VAM 126 | Speech Problems that Might Be Holding You Back

VAM 126 | Speech Problems that Might Be Holding You Back

Welcome to episode 126 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 spend some time discussing how important it is to be aware of what you sound like when you’re speaking. I have watched too many of my voice acting students struggle because they are unaware of what their own voice actually sounds like. Unbeknownst to many, what you hear inside your head when you’re speaking is not what others hear. If you haven’t taken the time to get to know how you actually sound to the rest of the world, you’re missing out on crucial information that can make or break your voice acting career. Not only do you need to be aware of the tone or timbre of your voice, but you also need to become intimately familiar with your habitual manner of speaking and how you articulate words. Like a musician playing an instrument, it’s vital that you understand exactly what kind of sounds you are producing and how they are perceived by others. Without such self-awareness, you will not know how to modify your delivery for different characters you’re asked to play, or how to make precise vocal adjustments in order to communicate effectively to your audience.

For some actors, their habitual manner of speech might be fine for portraying certain characters. These actors may have a sound that is marketable or popular at the moment, so they may not feel the need to spend much time thinking about how they sound. After all, it’s working so far. Meanwhile, other actors may struggle to be considered for parts because they may have regionalisms or enunciation problems which make it difficult for producers to cast them. Regardless of whether you are blessed with a currently marketable sound, or have some speech challenges that you need to overcome, at some point nearly every actor will be asked to play a character who speaks with a different intonation, accent, or vocal quality than the one you use in everyday life. In those situations, you need to be able to modify the way you speak in order to suit the character you’re being asked to portray.

While at first it may seem obvious that a voice actor needs to know what they sound like and how they speak, you might be surprised at how often I work with people who seem completely unaware of either of these things. If someone on the outside points out that they might have regionalisms or limiting speech patterns, they can often become quite defensive. In this episode, I want to explain why this is and help share some useful tools to help you overcome any limitations you might be facing due to habitual speech patterns. Changing how we speak is actually an incredibly emotional topic and can make many people feel uncomfortable. Hopefully by the end of this episode, you’ll not only understand the underlying issues at work here, but you’ll have a far better grasp on what you as a voice actor can do to avoid any speech problems that might be holding you back.
 
Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #126 Here (MP3)

 

VAM 125 | Interview with Richard Tatum, Part 3

VAM 125 | Interview with Richard Tatum, Part 3

Welcome to episode 125 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 third and final part of my interview with my good friend Richard Tatum! Richard is not only an accomplished voice actor, and voice over teacher, but also an amazing producer of voice over demos. You may know him as Rex Goodman in Fallout 4, the voice of Theodore Roosevelt in Civilization VI and Omar Harmozi from the animated series Static Shock. I first came across Richard’s work as a demo producer when one of my students played me her demos and I was blown away by how well they represented her abilities as an actress. Not only was her character demo very compelling, but her commercial demo was impressive as well. When I asked her who had produced them, she introduced me to Richard and he and I have been friends ever since.

In our previous interview segment, Richard and I discussed how he began producing demos for voice actors. He not only shared with us some great advice about what one should put on a demo but he also outlined the mindset one should have when using your demo to market yourself to agents and casting directors.

In this episode we discuss some of the most common misconceptions about demos. We talk about when the best time is to make a demo and how important it is to have professionally competitive acting skills before investing one’s valuable time and money into producing a demo. We wrap up our discussion with Richard’s final advice to aspiring voice actors. His words of wisdom are based not only on his years of acting but also his experience directing hundreds of performers on stage and in front of the microphone. I think you’ll find his insights incredibly helpful.

