VAM 094 | Interview with Phil LaMarr, Part 2

VAM 094 | Interview with Phil LaMarr, Part 2

Welcome to episode 94 of the Voice Acting Mastery podcast with yours truly, Crispin Freeman!

As always, you can listen to the podcast using the player above, or download the mp3 using the link at the bottom of this blog post. The podcast is also available via the iTunes Store online. Just follow this link to view the podcast in iTunes:

http://www.voiceactingmastery.com/podcast

This is the second part of my interview with the amazing Phil LaMarr.

Phil’s roles in animation include Hermes Conrad in Futurama, the John Stewart Green Lantern in Justice League, Kit Fisto in Star Wars: Clone Wars and the title character in Samurai Jack. I’m incredibly grateful to Phil for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to my listeners.

In the previous episode, Phil discussed some of the challenges he faced during the first year he decided to pursue acting as a full-time career. Those experiences made him really take stock of his situation and decide if acting was something he truly wanted to do. He realized that he actually had some personal judgements about how one should pursue acting and those limiting beliefs were keeping him from progressing. Once he let go of those judgements, he started to see things change.

In this episode we discuss the details of how those changes began to take shape. Phil’s enthusiasm for improvisational acting had a profound affect on the trajectory of his career. It was the opportunities that his improvisational skills opened up for him that eventually gave him a chance to start working as a voice actor. We begin this segment of our chat with me asking him to give a quick recap of how his acting career began.

 

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #94 Here (MP3)

 

VAM 093 | Interview with Phil LaMarr, Part 1

VAM 093 | Interview with Phil LaMarr, Part 1

Welcome to episode 93 of the Voice Acting Mastery podcast with yours truly, Crispin Freeman!

As always, you can listen to the podcast using the player above, or download the mp3 using the link at the bottom of this blog post. The podcast is also available via the iTunes Store online. Just follow this link to view the podcast in iTunes:

http://www.voiceactingmastery.com/podcast

Today, I have a very special treat for my listeners!

Welcome to the first part of my interview with the amazingly versatile voice actor Phil LaMarr.

Phil’s roles in animation run the gamut from Hermes Conrad in Futurama, to the John Stewart Green Lantern in Justice League, to Kit Fisto in Star Wars: Clone Wars to the title character in Samurai Jack. I’m so grateful to Phil for taking the time to share with us his unique perspective on voice acting.

In this first episode, we focus on his very early career. Phil talks with me about some of the challenges he faced after college when he made his first serious attempts to break into the entertainment business as an actor. While he did not feel like he made much progress initially, it turns out the challenges and frustrations he faced ended up helping him focus his attention on what he truly wanted to achieve and on what it would take to accomplish his goals.

But I’ll let Phil tell you about that.

 

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #93 Here (MP3)

 

VAM 092 | Acting vs. Demonstrating: Bringing Yourself to the Character

VAM 092 | Acting vs. Demonstrating: Bringing Yourself to the Character

Welcome to episode 92 of the Voice Acting Mastery podcast with yours truly, Crispin Freeman!

As always, you can listen to the podcast using the player above, or download the mp3 using the link at the bottom of this blog post. The podcast is also available via the iTunes Store online. Just follow this link to view the podcast in iTunes:

http://www.voiceactingmastery.com/podcast

In this episode, I’d like to talk about the difference between acting a character and demonstrating a character.

At first, it may not seem obvious why it’s so important to make this distinction and to understand its implications, because no one ever talks about “voice demonstrating”. We talk about “voice acting”, and rightly so, because that’s what we’re all here to do, right? The truth is that people get these two concepts mixed up all the time. What’s worse is that when many people believe they are acting, they are actually demonstrating.

This can be a fatal mistake, because while sincere acting is inherently believable and engaging, demonstrating a character is not. This misunderstanding is especially common among beginning voice actors, and I have observed many of my students struggling with it, even if they’ve never quite used these words to describe it. The symptoms of “demonstrating” are obvious: performances feel affected or “put on”, dialogue sounds forced or unnatural, and characters seem more like “caricatures” than real people. All of these symptoms contribute to one inevitable outcome: the performance is not believable and the audience does not engage.

So how does one truly act a character and not fall into the trap of simply demonstrating that character? How can you know if your performance is actually believable, or whether you’re just going through the motions? Let’s solve this conundrum together.

 

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #92 Here (MP3)

 

VAM 091 | Voice Acting Is a Physical Art, Not Simply a Mental One

VAM 091 | Voice Acting Is a Physical Art, Not Simply a Mental One

Welcome to episode 91 of the Voice Acting Mastery podcast with yours truly, Crispin Freeman!

