12:00 Noon – Debbie Munro is an experienced voiceover talent, introduced today by Caroline Perkins, Project Manager at Voice123.com. Debbie begins by describing how much she enjoys doing voiceovers. It wasn’t easy to get in to this business. It took a lot of hard work. She’s worked full-time for about 6 years and encouraged all of us to get a professional home studio set-up.
12:05 PM – Debbie talks about the value of a membership at Voice123.com (the sponsors of this Webminar), how it can provide professional experience auditioning, providing a web presence and possibly some income all for only $195.00 (US) per year.
12:08 PM – How do you start? With a demo? A demo is important, but she says the right place to start is at the start. She also mentions that she’s going to talk about The Key Ingredients of a voiceover career, the Types of Work available, different Reads to Know, How to Create Characters, A Script Checklist, Industry Secrets.
12:12 PM – How can voiceover work benefit me? By giving me the opportunity to work full or part time, at my own schedule. Work in my own home. It’s less discriminating than acting. (By this she explains “the look” is imperative, and talent can be secondary in film and television acting. Voiceover work depends on one’s talent, or ability to delivery the goods, is the whole deal.) But, to do this, you need training. Read. Take classes. Find our own styles and areas of ability.
12:17 PM – Further benefits of voiceover work? You can pick and choose what you want to work on. Do what you want and make money at it. Debbie suggests that they next time we’re at a party, start doing character voices for the kids. By this we learn to break through the inhibitions that we’ve lost since we were children. And this “childishness” is vital to be able to engage in characters. If the kids pay attention, you know you’re doing it well. This is how we get in touch with our “inner child” and learn to break through.
12:20 PM – So where do we start? Set realistic goals. It’s vital not to set goals that are completely out of reach. Take classes, but not just stage acting. Film and television acting as well; because it’s important to balance internal and external acting energy. Voiceover classes. Improv classes. Research the history of voiceover. For example, Daws Butler and June Foray.
12:24 PM – Create a demo. But, don’t rush into doing a demo. How do you know when you’re ready to make a demo? When you don’t have to ask yourself “Am I ready to make a demo?” Because you have to be actually deliver the goods of what’s on your demo when you’re in the studio. And make sure you work with a director who actually will direct. My demo needs to reflect who I am, my personality.
12:27 PM – Contract with an agent. But, don’t rely on the agent to find all of your work. Market yourself. Debbie mentions that she talks about her voiceover work where ever she goes. And finds a remarkable amount of work just by talking with people.
12:29 PM – Practice, practice, practice. Listen for interesting voices in real life. Audition the scripts that come through Voice123.com. All different kinds. Keep practicing and keep studying. Study the midwestern US accent, which is the “standard” sound.
12:31 PM – Book work and Have fun!
12:32 PM – What do we need? Talent and passion. Means to a recording studio, either through renting time at a local studio or building one’s own at home. A great demo. Listen to lots of demos. What do I like? What don’t I like. Write down impressions both ways. But, again, we have to be able to pull off what’s on our demo. A web site. Make sure my own personality shines through the site. We needs to be able to do different reads and characters. Lots of ideas. Don’t be afraid to add something to the copy, especially in animation. Versitility.
12:36 PM – Take a chance and put yourself out there. Risks are risks. There can be a huge payoff, and there can a huge downside. Being willing to look stupid. Never take “no” for an answer, take it for what it is “Not right now, maybe later.”
12:37 PM – Stay organized and keep business focused.
12:39 PM – What kind of work is available? Anything that has a voice? Talking toys. Video games. Internet flash presentations. Web sites. Every script has a character in it. See the characters. Find the characters. Our reads will improve. What reads do I need? Conversational, which is most popular right now. Hard Sell. Medium sell. Soft sell. Sultry (but to pull it off you have to feel sexy). Flat (throwing it away, kind of “less is more.”) Monotone which is harder that it seems. Straight. Energetic. Narrative (telling a story). Character (which is all over the place).
12:43 PM – Who am I (the character I’m playing)? Define with as much detail as possible, scanning for clues in the script. What am I talking to? Acting is reacting (re-acting). Back story? Motivation? Location and what’s happening? Each character is another personality, become that personality completely. There is no wrong way to do a character. The client might like it or not, but go with what seems right.
12:47 PM – Record practices. Listen back. It’s vitally important to be able to self-direct and learn. Listen for human qualities. Listen for what sounds “real” now fake. Learn to be comfortable with what we sound like. Stay focused.
12:49 PM – This is a tough business. You might not make it. But, there are a billion commercials every day (world wide) and James Earl Jones can’t voice them all. So, persist. Focus on realistic goals, not on getting rich. Staying power is vital. Have fun. Have faith in yourself. Be interesting and interested. Never stop learning. Tenacity is vital. Stop thinking about it. Do all the homework, but when you’re in front of the mike let it go and just let things come out.
The balance was questions and answers. Debbie talked about how she got started and her life-long passion for acting, the blossoming market of podcasts, suggestions for folks who are having a hard time landing work, taking further private coaching, focus on specific areas of work like commericals as you get started, how to find a good coach for training, how to learn computer audio editing, Debbie mentions that she’ll be starting an on-line course on January 9, 2007.