Unreliable Voice Actors - What to do?

2013-06-17 00:31:52 by Blordow

I have a project that was supposed to of kicked off a few years back, for some reason it didn't, I've have had shitty personal circumstances occur most of my life and practically gave up my dreams. I disappeared off the scene for a couple of years and pursued other interests. In 2012 I made a little bit of a comeback and made a few little short toons and this year was the year I had the motivation to reboot the series "Salty Swamp". Which is what this post is about.

I had casted around 8-9 talented people to voice in this toon back in March.

5 people gave me lines very promptly and were very professional. Considering they did it all for free, and the quality really tells me they're passionate about what they do. It's exactly what I wanted, however...

I am still waiting on 3 others whom to this day are supposedly keen but have not delivered. Excuse after excuse. This has made me lose motivation almost completely because like I said this was supposed to kick off March-April! I can't animate the toon without voices. I need to capture the personality perfectly. I've done projects in the mean time, and what gets me is these guys say they REALLY want to do it, time and time again when I chase them up, but I am constantly being fed broken promises.

THE CATCH IS that 2 of the voice actors were part of the original 1st episode I first made back in 2005, and really gave life to this toon. They're talented voice actors for sure. They were the reason I wanted to give this toon another go, because they kept telling me they're on board and ready to go if I wanted to reboot it. I spent a good while working on the opening scene for this movie thinking that this will be the best thing I've done. I even had a skype call with the cast members in April and read through the script together and showed them what I've made so far. One of the guys even promised me a spotlight on his channel cause he has a large audience, and that got me super stoked even more so to get this going. But now it's June - Almost July and I am tired of hearing excuses when I have to chase them up myself, for the most part I don't even get a reply when I do chase up, so I have to chase up EVEN more than I'd like to. It feels like dejavu, because this is what happened a few years ago. We were reading through the script and nothing ever took off after that.

This is what I don't get about people in general. Why do people "sign up" or say they're super keen to contribute to something, and then don't end up delivering what they say they would. Sure if you go through some shit in life, it can be hard, but it's different when YOU KEEP TELLING ME YOU WANT TO BE IN THE TOON! I've been used to this my whole life, being taken advantage of and messed around. I am fed up with relying on these sorts of people and feeling guilty if I decide to ditch them.

If I do ditch them and find replacements, It's going to be hard. Because they gave the characters their life. Hell it's going to be real tough replacing their voices, but what the fuck am I supposed to do? I want people who are passionate and reliable, and the whole casting thing was difficult enough as it was. I had about 40 people apply, about half were decent, and a few really stood out. This is why I've been doing mostly solo toons since 2012 because all I have to rely on is myself.

I just feel it will be a waste if I don't finish this. I've always wanted to get off the ground but the voice actors I needed the most, haven't even pulled through or taken the time to let me know anything. And I just keep letting it be, thinking one day they will have lines for me, even after all the chasing up I've had to do. It does my fuckin head in so much.

I could upload the preview I've done, maybe as a little trailer for the episode. But I don't know. It's probably not even worth all the fuckin effort anymore to be honest. I feel so bi polar about this whole animation thing it's incredible.

Could anyone care to give any words of advice, I could use some right now. I'm in a pickle :{

Unreliable Voice Actors - What to do?


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2013-06-17 01:03:19

I think it needs to be taken very carefully. Perhaps think of giving them an ultimatum, either get their lines in by a new deadline, or tell them that you'll replace them.

Please, not all of us are insensitive like that, there's just bound to be a few bad apples, just try not to let them spoil the bunch.

Blordow responds:

I hate blackmailing people. If people wanna voice, they wanna voice. Tired of giving people second chances when they don't deserve them.


2013-06-17 02:12:30

O MY GOD YES! what i hate the most is voice actors want to voice in realy good animations and their are a bajillian voice actors and a handful of animators. voice actors act like they have it so hard when it takes all of 10-20 minutes. in my expirience i have had countless voice actors and about two deliver in a good 1-3 days when my scripts are like 20 secconds of talking, the rest are like 3 week wait. animators are the serious ones and take like 5-12 hours a day doing their shit. i may sound like im bitching, but it might be just because im very amitureish and nobody wants to voice for me. i dont know

Blordow responds:

It's not as difficult as they make it for sure. I've been recording lines for another buddy of mines toon. I lock myself in a wardrobe where I can hardly breathe, but I genuinely get a kick out of it. I would love to voice in more toons myself, but I got other projects I need completed before I venture out into that field more. PM me in the future sometime I may be able to help you out.


2013-06-17 03:28:35

Get some range and voice them yourself.

Blordow responds:

I was thinking about voicing every character in the same monotone voice if nothing works out.


2013-06-17 03:44:17

Forget about voices and have the animation be silent, it makes it artsy.

I think people like that sort of thing still.

Alternatively you could pull audio from a royalty free foreign film and just subtitle in your actual dialogue.

I would offer my mediocre acting talents but Iack the proper set-up to do so.

Blordow responds:

But this toon would be pointless without voices hehe


2013-06-17 06:32:42

Recast. Reach out, set a hard deadline, and let the VA know up front what sort of things you'll be expecting going forward. Deadline reminders area also helpful, since your VAs might be working on multiple projects. If the VA has been informed of and can't meet deadlines, find someone else who can. Just be sure that your expectations are clear and fair. While it does take a deal of skill and time to create a quality recording and breath life into a character, there is a lot of talent out there. Recording schedules and life don't always line up with a project schedule, so recasting is pretty common.

The most infuriating thing about working on a project are ambiguous deadlines like "ASAP" or "send lines when you can get to them". Dose that mean tomorrow? A week? A month? Hard deadlines are a lot easier to work with, since I have to schedule multiple projects.

