Here’s a really interesting radio interview about the new game, BioShock Infinite. The Irrational Interview team brings on Creative Director Ken Levine as well as voice actors Troy Baker (Booker DeWitt) and Courtnee Draper (Elizabeth) to chat about their process on creating the performances for the game.
What’s fascinating about this audio interview is a phrase that gets mentioned early on:
“Drain the Swamp.”
What they mean by that is the actors are using their own natural voices and they are bringing the characters to life through their own emotional reality. No pyrotechnics, no strange voices, just bringing the characters down to their essential desires and feelings in the moment.
In other words, acting.
Even Troy talks about how he found himself wanting to embellish his performance too much. The director often asked him to “Drain the Swamp” in order to simplify his performance so it would sound more believable.
This can be a hard lesson to learn as a voice actor. I often find myself using too much “sauce” on my performances in order to spice them up. What the producers want is believability. Most often, you are most believable as yourself.
Learn how to sound believable with your own voice. It will serve you well. With that solid basis, you can then expand into all sorts of different characters.