Resetting and Taking Stock

My introduction to voiceover class concluded last week. It actually went quite well, and I recommend that anyone interested in voice work who is in the Puget Sound region contact Scott Burns and/or Barbara Rey; working together they provide a great experience for a neophyte voice actor and a good path forward.

Lessons Learned

So, what have I learned? First, that I’m not as good as I thought I was. Which isn’t surprising; we’re always our own worst judge and biggest cheerleader. My takeaway from the class is that I have good physical talent, a nice voice and the beginnings of what it takes to be where I want to be in the professional voice world.

But only the beginnings. In real terms, I’m just not all that good (yet). The things I’ve noted myself that need work:

  • Natural delivery. I sound stilted or awkward. I also sometimes (often) sound like I’m trying to do a radio voice instead of doing a natural voice. I need to learn to relax and ignore the mic. You would be amazed at how hard this is to do.
  • Character and voice range. I have pretty much a couple of voice sounds I can do consistently; my natural speaking voice and some very basic characters, which often aren’t differentiated from my normal voice enough for someone to pick up on it consistently.
  • Self-Consciousness. When you get up on a mic, you’re supposed to be many things, some of which are mutually exclusive at first glance- you have to be relaxed yet you have to say things that are in a lot of cases difficult to say without cringing. You have to be natural and yet bigger than life. You have to sound normal, but also be distinctive.

What it comes down to is, I think, two things: Improving my acting ability and no longer being selfconscious. These things go hand in hand- consider that acting means getting up in front of people and doing things no one would normally do, in order to entertain.

Next Steps

Before you can act, you have to be totally unselfconscious. Not feeling awkward or embarrased about the things you’re doing or saying is a really hard thing to do- it doesn’t matter if you’re on a stage or behind a mic. In both cases you have an audience and the totally natural impulse is to be worried about what they think. “Was I too loud? Did that last line work? Did they believe it? Do they hate me?”

I have to work on losing that self-conscious aspect, to simply throw myself into the moment and not care about what people think until after I’m done.

Taking it Up a Notch

I think a lot of people explore the world of voice work, get about to where I am now and simply walk away because it isn’t easy. Well, nothing worth doing is, and you’re not going to see me give up on what has essentially been my dream for the last 25 years. The challenge is that I have to make a living in the meantime, and I’m the sole wage-earner in my household. I can’t just run off and do whatever, so I have to make sure I work toward my goals without breaking the bank, losing my job, or hurting my family.

So first, I’ve taken down my demos. They were terrible and I shouldn’t have had them up, but I simply didn’t realize how bad they were until I got into some training. I’m now at a stage where I realize that yeah, I’m no great shakes, but I know where I need to go in order to get to my goal.

Second, I’m going to do a daily voice blog. This will be short, raw and will focus on developing my improvisational skills and learning how to be relaxed and natural behind the mic. I get up at 5 AM and get home at 8 PM every day. I simply can’t go take an improv acting course easily. I have to pick and choose the classes I attend to fit in the budget and time constraints at hand, but that doesn’t mean I have to just do nothing in the meantime.

The first voice blog will be tonight. I hope you enjoy it!

2 Responses to “Resetting and Taking Stock”

  1. Tweets that mention Resetting and Taking Stock – The Voice of Cyclometh -- Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Cyclometh, Declarations of War. Declarations of War said: Blogged- Becoming a voice artist isn't easy, and you better check your ego at the door: […]

  2. rox Says:

    The only thing I miss about my former job was the time I got to spend on stage. Having an audience eating out of the palm of my hand is my favorite drug. I would imagine it would be difficult if you couldn’t see them out there…