studio in Orlando. Over his years in the business he's had the privilege of voicing characters for Nintendo, Square Enix, EA, Cartoon Network, Funimation, SEGA, Bandai, Ubisoft, Portkey, inXile, WB Interactive, Hi-Rez and Titmouse for such titles as Fire Emblem Heroes, Lords of the Fallen, Paladins, House of The Dead: Remake, Umbraclaw, Divine Knockout, Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery, Wasteland 3, Aether Gazer, EDF: World Brothers, and Cloudpunk.

    Chris has been coaching privately and in partnership with organizations such as Suchavoice and Closing Credits for the past 4 years, and has run a monthly VO workout for the past 3 years which was the think tank for much of this course content.

Course Outline

01

Character Psychology

• The scene "High Level"

• Beat By Beat Metaphor

• Character Journey

• Filtering Through the Vocal Control Panel

02

Your Vocal House

• Vocal Placement

• Consistency (Staying in the sleeve)

• Finding the Character in Your Voice

03

VO Fight Club

• SOVT Warm-Up Introduction 

• Fight Efforts Training

• Death Efforts Training

• Acting Combat Scenes from Video Games

04

Sounds Like Teen Spirit

• Oral Posture/Non-Dialect Affectations 

• Teen Vocal Textures

• Teen Character Psychology

• Finding Vulnerability

05

Voice of the Villains

• Villain Psychology 

• Finding Your Inner "Mean"

• Acting Villain Monologues

• Acting Villain Scenes

Course Schedule

1 hour per week
  • Mondays - March 2024

    7PM-9PM EST

    Our live sessions happen every Monday in January 2024.

    • Week 1 runs for 1 Hour
    • Weeks 2–5 run for 2 Hours each
    Each class will have 30 mins of Q&A afterwards.

  • Saturdays - March 2024

    12PM-2PM EST

    Our live sessions happen every Saturday in January 2024.

    • Week 1 runs for 1 Hour
    • Weeks 2–5 run for 2 Hours each
     Each class will have 30 mins of Q&A afterwards.

  • Homework

    About 1 hour per week

    There is minimal homework as Chris prefers to work hands-on with you!

Course Benefits

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  • In-Depth Script Analysis

    You will be taught some incredible techniques that will help you analyze scripts like a pro.

  • Emphasis on One-on-One Direction

    Chris focuses on each student, giving them valuable time and guidance.

  • Industry AMA's with Your Coach

    Chris sets aside time after each class to answer any questions that you may have.

Frequency Asked Questions

What happens if I miss a class?
We will record the live session for you to review.
What is your refund policy?
No refunds. Please be sure you want to take the course before you purchase it.
Do I have to turn on my video during sessions?
If you are uncomfortable showing your face on video, you don’t have to. It will be helpful for Chris to watch your gestures and your movements in order to properly assess you as a student, but it’s not required.
What is your method based on?
My acting (and therefore coaching) method has a foundation in Stanislavski and classical theatrical acting, the Linklater voice and movement method, and a frame of on-camera acting.
Each week is different, are they cumulative?
Yes, I'd say each week we'll look to fold-in the previous weeks' disciplines to have you firing on all cylinders by week 5.
Is there homework?
There is minimal homework (about 1hr per week) as I prefer to work hands-on with you!
Is this THE key to Video Game voice acting?
It's my personal process to creating characters and performing scenes authentically and dynamically, so I'd say it's A key, not the ONLY key.
Will we cover Dialects?
We will cover Oral Posture and Vocal Affectation, as well as some Vocal Textures, however not Dialects/Accents. You are of course welcome to perform your own in presentation if appropriate.

Courses

Learn from an active industry expert

  • As with any profession or trade, it takes time for people to master their craft; voice acting included. A weekend seminar at a famous studio or a weeklong boot camp with a voice coach may be cool, but it probably won't increase your abilities to the point of landing loads of voice gigs. That's why we designed this course with the goal of making sure students see tangible improvements in not just acting, but speaking as a whole.

