Voiceover Tip: Copy the Vocal Patterns on TV Commercials

November 10th, 2014

Here’s a great tip and exercise for voiceover artists: use TV commercials as a source of practice. Really listen to the commercials on your TV or radio. When you find a good commercial you like, try to parrot the VO actor who is speaking the lines.  You’ll be repeating the words, of course, but also try to copy, as exactly as you can, the nuances, the tone, the inflections he or she uses, and the musicality.

Then mute or turn off the TV or radio and grab any random bit of text, such as an ad in a piece of mail or magazine. Try to bring the new tone and vocal patterns you’ve been copying to these new words. You will be using the style you’ve been mimicking with this new material.

This will really start to train your ear and attune you to what is currently “hot” in the advertising world. And it gets you practicing, reading aloud, and using your voice in new ways.

And it’s fun! Enjoy!

 

Featured Voice Over Artist: Rob Paulsen

October 16th, 2014

rob paulsonOther great voiceover artists can be a source of inspiration!

Next in our series of voiceover greats, we suggest you check out the wonderfully talented Rob Paulsen, who says he is “Getting paid to do what got me in trouble in the 7th grade.”

Rob is best known as the voice of Yakko Warner and Dr. Otto Scratchansniff from Animaniacs, Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Pinky from Pinky and the Brain. In his long and lustrous career, Rob has played more than 250 different animated characters and thousands of commercials.

 

From Rob’s website:

“Born in Detroit, Rob Paulsen spent his childhood in Livonia and Rochester, attending Junior and Senior high school in Grand Blanc, Michigan. Rob loved cartoons like most kids but aspired to be a professional hockey player. “Fortunately, thanks to some big, strong, kid from Winnipeg who drilled me so hard my ears are still ringing, I learned around age 18 I had neither the talent nor the temperament to make a living playing hockey. So, I turned to my other passions: singing and acting.”

The goal of bringing absolute believability to a fictional character, live-action or animated, is what every actor strives for. Those who are committed to their career and who combine experience, passion and skill are likely to succeed.

Those gifted with exceptional talent who focus on maximizing their potential by finding their own niche, quickly break away from the pack….”

 

READ MORE

 

 

Voice Actors: Expand Your Comfort Zone!

September 25th, 2014

stretch

We all have our happy places when it comes to acting. Some of us revel in playing the hero or heroine, while others feel perfectly at home twirling our mustaches as the villain. Either way, it’s good to know where your comfort zone is and where you enjoy playing. It pays to know your strengths so you can take advantage of them and carve out a niche for yourself in the area you may be best suited to. But it’s also good to be aware of your strengths so that you can take time to work on the areas you aren’t as skilled in. In this way, you expand your repertoire and make yourself a more versatile, interesting, and employable actor.

It’s certainly not our intent to detract from the idea of doing one specific thing very well. That’s extremely important. It’s just that, if that one thing goes out of style, you want to have something to fall back on. And just because you’re good at one thing doesn’t mean you can’t learn to do other things equally well. For example, our good friend, the otherworldly talented actor Dee Bradley Baker, is known far and wide for his creature voices, monster babble, and alien squawking, and that’s what people tend to hire him for. But when called upon to do so, he also turns in a very moving, believable, human performance.

The best actors push their personal boundaries and continue to grow throughout the life of their entire careers; filling them up with memorable, interesting, and bold characters. If you feel you’re having a hard time pushing your boundaries on your own, get into a class where it will be someone else’s job to give you a friendly shove in the right direction. Classes can hold you accountable for your work in a way you often can’t do on your own.

Use your auditions as a place where you always push your boundaries and expand your comfort zone a little. Open yourself up to all possibilities. Widen the circle you play in.

 

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Check out our VoiceOverVoiceActor website for more tips and exercises. We post daily VO tips on Facebook and Twitter, and our book, Voice Over Voice Actor: What it’s like behind the mic includes a wealth of exercises to build your voice and keep it ready for a successful voice over career!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sassy September Newsletter, with Tara and Yuri

September 11th, 2014

Check out our latest newsletter, below. There’s a sign up button over on your right if you’d like to receive it!

Click here to read as a pdf: Sassy September newsletter, with Tara and Yuri, September, 2014

September – boy that is hard to write, I can’t believe we are almost to the fourth quarter of 2014 already. We are excited to share a short we star in that is available mid-flight on Virgin airlines, and a taste of fall, with Yuri’s sassy peach & nectarine cobbler – which is sure to invite both longer summer days and cooler fall nights with every bite. And in proper back-to-school style, Yuri and I are hunkering down with pen & paper (ok, computer and keyboard) and doing own own version of homework. I hope this fall is bountiful for each of you!

