Let's Talk Voiceover - Episode002
Today on let's talk voiceover, with Beatty and Randy Ryan game, studios, are, they moving away from story driven games and what does that mean for voiceover, man. Versus machine is artificial. Intelligence a reasonable, alternative to, those pesky. Voice, actors, the. Guys reveal a history, of working together for over 20 years and, sound like crotchety, old guys yelling at people to get off their lawn and we. Talk about the possible convergence, of games movies, and technologies. For a better entertainment, experience, so. Settle in my friends, let's, talk, voiceover. Let's. Talk let's. Talk voiceover, Brian, and, Randall. Hi, Brian hi Randall how are ya you, know I'm well, that things have warmed back up here after getting Poole in Austin and. Me. Being somebody. Who has taken. To the heat really. Doesn't, like the cold so he, yeah. I'm, sure there people here would be like you're crazy this is perfect weather well, the weather isn't the only thing that's changing, let's talk about Visceral, Games yeah. Right. I know it's Rumble, a studio gone, out of business that's, a big deal, so does that tell us that people, are going away from storytelling. In games for. Other. Kinds, of games casual, games or sandbox worlds, yeah. At. Least that's what it says that EA is. Thinking. And doing yeah. But I'm also seeing, that in other areas, as well right, so first of all we all know that triple-a. Titles are based on franchises, right it's come down to that yeah usually. From other media you, know you still have. Some. Of the things the Halos and the Sonic. The Hedgehog's, and some, of those kinds of things that do still exist but you. Know the majority of all triple-a, titles come from a sports. Franchise or. A, movie, or. Something. That's already pre-existing. It's it's it's an existing franchise, and goes that way mm-hmm.
Just, Like Hollywood is really struggling, to come up with new content and, they're, really kind of wearing, out the reboots, will say so what is you know because I may. Have the same opinion I may have a different opinion but but yeah what does it mean to you if, first. Of all for. Yourself, when. You are choosing. Something to play you know I actually, default. To story, driven games, and. Even if the story, is not. Necessarily. Deep although I love, you know the really deep rich stories, you, know that the, fact that there is there, is story, is actually. Fairly important to me and it's not like I won't play a game that, you. Know isn't you know I mean they're fun you know there are lots plenty, of fun games out there that you know there's a zero story it's not even there, you know but sure I mean. What are your thoughts on that what what, what. Do you like to play and what does this mean to you if you. Can draw a conclusion yet so for. Me personally I, when. I do sit down in game you know much like watching cable TV where you have 200. Stations but the average person watches. Six mm-hmm. All the games that exist out there I tend to play the same four or five games over, and over and over again mm-hmm. With, that said. As. It who as in just for clarification you, buy the new version, of that game or you actually go back and play oh. I've. Been playing, for. Example I've been playing NCAA. 2009. Football, gotcha. For. Years. And, and what I kind of get hooked on with, that with, Tiger, Woods golf, being. Able to create franchises. And dynasties, and things like that mm-hmm, when, it comes to sports games that's really, what I try to do is you. Know I just, my, addictive behavior kicks in and I really end up playing that that. Repetitive, build the dynasty, and continue, on um. Years. Ago you. And I worked on a game called John. Deere American, farmer, right and III. Which I admit I have sty I've gone, back and pulled out and played again, years later right, I mean, that's one of those games I farmed, for 60 years game, time one time Wow and my kids were really not. Happy with me but, if. They're kids they'll get over it yeah. Yeah. So, all. I have to do is mention John do your American farmer video game and they just start to cringe see, you're, supposed to say are your kids somehow now that. Is the most harmless way to scar them dad would write you didn't love us he'd love John Deere, scarring. Kids with video games perfect, there's. Something there's actually something a little a, little.