    VA101 is designed to teach students about their vocal instrument and how to play it. Starting out from the basics and diving deep into understanding the different parts, how to control them, and how to train them to ensure its longevity. You will learn about your Voicebox, your articulators, posture, warmup and breathing techniques, consonants, plosives, sibilance, natural articulation, handling a lisp, mic techniques, and so much more!

  • In VA201 'The Emotional Roller Coaster', you will learn how important emotions are in the world of acting. Without feelings and emotions it is very difficult to bring words to life in a way that will engage the listener. Over the next 8 classes we will take you on the ride of a lifetime as we put you in the front seat of your emotional rollercoaster. You will work on techniques that will help you face your fears and get rid of any nerves you face that can get in the way of a great performance. You will discover how to bring hidden intentions into everything you read.

    Explore an emotional journey and break down common basic emotions and get in touch with how you express emotions for different situations and how you can bring this into everything you do. You will uncover effective ways for your characters to express their emotions and hidden intentions that will differ from your own. Learn the different elements that contribute to creating emotion in your script from an acting perspective as well as production. Master the tools and techniques that will help you bring your scripts to life. You will learn how listening and reacting will completely change the way you perform. There will be plenty of scripts to read in this course, so grab your box of Kleenex, get your chops ready and hang on for an emotional ride into the world of emotional performance.

  • Now that you’ve discovered how to use your instrument properly and how to bring emotional context into your words, it’s time to learn how to put it all together and learn how to act.

    You will hear many terms used to describe someone who uses his or her voice to make a living. Voice Over, Voice Talent, Announcer etc., but one of the most important terms that most won’t debate is Voice Actor. After all, this is what we are doing, acting with our voice.

    As we’ve described in previous workshops, Voice Acting is the combination of Theatre, Film and Broadcasting. It’s very helpful to have experience in all three in order to truly master the variety of skills needed for each individual project. No two projects are the same, so there is always a need for a variety of skills. In this course we will do our best to teach you all three.

    It's time to get down to the nitty gritty!

    As with any profession or trade, it takes time for people to master their craft; voice acting included. A weekend seminar at a famous studio or a weeklong boot camp with a voice coach may be cool, but it probably won't increase your abilities to the point of landing loads of voice gigs. That's why we designed this course with the goal of making sure students see tangible improvements in not just acting, but speaking as a whole.

  • This course is designed to assist you through technical production of individual voice over spots that showcase the brand and skills of a voice over artist.

    This voice-specific audio engineering course takes you behind the scenes to lay out step-by-step instructions for producing a quality, great sounding spot. Follow along a seasoned producer as he live streams his editing process, and gives industry tips and tricks. By the end of this course, you will have gained knowledge and experience by producing your own voice over spot(s) under the direction of an instructor and TA, and with valuable peer feedback.

    The material will be applicable in a variety of genres such as commercial, narration, animation, or video games. Learn the art of storytelling and advertising with creative ways to entice your listener, and stand out!

  • When you wake up in the morning, you’re not presented with the day’s script that tells you what to say. For the vast majority of your day, your brain is forming those sentences using improvisation and ordering your body to convey the message.

    The key to authenticity in your voice acting is to embody that exact process with a script: to make someone else’s words come out of you as if those words were your own.

    In this 6-week course, you will learn about the fundamentals of short-form improvisation. Through this curriculum, you will gain an abundance of self-confidence, practice in storytelling and characterization, the collaborative spirit, and empathy for others.

    More importantly, you will gain additional awareness about you, the person. And it is precisely this awareness of self that will play a crucial role in your ability to authentically deliver those lines in a script.

  • The side of voice acting that is seldom taught but is just as important is the business. What price should you charge? What are the advantages you can promote locally, online, and in foreign markets? What considerations should you consider before walking away from a client? There is no one-size-fits-all-answer to these questions because it is different between every person on every job. This is probably why so many talents have such a hard time when it comes to the business side of the art. In Business for Voice Actors, you will learn about the fundamentals of business and how they apply to voice acting. This course is beneficial for new AND experienced actors.

