VAM 018 | Which City Is the Best for Voice Acting? Part 2 – Are You Ready?

VAM 018 | Which City Is the Best for Voice Acting? Part 2 – Are You Ready?

Welcome to episode 18 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 my discussion about a common question that I get at conventions and events outside of Los Angeles:

“What city should I move to in order to pursue voice acting?”

In the last episode, I discussed 5 cities I’m aware of that have thriving voice acting communities. Since then, listeners have commented on my blog and told me about additional cities that also have large voice acting communities. I really appreciate everyone’s insights and suggestions! If you’re curious about what city you should be in to pursue voice acting, I suggest you check out the discussion in the comments section of the blog post for episode 17.

In this episode I explain how to assess yourself before moving to a new city. There are 3 questions you should ask yourself:

  1. How do you know if you’re artistically ready to move to a new city to pursue voice acting?
  2. How do you know if you’re financially ready to move to a new city to pursue voice acting?
  3. How do you know if you’re psychologically ready to move to a new city to pursue voice acting?

It is important to answer these 3 questions as honestly as possible. In the podcast, I tackle each of these subjects in depth. I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for listening!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #18 Here (MP3)

 

44 Responses to “VAM 018 | Which City Is the Best for Voice Acting? Part 2 – Are You Ready?”

  1. Eric Rivera says:

    Excellent. Thank you for the advice.

    1. I’m almost afraid of this one. Right now my major is in TV/Film and according to my degree plan I’m only going to be taking one acting class. I’ll try to see if I can get some more as electives. However, I’ve already had a couple of classes with the Theater Professor – in history of theater – so I could probably ask him for advice seeing as how he’s a professor and has had training in Children’s Theater, which according to Micah Solusod, really helps. I’ve tried to submit videos of my on YouTube talking and ask which characters my voice sounds like it could match, but those people aren’t exactly casting directors.

    2. As I said my current major is in TV/Film. I figured if I picked this one when I’m not acting I could still be somewhat helpful producing anime. I’m not sure how well my logic is but we’ll see. Also, I’m currently trying to save money to move. However, life being what it is, it seems like something always needs to be paid.

    3. This one I’m not too worried about. In high school I became very (depressed, emo, not nice, pick one). When I started college however I started the psychological counseling which really gave me the help I needed. My confidence and self-esteem have never been higher. I feel like a WWE Superstar sometimes. I’m the Cult of Personality. (Even so, I know when the time comes to be professional.)

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      You’re very welcome! I’m glad it helped you organize your thoughts! Best of luck to you!

    • Ryan Ashlight says:

      With respect to #1, I recently read a blog post from Some Audio Guy that may help you with respect to your artistic confidence. It has some wonderful insight that I found helpful for my training, and I hope it might do the same for you.

      http://someaudioguy.blogspot.com/2012/02/stop-talking-to-one-person.html

      Also, if you’re looking into posting videos on YT, then I might recommend checking out websites like http://www.voiceactingalliance.com and http://www.radiodaddy.com.

      Both are places where you can submit auditions for a variety of projects. I myself use them from time to time, and while much of what they do couldn’t be said to be on the professional level, it’s a great place to be able to expose yourself to many different kinds of auditions that can help you expand your boundaries as a voice actor.

  2. Kalyn McCabe says:

    Yes! The podcast I was waiting for is finally here! Such rich information!

    Comparing performances have never crossed my mind before when evaluating one’s artistic talents. I suppose comparing your voice to a similar voiced pro helps.

    With the psychological aspect, when I moved to college just 2 1/2 hours from my home, I was severely homesick because I didn’t have any familiar faces around me and didn’t have the courage to make friends in such a new place. I’m much more secure now than I was my freshman year of college.

    So I took the move pretty well, I suppose. I’m still at the college of my dreams and have friends I can talk to, online or otherwise.

    Hehe, rambling. But this is possibly my favorite podcast next to the Jack Angel interview.

    I also was shocked on how short of a time it took you to get established in the business. I heard 10 years, 8 years before some made a solid income just from voice over. With you just in a year, that was a bit jarring, but I suppose it does depend on your connections and talent.