Tara :) (&Yuri)

 

Yuri Lowenthal & Tara Platt: Raise Your Voice (Acting)!

Click here to read more: Newsletter: Sassy September with Tara & Yuri, September, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FEATURED VOICE OVER ARTIST: Dee Bradley Baker

August 25th, 2014

It is good to study other terrific voiceover artists to really learn the ropes. There are many success stories out there in the voice over arena to inspire you!

Here is great example: Dee Bradley Baker

From his website: “Dee Bradley Baker is one of the most versatile and sought after A-list voice actors working today. His voice is seemingly everywhere, featured in literally hundreds of television shows, movies and top video games. Over the past two decades, Dee has earned an extraordinary reputation among show creators and fans alike with his chameleon-like acting skills and his wide range of realistic creature sounds, from tiny birds and insects to gigantic monsters. 

Dee is currently featured on Fox’s Emmy-nominated series “American Dad” (Klaus the goldfish), as well as on Nickelodeon’s “Avatar: The Legend of Korra” (Tarrlok, Pabu and Nala), “SpongeBob Squarepants” (Squilliam, etc.), Cartoon Network’s hit series “Ben 10: Alien Force” (the super aliens), and “Adventure Time” (Cinnamon Bun, etc.).

Dee appears regularly on many Disney Television cartoons. He currently voices Perry the Platypus in the mega-hit series “Phineas and Ferb,” and appears on “The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Gravity Falls,” and “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.” In addition, his creature vocals are featured in two “Tinkerbell” movies. 

Fans of the Walt Disney theme parks may be surprised to learn that Dee voices the parrot on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride and Boba Fett for the newly retooled “Star Tours 3D” attraction…”

READ MORE

 

 

ANOTHER GOOD INTERVIEW

Voice of a Geek: An Interview With Dee Bradley Baker
By John Booth

 

MORE INFO:

 

 

Creating a Creating a Character – the Acting Part of Voice Acting

August 11th, 2014

voice acting preview!! by deaeruThere are several things that we think you should know before you start auditioning. One of these things is the importance of creating a strong character. We’ve noticed that the people who really succeed in this business are generally good actors first, good voice-over actors second. Strangely enough, when juggling all the balls of voice-over, one of the easiest to drop is the acting. Acting is where the most fun is, so who wants to drop that ball?

Creating a character is so much more than saying the words in the right order, or in a unique and interesting way. Creating a character is really about using your imagination to create the universe the character lives in, and then saying “yes, and,” to that universe. This yes, and, theory pops up a lot in improvisational comedy (improv) and theatre classes, so you may have heard it bandied about before now.

Put simply, one of the fundamental keys to good improv (and good acting in general) is agreeing to the scenario (yes) and then adding something (and) to take it to the next level. The more you say “no, but,” the harder it is to get to where you’re going, and the less interesting it’ll be for everyone involved. You’ll find that by your being specific about the world your character lives in, the type of character that would reside in that world quickly becomes clear to you. The character’s personality you end up creating this way will be real and honest, no matter how outlandish and wild the character’s reality might be.

Who’s to say that a talking sponge can’t have friends under the sea and wear geometrically formed pants? We bet a lot of people said “no, but” to this idea once upon a time, but the success of that show goes on and on, because the right people said, “yes, and … ”

Bringing a character to life through your own creativity, truth, and ability is what being an actor is all about. You get to live different lives and have experiences totally foreign to your own. Showing how much you love this part (by doing it) will become invaluable not only once you’ve got the job, but it’s going to help you get cast. Being able to create an interesting character at an audition shows that you’ll be able to create an interesting character if hired.

 

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Check out our VoiceOverVoiceActor website for more tips and exercises. We post daily VO tips on Facebook and Twitter, and our book, Voice Over Voice Actor: What it’s like behind the mic includes a wealth of exercises to build your voice and keep it ready for a successful voice over career!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How age affects our vocal instrument: neuroplasticity

July 21st, 2014

Vocal chords are vocal chords, whether we use them for singing or speaking (or shouting! :-) The voice is an instrument and good health and neuro plasticity can be across the board. 

Here is a good article we found recently, entitled:

“Singing and Neuroplasticity: 6 Tips for Ageless Singing”

By: Lisa Haupert, Ageless Grace Trainer and Shameless Singing Vocal Coach

 

Ageless Singing. Strong Singing. You singing.

There is a given with aging. Every year that you are alive, you are a year older. That’s all.

Most of the specifics about how we age are in large part, up to us. Yes, we can get a disease. Yes, gravity wins out on our skin and things might sag a bit. But for the most part, how we age is up to what habits we practice, and our mind-set.

When it comes to the voice, there are some specific givens about aging.

