The Relationship Between Writing and Acting

All right, so…let’s open this up with a reflection on the past few months. Those months where I’ve been narrating a book that’s provoked my inner editor because the author writes poorly through huge chunks of the book, and his inability to understand the acting origins of punctuation leaves me breathless with no (current) hope of getting around the problem. Then, I got an audition to read for a corporate video producer…and there were words missing. It was like the author’s first language wasn’t English, and no one thought to go over the script before sending it out. It took a few tries before I finally stopped adding in the missing words on my own (because I was taught that you aren’t supposed to change a script unless you have permission to). I don’t appear to have gotten that gig, and I’m not sure I regret that.

The lesson my inner writer has taken away from my initial voice acting work is: If you suspect your piece is ever going to be performed, then write to the actor.

A few days later, a pair of tweets came up, and I found out I’m not the only one who’s realized this. (I wouldn’t expect to be. The world is littered with playwrights, scriptwriters, and game writers.)

@hoppingfun #swc11 @milesmaker: writers, know that actors take ownership of your characters, entire backstory. Books work bec of fleshed out story. #

@BAFTAGames ’Every actor I’ve worked with has been amazing.But the meaning of their performance changes when it is put into the game.’ Ed #gamewriting #

It’s true. When people think about a character, they rarely think about the writers. (I’m weird, but I know a portrayed character is a  joint effort, and I know who’s responsible for what. That’s what happens when you grow up in the performing arts while writing in your spare time. *grin*) They just praise the actor for the character, and the poor writer who brought the character into being is ignored.

It’s also just occurred to me that this is why game producers and marketers have writers sit in on voiceover sessions –they’re the ones who know best what’s going on in the character’s mind and can help out with questions about performance as well as make changes as necessary. It’s all one big interconnected web.

It’s something that’s been on my mind nearly every single Friday (including the moment each week when I remind myself to find the best readability score for a voice actor to work with), and as I continue down my current path I doubt I’m going to let go of it.


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