Working with voice talent: How to prep VAs and tap into their abilities

Maria Borys-Piątkowska discusses finding and working with voice talent at PGC London

Working with voice talent: How to prep VAs and tap into their abilities

Day two of PGC London 2024 has been full of insightful talks from those in the know across the games industry. Among them, Flying Wild Hog senior narrative designer and writer Maria Borys-Piątkowska took to the stage to advise studios on maximising outcomes with voice-over talent in video games.

Initially, Borys-Piątkowska noted the necessity of preparing a character casting sheet and a logline as a guideline for potential voice talent. This would typically include the character’s age, sex, archetype, role, unique features, accent, and artwork, if there is any.

Getting the best from voice talent

"When it comes to the main characters, it’s important to put as much information as possible. Everything that actually helps a voice actor imagine this character," said Borys-Piątkowska. "You also need to know how many voice talents you will need. How many sessions per talent will you need?"

Regarding voice lines for auditions, she highlighted two approaches with a preference for the second. "You can write some random lines and add some kind of direction and context - anything that lets you know the scope of his or her skills. Or, you prepare a batch of text lines that already exist in the game you’re working on, in the proper context. It’s enough to give one or two scenes."

Ensuring the talent gets the full script at least one day before the recording session is also important, and ideally in chronological order. However, when voicing the lines there are exceptions to the chronology: "Sometimes the talent would do like, a monster voice, and that’s something that would overuse their voice. So it’s good to remember to avoid those stylised voices at the beginning of a recording session."

It’s “really important” that the writer is there for the recordings, Borys-Piątkowska said. "A writer's expertise and fully fledged knowledge of the game script is a crucial feature when it comes to recording sessions with voice talents. Therefore, as a writer, you should learn some in-depth tricks and methods of how to properly collaborate with the voice talents."

She also preached humility from writers, suggesting that in cases where a voice actor goes off script and comes up with a better line, "change your script".

There’s a lot more still to discover from PGC London 2024. Find out more about what's on and how you can be part of it here.

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Aaron is the News Editor at and has an honours degree in Creative Writing.
Having spent far too many hours playing Pokémon, he's now on a quest to be the very best like no one ever putting words in the right order.