Naught for November Newsletter with Tara & Yuri

November 25th, 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: Naught For November Newsletter, Nov 2014

Yuri and I are on a race to try to get things done before the holidays hit in what seems like record time. We have a bundle of projects in various stages that we are trying to get checked off our To-Do lists, so Santa can check us off his Nice list (and not the Naught(y) one!)! We are releasing Con Artists (finally) by hosting a free convention for all: Con-Con, we have been meditating in a daily practice for every single day this year (personal goals of ours), and we are prepping for our holiday travel to Europe. May your year end with as much gusto and excitement, and here is to a wonderful 2015 for us all with naught a moment to spare!

Tara :) (&Yuri)

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

 

Click here to read more: Newsletter: Naught for November with Tara & Yuri, November, 2014

 

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The Voiceover Career: “Fake It ‘til You Make It”

November 14th, 2014

Book nova plain

Here is an excerpt from our book, Voice Over Voice Actor: What it’s like behind the mic. Hope you find it helpful!

 

“But I haven’t done any work yet! What am I supposed to put on my reel?” you may ask, your brow furrowing in panic and dismay. Relax that brow. A demo reel doesn’t have to be from actual work you have already done; more often than not, everything on a demo is totally fabricated. As a matter of fact, even if you do have some real material to put on your reel, you may want to put made-up stuff on it anyway. This will allow you to focus the demo and highlight the qualities that you want to showcase. After all, demo can also mean demonstration of what you can do, not necessarily what you have done.

Now here’s a thing that’s going to highlight the weirdness of the entertainment biz: all agents know that actors make up most of what’s on their demos, especially when just starting out; but they still want to be fooled. So that’s what you’ve gotta do. Fool ‘em as best you can. Let’s see how you can do that.

What are you going to record? Well, first we’re going to caution you against copying things directly from other commercial spots you hear or shows you see. The reason for that is this: as big as you think this world is, people are paying attention; and with people like casting directors and agents, it’s their job to pay attention.

You don’t want to record yourself doing a McDonald’s spot you heard on the radio or shouting out the catchphrase of a popular animated character, and then send it to an agency whose client actually did record that spot or character. Your demo will immediately be outed and possibly thrown away. That’s not to say it’s definitely going to happen, but we feel that in this situation, it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when there are easy ways to cover your tracks.

This seems like a good place to mention something else that we feel is important and will serve you throughout your long career in this business: don’t lie about the work you’ve done. There might be a temptation to say that you worked on things you didn’t work on so you seem more experienced to a possible employer, especially in the beginning when you don’t have any credits to speak of. Don’t. Don’t do it.

We’re not saying you should open every conversation with, “Okay, now, I just want you to know that I have never done this before.” If they don’t ask, let ‘em think what they want. But don’t put titles that you didn’t work on, on your résumé because you’ll be working in a very tight circle of people. And if the person reading your résumé didn’t cast it, odds are he or she knows the person who did, or the director; and being caught in a lie is a great way to get remembered for all the wrong reasons. Don’t get caught up in trying to make people think you’re much more experienced than you are. If they like you, they’re going to want to be the one who discovered you. Let ‘em discover you.

After reading the last few paragraphs, you may be saying to yourself, Hey, first they’re telling me to fake it and now they’re telling me not to lie. What gives? Sure, our advice on these two issues can be seen as inconsistent, but trust us on this one. Acting is a business of illusion, and the demo is an accepted bending of the rules in this world. Taking credit for things you did not do, not so much.

Now that we’ve hopefully made that clear, let’s get back to making your demo sound as legit as you can. But if I can’t copy real things, how am I supposed to know what to record? you may ask. Well, here’s another place where we’re going to ask you to employ that powerful imagination of yours. Look at some real stuff … and then mess with it.

To create commercial copy for your reel, go pick up a magazine and flip through the ads. Print ads are written differently than radio or TV ads, so you won’t ever have to worry about someone already having recorded this spot. Now mess with it, rewrite it a bit, and make it your own.

Do the same for animation and video game bits. Watch, listen, play, take notes. Then mess with it, riff on it, make it your own. If you really hate writing, find a friend who’s good at it and see if he or she will help you. Before you know it, you’ll have scripts to record. And you don’t need many.

Let’s say you’ve recorded your demo as professionally as you can. Now, you’ll want someone (an audio engineer) to spend time mixing it and sweetening it with effects and music, so that it sounds as if the spots were pulled from actual shows or commercials. The engineer will work with each clip you’ve recorded as if it were a real spot, and make it sound as good as possible; then you’ll work together to pull your favorite section of each spot.

You’ll want your demo to run about sixty seconds total, so you’ll have to pick only the best part from each spot. Agents and casting directors are busy people. They’re not going to have time to listen to a five-minute demo, so you gotta hook ‘em quickly and leave ‘em wanting more.

Another trick that engineers often use to help the demo reel sound more realistic is to change the recording levels and settings between the different spots. This way, even if you record them back-to-back in one session, the sound quality will be slightly different from spot to spot, just as if you had recorded each spot at a different time in a different studio with a different engineer. You can even help the engineer achieve this effect by changing your position slightly from script to script. It may seem funny, but sound is a finicky thing; and little things, even moving an inch back from the mic, or an inch left or right, can drastically affect how your voice is recorded. That’s why, if you record at a certain studio regularly, you may notice the mic setup is always the same in order to maintain consistency in recording.

All of these things will add up to a professional sounding demo, which will be key in helping to open the doors that lead to work. Don’t be afraid to spend both time and money on your demo, but also don’t be afraid to shop around. If a deal seems too good to be true, make sure it isn’t by first doing a little research on your own. If the Internet’s good for something, it’s research. Well, research and downloading videos of cats doing cute things.

  

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Voice Over Artist: Rob Paulsen

October 20th, 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

 

 

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

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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…

 

 

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