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The perils and pleasures of video game voice-over

Molly Wood Mar 18, 2016
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A look at the video game "Seasons of Infamy," a game in which Dee Bradley Baker voice acts in. 
Image via theRadBrad/YouTube

What do a fish, a platypus and a cinnamon bun all have in common?

They’re all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. He is a voice-over artist who specializes in human and non-human creature voices. His characters include Klaus the Fish from “American Dad!,” Perry the Platypus from “Phineas and Ferb,” and Cinnamon Bun from “Adventure Time.”

At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Baker gave Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood a lesson on how to make a believable non-human animal sound.

“It’s something that’s built either on inhale or an exhale,” said Baker as Wood attempted a pig squeal. “You’re telling your body to do something that’s the opposite of what it normally does.”

However, the video game industry poses a particular challenge to voice actors, Baker said. 

“Often there’s death, and there’s dying, and there’s yelling, and there’s trauma, and all of that,” he said. “It can really ruin your voice.” 

Also, video game contracts are structured so that voice actors don’t receive income from residuals, which is different from television.

“Often times, you’re working much harder for much longer for less money,” Baker said.

But  for a video game fan like Baker, it’s worth it.

“I like video games. It taps into something bigger, that’s more important. If I can structure it in a way that’s not going to kill my voice, it’s fun to do,” he said. 

Additional production by Levi Sharpe.

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