Borrowing Emotions

I audited a voice over video games webinar recently. Even though I pretty much have no intention of ever pursuing video game work, I had heard the speaker, Andrea Toyias, from Blizzard Entertainment, at a voice over conference through Voice One and was taken by her approach to character work, in particular, related to video games.

She said that the work wasn’t about the funny voices that you could make, but rather, on your ability to bring who you are to the character. Your life story. Right where you currently are, based upon your experiences up to that point. That you need to bring your pain and suffering to the story and that actors aren’t acting, they are borrowing from their emotions.


She started the webinar with introductions. Both the students and herself. Then on-screen handouts. And then came the reads. I have never been in a video game recording session, but what I saw and heard was magical. The characters come to life with Andrea's direction. And I think because Andrea had asked about all of us and then shared about herself, the students seemed willing to be vulnerable and try what she was suggesting.


It was incredible how she would hear a one or two second 'growl' or a tone in a read and ask the student to expand on that. What would come out was amazing and in at least two reads, what I would call mesmerizing. I heard more than one student say after their read that they didn't know they "had that in them" or they "never thought that they could do that."


It really made me think about how sometimes we need someone else to pull out ‘the best’ in us, as we don’t always see it ourselves. That 'little something extra' was there in us all along, but we often don’t push ourselves to try. We figure “Oh, that’s fine for someone else, but I don’t know if I could do that.” We almost give up on ourselves before giving it a ‘go’.


Is there an area in your life where you hold back giving it your all? Do you wish for success for others as much as you root for yourself? Do you have a dream, desire or goal that you can feel down deep in your bones but just isn’t coming to fruition? Maybe you need to let go of your inhibitions and give something a try, even if you think you wouldn’t be good at it. You just might surprise yourself. You really have nothing to lose, but you just might gain that long held dream.