Wannabeavoiceactor's Blog

April 19, 2010

The Conversational Read

Filed under: general observations — Tags: , , , — wannabeavoiceactor @ 17:04

Well, as any beginning student of voiceover will soon start to understand, the conversational approach to copy, as opposed to the announcer type read, is the Holy Grail of modern commercial voice over. There are other types of voiceovers out there that are a little different, like some movie promos, monster truck rallies, telephone answering systems, etc. but for the commercial market it all needs to be a conversation you are having with someone.

Sometimes you might be an enthusiastic spouse speaking with your other half, sometimes you might be an authoritative expert speaking with an avid learner, sometimes you might be the student speaking with an instructor. Whatever the case (and there are more possibilities than you can list) the most important aspect of the whole exercise is that you are speaking in an immediate, conversational, un-affected, style. Oh, and also you should have had just a little too much caffeine. The range of emotion in your read should be just a little more than you usually think of as normal, unless normal to you means standing outside the local Starbucks and telling everybody about the black helicopters and that nifty tinfoil hat you’re wearing.

The trick is, they tell me, that you have to dig through your list of friends, acquaintances, enemies, whatever, and tell this little story directly to them. You aren’t addressing a crowd, you aren’t addressing some nameless, faceless stereotype, you are literally standing right in front of and speaking directly to this ONE PERSON!

Now I have done this in the privacy of my own home, and I can tell you that it works spectacularly well! And it is EASY! Try this – pick up a new piece of copy and study it for a minute or so and then lay down a recording of how you think it should be interpreted. Do this WITHOUT thinking about anybody in particular.

Now read the copy again, this time pretending that you are saying this directly to your best friend. Close your eyes, see your friend, tell them exactly the way you would if you were just shooting the shit and nobody was recording you and you had never heard of such a crazy thing as voice overs.

Check out the difference between the two recordings.

For me at least, the reads are COMPLETELY different.

Oh, and now for the small print… remember how I said this was easy? Well, down in the bedroom closet with Socks the Cranky Cat as your only witness, it is really easy. Problem is, you gotta do this in front of three different strangers standing on your toes in the 2’ by 2’ soundbooth with no air conditioning, bad breath floating like a green cloud in the air, and an engineer outside yelling at you to get back on mic.

Practice, Practice, Practice.


Terry Daniel

Filed under: Links to Learn From — Tags: , , , — wannabeavoiceactor @ 14:51

just added a link to Terry Daniel’s blog. He has a bunch of very informative videos on Youtube and here as well as written info. I think he just really likes to share what he knows with people and you can learn a lot from him.

voice over classes

Filed under: general observations — Tags: , , , — wannabeavoiceactor @ 14:05

Tonight i am going to my third class of six in my beginning workshop series.  I am taking these classes at a school called Voicetrax in Sausalito.

So far,everyone I have met at the place seems incredibly enthusiastic about their job and about the industry.

In the first class we just covered the basics which you have all probably picked up by now just reading things on the internet. Number one rule is, of course, It’s All About The Acting!

In fact, the quality of your voice is not real important, as long as you don’t send people running from the room with bleeding ears, SOMEBODY out there could use that squeaky, nasal whine to sell SOMETHING.

There are 6 people in my class, and all of them profess to some acting background, all of them but me, since I have never done anything in my life that even resembles acting. Although, come to think of it, my wife says I live in a fantasy world… wonder if that counts?

The really fun part of the class is the time in the soundbooth. Now that is something that you just can’t get from the internet. We do improv and copy and dialogue with other actors in the soundbooth and are just generally getting used to the mic and performing in front of other folks. I just can’t see how you could ever get relaxed and comfortable enough to actually let out a decent performance for an audition without having hours of time in a soundbooth around people who are pretty much complete strangers. You can’t create that sort of environment at home alone in the coat closet.

