Acting is Acting is Acting...

Question: “I am a start-out actor and I’m interested in what you have. It looks like what you do is for voice over work only. What would you recommend for me?”

Acting is acting is acting, whether you're on stage, film, television, or voiceover. HOWEVER . . . the disciplines and some of the processes for finding the character and "working" with the words are radically different for each of those mediums.

Many people mistakenly think that voiceover is "easy" or less demanding than acting on stage or on-camera. The real truth is that voiceover, in many ways, can be far more complex than any other form of acting - simply because you don't have the advantage of props, scenery, wardrobe, makeup, lighting, music and sound effects cues, and other actors. With VO you're in a small room all by yourself with a microphone, a music stand and a pair of headphones - that's it! As a voiceover actor, your job is to create the reality of the character and the moment quickly, believably, and with compelling drama, attitude and emotion. And if you are doing a studio session, you'll need to be able to put all this together in a very short period of time. As Pat Fraley says "there's no time - and no text." There's "no time" because you aren't memorizing the script and you need to start performing within minutes of walking into the booth. There's "no text" because a typical voiceover script tells you absolutely nothing about your character, delivery style, or anything else . . . other than the story or message included in the words on the script.

Many stage and film actors have a difficult time doing voiceover because their training is based on memorization and internalization of the character's words and emotions. There's no memorization in voiceover, so the challenge is to learn how to immediately take the words off the page. It's much like a cold read audition - except for voiceover talent, the "cold read" is many times the first take of the session.

We've had many stage and film actors, and professional speakers, take our workshop. They've been able to take their performances to an entirely new level by understanding and implementing the techniques and processes we teach for voiceover.

So, for my recommendations - first I would recommend my book The Art of Voice Acting since all the basic information is included there. If you've had formal acting training from a specialized acting school, some of the techniques may be familiar to you, but you'll find lots of other tools you can use as well. After that you might want to consider taking either our Art of Voice Acting 8-week Workshop in San Diego or our Weekend Workshop. Both of these provide personalized coaching from me and my partner Penny Abshire. Learning from my book is great, but having a first-hand experience of using the techniques we teach is something else entirely. It you'd like to read what our students have to say about the workshops go to our testimonials page.

While on your quest to learn about voiceover, you should consider subscribing to our Art of Voice Acting newsletter.

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