    Much love to you!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m so glad you found this episode so helpful. I’m flattered that you find it in the same league as my interview with Jack!

      When I first arrived in LA, I was told it would take me 2 years to break in to the voice acting world. Luckily, I had years of work behind me from my days in NY. I qualified for SAG healthcare after a little more than a year working here in LA. There were actors who I admired who had never had SAG healthcare. Everyone’s journey is different. That’s why you must remain honest with yourself about your desire and your reasons for becoming a voice actor. That’s the only way to know if it’s the right path for you.

  3. Dave Bisson says:

    It’s official; I find your words both useful & inspiring. Somehow you’ve managed to “tell it like it is” and yet, you’ve done so in such an optimistic & motivating way, that I’m much more determined than deterred. Thank you again for sharing your wisdom.

    On that note, I’m officially registered for VOICE 2012. Looking forward to sitting in on your presentation, and perhaps telling you in person how amazing Random Cop Drama is.

    Quick question for you: as a successful voice actor, do you have time to enjoy the productions you’re a part of? Do you watch the shows or play the video games that you’ve acted in, either out of enjoyment or sheer curiosity as to how they used your performance? It’s something I’ve often wondered about.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Useful and inspiring! That is high praise indeed! Thank you!

      I too am looking forward to going to VOICE 2012! I will only be there for a short while. I’m presenting Wednesday evening and then I have to run home and pack up for a convention out of town that weekend.

      I do watch my work in animation and anime. It is harder for me to see my work in games because games take so long to play. I can watch my entire performance in an anime movie in 2 hours. 80 hours of gameplay and I still may not have finished a title like Final Fantasy. Still, I do like to see how a project came out in the end so I can evaluate my performance and improve in the future.

  4. David Giganti says:

    I found the information very interesting and helpful, but I was wondering. When you first move out of the town or city your in and you get an apartment/townhouse that isn’t very quite, due to neighbors or street noise. How would you go around setting up an area for recording?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I assume you mean what do you do when you’re apartment isn’t very “quiet” because of neighbors and noise. That is a common problem. One solution is to buy what’s called a Whisper Room. These are prefabricated sound booths that can be put together with relative ease. They are not cheap, however. There is no cheap solution for sound isolation. That’s why studio time is expensive, it takes planning and investment to create a booth that is sonically desirable.

      At home, I took a walk-in closet and converted it into a booth. I treated it with acoustical foam and had a friend help me with ventilation and other issues. However, it is not truly sonically isolated. I can still hear the rumble of busses and other low-frequency noises. I tend to do all my auditions at night when it’s quieter.

      Another option is something called the Portabooth, but I’ve never tried it myself so I don’t know how useful it is. It helps with reducing unwanted reverb, but it won’t help eliminate the sound of unwanted neighbors.

      Hope that helps.

    • Ryan Ashlight says:

      With respect to Crispin’s comment on the Portabooth, perhaps I can help some as I happen to own one myself.

      As he said, this isn’t anything that’s going to instantly drown out the sounds of noisy neighbors or cars zooming down the road.

      Allow me to be a bit more specific. If you don’t have any trouble hearing such noises from wherever you’re trying to record, then any decent microphone you have will most certainly pick it up, Portabooth or not.

      However, if you’re in a relatively isolated space, such as a closet, where the noise level is more akin to a low hum – or, to put it another way, to the point where you would have to focus in order to hear anything – then the Portabooth will likely drown out any remaining sound.

      When all’s said and done, the Portabooth is something to give your voice the kind of isolated quality, similar to what you would find in a professional recording studio. It is NOT a significant soundproofing device by any means.

      I hope that helps you out.

  5. Terance says:

    Excellent episode Crispin. I plan to move to Dallas, TX sometime in the future and take voice acting classes to prepare myself for my voice acting future. I have some questions, but they’re not related to the subject of the podcast. Should you eat before a recording session? If so what foods are acceptable to eat? I’ve heard dairy products are a big no-no.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Glad you like the episode.