If you’d like to find out more about Richard’s classes and voice over demo services, please visit his website at:
AbsoluteVoiceOverLA.com
or contact him via e-mail at:
AbsoluteVOLA@gmail.com

Thanks for listening!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #125 Here (MP3)

 

VAM 124 | Interview with Richard Tatum, Part 2

VAM 124 | Interview with Richard Tatum, Part 2

Welcome to episode 124 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 my good friend Richard Tatum! Richard is not only an accomplished voice actor, and voice over teacher, but also an amazing producer of voice over demos. You may know him as Rex Goodman in Fallout 4, the voice of Theodore Roosevelt in Civilization VI and Omar Harmozi from the animated series Static Shock. I first came across Richard’s work as a demo producer when one of my students played me her demos and I was blown away by how well they represented her abilities as an actress. Not only was her character demo very compelling, but her commercial demo was impressive as well. When I asked her who had produced them, she introduced me to Richard and he and I have been friends ever since.

In our previous interview segment, we discussed the beginning of Richard’s acting journey and how his strong theatrical acting background helped him pursue a voice over career. Amazingly, Richard broke into voice acting not just once, but twice! The first time was around 1996 when he got his first agent and started booking voice over work in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, when the actor’s union strike against commercials in 1999 dragged on for 6 months, Richard found that he needed to pursue other employment opportunities outside of voice over. Years later, in 2011, he decided to approach voice acting again. This time around he had a more methodical approach as well as far more experience under his belt. I think it’s incredibly useful to hear what changed and what stayed the same between both time periods when it comes to trying to break into the voice acting world.

In this episode, we’ll talk about how Richard began producing demos for voice actors. Through some wonderful synchronicity, Richard was able to join forces with a colleague of his to start coaching voice actors as well as help develop their demos. Not only do we discuss what you should and should not put on your demo, Richard also explains the mindset you need to have in order to use that demo to market yourself effectively to agents and casting directors. I certainly learned a lot from this segment with Richard and I’m sure you will as well!

If you’d like to find out more about Richard’s classes and voice over demo services, please visit his website at:
AbsoluteVoiceOverLA.com
or contact him via e-mail at:
AbsoluteVOLA@gmail.com

Thanks for listening!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #124 Here (MP3)

 

VAM 123 | Interview with Richard Tatum, Part 1

VAM 123 | Interview with Richard Tatum, Part 1

Welcome to episode 123 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 my good friend Richard Tatum! Richard is not only an accomplished voice actor, and voice over teacher, but also an amazing producer of voice over demos. You may know him as Rex Goodman in Fallout 4, the voice of Theodore Roosevelt in Civilization VI and Omar Harmozi from the animated series Static Shock. I first came across Richard’s work as a demo producer when one of my students played me her demos and I was blown away by how well they represented her abilities as an actress. Not only was her character demo very compelling, but her commercial demo was impressive as well. When I asked her who had produced them, she introduced me to Richard and he and I have been friends ever since.

Like myself, Richard got his training in the theater and even had an opportunity in college to perform on stage with Patrick Stewart in a production of Shakespeare’s the Tempest! After moving to Los Angeles, Richard pursued both voice acting and theater and has made quite a name for himself as a director and adaptor of stage plays. He’s been nominated repeatedly for the prestigious LA Theater’s Ovation awards for his work as a director, and he applies these admirable directorial skills while helping voice actors create their voice over demos.

In the first part of our talk, we focus on Richard’s acting background and how he began his career as a performer. Early on he worked as an actor in a repertory theater company in Philadelphia, but it didn’t take long before he realized he wanted to make the move to Los Angeles to expand his acting prospects. Upon arriving in LA he began working as a tour guide at Universal Studios. This was fortuitous as it made it possible for him to take a workshop with a former tour guide who had become a professional voice actor, the famous Bob Bergen. Bob is probably most well known for being the current voice of Porky Pig, but he’s worked on hundreds of other influential voice acting projects. Bob was able to help Richard learn how to take his existing theatrical acting skills and best apply them in the world of voice acting. Making the transition from theatrical acting to voice acting can be challenging. I know it was for me at times. That’s why I really enjoy hearing how Richard was able to internalize Bob’s advice and apply it not only to his own voice acting career, but also to producing voice over demos for others. I think my listeners will really benefit from this time-tested wisdom.