    Within 6 weeks, we will cover everything from accounting to networking; branding; pricing; contracts, and more. In this fast-paced class you will see real life case studies, work on assignments you can apply immediately when you reach out to your next potential client, discuss concepts such as what it means to give more value to the client, what is your value as a voice actor, as well as basic administration duties such as bookkeeping and invoicing.

  • A solid foundation in audio as a voice talent in this modern remote-working world is imperative, especially when working with studios and engineers, and while it takes time to master the craft, we want to give you a fast and effective path towards a professional standard of work in your own home studio.

    Over the course of 6 weeks we will cover introduce to you such necessary tools as gain staging, EQ, and compression as well as real world uses of the skills needed to be successful.

    You will be given audio examples and practical projects that relate closely to real-world professional practice. This is a hands on course designed to guide you, step-by-step, along the path to possessing a strong skillset in audio engineering your voiceovers.

  • Mastering Characters is instructed by Dr. Elley Ray, an award-winning actor, writer, director, producer, casting agent, teacher with over 40 years experience performing in over 300 productions. She is a juror at the Emmy Awards and a professor at California State University & Senaca U of Toronto.

    This course is designed to provide participants with a recreatable catalog of characters with the ability to perform and sustain them.

    Participants will obtain specialized insights in the animation genre of voiceover along with strategies and tactics to advance their craft.

  • THIS COURSE RECOMMENDED PRIOR TO 'ADVANCED AUDIOBOOKS'

    If you've ever wondered about narrating and/or producing audiobooks, this is the class to discover whether or not it's right for you!

    In this introductory course, we will cover:

    * Ethical and Philosophical choices (accents, adult material & more) 

    * Technical aspects (DAW, microphones, space treatment, & more)

    * Unique performance challenges (vocal, reading comprehension)

    * Auditions (choosing, performing, and... yes... more)

    * Performance (reading and critiquing your own and others')

    Voice acting is a unique style of performance, and audiobook voice acting is an even more particular skill set. Come learn what it's all about!

  • Commercial Voiceover is taught by Dave Bisson, A Chicago-based full-time voice artist who’s lent his voice to hundreds of TV, radio, & digital commercials, as well as industrial narrations, video games, toys, IVR, & just about every other form of VO except audiobooks.

    Commercial VO auditions are near-universally asking for a read that’s “Conversational”, “Authentic”, “Genuine”, “Guy/Girl-next-door”, “A real person, not an actor” which has left a lot of aspiring (or even established) voiceover talent wondering how they can be any of these things for a script saying that power saws are on sale at the local hardware store.

    In this course, you will learn how to approach any Commercial script and, by answering a few simple questions, find a voice that is authentic, conversational, friendly, & confident – without having to do any research on power saws.

    Additionally, this course will deal with all the traps and pitfalls scripts can contain that are sabotaging your authentic voice without you even realizing it.

  • Why do some actors feel so confident improvising in their work and others seem to fall apart if the script isn’t followed to the letter? Improvising is a learnable skill, not just something you’re born with. It takes practice in the playing and risking, to get comfortable in the area of discovery and performance without safety nets. What better place to do that work than with other actors and instructors BEFORE you might need it on set, stage or in the booth. Improv is a tremendous skill to hone so that your work is always engaging, reactive and “real-feeling” to you and the audience. Over 6 weekly online live classes, we will play in many ways to familiarize you with techniques you can do solo or in a group to unlock your potential as an actor creatively capable of improvisation in script or unscripted work.

    Improv helps actors with their auditioning and acting skills as well as giving them the tools to use on set, stage or in the booth. Many directors will ask actors to improvise on set with their fellow actors, and often before casting you, in the audition(s).

  • You have a basic working understanding of how an equalizer or compressor plugin can be used to help tidy up your voiceover recordings to give them a professional sound, but what would you do if you had to re-record some dialogue in a different space - say a hotel room - which sounds completely different to your original audition or submitted recordings, and *you* must provide *finished audio* to match?

