Several veteran voice actors have begun an initiative to improve the scripting abilities of game developers.
Voice actresses Jennifer Hale (Mass Effect) , Cissy Jones (Darksiders III) and Sarah Elmaleh (Gone Home) have spearheaded the Specialized Workshops And Actor Tactics (SWAAT) program. SWAAT is part the Halp Network, a trusted network for creative industry professionals and vendors. SWAAT aims to provide developers with “specialized training to help hone in on issues with script writing, actor blocking, and character development.”
All three actresses, along with the other team members involved in SWAAT, are pledging to provide their years of experience as a service for scriptwriters, along with offering Virtual Table service for developers outside of the organization’s home base of Los Angeles, California. Sessions are scheduled to last for two hours at a time, and the first two sessions of any project are free.
All members of the SWAAT program are SAG-AFTRA union members, but developers are under no pressure to hire SAG-AFTRA members for their games. Members of the project also don’t need to be a part of the union either.
Currently, SWAAT is available by referral only, though there are plans for it to expand further in the future.
With video games as a growing artistic medium, the experience of actresses and actors who have been involved with voice-over, motion capture and more are invaluable. I am all for game developers improving their skills through collaboration. If voice actors and actresses can help them do that, how can this not be a net positive?
Plus you are getting the benefit of veterans like Hale, Jones, and Elmaleh who are leading the charge for these lessons. If anything, this will be a net positive for the gaming industry, as budgets increase and the use of voice-over and motion capture become homogenized in the industry.
What do you think though? Is SWAAT a good idea? Leave your comments below.