As always, you can listen to the podcast using the player above, or download the mp3 using the link at the bottom of this blog post. The podcast is also available via the iTunes Store online. Just follow this link to view the podcast in iTunes:

http://www.voiceactingmastery.com/podcast

In this episode I’d like to discuss the vital importance of incorporating one’s physicality into a voice acting performance.

This is a challenge that comes up often when I am teaching my students, both in my group classes and during individual private coaching sessions. Often, I will be working with a student who is quite capable, knows how to listen and take direction, and may even have wonderful natural acting instincts, but their performances consistently fall flat because they do not engage their body when acting. Their mind and even their emotions may be fully engaged, but something is still missing, and it affects the believability of their reads.

What is this mysterious missing something, and why is it so important to put your physicality into your performance when voice acting? After all, you’re in a small padded room with a mic in front of you. How physical can you really be anyway? Because voice acting does happen in a booth and not on a stage or in front of a camera with sets, props and costumes, it can sometimes seem less like a physical performing art and more like a mental exercise. There is a common misconception that if you speak the words correctly and understand the emotions in a scene, your acting should be believable regardless of what your body is doing.

I’m here to set the record straight and to explain that all acting, even voice acting, is actually a physical artistic craft. If your performance is not rooted in your body, and if the character you are playing is not influenced by your physicality, your acting will never sound believable on a professionally competitive level. Allow me to explain to you how this works in this episode.

 

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #91 Here (MP3)

 

VAM 090 | The Myth of Talent: Can Anyone Be a Voice Actor?

VAM 090 | The Myth of Talent: Can Anyone Be a Voice Actor?

Welcome to episode 90 of the Voice Acting Mastery podcast with yours truly, Crispin Freeman!

As always, you can listen to the podcast using the player above, or download the mp3 using the link at the bottom of this blog post. The podcast is also available via the iTunes Store online. Just follow this link to view the podcast in iTunes:

http://www.voiceactingmastery.com/podcast

In this episode I’d like to address a common misconception that I find many people have about the nature of acting.

Sometimes I feel like acting is one of the most misunderstood of the performing arts, mostly because it seems so invisible when someone is doing it well. A truly believable acting performance can seem so transparent and effortless that it feels as though nothing is really going on and the actor is just naturally self-expressing. The illusion of transparency applies doubly to voice acting, where even the actor giving the performance is unseen by the audience.

This invisibility can lead many listeners to infer that either the actor giving the performance is just naturally talented, or that voice acting is something that anyone can do without much effort. To some it seems like the actor is doing something unattainably magical and this means that acting must require some sort of mysterious inborn ability. To others it sounds like the actor is just talking, and since talking to other people is something we all tend to do in our everyday lives, how artistically demanding could voice acting truly be? So which is correct?

Does it take natural talent to become a voice actor, or can anyone just step up to the mic and talk their way to fame and fortune?

Let’s find out!

 

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #90 Here (MP3)

 

VAM 089 | Better Voice Acting Through Critical Listening

VAM 089 | Better Voice Acting Through Critical Listening

Welcome to episode 89 of the Voice Acting Mastery podcast with yours truly, Crispin Freeman!

As always, you can listen to the podcast using the player above, or download the mp3 using the link at the bottom of this blog post. The podcast is also available via the iTunes Store online. Just follow this link to view the podcast in iTunes:

http://www.voiceactingmastery.com/podcast

In this episode, I’d like to talk about a skill that is crucial to becoming a better voice actor: Critical Listening.

I touched on this topic briefly in my interview with Edward Bosco and Kimlinh Tran back in episodes 33, 34 and 35 of the podcast. When I asked Kimlinh what advice she would give to aspiring voice actors, she explained that the best thing they could do is to develop their Critical Listening Skills. I agreed.

If you’re going to pursue voice acting professionally you need to be able to listen to an actor’s performance, understand what acting choices they made, and then decide whether or not those acting decisions are the best ones to serve the character and the story. Until you develop the ability to listen to performances critically in both other actor’s work and in your own acting, you won’t know what you need to do to improve your performances. So let’s spend this episode talking about what it takes to develop your critical listening skills.

 

I hope you enjoy the episode!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #89 Here (MP3)

 

VAM 088 | Q & A Session 17 – Reducing Sibilance & Practicing ADR and Anime

VAM 088 | Q & A Session 17 – Reducing Sibilance & Practicing ADR and Anime

Welcome to episode 88 of the Voice Acting Mastery podcast with yours truly, Crispin Freeman!