    The example above is just one of a near-endless number of little tasks that audio engineers face today when working on both studio *and* remotely recorded voiceovers and ADR dialogue. Every voice actor’s home studio has a different acoustic profile, they all use different microphones and interfaces, and not all actors know enough about what happens to their tracks after they stop recording and send off the files.

    Over the course of 6 weeks we will take you through time-saving project organization, definitions of and practical excercises in advanced techniques for equalization, compression, de-essing, analyzing & cleaning your noise floor, and much more.

  • ADR / Dubbing 1 is instructed by professional voice directors, accompanied by an experienced audio engineer. Together they will run live simulations of ADR sessions, presenting various information throughout this course. This small class-sized course will have each student performing real ADR sessions each week.

    ADR is a post-production process used in filmmaking and video production in which additional or supplementary recordings are synced and mixed with original production sound to create a finished product.

    8 hours spanning 4 weeks with minimal theory and all practice, to get you familiar with ADR and character development for voice over. Understanding how ADR works from behind the scenes as well as in the booth is so important for in-studio and remote talent! You will get practical training at an introductory level with practice scripts, mic time, and guided step-by-step ADR processes.

    After this course, you should feel more comfortable stepping into a booth, understanding and interpreting an ADR script, and feeling confident in creating character choices.


  • Full course description & final dates TBA
    We will announce when this course is ready for enrollment - please wait until then.

  • Have you ever created a character in your mind, but you lacked the proper skills to draw them?

    We want to introduce you to the creative side of digital art to give you the proper tools and knowledge as a digital artist so that you can completely create your own original character from scratch. You can also use these tools to create your own world for your character.  

    In this 4-week course, you’ll be learning how to draw your own original character from your imagination using the program Clip Studio Paint. 

    You will be given assignments every week that will help you in each aspect of the process such as sketching, lineart, and shading. You will be given the step by step process of how to start from just the idea of your original character, to bringing them to life through art.

  • Authentic Narration Voiceover is taught by Dave Bisson, A Chicago-based full-time voice artist who’s lent his voice to hundreds of TV, radio, & digital commercials, as well as industrial narrations, video games, toys, IVR, & just about every other form of VO except audiobooks (aside from his own).

    Narration VO auditions typically demand a voice that is “friendly” & “welcoming”, as well as being “an authority” or “an expert.” This can be difficult when your script calls for you to discuss “the formation of malondialdehyde and conjugated diene compounds, which are cytotoxic and mutagenic.” Don’t forget to sound like an expert!

    In this course, you will learn how to approach any Narration script and, by answering a few questions, find a voice that is authentic, conversational, friendly, & confident.

    Additionally, this course will deal with all the traps and pitfalls Narration scripts can contain that are sabotaging your authentic voice without you even realizing it.

  • ADR / Dubbing 2 is instructed by professional voice directors, accompanied by an experienced audio engineer. Together they will run live simulations of ADR sessions, taking your dubbing skills to the next level. This small class-sized course will have each student performing real ADR sessions each week.

    Familiar with the ADR / Dubbing process, you are ready to tackle more dramatic and difficult scenes, and make bold choices for your character performances.

    8 hours spanning 4 weeks with practical direction and invaluable feedback, this class will further prepare you for work as a professional voice actor.

  • Game Mode is a dynamic VO program taught by Chris Okawa based on his monthly workout series Cricket Fam VO Jam curriculum he's taught at Cricket Sound for the past 3 years.

    Week over week it folds-in vocal disciplines specific to the video game genre, a genre unique for the opportunity to play the entire lifecycle of a character, it's epic theatrical scenework, and a branching, complex narrative structure.

    Learn how to bring fights to life, spur the Player on, and access new and under-utilized corners of your voice. 


  • Being able to do a variety of unique voices can be a huge plus in your career and make you a must-keep for clients and studios.

    The ability to portray different characters and make them sound different enough that you can have them in the same scene and not sound like they are the same person is a skill that few have, but not something that can't be learned.

