Wannabeavoiceactor's Blog

April 20, 2010

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.

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April 19, 2010

Pat Fraley

Filed under: Links to Learn From — Tags: , , — wannabeavoiceactor @ 23:02

Just added a link to Pat Fraley’s website page on which he has 20+ free recordings covering all sorts of information about voice acting. Pat is a great voice actor and travels all over the country conducting seminars and training sessions. He also has a great sense of humor and is fun to listen to, which is BIG in my book.

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.

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.

Voicebank

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.

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