Voice Actor Awards

Who knew that the Voice Actor Awards would spawn such a debate? Not what I was expecting to wake up to. Before going any further into this I want people to understand that we do things the way we do them for reasons. After a deal of trial and error we have found what works and what doesn’t work. Remember we’ve been doing this for 9 years now, and we have gotten just as much right as we have gotten wrong, and we’ve tried to fix things that are inherently wrong. We try to pick the way of doing things that makes the least amount of work for everyone. 

First and foremost, the Voice Actor submission page has been fixed and updated. There is now room on one form to list up to 10 voice actors. Hopefully this will encourage directors to submit their voice actors, as they will no longer have to fill out one form for each actor and works as a good compromise for everyone.

Okay, let’s talk about these awards a moment.

There wasn’t always a voice actor award. This was something Gus Rockman and I fought for back in the day. Voice over machinimas wouldn’t be what they are without talented voice actors bringing characters to life. Since incorporating VA Awards, we have tried very hard to bring voice actors into the fold and make them a part of the machinima community, or at least the SimsFilmFest community. For a brief while we may have succeeded. We want them to be recognized for what they bring to the table.

Enter the Voice Actor Awards. We started with Best Male and Best Female VA. We’ve expanded that to include supporting roles. We try as much as possible to model our award system after The Grammys or Emmys because they make sense. Leave it to me and we’ll be giving out awards for weird things like “Best use of a freezer bunny.” As much as I would like that, we just can’t have awards like that. People would take it wrong, anarchy would ensue, and no one would enter the festival. While freezer bunnies are out, we can all agree that there are some things that should be recognized, such as the talent of our voice actors.

So, how do we go about this?

The first season we gave out the awards it was quite stressful. We just automatically entered all the voice actors. First we had to figure out who played what role. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? WRONG! Not everyone does an opening sequence or even end credits. Rarely do we find that someone actually lists the voice actor with the character name anywhere on their projects. To be fair, movies and TV shows don’t either except in the end credits. You in the theater for an animated movie and see Ryan Reynolds name and think “I wonder who he’s playing”. Ryan is probably a bad example because we know his voice in our sleep at this point. But a lesser known actor, we have no idea. The same goes for machinima. Unless every director puts in their opening sequence “JoeVA as Tomathan” we’re without a clue. There are also times you are left wondering what a characters name is because it’s never said throughout a machinima. It came down to a lot of people didn’t get listed because we didn’t have opening sequences or end credits. 

We will not automatically enter voice actors because of the issues listed, along with other minor things we ran into.

It’s best for the directors to submit their voice actors, or to have the voice actors submit themselves.

“Having voice actors submit themselves won’t work. Most of the time voice actors don’t know we have entered a project into SimsFilmFest.”

You are doing your voice actors a huge disservice by not shooting off an email and letting them know. SimsFilmFest guarantees your projects will get seen by a wider audience than you normally have. A director may like one of your voice actors and decide that they want to use them. It’s really a good way for voice actors to get more exposure. A lot of them would probably like to know that there is somewhere that they could win an award for what they do. Some voice actors do this as a hobby, others are looking to improve where they can become professional voice actors. Sometimes voice actors don’t want to be considered for an award. We’ve run into that at least once. 

What I am saying is, you don’t have to tell you voice actors that you are entering a project into SimsFilmFest, but you should at least consider it.

“Directors don’t want to have to fill out any other form than the entry form. There should just be a spot on there for them to list their cast.”

I am trying really hard not to laugh at this or say something sarcastic. We had to list genres on the entry form because we were getting stuff like “fiction” or “very sad”. I wish I was kidding about this. “Very sad” does not count as a genre. I’m sorry. Then there is Gus Rockman’s pet peeve of people listing genre as “Action adventure science fiction mystery rom-com”. Yea…no. When we have the entries to do genre awards, where do we put that? We still get posters submitted that are the wrong size. If people can’t handle these things, I have my doubts that they can handle listing their entire list of voice actors, what roll they play, and if it’s a lead or supporting role, all on their own. It seems simple enough, but I promise, more than one person will mess it up. 

Not only that, putting it on the entry form creates problems for people who have started their project after they filled out the entry form. Where do they list their voice actors? Do they fill out a new entry form for us to sort through and possibly mark as a duplicate and send it to the recycle bin? Do they send us an email? What if a voice actor needs to be replaced.

It is best that voice actor submissions be done only after a project is complete. That is why there is a separate form. If you don’t want to fill out another form, don’t submit your voice actors. It is that simple.

Why do we ask for Voice Actor emails?

Two reasons. The first is where we can send them their award badges if they win.

The second is because we want to give voice actors a chance to promote themselves and we do that by doing interviews with them. Directors get to promote to their hearts content, but they promote their projects as a whole (as they should) and often there is no spotlight put on the voice actors. We want to give them a chance at the spotlight.

In the past we have interviewed numerous voice actors and we want to bring this back. However, we can’t do this unless we know how to find people. We have also found that sending interview questions to directors to send to voice actors doesn’t work. Directors forget to send the questions, they don’t check up to see if the interview is done, and so forth. 

Promoting your voice actors also promotes your project. At the end of the day we need directors to let us know who their voice actors are and where to find them. We don’t have a magic crystal ball that gives us that information and there is no way for us to know who everyone is in the voice actor community, and what they have done.

I keep saying this, we need the cooperation and participation of the directors to make this festival work. This includes things on the voice actor front. Help us give your voice actors the recognition they deserve for the part they play in making your projects a success.

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