    If you are interested, this may just be the course for you.
  • Whether you want to create a webtoon for fun or professionally, we're here to give you all the knowledge you need to succeed. You have a general understanding of Clip Studio Paint and creating characters, but you want to tell their story. 

    In this 8-week course, we'll be taking you step by step through creating your own webtoon from scratch!  We'll dive into topics such as jobs in the webtoon industry, publishing, building your story, creating your cover, logo, credits and buffers, storyboarding, etc. 

  • There are many forms of creative expression, and art may be one of the most prominent in the creative community. Whether you've been experimenting with drawing for a while and looking to brush up on the basics, or you haven't yet taken that step past scribbling stick figures, learning the fundamentals of drawing is a sure way to improve on your skills as an artist. In "Introduction to Drawing", you will be doing just that; learning the very core basics of how to draw.

    Over the course of 6 weeks, you will be learning the "from the ground up" techniques of drawing: from how to properly wield your pencil (or stylus), how to draw objects using shapes, shading and lighting methods, perspective, and more!

    Each week will offer step-by-step instructions, descriptions, and live examples of the various fundamental methods of drawings as well as related assignments to complete and optional practice activities that will enhance your understanding of the basics of how to draw.

    Materials required for students using traditional art tools:

    • Wooden pencil, and optionally a mechanical pencil

    • Black pen for inking

    • Ruler

    • Compass

    • Sketchbook with A4 page size

    • Handheld eraser (optional)

    Materials required for students using digital art tools:

    • Digital art interface (DAI)

    • Pressure sensitive drawing tablet

    • OR pressure sensitive digital display tablet

  • 8 weeks, 120 mins classes. ALL LIVE VOICING with direction and feedback on the biggest genres within the medium of professional Voice Over/Acting.
    -Character work for Anime, Cartoons; prelay and dub styles

    -Commercial work; being real vs being characters.

    -Announcer work

    -Narration: manuals, textbooks, long-form commercials

    -Audio books: fiction and non-fiction

    -Video Game voicing: realism vs charactery

    -Trailers: for film and media products

    -Deeper emotional and energetic training



  • Many are interested in performance for the camera; whether it be film, tv, or online/social media. Over 6 weeks of practical work and theory, you will understand how to prepare for on-camera acting, and also how to set yourself up for success in self-tape/remote recording.

    We will be doing monologue and scene work. A web-camera to be able to see you is crucial to your success in this course.


    YOUR INSTRUCTOR: Brendan Hunter

    IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2082436/ 

    FILM/TV REEL: https://brendanhunter.astralreel.com

  • Ever wonder how to interpret an anime script? Are you interested in adding more characters to your wheelhouse? For the next four weeks, we delve into the intricacies of bringing your anime script to life; whether you're an aspiring actor or simply passionate about the anime genre, this course offers invaluable insights into effectively breaking down and executing your anime copy. Our materials for the course are written by the same scriptwriters from some of your favorite anime. By the end of the course, you'll be equipped with the practical skills to voice multiple characters, enhancing your versatility as an actor.

  • Intro to Writing Fiction Professionally is a six-part online course taught by an award-winning journalist and critically acclaimed author. It will walk you through character building, settings, story structure, the ever important “show, don’t tell,” and other important writing skills. The course is built from more than a decade of years of interviews with professional authors as well the instructor’s own experiences. This course will involve weekly writing assignments with instructor feedback, as well as tips for breaking into the writing industry.

    The course is designed to guide participants into creating a productive writing space and habit, develop strong characters, build a cohesive plot, and enter the publishing world with some foreknowledge of what it takes to succeed.

    Participants will obtain insights about what it’s like to be a professional writer, as well as create a basic protagonist and outline for their own novel.

    This course is lecture-based with segments of feedback for homework assignments.

    You’ve got an idea for a novel, the perfect space opera, a chilling horror tale, or the best coming of age story ever conceived.

    The only question now is: how do you turn that into an actual book that people buy and makes you money? Starting a book can be a real nightmare, which is why we’ve designed a course that will lay out all the basics for a crafting a great novel or other writing project.