      As far as eating, not eating, dairy, no dairy, it’s up to you. Everyone’s physiology is different. I’ve never had an problem with dairy, but I don’t eat much dairy anyway. Caffeine is what causes me problems because it makes me jittery and it dries out my voice. If I don’t eat before a session, my stomach growls and we can’t record until I do eat. Everyone is different. You have to find what works for you.

  6. Caitlin says:

    Is it possible to work with more than one comapany? If you live in LA and work with VizMedia can you still dub with FUNimation without leaving California? Or are you just constricted to where you live?
    Also what is the actual role of an agent? I don’t know of any voice actor that doesn’t have one so I was wondering.
    Did you take acting classes in college? I plan on taking an acting class when I enter college next year, an improv class.
    How did you know when you were ready to make that move to LA?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Yes. Voice actors work for many different companies. However, it is difficult to work for companies in more than one city. Studios get wary of actors who need to fly back and forth from city to city. It’s expensive and the amount of money you make from the voice work rarely justifies it. However, studios like Viz does dub some shows in LA, just as Funimation dubbed Hellsing Ultimate in LA. It depends on the show and how the studio wants to handle it.

      I’ll be addressing agents in a future podcast. Glad to know it’s on your mind!

      As far as my own journey, you can listen to all of it in two earlier episodes of the podcast where I discuss how I broke into the business: Episode 4 and Episode 5.

      I knew when it was time to move to LA, because I applied the criteria I outlined in this very podcast to myself. That’s why I wanted to share those criteria with you.

      Hope that helps!

  7. Andre Leblanc says:

    i know this has push me to go for a carrier in voice acting.

    short story. i have always acted out what i seen from thundercats to voltron. but i remember thundercats more. there was a voice actor for mum ra and i always imitated him as best as a young boy can. i remember getting punish at school for skipping class to practice the part where mum ra transforms.

    you have made me realize a talent i never did. i have a big imagination and love of preforming with my voice. but i love the acting of voice over work.

    i love getting into the character and found my self putting my self in the characters shoes.

    i’m in my early 30’s but i still optimistic about this change in my life.

    thank you very much for motivating me.

  8. Angelican Marcos says:

    This is a great podcast but I don’t want to type so much I mean it but I rather just think about it for awhile but thank you for the podcast it really helped 🙁
    Sincerely,
    Angelican Marcos

  9. Meg says:

    Hi Crispin, if you have time, I have couple of questions. When you talked about feeling psyhcology as a voice actor, do you think when parents’ divorce, been bullied, jealous of siblings, or born with very low income could distract the self esteem/ confidence as well?
    Another question, when you talked about recording of ‘The Disappearence of Haruhi Suzumiya’ at the Kami-con how long it is, does it make you very hungry while you’re in the booth for hours before breaktime?
    Thank you for your time 🙂

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      You can allow many things to affect your self-esteem negatively. However, you always have a choice as to whether it’s going to paralyze you or not. You have the power to overcome your fears.

      We take breaks when recording. If I’m hungry, I’ll grab a snack during that break.

      Hope that answers your questions.

      • Meg says:

        Yeah 🙂 You’re absoultely right, I believe what you’re saying is that if I want to get out of those hard lives is to encourage myself, just like one of the episodes of Jack Angel. Also, I’m planning to do first DECA competition for the weekend to build up as a role model along with my fashion/marketing classes and alot of straight A’s so far 🙂

        Wish me luck and thanks for the answer

  10. Meg says:

    Oh, I almost forget another part from second question. Sorry it’s really early in the morning, I hope you forgive me. Is it true that stomach growling would distract during booth? Because I saw that question about eat before work. Thanks again for this episodes you made, it was really amazing 🙂

  11. Andre Leblanc says:

    i know that you must do what studios ask of you as for getting a script and and voicing a character on the spot. but do you feel allot of the time that this misses the whole point of voice over for this type of work? i notice some technology now of days that allow lip flaps to be edited with the motion of the anime not being interrupted.and also some change of script to make it more “American theme” is really missing the whole point on what anime really is.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m not sure I understand your question.

