What?! I thought I was getting into a fun industry?!
If you have ventured into the world of animation and video games, you know exactly what I’m referring to. The wonderful thing about make believe, is that anything can happen. I’ll never forget my time on DragonBall – I played a character named ‘Mai’ and she died in what seemed like 50% of the episodes. You have to get very creative in your death scenes. You can only die so many times and in the world of video games, you can die over and over again. The interesting thing about a death scene is that this isnt something we can truly relate to ourselves. And the way we die in animations isn’t realistic to most deaths we know. So we have to become very creative and think outside the box.
While you start practicing and developing your characters – add another layer to them that you may not have thought through – how many ways can your character die? What would it sound like if you are falling out of an airplane as opposed to falling from the top of the building? What does it sound like when you get stabbed to death? When you are being slain by a demon? When you catch on fire? Falling into a dark hole? Melting? …..there is no end to the options of a dying character.
Something I suppose you didn’t give much thought to….. until now.Why don’t you YouTube animated death scenes or Google and rent some animations with characters that are similar to your range and see what other greats before you have done. Record your findings in the studio so you will be able to mimic them again in the future. Just listen and watch the animation or create your own death scene in your head. See it all happening and try and feel and physically act out the scene with as many human sfx as you can add to it. Don’t forget your sound of struggle (if there is one) before and after the death. Add the proximity affect (for example are you falling; change your vocal sounds to give the sound of distance – and don’t forget to land with impact.)
The point is, our vocal instruments guide the scene and it’s our job to vocally assist it along and create the scene using only our imaginations and our human sounds and words.
The true key to this technique, is that your character gets brought back to life….that’s the true art to dying. Coming back for another episode or season, until next time everyone.
Todd Resnick is president of Resnick Interactive Group,a full service, results-driven voice over casting company specializingin games and animation. If you are interested in the voice overbusiness, looking for talent or help in casting your show, feel free tocontact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ResnickCasting. Or, visit us at http://resnickinteractive.com.