The Best Thing About Learning To Laugh At Yourself

Hey.

Mistakes happen, we are human for crying out loud. I used to go into the audition booth trying to make everything perfect. If it wasn't perfect or didn't go exactly how I envisioned it in my head I would beat myself up mentally.

To be honest with you I think I made so many mistakes that I just stopped caring. Of course not in the sense of the work, I always care about the work. But in the sense of looking like a fool in front of others.  I stopped caring in the about how I thought things "should" go, I quit over planning and opened myself up. I am now fully in the moment with whatever material I am required to deliver, and because of that wonderful and creative surprises come out. 

How cool is that?

Now when I leave an audition I feel fulfilled and like I did a good job, it's fun and refreshing even if it wasn't "perfect". 

Hey, let's be honest, not one really wants perfect anyway. Perfect is boring.

To send you off here is a video of me and my booth director losing it over some really funny material.

 

Voice Acting Lessons From Lucille Ball

I met up with a fellow voice actor the other day over coffee and she had me listen to her demo.

Well, her demo was awesome! She played to her strengths, the copy was short and entertaining and she showcased that she could pull off a wide variety of character voices!

We love versatility! 

We love funny!

We love it when things move along... quickly! ;)

But, these was one slight thing that I could not get passed...

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"Has most of your acting training/experience been in theater?" I asked.

Slightly shocked she said yes and asked how I knew.

Although I could tell that she had experience and that she was a good actor, her acting was very broad and showy. When you do theater you have to act so that the back of the room can hear you and understand what you are doing, this can take a different skill set than acting on a mic or for the camera.

The mic and the camera pick up everything, it is important that you believe what you are doing more than try to show it.

Look at Lucille Ball in I love Lucy, all of the situations she finds herself in are completely absurd but we always believe her and she made it work because she is such an amazing actress.

Many times when you are auditioning for animation the copy is very heightened and situations that you find yourself in are bonkers but you still have to be believable. 

I recommended that she see a voice acting coach so that she take all of those fabulous theater skills and tailor her acting for the mic!

If you have some extra time watch I Love Lucy and see for yourself how she makes all of those crazy scenarios work!

Best Voice Over Warm Ups And Exercises

One thing I have learned about voice over warm ups over the last few years... The sillier you look doing them, the better they are. Well, that is not exactly fact based but let me know what you think after this post.  Here is a list of some of my favorite and fast vocal warm ups to get you sounding your best on the microphone.

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Pronounciation

Put a wine bottle cork or pencil in the front of your mouth and hold with your teeth. While holding the item begin reciting tongue twisters and articulate as best as you can. Continue to do this for a minute or two, if you question the effectiveness of this exercise  read something out loud when you are finished. You will be amazed at how clear and crisp everything sounds.

Breathing

Often times if you are doing an audiobook, commercial and industrial work you will need to be able to read run on sentences without audible breath. One exercise you could do everyday to improve your durability is simply taking a deep breath and giving you longest ahhhhh that you possibly can and till every last piece of air has exited your mouth. Do this three separate times each time you do this exercise, once in your highest voice, your middle voice and your lowest voice.

Resonance

Resonance is the vibrations of your facial bones to give you that deep, rich and warm sound to your voice. I basically have none, but practicing this exercise helps me to create more resonance in my voice when needed.

Breath in a good breath and say "huuuummm" and hold the last m sound until you feel your lips buzzing and hold that for about 15 seconds. Feel it in your mouth, nose and lips.

Now make an "n" sound by touching the tip of your tongue on the back of your upper teeth and opening your mouth. The tongue should vibrate on the back of the upper teeth and you should feel vibrations on the sides of the throat, sinus area and nose bone.

Go back and forth between the "m" and the "n" sound. The "m" should vibrate the front of the face and the "n" should be the back of the face. Repeat this several times once a day or before any voice over or audition.

 

Loosen Up!

Your best work is done when you are relaxed. Sometimes I do a few head rolls or yoga moves if I am feeling tense. And if your mouth is a little dry due to nerves don't forget your lemon water!  BBQ chips and green apples are also great for ridding your mouth of that smacky noise!

