Wannabeavoiceactor's Blog

April 22, 2010

Voice Actors in the News!

Filed under: general observations, Links to Learn From — Tags: , , , , , , — wannabeavoiceactor @ 13:59

Well, a certain Voice Actor has come to my attention this morning and I just have to tell you. Its not everyday that a VA makes it into national news!

D C Douglas, who WAS the tag line voice of GEICO has been released from his duties there. And no, he’s not the little green dude. Full article is available on the Huffington Post.

Seems he just couldn’t stop himself from making a rude, but funny, phone call to one of the TeaBagger organizations and leaving a little message; which you can hear at the link. (more…)

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Home Recording

Filed under: general observations — Tags: , , , , , , — wannabeavoiceactor @ 04:40

Being a Voice Actor nowadays is a little different from the past (at least as far as I understand it). Once upon a time, VA’s had an agent and that agent set up auditions, and the talent went to a studio somewhere to audition. In fact, I think that a lot of the big names still operate that way.

For most of us starting out now though, things will probably be a little different. Many of us will start auditioning, and with luck booking jobs, before we get an agent. We will find these jobs online at the many casting sites and forums and even general sites like Craigslist. What we won’t be doing is traipsing off to some $500 an hour studio to lay down a couple clips in the off chance we will book a $150 job! (I know, I know; you spent 2 years, thousands of dollars in class fees, and countless hours reading aloud to yourself in a coat closet just so you could get a shot at making $150.00!?! — hmmm, how much does it cost to go to Hamburger U. again?) (more…)

April 21, 2010

Welcome to my Blog!

Filed under: general observations — Tags: , , , , — wannabeavoiceactor @ 20:35

My name is Whitney Wyatt.  I became interested in Voice Acting a little while ago and started researching it by web and by visiting schools in person.  In just a few months, I made some great discoveries;

1.  The  people in the Voice Acting community are remarkably courteous and available to newcomers wishing to learn about their field; and in fact they have placed online thousands of hours worth of training videos and tens of thousands of posts and articles relating to Voice Acting  – all out there on the web, all available to the seeker for free.  Apparently done for no other reason than to assist other folks whom they do not even know, and most likely at the cost of many, many hours that might have been more profitably spent. Now there are also many fine products for sale from some of these people as well, absolutely nothing wrong with that,  and I would suggest that you help support them!

2.  There are zillions (scientifically speaking) of commercial sites out there that want to take your money and make you a crappy demo and don’t really have any interest in you, your education, or Voice Acting in general.

3.  There is no easy way to differentiate between the two sites without going to them all and checking them out.

So as I started this blog to chronicle my adventures in the Voice Acting world, I thought it might also be nice to try to put together a gathering of sites, blogs, articles, resources, etc. from people who are genuinely interested (and that is a surprisingly large number) in helping you navigate down the road to Voice Acting Nirvana.  If you have any suggestions for inclusion, post a comment or drop me a line at Whitsvoice(at)comcast.net

Thanks for stopping by — Hope you find something useful here.

April 20, 2010

BOOKS!!

Filed under: general observations — Tags: , , — wannabeavoiceactor @ 16:12

Well, if you want to be a Voice Actor, you better like to read! Or if not, then you better grit your teeth and do it anyway — a lot!

And while you are doing all this reading, then why not learn about the industry while you are doing it? Even though you probably won’t find a lot of books at your local bookstore on this subject, they’re out there. They are at Amazon, on E-Bay, and also listed on a lot of websites and blogs.

And now they are going to be listed on one more.

I have started a new page called The Bookshelf. I have purchased and read a surprising (to me) number of books on this subject and I will pop a brief review up there and a link to the book.

I will also list a bunch of books that I have not read yet, but will get around to soon.

If anyone else out there would like to review a book, or have one they really like, drop me a comment and we’ll talk.

Tonight’s Voice Acting Class

Filed under: general observations — Tags: , , , — wannabeavoiceactor @ 06:12

Well, I had my third class tonight. 6 of us in attendance and we all worked on commercial scripts and timing and, of course, getting that conversational read.

We were working on dialogues with one or two other people, which can get tricky when some people are supposed to be off mic and some are on, and some are shouting and some are whispering, and some are sharing a mic. There is a lot of moving around and getting in each others way and laughing and missing cues, but after a while you all start to get the hang of it and it is surprising how dang professional you look!

We ended up splitting into three groups and doing fake auditions for a two-person read. We had to work out our best interpretations and then perform it with no direction or assistance, and we didn’t get to listen to the other guys go either. Then we were given some direction and did it again.

At first we all interpreted it a little differently, but mostly along the same lines and with varying levels of moderate success. We were better than we used to be, but not quite ready for prime time, if you know what I mean.

Then, after the direction, we all did it again, and WHAT a Difference!! Man! we were almost like pros! Well, kinda, sorta, almost.

It really gave us a good idea of what we are shooting for. We have learned enough now and practiced enough now to be able to see the goal and even be able to come somewhat close to reaching it, with the right direction and assistance. Problem is, you gotta be able to do it by yourself; and that, my friends, is where the long hours make their appearance.

April 19, 2010

Reading!

Filed under: general observations — Tags: , — wannabeavoiceactor @ 22:52

One of the key points that has come up again and again in books, videos, and from the lips of my teacher, is that YOU MUST READ a LOT! And that means ALOUD!

Much like me using all caps, reading aloud can be very annoying! So if you are doing it somewhere near other people, then the natural tendency is to try to do it quietly, or under your breath.

Since a big part of what you are trying to do is work on your volume and breathing, this does not do a whole heck of a lot for you.

So get out somewhere alone and read something – anything! Ads in magazines are good, articles in the newspaper, or just passages from books.

One note here, my teacher told us to read, but he told us novices not to bother to record and listen to it back yet, because we would either:

1. Fall in love with our own voice and then learn a lot of bad habits and not want to change them later, or
2. Hate the sound of our own voice but not really know how to make it better and get all depressed and crappy and just decide to go back to the security of that old job scraping monkey poo off the sidewalk in front of the cage at the zoo.

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.

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 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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