Richard describes voiceover for animation as “playing.” He points out that we all used to know how to do this, as kids. We’d create characters and stories and worlds and dive in whole-hog. And that’s what we need to get back to for animation. He also says we really need to study the story and learn about these characters and their world, and really believe that these things happened to US.
Richard also brings up some bad habits that voiceover actors get into:
— When given a character breakdown, which can oftentimes include several paragraphs or even pages of notes with very detailed information about who that character is, too often the voice actor will try to convey ALL of those emotions/characteristics in the one-paragraph audition. The result? The character sounds schizophrenic instead of being complex and nuanced . Richard reminds us that we, too, are complex, but we don’t exhibit every single one of our characteristics at every moment. So don’t try to show that you can “do it all!” in your audition. My note: Creating back story can really help here, as doing so can really help you determine what led up to this moment, and that will help you determine where this moment sits emotionally.
— Another mistake Richard says many voiceover talent make is trying to pigeon-hole a voice they already do into the role that they’re given to audition for. Instead, he says, we really need to study the story (there it is again!), and create a voice that makes sense for that character based on the story.
Good stuff! So much to learn…but I guess that’s why they say that this career is really all about studying, learning, and putting in the work. Although we live in an instant-gratification world, we do need to keep reminding ourselves that this career is a marathon, not a sprint.