Monday, February 10, 2014

Have You Ever Thought of Voice Over Acting?

Many people think of acting and the only thing on their minds are the sets, cameras and paycheck. But far too often, people forget about all the additional ways they can not only pursue their careers but also gain experience, even pay, on the side.

Have you ever thought of voice over?  When I think of voice over actors, I fondly seem to recall Robin Williams' comedic performance at the beginning of Mrs. Doubtfire. Remember that scene where he stands up for the innocence of children and protests the condoning of smoking while the cute little canary snidely puffed his cigar?   I'm sure I was meant to learn a subliminal lesson about not smoking. But this dramatic and classic scene left me focusing one thing only: That guy had a COOL job.  I've been curious about it ever since!

So how do you go about doing it?

Well, first off, you've got to get some acting training.  Many of the techniques you'll use are the same ones used on stage and screen especially when it comes to the training of your voice. You've got to be able to think on the spot, develop your character and the voice to go with it, while reading text perfectly and responding quickly to direction.  It's a lot but you can do it with ease and the right training.  We are happy to get you set up with the right acting class when you are ready to take that next step!

Second, develop your 'portfolio' of voice.  Get a demo recording of different voices you are able to do.  Make sure you are able to do those for little boys, girls, men, women, elderly and accents alike.  The more of a variety you are able to provide, the better!  But don't just record yourself doing a voice - be the character! (this reiterates the above point - if you don't know how to act, then your voice is a wasted talent) Read scripts and be both parts of the conversation.  Really shake things up and play one character as a southern belle and one as a British gentleman.  Going from male to female with different accents while including emotion can really impress a casting director.  Keep in mind, not to let your tracks get too long.  You want to grab them, hook them and bring them to the next track - wanting more.  Too much, and you'll bore them.

Third?  Know yourself.  While it is good to challenge yourself and take it further, it's also good to know your limits so that you are always performing at your best.  Practice those challenging parts at home and deliver the valuable goods when it matters.  Know your type as well.  If you know there are a few different voices you are good at, then become the authority and really master those sounds.  You are better off being hired for what you are amazing at, than being passed by because your simply 'good' and ten voices.  Find your strong suits and claim them.  Find your weaker suits and perfect them (at home).   Remember to be natural and proud of who you are.  Be an actor, but don't be a faker.  Show your talent and master it.  This will get you so much farther than acting like you're ahead of your field.

Here's a last little bonus for you.  Speak clearly and enunciate!  This, oddly enough has been a hard one for many.... but here's a way to exercise your lingual mobility while simultaneously fine tuning the sound of those accents and dialects.  Put a cork in it! ... or a marshmallow, depending on what suits you.  But in all seriousness, you can bite a cork or stuff marshmallows in the sides of your cheek during the day or on your drive to work.  Read books aloud, read signs, sing songs on the radio (in an accent even), but just keep the words flowing!  Yes, you may attract a few observers along the way, but as an actor you are free to enjoy the attention! You will be amazed and so proud when you see how much your enunciation improves.  Please try this one.  How often are you given an tool that not only improves your skill but entertains you so much in the process??

I hope this one got your wheels turning.  Have you ever done voice over work?  Feel free to comment below, we'd love to hear about your experience.  And if you are ready to take your career further and get serious about acting, visit us at The Acting School for Film and Television.  We'd love to help you succeed!

by:  Navae Fiona

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