VAM 119 | Interview with America Young, Part 3

VAM 119 | Interview with America Young, Part 3

Welcome to episode 119 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

Welcome to the third and final part of my interview with the multi-talented America Young! In part 1 and part 2 of this interview, America shared with us her experiences working in almost every aspect of performing! She’s worked on-camera, as a voice actor, as a stunt performer and most importantly for our conversation, as a motion capture actress in video games! We’re very fortunate to have America talk with us about what it takes to succeed in the developing world of motion capture.

In the last episode, America helped define for us what motion capture is and how it differs from the more recently coined term, performance capture. She also explained how her experience as an on-camera actor and stunt performer informs her motion capture work. In addition, we discussed some of the most common practices in the world of motion capture.

As we wrap up our time together, America explains how she creates a character physically when she has very little information to work with. This is a common occurrence in video games where actors are rarely given an entire script from beginning to end to study before they are asked to perform. She also stresses the importance of using your imagination when performing motion capture. The MoCap volume is basically a big empty space that requires you to fill in the details of the world around you with your own creativity. We also touch on how America’s knowledge of geeky subjects like comic books can be both helpful and a hindrance when approaching her work.

Make sure to check out America’s movie, The Concessionaires Must Die!

 

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #119 Here (MP3)

 

VAM 118 | Interview with America Young, Part 2

VAM 118 | Interview with America Young, Part 2

Welcome to episode 118 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

Welcome to the second part of my interview with the multi-talented America Young! America has had experience in almost every aspect of performing! She’s worked on-camera, as a voice actor, as a stunt performer and most importantly for our conversation, as a motion capture actress in video games! I was eager to talk to America so she could share her insight with us about what it takes to succeed in the developing world of motion capture.

We begin our discussion in this episode by defining what motion capture is and how it differs from performance capture. We then explore how America’s background in acting and stunt work helped her when she had the opportunity to audition to be a motion capture actress for a Spiderman game. After that, we go into detail about some of the most common practices in motion capture and what you can expect when when find yourself on a motion capture stage.

America has a wealth of information to share so listen closely! You’ll learn how important it is to have a solid background in acting before attempting to perform as a physical character in video games!

 

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #118 Here (MP3)

 

VAM 117 | Interview with America Young, Part 1

VAM 117 | Interview with America Young, Part 1

Welcome to episode 117 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

Welcome to the first part of my interview with a woman who seems to have so many different abilities that it’s difficult to know quite how to categorize her! America Young has worked as a voice actress, an on-camera actress, a commercial actress and a stunt performer in addition to directing and producing her own films! She’s been working in the entertainment industry in one form or another since she was 6 years old! Her breadth of experience is truly astounding and I could spend multiple episodes just talking about the various projects she’s worked on. However, for the purposes of this podcast, I decided to focus on America’s voice acting resume and how she was able to translate her theatrical and stunt experience into becoming a motion capture actress.

One of the most interesting developments in the entertainment industry in the past decade or so has been the incorporation of motion capture performances into films and video games. Motion Capture, also called Performance Capture, is a means of recording an actor’s performance not on film, but digitally inside the virtual 3D space of a computer. This allows animators to then manipulate that performance and use it to bring characters to life in films and video games.

Motion Capture is utilized extensively in the video game industry to help animate characters for gameplay. It’s also used to create in-game cinematics. More and more actors are being asked not only to voice a character in a video game, but to supply a physical performance for that character as well. Since this is such a new and developing niche, I felt it was important to share with my audience what it takes to work in the world of Motion Capture.

While there are certain techniques specific to motion capture that you definitely must master in order to be successful, motion capture is still acting; it requires the same solid acting skills that any performance medium does. Therefore, in the first part of this interview, America and I discuss her background as a performer. We cover what inspired her to pursue acting, what challenges she faced early in her career, and how she was able to break into the industry. Following America’s journey towards becoming a professional actress in film and voice over is very enlightening. It will help you understand the foundational skills you as a voice actor need to develop in order to be an effective Motion Capture performer. That way you can be prepared when the opportunity arrises!