 

Top 5 Myths about Voice Acting

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Hey you!

Want to become a voice actor? Cool!

But first let's get some of those initial myths and fears out of the way...

 

Myth #1: "I can do celebrity impressions make funny voices therefor I will make a great voice actor"

It's great that you can do that and maybe your one of those people who is told that they have a great voice and should get into voice acting, but all of that will not get you anywhere if you do not know how to act.

If you want to be a voice ACTOR, then you should be working on your acting skills. Makes sense, right?

Here's what I've learned over the years... if you are not believable in the character, then you will not book the job. Period.

The best solution is to take acting classes. And if you are interested in animation, a killer skill to have is improv training. Taking improv classes has been crucial for me in being able to bring versatility and freshness into the audition room.

Myth #2: "It's impossible to break in"

Okay, I'm not going to say that it is an easy road without challenges and rejection because it definitely is not. But it is also true that casting directors are always looking for fresh new voices.

Today, with so many new platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube Red and video game apps, there is more content being made now than ever. Which means more opportunities for you! Yay!

Yes, there is lots of competition -- but there is only one you :-)

Myth #3: "I need a fancy home studio set up before I can get started"

Don't put the cart before the horse. When you are first starting out, you want to focus on developing your skills. What is the point of spending money on all the best equipment if you don't have the skills to book a job?

My first home studio cost just $200 (cheap for such an important business investment) and I was able to book small jobs off of it and still use it to audition today in Hollywood.

Myth #4: "I just need an agent and then I'm set"

Hold up there!

Yes, getting an agent is incredibly exciting and a huge stepping stone in your career. I trained and worked small jobs for a few years before moving to Los Angeles and auditioning here. Los Angeles is the Olympics of acting. And the better the opportunities, the tougher the competition. 

Agents love to know that you are constantly working on your craft. Remember, they only get 10%  of your earnings, which means you should be doing 90% of the work.

Myth #5: "You just go in and read"

DO NOT fall into this trap! I cannot tell you how many times in acting classes I have heard someone brand new to acting read a few lines in a script, and then heard a seasoned actor read the same few lines... HUGE DIFFERENCE.

It takes skill and talent to be able to give a bookable, entertaining read. With the amount of competition and the volume of submissions on each casting call, your read need to really POP in order to get you noticed.

Hope that helped! Best of luck to you in your voice acting career! And if you need help, don't hestitate to reach out. You can book a free clarity call with me by clicking the image below.

 

How You Can Up Your Voice Acting Game With A Clown Class

Pro Tip: Innocence When Voicing A Child

One of the unique challenges I face when voicing a child is to capture the innocence. Okay, let me explain, and if you have seen any animation lately you can attest to this; the script are hilarious and cleverly written. Even shows targeted to children have sophisticated humor in them but if you are voicing a child you have to get into the mentality of the age of your character is.

You might get the voice right but you also have to approach the dialogue with the age with the innocence that matches. It definitely helps if you have children around you, observe how they interact with others and how they approach the world around them. Even if the jokes are written in the script the character usually doesn't know they are telling a joke, they are just innocently reacting to the world around them.

Go through your script discovering everything for the first time with the innocence and wonderment appropriate for the age of the character. Lead with your inner child!

So a few months ago I went to clown school. Yes, you read that correctly, I went to CLOWN SCHOOL. It was a six week program out in the suburbs somewhere in LA. 

Here is my proof!

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I thought in the beginning that my biggest take away from clown school would be a few new physical comedy gags up my sleeve but I left with something much cooler.

When you are in clown mode you are your inner child, you are totally in a present state, you are discovering everything for the first time, it's all brand new. You are curious and playful, you lead with innocence and always have the best intentions. Clowns have no regret, thought of the past of fear of the future. Clowns are always the part of themselves that never grew up. they make mistakes and get right back up, and always have persistant and unwavering hope despite the obstacles.

Clowns have no fear or regard for what others think, they are to busy being curious much like our characters who are children.