Wannabeavoiceactor's Blog

The Bookshelf

Books will be listed here in two categories, those that I have read, and those that I am going to read. I will put up reviews and shift them around as needed. And this is a work in progress, so give me ‘alf a mo…

One note: The VO industry is a very fluid industry, evolving constantly as the advertisers try to discover that secret, magical, mechanism with which they can seize control of the listener’s mind and bend him(her) to their will. All books, by the time they are published, are already somewhat out of date. Some of the books listed here were written quite a while ago but still offer valuable info. When you pick up a book, check out the publication date and approach it accordingly. It may or may not be the last word in current style, but I will bet you there is good stuff in there none-the-less

Ok, here’s a second note. Sorry, did I mention this was a work in progress? I will be listing some books here which are not strictly about voice acting. There are other disciplines and other pursuits which your growing knowledge of will inform your voice acting ability! (Gag, I am sure that sentence is wrong, too late now!) Acting is the first one that immediately springs to mind. And Awayyyy we Gooooo………

The Art of Voice Acting, 3rd Ed., by James Alburger.
More than 300 dense pages and one CD. I read this through once at first, and then went back over it with pen and paper in hand and made notes. There is a LOT of material in here to learn and it is definitely not a light read; more like a textbook. The third edition is copyrighted 2007, and there are some things in here with may be a little dated as to style of read, etc. Altogether, one of the single best purchases you can make starting out.

The Actor’s Art and Craft, William Esper teaches The Meisner Technique
This is a short little book, deceptively easy read, the kicker of which is that you need to start practicing this stuff every day in your training, and probably just in your life generally. Remember — Its ALL about the ACTING! Everybody out there has a voice, just most people can’t herd it into to line and make it do what they want it to do! ACTING is what sets it apart. I have had absolutely NO acting training before, and I have listened and read and talked to people a lot to try to get some kind of handle on it. (Good news is that I was an only child and had a lot of imaginary friends when I was little. YES!!! I knew that was going to come in handy some day!) I have learned a little about other techniques (and there are about a zillion out there) and this seemed to make the most sense to me. This book is often available at Barnes and Noble, Borders and the like, and it is also available, in its entirety, at the link I provided above.

There’s Money Where your Mouth Is, an Insider’s Guide to a career in Voice-Overs By Elaine Clark
This is the original Voice Over Bible. A dense, 200 page book with a lot of scripts of every variety, although no Cd. Elaine Clark runs a voice over school in San Francisco named Voice One. There is a podcast of her offering direction to a student at Voice Over Experts and she is pretty impressive in her mastery of the art. This is another good reference work on the field. Once again, most of the text is available online at the link above.

Accents, A Manual for Actors by Robert Blumenfeld
This is one that I haven’t read yet, although I have read a good bit of it online at the link above. This is quite a reference book, and starts out by educating you about the structure of the mouth and its various parts. It turns out that the way in which you hold the various elements of your mouth is crucial in creating accents; or in getting rid of them, which is more my problem, having a bit of the old south thing going on with my speech. There are two CD’s included and I am waiting for my hard copy to arrive so I can really get into it. I also have to learn to do that English accent thing. Saw a great post somewhere about the response to advertisements done with an English accent — basically people buy more from someone who sounds snooty! Who Knew?! Will try to find that post and link it up. Go to the link! Read! Learn!

The Voice Actor’s Guide to Recording at Home…and On the Road by Harlan Hogan and Jeffrey Fisher.
Another one I haven’t read yet, but am trying to get to. I have seen excerpts of this book online, and there are even video clips out there I think. But if you are serious about becoming a Voice Actor, then this is a subject you are going to have to learn about. Heard great things about this book.

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