  • Come be a part of the LA SOVAS-nominated Radio Play class, being recognized from coast to coast! Be a star and voice your own original character from our amazing studio writers’ collaboration, and work with high-profile guest audio directors to realize your vision in a professionally produced radio play recording with all the bells and whistles! With a character and animation base! A vintage radio twist, with a contemporary appeal. Pre-requisite: you must have a basic home studio setup.
  • Tons of mic time!  This is NOT lecture based - it's all hands/voices on!  

    Time to ace those auditions and stand out from the rest.  Test your audtiion skills in various genres.  Work on audition skills, tips and techniques using scripts/auditions provided for you or bring in your own current auditions and have them directed by our own VOChef Deb - an award winning 30 year veteran of the voice world.

    Learn what you need to do to stand out in this aggressive market, from a talent who's not afraid to tell it like it is!  

  • FINDING YOUR OWN WORK

    Creating a Voice Acting business takes drive!

    In this 6 week workshop - you will be put to the test.

    Hands-on activities that force you to look for work.

    You will walk away with:

    • Marketing Schedule/Plan

    • Where to look for work 

    • How to approach potential clients

    • Pay 2 Play, Twitter, Fiverr, and other casting sites

    • Finding the right agent

    • Cover Letter Outlines

    • Follow Ups

    • Accountability

    • Assessment of your material *whatever stage you are at

    This class is designed for everyone, from beginner & intermediate actors, to the working talent who might be hitting a wall and need to make a change!  

    This unique approach to finding your own work has proven to be effective for not only hundreds of talents at different levels of their career, but is a tribute to the success of your coach - VO Chef Deb Munro.  

    Deb will share her industry secrets with you and take you through a plan from beginning to end, showing you another side to the business that you may have not considered.  This is a daunting industry.  It's not just about having the right skills, getting a great demo and landing an agent!  You have to know how to go after and find the work yourself - and there are not many who want to share.  This is a great opportunity to learn from a talent who built her business from the ground up and continues to thrive in her career.  She isn't going to wait around for it to happen, so join her for 6 intense weeks of research, development and growth and take your career to the next level. 

  • Movies, Video Game Narrators / Trailors, TV Stations, Podcast Promos, Intros, Extros, Station Personalities, Live Events, Award Shows and more.....

    Welcome to your future......this lucrative and fascinating genre will take your voice to new heights.

    Join your promo coach Deb Munro (aka VOChef Deb) - with over 30 years experience for 6 intense weeks that will prepare you for this action packed industry.  Having voiced for over 45 stations, 35 live events and more, this is one coach who truly understands this industry and knows exactly how to get you there.

    Each week you will be directed in each of these fascinating genres.  Get live direction and feedback with lots of script time, while learning the different styles required in each of these fields.  

    • Week one - Movie/Game Trailers
    • Week two - TV Promos
    • Week three - Station Imaging
    • Week four - Podcast Intros/Extros
    • Week Five - Live Events/Award Shows
    • Week six - CHOOSE YOUR GENRE

    Discover now only tricks and techniques to ace these kinds of auditions and jobs, but get live feedback with a redirect on each of these fields - all sessions recorded for you to review and keep learning from.

    This is one class you don't want to miss!

  • There is an art to creating demos. Not only should you be ready for them but using just the right copy can make all the difference in your marketing!

    In this course, this 30+ year veteran walks you through creating demos that will suit you.      Over these eight weeks, you will create scripts that will be customized to your needs, interests and personalities.   VO chef Deb will guide you through each genre so you truly understand their different requirements, and whether you take on that genre now or later in the future! This class will help you be ready when you are.  We will also have a listen to some of the demos Deb and her team have written, created and directed together with the talent, making sure your demos reflect your personality not your demo producer’s!

    By the end of this course, you will walk away with all the scripts you need to create an award-winning demo… though ultimately, your readiness will be up to you!Join us for this worthwhile workshop that gives you a product you can use customized to your personality and needs!