      As far as reanimating lip flap for characters, that is almost never done. It is very expensive and would cause problems when the title is released on DVD since you’d have to have multiple video tracks as well as multiple audio tracks. It is far more efficient to use the same video and tailor the audio to match the picture.

      As far as modifying a show to make it more “American”, that depends on what the producers want. Some shows, like the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, are kept very Japanese in flavor, others, like Pokemon, are skewed to be more American. I tend to prefer things more Japanese personally, but one of my favorite shows when I was young was Robotech and that was heavily edited for an American audience. Luckily, many fewer shows are edited like that these days, so you’re free to watch your anime dubbed or subbed.

      Hope that answers your question.

  12. Angelican Marcos says:

    Mr. Freeman i started thinking that i can perform artisically but not basically financially and not psychologically as you can probably recall i had alot of things are happening in the way so fast but i have one question how can I perfect a little of my psychologically problems and I thank you 🙂
    Sincerely,
    Angel Marcos

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I am not a psychological counsellor. If you are having psychological problems, I suggest you seek help from a professional.

      All I can offer you is the psychological criteria I use when deciding whether or not to pursue an acting career, either voice acting or any other type of acting. I hope you find my criteria helpful. However, in the end, only you can decide what is right for you to do.

      I hope that helps.

      • Angelican Marcos says:

        Thanks for the help I guess… :/

        • Angelican Marcos says:

          Even though this is just a question I don’t really have mental problems but I’m helping myself through mental conditioning but rest assured I don’t have mental problems and I thank you for the confidence podcast it helped 🙂
          Sincerely,
          Angel Marcos

  13. Daniel says:

    Hey Crispin, not sure if this would be the place to ask, but why do voice actors/musician/actors change their name of make make names to go by?

    Thank you for you time

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      It’s different for every artist. Some artists want to go by a different identity like Sting, or Madonna or Lady Gaga. When it comes to actors, it usually has more to do with what names are registered with SAG. If there was an actor by the name of Crispin Freeman who was a SAG member, I would not be able to use that name myself as a member of SAG until the first Crispin Freeman passed on. So sometimes, an actor chooses to use a different name in order to abide by union rules.

      Other times, someone’s name can pigeon hole them to being cast a certain way. My friend good friend and fellow voice actor, Thom Adcox, does not use his full name. His full name is Thon Adcox-Hernandez. When he uses his full name, people only call him in for voices with a latino accent. But Thom doesn’t sound very latino at all, so he chooses to use the more anglican or germanic last name of Adcox just to make things easier.

      Hope that helps.

  14. Emily says:

    Crispin, First off, I love your podcasts and blogs and websites, which i find so helpful! The problem for me, is that I’m only 13 years old. I know that Aaron Dismuke was quite successful for a kid working with anime, but he also got into the business quite smoothly because his cousin, Justin Cook was a producer for certain animes already. I was wondering, is it possible for someone my age to ever get into voice acting?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog and podcast!

      I understand that it can seem daunting when you’re only 13 years old to try and pursue an acting career of any sort. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

      If you truly want to become a voice actor, the secret is to do whatever you can wherever you are. See if you can get in to acting classes to practice your craft. See if there are any talent agencies in your town that represent children for commercials and magazine ads. Get whatever experience you can acting, performing, learning how the business works. When I lived in Chicago with my family, my sister found an agent to represent her for TV commercials when she was only 12.

      Even if you live in a small town, you can still study acting on your own until you have the opportunity to study with others. You’re already doing that by reading my blog and listening to my podcast. Read more. Study more. Do your best to improve your skills as an actress. Others will notice your efforts and will offer to help. As one of my favorite teachers, Joseph Campbell used to say, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”

      Good luck to you.

  15. David Nelson says:

    Hi Crispin, I really enjoyed your podcast. I have a few questions though. Dallas is the city for anime. But is there any other voice over work there, like video games?

