I’ve just returned from sunny California and VOICE 2014, where, I have to say, there was so much information about the voiceover industry that I’m still trying to digest it all…at least, the parts I actually HEARD, from the sessions I attended. And then there are the other seminars/presentations that I DIDN’T get to attend in person (it being impossible, at least as far as I can tell, to be in two places at the same time). THOSE ones I need to download and listen to, and take MORE notes.
In addition to meeting some pretty awesome industry legends and super talents (Pat Fraley, Mary Lynn Wissner, MJ Lallo, Rodney Saulsberry, Dave Fennoy, just to name a few) AND getting my own personal Morgan Freeman impersonation from Larry Davis (holy WOW is THAT guy AMAZING!) and getting to meet VO Buzz Weekly‘s Chuck Duran and Stacey J., I also made some fantastic new friends, which was more than the icing on the cake.
Yes, I could wax poetic about what an awesome experience it was, but in keeping in line with my promise to make this blog more of a “pay it forward” type of experience, instead I will try to share some of the awesome advice and tips that were imparted at VOICE 2014.
From Pat Fraley’s opening keynote:
— You can’t start reading a script coldly by PERFORMING it. Start by just reading it to get the words. This helps you learn what lines are intrinsically funny, so you don’t have to overwork them.
— Think about coming up with a “log line” (or synopsis) for every project. It’s a synopsis of what the story is all about, and EVERY PROJECT HAS A STORY
— When doing comedy, do it slow at first, to figure it out and find the rhythm, and then you can heighten the tempo
From Mary Lynn Wissner’s Self-Direction presentation:
— Your job as a VO actor is to make your audition stand out. Think about ad libbing, changing the punctuation, or jarring it a bit.
— Try 2 takes: one more straightforward, and the second with an add-on emotion
— Figure out what it takes for YOU to get into each particular emotion/direction, and WRITE IT DOWN! (Mary Lynn’s self-direction app is a really great tool for looking at the five most common voice directions!)
From Dave Fennoy’s Video Games presentation:
— Don’t get caught up in your own inner dialogue, and don’t let that little voice throw you off your game. You need to immerse yourself totally in your character. What do you like/hate? How big are you? What are you afraid of?
— Video games now are more about interactive drama, so they are more about the player’s emotional interaction with the game and the characters. It requires acting and character development!
— Create a scenario. Where are you? What’s happening around you, and what’s just happened before you begin talking?
From Anne Ganguzza‘s Social Media presentation:
— You need to get your name out there so people know who you are and why to hire you
— Associate yourself with strategic brands! Make friends with the in crowd!
— Become a marketable product, and give people important and useful content.
— These two talked a bunch about P2P sites, like if you’re a 100% voice match, go ahead and submit an audition if they’ve received less than 70. If you’re less than a 100% match, don’t bother if there are more than about 35.
— Audition quality matters! So do the first 3-4 words OF the audition
— Best way to get an agent? Bring them a great client!
From Marc Cashman‘s Master Class:
The 8 major categories/skill sets in VO:
3. Eye – Brain – Mouth (lifting the words off the page, w/o stumbling, omitting, adding or changing words)
6. Acting (establishing and maintaining the right attitude and tone)
7. Analysis/Interpretation (find & understand the subtext!)
8. Listening/Taking Direction
All of these amazing people offer coaching services, so if any of these topics really strikes you or is an area you want or need to know more about to get yourself to the next level, contact them! I’ve been amazed so far in this industry how accessible and helpful everyone has been. I know I plan to reach out to some of these folks, and others, to help get me competing at the top of my game!
Looking forward to learning even more as I listen to the other recordings, and of course, sign me up for VOICE 2016!