Sweet About that I guess since, since. Video games are normally, what kids do to to get back at parents right good, point I do like storylines, like you. Know Grand Theft Auto. And, even, even the. What's. The big war game, call. Of duty call of duty right even call of duty I really, appreciate. The storyline, rather than just the open play mm-hmm. The open play to me gets boring after a while right, all, right so let me ask you this so you like Call of Duty visceral. Was you, know but I like Call of Duty in the in the story, mode not, in the open, play mode right, well you know battlefield. Is, one of this rules games I mean you know sure EA's responds, to call of duty no doubt I. Guess. We'll know where, EA said, is maybe, if they, do. Another battlefield, with a different studio, you. Know and what I don't know because I've never worked for visceral, is, were. There internal problems at the studio or is this really because. They made a judge yeah, well and then you have to look at somebody like Bioware, which is EA. Made a big play four years ago I mean, their entire. Identity is. Story-driven right and you, know of course I worked on a Bioware game for almost two years that, was totally, story-driven that ended up getting shut down, I've. Got my theories you know but nobody ever really said why I. Mean. They did but you, know there. Was obviously something right, there was a you know I don't know that we've ever that we've ever heard the truth so maybe that is a trend but, is it a trend for EA is. It a trend industry-wide, I I. Don't know the big promise for videogames, for. Me is, when. I realized, that you. Could merge a movie with a video game and basically have an interactive, story that can just go on and on and on and you can, play, it to different outcomes and all that and you, know that was a long. Long time ago back in the 90s I've always been really intrigued, by that I know the whole following. A story from, start to finish, mmm-hmm, I look at my kids and. They. Use videogames more as a social, medium, mm-hmm. Than. An, entertainment. Medium mmm. Which would then, take, you back to the whole MMO. Exactly. Right, and so that so that's it so that's the kind of the thing I think, it's a generational, different, I. Think, that. Older. People, and. When I say older I'll talk about people over 35 I think. Older people enjoy. Story-driven. And, I think younger people. Simply. Participate. In the MMO, experience. And, my. Theory is that's what's happening, does, Maggie play your, daughter Maggie does she play video games no, okay. Cuz I would have because I would have just guessed that if. She did, that. She. Might. Be your, your, your anomaly, to that but, play video games and we don't know no she she. Spends, her time doing other stuff so but, Jo is a fairly. Heavy video. Game player and. He'll. Go ahead and. Do. Things like he'll, play skate games and stuff like that but. Even those he won't follow the storyline, he gets really bored with the storyline even, when he's playing by himself when he's not playing in. The MMO realm mm-hmm, he gets really bored with a storyline, and so he just does free play and I. Don't. Know it's it's almost more, of a, casual, game, attitude. For. Him mm-hmm. Where he just if he has 15. Minutes he'll, just pop it on go play and then dump out of it at any point in time mm-hmm. There's not necessarily a, goal, or. An. Ending. Point or, anything, else he just kind of does it to fill time and, then, you. Know when he's playing, Grand Theft Auto or, Call. Of Duty or any of those other kinds of things he, plays it at MMO mode where, is the social, activity, then and then actually. Playing the game mm-hmm, and boy he you know he gets frustrated, with me, because. If, I try and join in first, of all I don't have the same skill sets because I don't spend the same amount of time on those games with that, that he does and. And. Who the hell wants to play a video game in a social setting with your dad. Right. But you know yeah well my, dad wouldn't play so that's a different story see there you go I don't, know I think it's probably a little too early to tell for sure and without understanding the, internal manage, structure, and what was really going on inside the studio is. It something that's unique to the studio, or is it, signifying.