If you’d like to find out more about Richard’s classes and voice over demo services, please visit his website at:
AbsoluteVoiceOverLA.com
or contact him via e-mail at:
AbsoluteVOLA@gmail.com

Thanks for listening!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #123 Here (MP3)

 

VAM 122 | Q & A Session 24 – Should You Pursue a Career that Pleases Your Parents or Follow Your Voice Acting Dreams?

VAM 122 | Q & A Session 24 – Should You Pursue a Career that Pleases Your Parents or Follow Your Voice Acting Dreams?

Welcome to episode 122 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 a very important question from Jessie of Chicago, IL.

Jessie wants to know if he should live a stable, conventional life that makes him miserable, or should he take chances with his future, live unconventionally, and lose everything.

I’m grateful to Jessie for his very philosophical question! It’s actually a really important subject to cover, so I’m going to spend this entire episode making sure I address it fully.

I begin by exploring the false dichotomy that is at the root of Jessie’s question.

While it’s true that making choices about one’s career is not something that should be taken lightly, Jessie’s articulation of the issue is a little extreme.

So I do my best to help Jessie avoid such a no-win scenario by taking a step back and assessing what it is he is really trying to accomplish here. I start by clearly articulating the issues that are at stake for Jessie and for anyone who find themselves in a similar predicament.

It seems to me there are 3 topics implicit in Jessie’s question. 1) his financial well being, 2) his personal satisfaction with his career, and 3) his parents’ respect and approval. While I believe it is possible to achieve success in all three of these areas, it can be challenging depending on your situation, your abilities, and the cultural values of your family.

After exploring each one of these topics in detail, I share with Jessie my own experiences trying to balance what I wanted to do with my life with what was expected of me by my parents.

Because this topic is a concern that many aspiring voice actors have when they contemplate pursuing an artistic career, I’m hoping that answering his question in detail will benefit a great many of my listeners!

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 #122 Here (MP3)

 

VAM 121 | Q & A Session 23 – How to Expand Your Vocal Range & Change the Quality of Your Voice

VAM 121 | Q & A Session 23 – How to Expand Your Vocal Range & Change the Quality of Your Voice

Welcome to episode 121 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 Adam from Scranton, PA and Matthew from Flagstaff, AZ.

Adam wants to know how he can expand his vocal range.

His is a very common question. I’m often asked by aspiring voice actors how they can expand their vocal range. Usually the question comes from male performers who want to know what they can do to lower or deepen their voice. I’ve almost never been asked how someone can learn to pitch their voice higher while voice acting. Now I’m not sure if Adam is specifically asking for advice on how to speak in lower tones, but allow me to address vocal range from a technical standpoint first. Then I’ll touch on some psychological issues that may be informing why I get asked this question so frequently.

Matthew wants to know how to change the timbre or quality of his voice.

I thought Matthew’s question was a great follow up to Adam’s about vocal range. Matthew uses the word “timbre” which is a very specific term that usually describes the tonality of an instrument. For instance, a violin and a trumpet might be able to play the same note or pitch, but the timbre or sonic quality of each instrument is very different. The technical reason for this has to do with the types of overtones or resonances that each instrument produces which give them their characteristic sounds. This means that you’d never mistake the sound of a violin for that of a trumpet because of their different timbres.

If Matthew will permit me, I’d like to use the term vocal quality in place of timbre in order to address his question. Based on the kinds of sounds he’s trying produce, I believe vocal quality is a more accurate description. Matthew says that he has difficulty performing a raspy character without hurting his voice or throat. Raspiness is more of a vocal quality than a timbre because it has less to do with overtones and more to do with breathiness, sibilance and other vocal qualities.

I help explain my approach to changing the quality of my voice and the importance of avoiding vocal injury when doing so!

I also recommend Kristin Linklater’s book, Freeing the Natural Voice.

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 #121 Here (MP3)

 

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