As always, you can listen to the podcast using the player above, or download the mp3 using the link at the bottom of this blog post. The podcast is also available via the iTunes Store online. Just follow this link to view the podcast in iTunes:

http://www.voiceactingmastery.com/podcast

In this episode, I continue answering questions from my podcast audience! For those who may not be as familiar with the podcast, in past episodes, I’ve given out a phone number where you can call in and leave me a question about voice acting as a voicemail. From time to time, I’ll pick the most relevant questions I receive and answer them here on the podcast.

For this round of Q & A, I answer questions from Yvonne from Oakland, CA and Emily from Tampa, FL.

Yvonne works in the audiobook industry. He’s been having trouble with his recordings being too sibilant.

First, let me define sibilance for those of my listeners who may not be familiar with the term. Sibilance is the sound one makes in the English language when one makes an “s” sound. In the world of voice over, sibilance usually refers to someone whose “s” sounds are too pronounced or hissy.

I give Yvonne some tips on how to reduce the sibilance in his recordings, both in terms what he might need to change in his performance as well as numerous technical solutions to the problem.
 
Emily is aware that in order to work as a voice actor in anime, a performer needs to know how to match the lip flap of characters on the screen. She’d like to know how to practice matching lip flap on her own.

Matching the lip flap of characters on the screen is a challenging skill to develop.

The practice of dubbing your voice to preexisting video footage is known as Automatic Dialogue Replacement or ADR. Not only is ADR work challenging for an actor, but because the technical requirements to set up an ADR recording session are complicated, it’s challenging for a recording engineer as well.

While running your own ADR setup is possible it requires manipulation of audio and video on a professional level. I share some of the software one can use to run ADR sessions on your own, but learning how to use such software effectively still requires a significant investment of time and energy.

Emily’s time might be better served by taking classes like my Anime Voice Acting Workshops where all the technical challenges are taken care of.

 

I hope you find the answers useful in your own voice acting endeavors!

 

If any of my listeners would like to call in with your own thoughts, thank you’s or questions, the number is:

323-696-2655.

Please don’t forget to include your first name and what city in the world you’re calling from. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for listening!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #88 Here (MP3)

 

VAM 087 | Q & A Session 16 – Shadowing vs. Internships & A Day in the Life of a Voice Actor

VAM 087 | Q & A Session 16 – Shadowing vs. Internships & A Day in the Life of a Voice Actor

Welcome to episode 87 of the Voice Acting Mastery podcast with yours truly, Crispin Freeman!

As always, you can listen to the podcast using the player above, or download the mp3 using the link at the bottom of this blog post. The podcast is also available via the iTunes Store online. Just follow this link to view the podcast in iTunes:

http://www.voiceactingmastery.com/podcast

In this episode, I continue answering questions from my podcast audience! For those who may not be as familiar with the podcast, in past episodes, I’ve given out a phone number where you can call in and leave me a question about voice acting as a voicemail. From time to time, I’ll pick the most relevant questions I receive and answer them here on the podcast.

For this round of Q & A, I answer questions from Justin from San Diego, CA and Tina from Chicago, IL.

Justin wants to know if it’s possible to shadow or apprentice under working voice actors in order to learn about the industry.

I understand and applaud the idea of apprenticeship. I think it can be far more educational to work with someone who actually makes a living in your field of interest than to simply study that career from a distance.

However, there are some unique challenges that arise from trying to shadow people who are working as voice actors, especially in the world of animation and video games. I explain those challenges in detail and offer an alternative that might be more productive: internships.
 

Tina wants to know what a normal schedule for a full-time voice actor would be on a daily basis.

Tina asks a great question. The problem is there is no simple answer. With most traditional professions where you are required to go to an office or some other place of work day after day, it is possible to describe what an average work day might be like. This is not the case with voice acting. Voice actors can have very inconsistent schedules, which makes it difficult to describe a “typical” workday for a voice actor.

While I don’t know if I can tell her what a typical voice actor’s day might be like, I can share with her how variable my schedule as a voice actor tends to be.

 

I hope you find the answers useful in your own voice acting endeavors!

 

If any of my listeners would like to call in with your own thoughts, thank you’s or questions, the number is:

323-696-2655.

Please don’t forget to include your first name and what city in the world you’re calling from. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for listening!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #87 Here (MP3)

 

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