 

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #117 Here (MP3)

 

VAM 112 | Being a Professional Voice Actor is Not a Skill, It’s a Lifestyle

VAM 112 | Being a Professional Voice Actor is Not a Skill, It’s a Lifestyle

Welcome to episode 112 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 want to talk about what it takes to become a wildly successful voice actor. And when I say “wildly successful”, I mean working on the most well-known and prestigious projects out there. These are the shows you or your kids watch every day, or the video games you spend hours playing. These are the movies that move you, or the characters who inspire you. Many are household names and billion-dollar franchises. Some are not as well-known, but still very respected in their own niches. Aspiring voice actors often tell me how passionate they are about getting to work on the things they love the most, so chances are that if you’re listening to this podcast, you want to become a good enough actor to work on some of the most admired and beloved shows and games in the world.

This is certainly the case with most of my students. When they come to me to learn, they want to know what it takes to work in the most celebrated areas of character voice acting. As I show them how to analyze scenes and portray characters, they can sometimes become frustrated that they are not as facile as I am at interpreting a script or understanding a character’s motivation. They are always grateful when I can help them break down their acting scenes in clear and useful ways, but they want to know how to do it on their own more effectively, and they often ask me how it is that I can figure out a scene so quickly. I usually explain to them that one huge advantage I have over them is experience. I’ve been doing this a lot longer than they have and so I’ve had more opportunities to take risks and learn from my mistakes. I try to reassure them that if they consistently apply my acting techniques and spend more time practicing and gaining experience, they too will start to be able to understand characters and scenes with more depth and facility.

As you can imagine, this slow-and-steady approach doesn’t always satisfy some of my students. Every so often I’ll get one who’s convinced that there is some sort of magical secret I’m not telling them. They usually ask, “So what’s the trick?” as if there’s some simple, catch-all technique to acting well on a moment’s notice, and that if I’d just stop holding out on them, they could learn that technique and get on with being wildly successful.

While I’d love to come out and say that I’ve distilled how to achieve success in voice acting down to one crucial, sure-fire technique, I’m going to be 100% honest and say that if there is a such a “trick”, I’ve never heard of it. In all my years as a working voice actor, I’ve never encountered just one sure-fire way to nail a performance, or any technique that’s guaranteed to work for everyone, every time. Acting just isn’t that formulaic. While there are certain approaches and techniques that can help get you in the vicinity of a believable performance, in the end, it’s your own fascination and dedication that is going to help you consistently bring characters to life. The most successful actors I know don’t think in terms of looking for “tricks”. They are so immersed in their fascination for the craft of acting that they eat, breathe and sleep it. Acting is not a skill for them. It’s a lifestyle. So in order for you to get on that level and play with the big names in the industry, I’ve got to impress upon you once and for all that techniques are only a small part of the larger acting picture. Furthermore, no acting “trick” will ever be powerful enough to compete against these “lifestyle” voice actors. They will beat you, every time. So, it’s time to up your game and embrace acting as a lifestyle rather than just a set of skills you need to get a job. What does it mean to make acting your lifestyle rather than just your skill? Let’s find out.

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #112 Here (MP3)

 

VAM 104 | Does Your Acting Communicate? Why You Need an Audience

VAM 104 | Does Your Acting Communicate? Why You Need an Audience

Welcome to episode 104 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 want to impress upon you the importance of developing your acting skills in front of an audience.

Too often people approach me wanting to be voice actors, but they seem disinterested in or afraid of performing in front of people. They think that voice acting is somehow more “private” or “safer” than being a stage actor or performing in film and television, and they are hoping this “safety” or “privacy” will make it easier for them to be a voice actor. This misconception is quite common and can actually foster a mindset that can cripple one’s ability to succeed in voice acting, so I felt it was important to address it in detail.

You see, what most of these shy but hopeful aspiring voice actors don’t realize is that in trying to avoid performing in front of an audience, they are actually denying themselves something they critically need. Without the feedback and response one gets from an audience, an actor is just going through the motions, shooting blindly in the dark, unaware of whether they are communicating effectively. Avoiding the audience is like trying to learn tango without a dance partner, or shooting hoops without a net, or playing tennis by yourself. Not only are these things crazy, they are also ineffective. They don’t make you any better.

If you really want to be a pro at voice acting, there’s really no faster or more effective way I know than to practice acting in front of an audience. I realize this might still seem like a terrifying prospect to some of my listeners. So I’m going to do my best in this episode to explain why it’s so important as well as how to overcome any anxiety you might have about performing in front of others. I’m sure you’ll find it useful!

 

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #104 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)

 

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