Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Need Voice Actors For Your Mod?

Are you creating a quest or follower mod? Do you need voice actors? This post gives a number of tips and links to help you find voice acting talent.

Doing it yourself:
First off, you may simply be able to do it yourself. Now, there's the possibility that your voice may have a different sound or be a different gender than your mod's characters. However, if you voice does fit a character, here are some tips to recording:
  1. Turn off all fans, air conditioners, and cell phones. Get rid of or turn off anything that could add background noise.
  2. Place your microphone at the very least an inch (I suggest 2-3 inches) from your mouth. That is to eliminate the small staticky sounds that may come from a dry mouth or from the mic rubbing against your skin.
  3. Keep a glass of water nearby to make sure that your mouth does not become dry. A dry mouth will make your produce a static-like sound in your recording.
  4. Sit up or stand up. Breathe with deeply, with your stomach expanding rather than your chest. This will provide a good airflow through your vocal chords, and provide your brain with the oxygen it needs.
  5. Sing for a while before recording. It doesn't matter if your singing voice is awful enough to kill cats, sing for a bit.  Doing so will loosen your vocal chords and get your lungs moving right for recording.
  6. Download Audacity. It is a free audio editing and recording program that is powerful enough to be used in professional settings. If you want to you can even learn how to add effects to your voices, but that won't be neccesary for simple voice acting.
  7. Along with the recordings for your lines, record a 5-6 seconds long file that is nothing but silence. Make sure that you do this with the same mic and in the same setting that you used for your line recording. This silence sample will be used later with Audacity to remove background static and noise from your audio files.
  8. Record your lines in the .WAV format. This can be done with Audacity. There are only two audio formats that the Creation Kit (for Skyrim) uses, and those are the .WAV and the .XWM formats. If you have the time, I would suggest converting your files to .XWM. They are not as large as .WAV files, but they will work fine. The decreased file space means that you will be more likely to pack your mod into the 100 mb limit of the Steam Workshop. Use this guide to convert the files. As far as I know, this is the only guide in existence that teaches you how to convert .WAV files to .XWM.

Recruiting others:
  1. The Voice Actors' Guild - The VA Guild is a part of the broader Engineering Guild, which is a modding community createed by the modder Giskard, who is well known for his Skyrim, Fallout 3, and Oblivion mods. I have used them before and they are a great group. Very friendly, quick, and professional. While you're there, you can also download some of the fantastic mods that they have produced.
  2. Post a thread in the Skyrim Nexus, Bethesda, or Steam forums asking for a voice actor. You are less likely to get someone with voice acting experience, but they are likely to be more eager to help.
  3. Take a look at the list of voice actors that helped with the Interesting NPCs mod for Skyrim. The mod author supplied links to their Nexus Pages, so you can contact them if you like their voice or are looking for any voice actor. With this specific group, I would suggest going into Skyrim and listening to their voices. That way you can choose the actor you want based upon their voice. Keep in mind, though, that they do not have to work with you if they do not want to. The likely get plenty of requests and do not have time to help everyone.
Once you have the lines:

Even once you have gone through the work to find voice actors, you will need to add them to the game. Below are a number of tutorials for adding voice files to characters in Skyrim.

  1. Deck16 - Adding a Voice Follower
  2. Creation Kit Wiki - Bethesda Tutorial Dialgoue
  3. Voice Acting: A Complete Guide
  4. Creation Kit Tutorial: Quest Dialogue [1/4]


  1. how do you find a specific voice actor. I want to make a General Tullius follower like the person that made Hadvar mod a follower. But I don't know where to find the audio for him. Can anyone help. I have never made a mod before. So I am very new at it. Help anyone.

    1. I think it might be possible to find the list of official voice actors on Wikia, but those guys are professional and if you want them to work for your mod, you will have to pay them. Alternatively, you could try to find a willing amateur who could sort of mimic the voice you need, though of course that's probably hard to find as well. Expanding existing NPCs has always been an issue.

      As a more general advice, the voice actor is the last element you will need to complete your mod. They tend to be very defiant of modders who don't have something quite advanced to show, because most of the mods that are being created end up unachieved and unreleased (EBM 2.0 is no exception to that - modding can be very taxing and frustrating).

      I would suggest you first look up to tutorials on how to make followers (it's not something I've ever done myself, so I can't help you on that, but you may find some on Youtube). Do all the voice acting on your own at first, even if it sucks, it's ok. When everything works out fine, then you can search for voice actors (usually it's possible to find some on Bethsoft or the Nexus forums), appealing them with a good description of your mod, screenshots, dialog lines etc.

  2. do i need to pay for voice actors?

    1. It depends on the voice actor, some will do it for free, some will ask money. If you don't want to invest money, it's better to tell right away that you don't have the financial means to do so. If you'd like to get some more professional voice acting, you can try to make a fundraiser to pay them and discuss that with them.