A, Change. In the. Games that are being made I think it'll be interesting to watch yeah. Right I agree I know. We're probably you, know gonna at some point spend an entire session. Talking about eSports, but I'm just to tie that in with this. Do. You see I think it follows I think that follows, the same concept. Right because that was, the rise of eSports, was mm oh great, being, able to play online against, other people in in multiplayer, situations. You create the eSports teams right, and then, they battle against each other and you. Know eSports, is interesting. Because obviously, one of the biggest esports, games is League, of Legends right, which is it's. Not current-day, right, and it's not sports. Oriented, right. And. It's it, really is almost like a, glorified. Extension. Of a Dungeons & Dragons kind, of battle, thing mm-hmm, so, it's. Interesting to watch all, that and watch how that's progressed, and how that's developed. When. You consider that and, and. The creation, of eSports, in the trend of MMO. And I think that we're, definitely seeing at least a curtailing, of. Story-driven. Or, narrative driven gaming. In. Lieu of more. Of a social. Gaming, or. Even. Social competitive. So, as an, actor. But. What are your thoughts on that well, as an actor there, isn't a whole lot of need for. For. A lot of actors and those kinds of things I mean you, can do the interstitials, you can do some. Grunts, and groans and AHS and, death. Screams, and stuff like that but when. You're talking about an MMO, kind of environment. It's, it's. Not character driven writers, there's, not that much of a role for it I think. That actually may. Also contribute, to part of that because not only is there more popularity, and more interest, and more market. Demand for those kinds of games but it's also, to. Some degree a, little. Easier, because you. Don't have as many people involved. You don't have the actors, that you have to cast. And, record, and, bring in and include in, the game and, then deal. With the unions, and they want royalties. And right, so it's you. Know I think it's I think it's shifting, just like technology is shifting a whole lot of things for actors, I laugh. At the people that say that you. Know pretty soon you'll be able to have, sampled, voices, and you just won't need people to act anymore mm-hmm. I'm still a little hard pressed on that one well, I, have seen some things though that again, as you, know who's you know I'm on the other side of the glass but obviously, a lot of what, I do is, is, directing. And casting. I have. Seen some speech-to-text things, there, there have been a couple of projects, that people use the displace holder and then, they said, you know what that's good enough and they put it in now it granted, none of the more story-driven games. But. And see I could absolutely see. Studios, doing. That using, computer-generated. Voice, to. Be able to replace actors. In those, kinds of things I. Still. Believe that true. Creative. There's. A human element that, at. Least, to date computers, have not been able to get there I don't know that they ever necessarily. Will mmm. IBM Watson, cut, together a trailer, for a horror film mm-hmm, right a 30-second, movie trailer bill. Big. Publicity, IBM. Watson. Reviewed. Horror. Flick, trailers, and, identified. All the patterns, and what works and what doesn't, and what makes them better and, what, really creates the engagement, then, analyzed, every shot in the movie and came. Up with and and started to automatically, piece together this movie trailer and, so I watched the final product, right now I'll tell you the first six or seven seconds was. Pretty engaging, mm-hmm. The last twenty three, were. A giant, who cares Wow, interesting I think technically. By, the numbers, you. Had everything that was supposed to be there right, it. Still fell flat well this is why you know they're uh one, of the things that I remember from years. Ago was. People. Were talking about songwriting you. Know what went into elements, of making a hit now, granted you know computing, has changed a lot in in, this time period because this was a good 15 or so years ago and I just remember there was a there was an article in The Wall Street Journal about a guy in, I, believe Pennsylvania, but it doesn't really matter where he was who.
Was, Using, computer-generated. Music. To write quote-unquote, custom, jingles so it's made even longer ago than 15 years because you know jingles, serve you, know have obviously been stressed, for a long time so maybe it was 20 years ago but. I you, know the article was interesting, because he actually was getting people to buy them they, had no samples I didn't hear anything that was created, but, I have seen lots of press, over, the years written about that and, the problem is and this is what I would say needs. To be very very careful when it comes to. Computer-generated, vo is. You. Think you can quantify it and you, think that everything is an algorithm, that can get to it and maybe. At a super. Super super, deep level, that is, true. But. If you take the AI out, of it and everything, is just an algorithm, tree. Humans. Don't work, on algorithm. Trees, we. Do, not people are unpredictable, absolutely, what makes us, genuine. And real, and quite. Honestly interesting. Right and. The best sessions that I've worked on. Honestly. Are the ones where the actor or actors. Come in and. The. Dev may have something in their head I may have something in my head and they, give us something different and everybody that, is involved is. Comfortable. Enough