Caught Between A Stunt & A VO

As an actor, I get it. I’m on a career path that has no set path. But consciously pursuing work in Motion Capture? That has no set precedent.

In anticipation of my move to Los Angeles, I have attempted to do my market research on the local Motion Capture industry. Just as a commercially inclined actor will stock up on information regarding commercial casting directors, agents, companies and find social media solutions to begin networking with these potentail employers, I intend to arrive in country with an intelligence on my target list. Game directors, agents, mocap technicians, animation directors, MoCap & VFX houses- these are the people I need to know. The trouble I keep finding is that these people are not so easily approached on the internet. In the more traditional venues of entertainment industry, casting directors, agents, directors expect an influx of actors to professionally engage with them and have various methods of making themselves accessible. To receive, find, sell actors is part of their job. Yet this expectation is not put upon the employers of mocap performers, to my knowledge. This has overwhelmed my remote search.

And it’s not like I have any leads from following the by example of other mocap performers. In this post by the ManyMotion blog, Oliver Cooke delves into the different kinds of mocap performers and what to look for from a casting perspective. Aside for the athletes brought on for sports games, there are character actors and stunt performers. What Oliver doesn’t quite touch upon is how these actors get brought into the audition room in the first place. From the character actor perspective, none of these actors are developing their careers or specializing in the medium. Even Andy Serkis was name talent from the britisth stage and film before he even came to motion capture. To achieve character actor status on Motion Capture project seems to require an extensive resume in Film/TV or complete luck of the draw. In an interview with Heather Gordon of Bioshock: Infinite and Woody Schultz of Polar Express, both of them didn’t even know what they were auditioning for. But they had both received some phenomenal broadway and hollywood credits. As for the stunt work side, you are a stuntie applying a previous career of skills to the medium, not skills accrued for the medium. And getting onset as a stuntperson has its own separate channels of proving skills to coordinators and local crews.

So I currently conclude that I can’t directly pursue the performance format that I am so enthusiastic to engage in. I must become both an accredited actress and stuntwoman. I must be literally at the right place at the right time, which seems like a passivity on par with career suicide. But after a couple days of circuitous research and online deadends, I think my time might be better spent beefing up the typical skillset, honing the craft, than knocking on front or back doors well everyone is using the side entrance…

I’m going back to the gym.

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