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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…

Megaton May with Tara & Yuri

May 14th, 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: Megaton May newsletter, with Tara and Yuri, May, 2014

 

We are well into spring with May in full bloom. I hope you are finding love (of yourself, of life, of others) and generally enjoying the beautiful weather. You can even use hypnosis to help move you toward a more happy life! I have been fortunate to book several commercials, so let me know if I appear on a screen near you. Yuri has had a wonderful run of some new VO projects and been hard at work writing (he even won a few awards) and is working on a couple of scripts and we are headed to OZ on a summer convention adventure! May your May be bountiful and fun!

Tara :) (&Yuri)

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

 

Click here to read more: Newsletter: MegatonMay with Tara & Yuri, May 2014

 May

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voice Over Actors: How Much Does Luck Play in to Success?

January 28th, 2014

 

diceThey say that luck plays a huge part in getting anywhere in this business. Ya just gotta be at the right place at the right time! We agree, but we also have a slightly different definition of luck. Our friend Merriam – you may know her: Merriam-Webster – defines luck as:

1 a: a force that brings good fortune or adversity b: the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual

To take this a step further, instead of luck, we prefer to substitute the word success in Seneca’s definition. We end up with the equation: success = preparation + opportunity. This is much better than relying on luck because you can take action to prepare yourself, and you can take action to create opportunities.

We do our best to be prepared and to create our own opportunities, and that’s when we’ve found success happens most often for us. So what they say is true: luck plays a bit part. But you can get yourself to the right place, and if it’s the right time and you’re prepared, then boom!

But imagine what happens if you manage to get to the right place at the right time and you’re not ready for it: the, uh… opposite of boom.

So remember:

Luck Success = Preparation + Opportunity!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

Jaem January Newsletter from Tara & Yuri

January 14th, 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: Jaem January with Tara and Yuri, January, 2014

 

Thank goodness for the holidays and the winding down of the year to remind us to check in with ourselves on our life’s journey, and perhaps journey a bit as well. We took the time to travel to Southeast Asia, and do we have fun pix to share! The title of this newsletter is a nod to the Thai word “jaem” which roughly means clear, bright, distinct, or cheerful plus let’s all “jam” in our respective areas as we move forward. What a great way to start a new year! We just finished shooting our steampunk adventure Topsy McGee and Yuri is recording his novella Tough City as an audiobook. Welcome 2014, we are raring and ready for a wonderful new year! May this year be your best year yet!

Tara :) (&Yuri)

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

 

Click to read more: Jaem January Newsletter from Tara and Yuri, January, 2014

 

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“Jaem January Newsletter from Tara and Yuri,” January, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Voice Actors: Do You Need a Web Site?

December 21st, 2013

Nowadays a Web presence is practically essential for anyone trying to market themselves in this business. It serves as your calling card and news feed, letting people know what you’re up to. As we’ve mentioned, the Web provides a way for new people to find you, and it’s a fantastic place to post your demo reel for quick and easy access by potential employers.

Once you have a Web site set up, you can make a business card that includes your Web address (preferably an address that’s your name, like ArchibaldTuttle.com or TaraPlatt.com, although sometimes, if that’s not an option, you’ll have to get creative: ArchibaldTuttleVO.com or YuriLowenthalIsAVoiceActor.com). Then, whenever you meet people in the VO business, you can give them your card: suddenly all your info is at their fingertips.

Even the most basic Web site should include your name, general contact info (phone number, e-mail, etc.) and/or your representation contact info. In addition it might also include a list of credits and/or upcoming work, and maybe a clip or a demo reel of your voice.

Many actors choose not to have images of themselves on their Web sites if the site is for voice-over only, as one of the great things about voice-over is that it isn’t looks-based (remember our note about packaging). Instead of displaying your photo, you can put up images that showcase either the work you’ve done or the qualities or essence your voice evokes.

Your Web site may feature several different things ranging from your professional acting experience to your personal life. If so, make sure that it’s as easy to navigate to your VO info as possible, so that potential employers don’t get caught up in photos of your latest class reunion when all they’re trying to do is listen to your VO demo. If possible, you might want to have a separate site for your personal stuff so that professionals visiting your VO site don’t see anything that might adversely affect their judgment of you: those photos may be funny to you and your friends, but a casting director might not get the joke.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money, nor do you need to know html programming to set up a decent, effective Web site that you’ll be able to update yourself. Shop around, ask around, and find a Web hosting company that works for you. Check out other actors’ sites, and if you like what you see, shoot some of them an e-mail and ask who’s hosting their Web sites and who did the design (sometimes you’ll find that information at the bottom of the Web page). There are even companies that let you design your own free Web page, and that can help when you’re trying to get started on the cheap. In any case, creating a page is something you can do on your own. And a Web site is a resource that could prove very important. So full steam ahead!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

10 Common Voice Actor Mistakes

November 12th, 2013

Many thanks to Dave “Courvo” Courvoisier for this guest blog!