when. Their own skin with their own product that everything else go no, let's let this go for a bit and it doesn't mean that that's what you end up keep but, it's you, know it's well, we, are thinking maybe of the obvious, thing that's going to happen here and, the. Actor is thinking, you know like when you expect that they're gonna shout and sob and do all this and they get really quiet and low and and it's just a totally different direction and that's the, beauty of humanity, and that's, the beauty of really, good acting, is taking. You on a ride that. You did not expect to be on I like to call that having. Soul yeah, right, it is and I think that that's that's, the part that I don't, know that, machines will ever be able to go there for, Humanity's, sake I kind of hope they can't right right, right. But even, even as recent as this. Past spring in, Austin. Microsoft. Had a big. Demonstration I, think it was Microsoft, had. A big demonstration, of, creating. Music with, AI and, machine learning and they did the same exact thing right, and everyone's. Like oh this is amazing, this is incredible. No, it wasn't no it wasn't, I don't know a single person who. Really. Has a musical, ear who really appreciates, music, who. Listened to that and said God that is that. Is good right, right I think for the average person just listening, for something and going hey yeah well a computer, created that and it didn't cost anything right, first, of all that's a misnomer of course it costs something it costs a lot right, it costs millions, and millions of millions of dollars of research and development, and computing. Time and computing power. Developing. The machine learning and the AI and all that kind of stuff hmm but the, bottom line is is, the results. And. The result was flat it had no soul right, and so. Okay yes. You created. Musical. Tones. That. Followed, a path mm-hmm, and you, know stayed, on a beat it they, actually recreated, some sort of a Celtic, song mm-hmm, I just. I felt like it was so yet. Again it reminded, me exactly of, the movie trailer it just it fell flat mm-hmm. Is, it technically, there sure, was, it something I would be interested in listening to no. Well that's one of the hardest things to teach you, know, I'm going to go back to musicians, but. It doesn't matter what the skill is people, with chops so there is a project that I'm I'm, not working on I'm trying to help somebody out with it and it's, a guy it's a composer he's. Not the person I'm talking to I'm actually talking to the producer who's, come, to me for advice and help the, issue is that this, is an animated children's series. And. The. Composer got pulled in for a variety of reasons which don't matter and the guy is really good I mean he is technically. He's. Very gifted I you know but what he, has a difficult time with is. Understanding. I think, at least in this case and I'm guessing this is not an isolated case that's. Throwing everything, you know into something, that. Shows, that you are technically, gifted it, does not show that you understand, what the thing is and I think that's kind of where you're saying with the same thing so he like he's doing this big epic almost like huge. Orchestral. Video game track for something that's about a, couple, of animals that, time. Travel and and, learn about friendship, there.
It's Sweet it is not sweeping, yeah, and. You, can dissect John Williams all you want and figure out what he did for Jurassic Park that, doesn't, mean that you, can create that. Kind, of, a, composition. That that stirs emotion, right, because you follow the pieces and parts right absolutely and, in the same respect, look. At things like Sesame, Street everybody, knows that theme right but, just that little, Dean. Dean deed that's. All it needs you. Know and it's not just because we're used to it the first time you heard that it's. Stuck in your head yeah it. Was it was the simplicity and genuineness. Of it that Riley, brought you to the place where they were trying to get you to go absolutely, and that's, what a lot of the. Same people that think that machines can technically, figure, this stuff out and, again yes, if you essentially. What it is is if you can actually create artificial, unpredictable. Artificial intelligence, which, we may do at some point. Then. Yes I think that machine, we'll be able to, replicate. A lot of human activity, the. Concept, the concept of, that is flawed, in itself, because, you're saying. We're. Going to create repeatable. Unpredictable. Right, machine, behavior, well, by. Definition a, machine does what you ask it to do that, is true a, so. You're asking it to be unpredictable, it will be unpredictable, in a predictable, way well it has to it basically, it has to achieve sentience that's. Really right, that's really the thing and is that, really what we want I mean maybe it is you. Know there's. A reason that sci-fi. Has written about that, same thing for 75. Years if not all right yeah, the rise of the machines sure, right and and rarely desert starting. With Isaac Asimov, and in, are, you are and going. On from there yep absolutely I don't, know that there's a science fiction writer yet that has had, a good ending for Humanity now that doesn't mean they're right but. Kind. Of interesting that they all seem to come to the same conclusion, sentient machine bad well, and and so that does kind of bring. Us back to our original topic, has, the. MMO. Replaced. The, story driven game, I refuse. To believe that story. Goes. Away I don't think it'll ever go away but I certainly believe