In addition to the practice and the butterflies you get from the class, we also have a teacher who (pretty much) gently points out the problems we are having (he must get really tired of us clods) and who is also great at directing us and pulling out incredible improvements in our practice. He is also a working voice over actor, so we all have quite a lot of faith in his talent.

The classes are great. I have read it before and I believe it myself; this is just not a career that you can master without professional training.

Voice Over Xtra

Filed under: Links to Learn From — Tags: , , , — wannabeavoiceactor @ 04:46

This is a commercial site with things to sell the aspiring voice actor, but they also have a lot of interesting info, with years worth of archives you can browse.


Filed under: Links to Learn From — Tags: , , , — wannabeavoiceactor @ 04:38

Added a link to Voicebank.com client listings and demos. Voicebank is a tremendous resource to those who need to listen to what the pros sound like. And that would be all of you (and me) who AREN’T pros! If you are unsure whether you are a pro or not, make a short 2 or 3 minute video demo of yourself and upload it to Youtube. The world could use a good laugh.

voiceoverexperts podcasts

Filed under: Links to Learn From — Tags: , , — wannabeavoiceactor @ 04:30

Just added a link to the archives from Voice Over Experts.com. This is several years worth of their podcasts interviewing various professionals from the industry on just about every possible aspect of the business. Most of the podcasts also have a transcript which you can read if listening to the broadcast is not crucial. There is a LOT of good info here.

Great Blog

Filed under: Links to Learn From — wannabeavoiceactor @ 04:24

Just added a link to Bob Souer’s blog. This man wins the prize for hardest blogger in the voiceover world. His blog is constantly updated and he has a tremendous number of interesting links. I have spent hours just clicking through other people’s blogs and have probably learned more from that than from just about anything else online.

Voice Acting!! Where the hell did THAT idea come from?!?!

Filed under: general observations — wannabeavoiceactor @ 03:24

Well, that’s what my wife said anyway.

My name is Whitney Wyatt.  I started down an odd and interesting (well, at least to me, and maybe to you since you are reading this) a few months ag0.

I started to study Voice Acting!

I know you probably figured that out already, but for those who need it spelled out, there it is.  Don’ t say I’m not a caring guy.

It all started out when my son’s teacher made a comment about my voice while I was reading some kid’s book to his class.  Great voice, wonderful reading, that sort of thing.

Only a few short weeks later, a dim light went on over my head and I thought “Hey!  I’ll bet people get paid to do this sort of thing!”

I am sort of a slow learner, I’ll admit, and I only know that because I am 48 now, and have had a looonngggg time to mull it over.

Anyway, I started to (of course) google the crap out of it and found out that there are roughly 1,000,000,000 pages out there pertaining to Voice Acting (who knew?) and of those, approximately 999,999,900 are sites devoted to teaching YOU, the bright-eyed, fresh-voiced, young Star in Waiting the entire Biz!

All you need is some amount of cash that ends in .95.  That would be anywhere in the range of $19.95 all the way to $1499.95 and you will be in business!  WOW!!  I thought, “HOW EASY!”

It is kinda sad when you are starting out your new career all excited and happy and full of silly dreams and then you get all jaded and cynical BEFORE YOU EVEN LEARN ANYTHING!!!

So that is where I ended up; but that was only the first day!  And I have made some discoveries since then that I thought the world of aspiring voice actors would REALLY LOVE TO KNOW!

And Holy Crap!  Judging by the number of people running websites to sell something to these people, that must be one Huge world!  “HUGE” as the Donald says.

So my idea here is to gradually upload all the info that I have discovered and websites that have been helpful to me, and even cover some of the stuff that is going on in my first series of Voice Acting classes that I have just started taking.  And man am I jazzed that it turns out there is a whole voice acting school right near where I live!  What Luck!

So nice to meet you, I hope you are learning new and nifty things yourself, and drop me a line if you find anything you think is worth including here.  I will be putting up links to all kinds of sites and blogs and schools, and especially funny videos.  Like those squirrels on water skis, I love that crap…

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