  • The cartilages that are a part of our singing and speaking mechanism begin to ossify – to turn to bone. However, this may not be a bad thing. This may actually allow stronger closure of the vocal folds and less variability in the voice system since bone is more rigid than cartilage…. Continue reading, for great tips to protect your voice as you age

 

 

 

Jammin’ July! Newsletter from Tara & Yuri

July 9th, 2014

Check out our latest newsletter, below. There’s a sign up button over on your right if you’d like to receive it!

Click here to read as a pdf: Jammin’ July newsletter, with Tara and Yuri, July, 2014

We just returned from our Australian adventures and it is back to work and back to summer! Thankfully Yuri and I have been working like mad in VO, comics and videos, and we are deep in post on Topsy McGee. Yuri has been writing a bunch and we are enjoying the long days and the warm nights!

I hope July is jammed full of as much fun as you and your inner childlike-wonderment-filled self can make it!!

Tara :) (&Yuri)

 

Yuri Lowenthal & Tara Platt: Raise Your Voice (Acting)!

Click here to read more: Newsletter: Jammin July with Tara & Yuri, July 2014

July

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Create Voice Over Copy For Practicing Purposes

June 22nd, 2014

tv cartoonThis exercise is to help you begin to compile your own practice copy for you to work on and then eventually use to create your commercial or animation demo reel.

For commercial copy, find magazines, see which ads visually pop out at you and write down the advertisement (or if the magazine is yours, pull the page out). Remember that print copy reads differently from commercial audio copy, so use the print as a starting point and then make slight adjustments to help the line flow.

To build animation copy, find an inanimate object in your house, then begin to write a monologue or conversation this object/character might have with you about its needs or hopes or dreams. Another wonderful way to create animation copy is to write down your favorite characters from animated shows, then rename them and make changes to what you know of their experiences, then try building a history or story for them that you find interesting.

Note which type of ad goes with the different types of commercial types (hard sell, soft sell, partner read, tag, etc.) also review your animation copy to see what types of characters you’re showing off and make sure you have some variety that works with your voice.

Put all your found (and massaged) copy into a binder, and practice randomly flipping to different pieces and reading and performing them as you would if you were in the booth.

Wonderful. You’ve had the chance to hone your unique vocal qualities and become more familiar with your natural voice. You’ve also probably gotten to see how your body reacts to a warm-up and how that can better prepare your voice for a session. You’ve read copy and made choices and have begun the process of building your own personal stack of practice copy that you can use as you move toward making your demo reel.

Voice-over isn’t like it used to be where only ‘certain’ voices worked, now there are voices of all kinds and varieties to make up the spice of life. Basically, if you are a solid actor, are professional and considerate and you have good mic technique there is no reason you can’t work in VO, of course, someone would have to hire you, so you’d need your demo reel ($$$$, time, energy) and most likely you will need to secure an agent to represent you and get you auditions (time/energy) as well as giving yourself as much as an edge as possible by taking classes, practicing your craft, knowing your voice and how to take care of it; so planning a career in voice-over is an investment.

The wonderful world of voice-over allows you to create amazing characters, to teach, to entertain, to offer new alternatives and to go on a whole new adventure. Remember, voice acting just “acting” without the bonus of using your facial expressions or body language to convey something visually, so your intention has to come across with just your voice helped by your imagination. And we all have one of those…

FEATURED VOICE OVER ARTIST: Steve Blum

June 2nd, 2014

One of the best ways to learn about the art of voiceover is to study the “masters.” One of the greats is Steve Blum. Steven Jay “Steve” Blum is an American voice artist known for his wonderful, deep voice. You’ve heard him on X-Men, and on many video games. He debuted in the early 90s in the animated series of Guyver, before which he had never done any acting. As he tells it, getting into voiceover work was an accident. He was discovered doing “crotchety” voices in a mailroom.

Steve was recently interviewed by Michael Worthan, of  ComicBookTherapy.com. You can check it out here:  READ MORE

“I KNOW THAT VOICE” An interview with Steve Blum!

by Michael Worthan

This is a short excerpt from, as Michael puts it,  “…my very awesome interview with Steve Blum, a voice actor that has been in everything from Big-O as lead character Roger Smith to Wolverine and the X-Men as Wolverine himself. He has voiced more than 261 credited video game voices, and is the voice of Starscream in Transformers:

Question: “People always make assumptions about voice acting and what it really is, what is one thing you’d like the general public to know about your profession that they may not know already?     

Answer from Steve: “That most of our time is actually spent driving, auditioning and reading descriptions of characters we’re auditioning for. “

READ MORE

 

Also, here is Youtube video of Steve doing his thing! Such a talent…