that, the role of story. Has. Diminished. Or at least become more. Specialized. And, and, more niched there's. Almost a niched, product. Now as. Opposed to, let's. Go back 10 years ago 15 years ago you. Know when you and I started doing stuff you. And I have been working together for 20 years. On games now, right and we Stratton we started working together obviously before, then I got. That stuff that we did with with, our good buddy Dave Dugan for whatever. The wireless was. Cellular. Wireless that, was it the very first project that I ever worked on with you was, that. Anyway. Randy. Yeah. Randy. Yeah, Dave yeah yeah yeah, yeah was, there any could. You get Brian to please. Stop imitating. Me because it's annoying, it's. Impossible yeah Dave it's. Actually, you. Know it's, actually impossible not to imitate Dave, because it, is well, I love, Dave Dugan oh my god god do I love Dave Dugan yep absolutely yes. Anyway. Tangents, okay, well let me let me throw this out so. Just. To get your opinion on this TV. Other. Than sitcoms, had, largely gone for, a period of time they were moving away from story, they were moving to things that were episodic, but they didn't build on each other which arguably, could be kind of the same thing as the mm as the MMO here. Maybe not as social, although it could be obviously. Over the last, eight. Years maybe. It would be a good you know once, HBO. Started. Showing that and so maybe it's been longer than that that, if you were unfettered, by the networks, and to some degree the FCC, and I'm not just talking because you can do nudity or or vulgarity. But it also it just opens up the topics, that you are able to touch. You know you sure, I think HBO with The Sopranos really. Brought. The value of story back to the forefront right, so, then you can talk about things like Mad Men and Breaking Bad, and 24. Even, driving for was an amazing, story, driven, thing right so right our things cyclical, yeah because I mean those story driven. TV. Shows. Really. Save TV, from running so, far down the reality, path that they'd never be able to come out well, which ended arguably I could, still make the case that the the network's largely. Have, you know obviously not everything on network TV is a reality show but there's still such a proliferation, of it well and even to the other cable channels you.
Know The things that ostensibly are you're learning, about stuff a home, decorating. Shows you know that that really are all about their. Reality shows they're well sure that there are they're all setups trying. To be disguised as being not, set up so you know the number of people that duck dynasty, fooled three years that, you know they thought this was real it's like this is a complete set up TV. Still has its issues so. I guess my question is, do. You games. Potentially. Do the same cycle where story. Will come back as. A stronger, medium or, do you think the story has gone to TV, and games, are taking the. Social. You, know let's get together and just you, know hang out and maybe, play some games at the same time. So. In yeah. In, my old age I've come, to realize that life is very cyclical. Right. Everything old is new again, my. God all my clothes. From the 80s, and 90s, all, right my my, kids. Just. Fight over them you know right. And. They're, disgusting, I actually have a pair of parachute, pants from 1984. I did. Ditch those I, still. Have mine they're, size 29, waist so, I'll never see them but you know it's a I do I do have them they're gonna go in my my. Keepsake memoriam, someday there, you go everything. Old is new again I think everything, is cyclical, I think there will come a point in time because. People look for something new mm-hm. And when I say new new. To them right, right so, if. You, get away from story, driven, narratives. And story, driven games I think. That there will, come a point when people go hey. Did you see this really new game this is so cool what a great concept it's like watching a movie but it's a game right yeah. I. Think that's certainly. Highly, possible absolutely. The other thing that I. Potentially. See, is. More. Of a merger between. The. Movie industry which, is going through its own issues right, because people aren't going. To the theater anymore to see see stuff because of a, number of reasons convenience. And, things. Like Netflix and Amazon and, streaming services and, the fact that home video. Systems. Home. Theater systems are so, amazing. Now quite. Honestly would. You rather stay at home and stream a movie for your family or would you rather pay $10, or, $15. A head to, go to a movie theater with your family of five right, right all of a sudden that becomes, that. Becomes a bit of a math equation so, does all right with all those things I see that movies. And the movie industry is gonna need to shift and change a little bit and I, still, see a convergence, between. Video. Games and. Film. That's. Much. More interactive. More, film and, you. Know probably far. Less interactive, as far as a game goes but, it's, kind of like the fruition of, a lot of movies that have tried it when the movie clue, was done during the with the 80s no yeah as, EOC eighties they, came out with four or five different endings, right I remember there was Colonel, plum with with the Randall stick and elaborate, and right and so, and, depending on where you watched the movie you'd get a different ending well. In. Theory, that's kind of a cool thing because, it actually makes, it. Adds value to the to the movie and allows you to watch the movie a couple of different times right.