From Dave’s upcoming book, “You Need More Than a Good Voice to Do Voice Overs,” available soon!

 

Just as important as knowing WHAT to do in the VO business, is knowing what NOT to do! Being aware of the biggest classic mistakes ahead of time can really help you avoid them.

Some of these admonitions may seem obvious and common-sensical, others are basic concepts you can adapt to your style and business plan.

Do yourself a favor, print this out and post it in a place where you’ll see it often.

By-no-means-complete, but essential list of VO mistakes:

1) Being undecided about your rate. Do your research; many of us charge too little for our services. Or we are apologetic, defensive, blustering… Read the chapters on rates, a little further on in this book. There I lay out my opinions and experience in this area, and give lots of links to other experts’ suggestions as well! Come prepared to a conversation about rates with the client!

2) Believing all you need is an agent and you are in the black! Of course, a good agent is invaluable in obtaining auditions for you that you’d not get yourself, but they will never be your only source of sessions. Look for contacts, keep networking, marketing online and in person, and DO that cold-calling you’ve been putting off. Don’t rely solely on your agent.

3) Making your voice over demo when you are not yet ready. You need practice, you need coaching, you need to know your voice and what it can do. In short, you need to be really prepared. If you pay for that demo too soon, it can be wasted money. And no demo is forever. Be ready to go through the process as often as the market demands.

4) Not getting help with that first demo when you ARE ready! This is really a place for leaving it to the pros. You may think “How hard can it be?” to plop down your voice with your own new equipment. This is a common mistake, but believe me, studios bring experience, skill, and know-how to the process. You can’t be objective enough about your own demo, and you only get one shot at a first listen. Make it the best it can be!

5) Failing to get that agreement in writing. It is always vital to get something in writing. Memories of discussions and “agreements” can so easily change over time, with the potential to lead to uncomfortable and unnecessary conflicts. Plenty of voice actors don’t do this, but most clients don’t blink when you request it.

6) Forgetting to practice – ALOUD – every day! It is absolutely vital to read aloud every day; you can get rusty in a just a few days without this exercise. Do your voice exercises, repeat your tongue twisters, exercise your face, and oh, yes, READ ALOUD EVERY DAY!!

7) Not using TV and radio as an instant, powerful mechanism for practice, and for knowing what is current and popular, and in demand. You must know what is playing on the air at any given time! So listen and learn from today’s commercials, listen to narration on documentaries and reality shows. Stay current.

8) Forgetting the customer’s directives! Within the expertise that you bring to any project, the client’s wishes still need to remain at the top of the to-do list. This is a service industry. Do it their way, and if you think you can do better… make that your 2nd or 3rd take.

9) Being difficult to work with. This is an extension of number 8, above. Be considerate and easy to work with. Listen to the requests of the customer and the engineer, don’t be pushy. Follow up in a timely manner. Be in time, and on time. Never be arrogant. Don’t share info about the job with anyone else unless the client says it’s OK. They may welcome the extra PR, but they may not want anyone to know.

10) Expecting instant success. Don’t lose patience with this process. Be persistent, and be prepared to reach out time and again. Stay on the radar of prospects. Take more classes, buy more coaching, network endlessly… This is a business for tortoises, not hares.

 

 

THIS GUEST BLOG IS BY: Dave “Courvo” Courvoisier

Dave is a multiple Emmy-Award-winning TV News Anchor with more than 30 years experience in the biz. He currently anchors 3 newscasts daily at the CBS affiliate in Las Vegas, NV, KLAS-TV (http://www.8newsnow.com)

But Dave always thought he had at least one more good thing in him, and that thing is Voice Acting.

Now with eight years of voicing experience under his belt, Dave has clients that range from Audiobook publishers to E-Learning to Documentaries and Commercial spots. He’s studied with some of the best coaches in the business, and enjoys promoting the community of Voice Actors as a member of the executive board of World-Voices Organization.

Along the way, Dave embraced Social Media as his marketing plan, and THAT lead to even more demand for his services to explain how to use social networks in raising one’s profile on the internet. He has spoken at many business conferences and conducted a number of webinars on the subject of social media marketing.

Dave’s Website: http://courvo.com/
Dave’s Blog: http://www.courvo.biz/
Dave’s Website focusing on one of his strong niches: Audio Book Narrator: http://www.courvo.net/

 

Thanks again, Dave!