Cutting Down the Script
The game’s entire story ended up being 47 pages — which is way too long. Our story will be told through mainly comic-book styled cutscenes, which requires A LOT of art. We only have one artist, so the script and storyboards need to be cut down to a more manageable amount our artist can complete. Many of our team mates, including myself, will help with colouring the finalized cutscenes. Before we ask our artist to start on storyboards, our UI designer will focus on designing the storyboards and minimizing the amount of cutscenes. Currently, I am meeting up with her each day to look over and evaluate her storyboards, making sure it’s cut down enough and the story is still pure. We are aiming to finish the storyboards and cut down the script by Monday.
Organizing VO Auditions
Now that the story is just about done, it’s time to start looking for voice-over artists to bring our characters to life. I made an casting call package that has descriptions of the game’s characters as well as some sample scripts. I advertised on a few Facebook groups, and got got handful of responses. Additionally, I’ve emailed some actors who have offered assistance to the animation film projects. To be honest, organizing this casting call and future auditions isn’t easy breezy. I’ve given a deadline until Wednesday of this week for VO artists to contact me, and many start messaging me right away, just when I finished creating the audition package. So really I wasn’t prepared, because this is the first time I’m organizing and communicating with actors. However, it is very exciting! Right when some actors started contacted me, I had to figure out their schedules, but I can’t just ask them what time they’d like to do it — that isn’t professional. I already know that we are planning on holding the auditions on Monday the 22nd, but how do figure out what time the actors should come in at? Should we hold all the auditions in one block? What if some can’t make it? All these questions and concerns were occupying my brain. So I quickly booked out the room we we’re going to use for most of the day, just in case. Most of these actors are students at the school, so they’re all classes. Instead of book a huge time block for auditions, I thought of 4 different 30 minute time blocks throughout the day. — one in the morning, two in the afternoon and one in the evening. And, I made these times a half hour after a typical class would end at. So for example, one of the audition times conveniently at 6:30-7:00pm for those who end class at 6:00pm. I sent off a message to all the actors to pick from these time blocks and let me know who they would like to audition for. As I received all their desired times, I would put this information in a document schedule. The auditions were around 10 minutes, so that way I can have 3 people in for each time block. On the last day of accepting responses, I messaged all the actors their official time block, such as 6:40pm or 6:50pm so no one is stuck waiting. I ended up being overbooked since many responded later, but I wanted to give them a chance. Some of the actors even asked to send in tapes since they could not make it. So I gave them until Monday, the day of the auditions. Most of the actors who messaged me ended up showing up to the auditions. There were only two that had to cancel last minute and two that didn’t show up at all with alerting me. When one of the actors was late, it caused a chain-reaction and everyone had to wait longer, or got confused as to who was going next.
Conducting the Auditions
The auditions went really well. I honestly expected not many people to have the talent we were looking for our wacky game, but I was AMAZED. The talent was over the top for many of the roles, especially the theatre students. Everyone that auditioned said it was their first time doing voice-overs, so it was more laid back and casual. Unfortunately, two of the auditions didn’t end up recording. The recorder must be pressed twice to record, and those times it was only pressed once, which previews the audio. Once the auditions were completed, the next day I edited them so I can cut out any unnecessary parts of the auditions. I also asked for one of the actors to come back to re-record his audition. I called a meeting and showed the auditions to the entire team to hear their opinions. By the end of this week, our sound lead and I will be making the final call for who will be casted, and we will alert those selected as soon as possible.
Focusing on the Buddy Cop Genre
Afterwards, I will be implementing the recorded placeholder audio (that our team voiced for earlier) in the game. This’ll help see if there should be any script changes before we do the final recording session with the actors we’ll pick. Also, we plan on doing a narrative playtest by testing out the cutscene gameplay. We’ll need to have recorded dialogue so players can play the full experience. During this narrative playtest, we want to see if the players are understanding the story and their character, see how they interactive with it, and also see what they think of the transition between cutscene and runner gameplay. Our game is in the buddy cop genre. So we want the players to feel like buddy cops themselves through the story and gameplay, and hopefully enact off-screen conflict. Having this as our focus can make the co-op aspect of our game much more engaging, and the sooner we test this, the better.