Blordow responds:

I gave the guys the option of getting lines in to me at their leisure, so it would be more natural and not forced to spit out shit for a deadline. When I realised no one was doing anything I contacted each person and asked when I could expect to have lines by, as I am 100% ready to start as soon as they can get lines sent to me. I was given replies by everyone, and for the most part I got lines back within a couple of weeks. It's just a few others I have been waiting on for a couple of months now, and I've contacted them recently but have had no reply about anything. I should of been more precise with deadlines, and didn't want to act like a corporate fuck since I'm not paying anyone anything. But like I said I mentioned to everyone how eager I was, but obviously being eager and easy going doesn't get you anywhere.


2013-06-17 08:08:25

i feel for you, but on the opposite end of things.
I'm a voice actor, and I don't know how many times I've been contacted for something, and then when I end up recording the lines and sending them off, I get excuses back as to why the animation keeps getting put off or why it was cancelled or they just don't respond. Sure, our job is a lot simpler than te animation perspective, but if you don't have the faith and drive to put work into something, why waste my time with it.
I'm doing this work for free, and especially when I've recorded all of the characters in a flash, looking at a script of at least 30 lines of dialogue, that's time out of my pocket and it's frustrating as all hell to just see it go to waste.

(Updated ) Blordow responds:

yeah it sux a lot d00d, that's the nature of online collaboration i guess


2013-06-17 14:24:56

Threaten to recast them if they don't turn in their lines within a week. Also, it helps to always give the voice actor(s) a set deadline for when you want the recordings (not when you want to release your animation).

Blordow responds:

Yup I am a slow learner but have now set a final deadline. Thanks.


2013-06-17 16:17:05

If I had a real microphone I'd get my bros together and we'd do it it for you, I got a few friends who really know how to use there voice well for cartoons, but we got no way to record lines at the quality a professional cartoon needs.

Good luck though, I'm really looking forward to seeing what you can do with this :D

Blordow responds:

Thanks, I am looking for stand out quality. So maybe when you get a better setup, lemme know.


2013-06-17 16:47:35

But yeah, speaking of voices, once you find people you know are reliable, stick with them.
I've never disappointed anyone, nor have I ever delayed on their voices, so if you need another, let me know.


2013-06-17 20:01:42

"I hate blackmailing people. If people wanna voice, they wanna voice. "
Giving people an ultimatum is in no way a black mail. If people are incapable of scheduling out some time to spare for you in the future, you shouldn't be working with them.

Being buddies with your teammates is always good, but you've also got to be firm and prioritise the completion of your project.

Blordow responds:

You guys are right. I have set a firm deadline of 26th of june and have let the remaining VA's know. If nothing is sent in by then I will be recasting. Watch this space :)


2013-06-17 20:01:49

"I hate blackmailing people. If people wanna voice, they wanna voice. "
Giving people an ultimatum is in no way a black mail. If people are incapable of scheduling out some time to spare for you in the future, you shouldn't be working with them.

Being buddies with your teammates is always good, but you've also got to be firm and prioritise the completion of your project.


2013-06-17 20:25:48

Currently, I am listed as having voiced 3 projects on Newgrounds.

I have been cast in roughly 20. Out of those, 7 never even finished a script. So I have -completed- 13. Subtracting every project in which the creator never finished...

That leaves 3. And that's with me being scrutinous, only signing up with people who've proven that they can complete projects.

Believe me, I understand your frustration. I suggest you cast more carefully from now on, adding a deadline. If they don't meet the deadline, re-cast. In all the history of my performance experience (even when you're not getting paid), you either take responsibility for your creation by doing your job, or you don't, and the director immediately replaces you with someone who will.

Don't let performers stand in the way of achieving your goals. We're a dime a dozen.

Blordow responds:

I learn the hard way. Thanks for the advice.


2013-06-17 20:48:13

I'll be awaiting those auditions, haha.
Sick screenshot by the way. I love the style.

Blordow responds:

cheers, i take pride in my backgrounds!


2013-06-18 00:08:23

Folks always tell me at work "Hey, being a professional just means you get paid for it."

You want professionals? Pay for them. You'll get your lines next day if a dollar is on the line. I'm not saying that excuses all of the unreliable VAs, of course not, but I'm just saying, this is an amateur market, which means you're dealing with amateurs. Like me. Case closed.

I've been unreliable myself on multiple occasions, but I usually keep the animator posted on my estimates. Or if I don't think I'm going to be motivated to do the project right, I'll reject it from the start and save us all the heartbreak.

I'll do voice work for you if you want. If you open auditions or whatever, of course. I'm kinda surprised people are falling short on you though. Your work is interesting and pretty promising. I would understand better if your projects weren't unique or lacked quality, but they don't. They're fucking rad. And you strike me as reliable, unlike a lot of writers who create scripts, get recordings, then never use them and cancel the project.

Blordow responds:

Thanks dude that means a lot. Look out for a new auditions news post within a week or so, if I have not received lines by then.


2013-06-18 01:44:37

This happens to me all the time, mostly in real life, but last year the same thing happened to me.
I hired a programmer to help me with a game I was planning, and I asked him to show me what sort of things he could make, and I haven't heard from him since.
People are dickheads like that, but you'll do it, the guys applying below seem like they know their stuff.
Good luck dude!

Blordow responds:

i've had a lot of awesome responses so far, newgrounds is swell.


2016-06-28 04:59:17

aww mann this was sad to read..im willing to voice anything i get my hands on if i fell like i can do it
Im very passionate about Voice acting and would very much like Voicing in one of your films ps Good luck in the future with out you us Voice Actors wouldn't have shit to do lol