So I still, see that that is an option and. It. Can be a really cool option and, then you take those kinds of things and you merge them with something like virtual reality so. Now all the sudden you have an all-encompassing. Environmental. Experience. Mm-hmm. That, has. Some. Interactivity. Mm-hm. And I think that that is a solution, that. Traditional. Hollywood and the games companies, and, technology. Companies can all work together. To. Be able to develop a whole new niche a whole new genre a whole, new. Entertainment. Experience. That doesn't, exist today. Those. Would need to be much more narrative. Driven mmm. Right or story driven and so I see. All that is kind of a possible. Future. Situation. That comes out of the fact that we're, right now in a cycle, that is probably, giving. Less value, to. Narratives. And more value, to social. Interaction, in, game, you, know I don't I don't know that that section is gonna go away I don't, know it's gonna get bigger smaller what it's gonna do but, I think that it actually opens, up a, whole, nother, area. That. People can focus on and create, a new kind of entertainment form mm-hmm, yeah. I think that's good stuff you, know we're talking about what, we see coming I think, that's one of the reasons that we've always worked. Well together and we've always you, know you and I have both been very. Lucky to spot. Trends look like I said when we met what. Were we doing we were doing hardcore. Advertising. Radio right yeah and it's, not that we still don't do some of that because, we do right, but, you, know if you would have said at that point in time hey, you and I are gonna spend we're gonna work 20 years on video games it's like really. Yeah, very much but, we but we both saw that, we both saw that as something, some. Place to go I hope. That's not something that I ever lose. That. You get complacent with what you're you know and especially the you don't see the, threat that's, happening, to whatever it is that you are, doing. For a living now well. You know and I think the interesting thing that you and I have been able to share together is that even. Knowing we started. Working in video games together relatively. Early into it I think we've been able to do. We've. Never been complacent, with it right so, what is the next stage you and I have always been able to sit down and have these conversations what. Is coming next what, does the future look like. Mostly. Just out of curiosity, and. The fact that we. Really, respect each others opinions enough, to bother to ask right, have that conversation and, from. That I think there's a real, interesting. Evolution. I guess. And certainly, it. Helps us avoid. Complacency. That, may result from. Just. Going hey you know we're making some decent money let's just keep doing this until it dies well. My final takeaway on on that is, and about, the time that you and I started doing games Laurie. And I had moved hamster, ball, very. Almost, like all chips in on, the.com. Because, there was nobody doing audio we, got in there so early mostly, because we were too stupid to know that this is gonna be a big lift and. But. So there weren't the competitors, mean it's that dream scenario you've got of where. It you know and of course we weren't really it but we were kind of it and, you. Get in with one you know with one company and they refer you to another company and you know the whole thing just kind of went like that if, we hadn't started doing video games when. The dot-com bust, happened. To. Say that our revenue stream just, dropped. Out and if, we hadn't done a couple of pretty well-known, video games like deer hunter was one I'd use Dugan on that that's the first game you and I worked on it was one of the early deer hunters yeah that, gave. Us credibility, but from. That point forward we. Were never gonna get to be complacent and. Always. Be looking at the next big thing yeah well or, just the next whether it's big or not the, next thing and, understanding.
Whatever You have may. Go away don't. Stop don't stop looking around don't stop looking for new opportunities that, reminds me of my favorite thing to say when someone says I just, had deja vu I always. Turn to him and say what, happens next. That's. Brilliant. Well. Brian has always loved. Chatting with you about this stuff and maybe, on occasion we're, right yeah we'll, see I won't, give myself too much credit on that but I'm, in good company so. Randall. Until, next time until, next time thanks, buddy talk to you soon see, him, let's. Talk voiceover, is hosted, by Randy Ryan owner, of hamster ball studios, voice, music and sound design and Brian. Talbot actor. An all-around creative, guy if, you have comments, questions, ideas for show topics, you'd be interested in hearing or you just want to let us know what you think you, can reach us by sending an email to BT, at let's, talk voiceover, com or, go to our website at, wwlp.com. Subscribe. To us on itunes stitcher, or your favorite media app so you miss an episode and follow, us on Facebook and Twitter too. Thanks. For listening to let's talk, voiceover. We'll. Talk again real, soon.