    Also do think it would be better to go to a college in the city you want to work in or does that not mater? ( i was thinking of going to Academy of Art University in San Francisco)

    Also do you think it would be better to go to college for acting or take acting classes? (right now I’m a Jr. in high school I plan to take some of your classes soon as well)

    Thanks Again

    • David Nelson says:

      oops missed that part. Just ignore the first question.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Hi there David. I’m glad you found the answer to your first question in the podcast.

      As far as colleges go, I would suggest you attend the college that inspires you the most. However, if you are absolutely committed to pursuing a career in film and TV then I think it would behoove you to consider colleges in the LA area. If you were absolutely committed to pursuing a career in theater, I would recommend you look at schools in New York City.

      I think you can take acting classes wherever you find ones that appeal to you. If your college offers them, great. If you find the class offerings at your college unsatisfactory, I’m sure you can find other classes either in the area or online that may be able to help you out.

      Hope that answers your questions.

  16. David Nelson says:

    Hello again.
    So I’ve leaned that VAs that often appear in Funimation dubs (Travis Willingham came to mind) have to show up in Dallas to addition for parts. How do they do that if they live in LA. I mean there are a lot of shows that go through Funimation so how do they go back and forth all the time.( cost of travel, being able to be suddenly called to Dallas.[or are given a weeks notice, from what I’ve leaned it seems to me that you have to be where the people hiring you want you at a moments notice]

    Also would you recommend that i take your archetype and scenes workshop or anime 1 and 2?

    And thanks for answering so quickly last time. I look forward to your next podcast.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Sorry for my delay in getting back to you. My holiday schedule has been a little crazy!

      For the most part, Funimation casts their shows with actors in Dallas. They usually don’t have the budget to fly actors back and forth. If there is an actor in LA who wants to work on a Funimation dub, the chances are that they will have to fly on their own dime back and forth from LA to Dallas. The cost of travel usually outweighs any profit you might make from working in Dallas. Also, studios may want you on a moment’s notice. They may only give you a day or two’s notice before they’d like you in the studio. This can make it very difficult to schedule the travel necessary to be working in both cities.

      The only exception to this is when a project originated outside of Dallas, but Funimation acquired the rights to distribute it. That’s the case with Hellsing Ultimate. We started recording Hellsing Ultimate in LA and when Funimation got the rights to distribute it, they decided to hire a studio in LA to record the actors to keep the dub consistent.

      As far as my classes go, it depends on what you’re inspired to do. My Anime class starts with an improv workout which many people find incredibly useful. Then you work on actual anime shows where you’re able to see your voice with animation so you can see the final product right there in the moment. The Character classes focus more on finding your characters, developing your casting skills and then being able to play those characters on a believable, competitive level. It’s an acting workout. Which do you think would appeal to you first?

  17. Samone says:

    Okay, first of all I’m a huge fan of yours so I just need you to know that 😀 I hope you’re able to see this considering it’s now 2013 haha. I agree with everyone, I’ve listened to 17 & 18 and want to listen to all the others but thank you so much for this and being honest without tearing down us wannabes haha.

    I have a couple of questions, I was going to fill out the contact form but since this question also concerns voice acting I’m posting it here per your request!

    The first, is a bit odd. For me, I am a dancer as well and I’m really looking for a city that offers opportunity for both dance and voice acting. I understand if you’re not able to answer this question but it’s worth a shot 🙂 I have a pretty good list on cities that offer dance and voice acting but both together, is a bit difficult. ^_^

    Moving right now is pretty much a must because I’m working but I live with my family. So to get out of their hair, on my own and along with the lack of opportunity in Athens, GA, whether I’m ready or not I would like to move. But I want to be smart about it. Like you said I’m not above starting small I was just looking for a city with opportunity in both fields of my interest.

    Second, I wanted your opinion. For me, as an artist in general, whether it’s dancing or pursuing voice acting, I’m concerned about my age. I’m 24 and I’ve danced since I was 7 but I’m no professional. As for voice acting, before college all I had was dance…which is silent haha (no vocals needed). But once I got into college after some major switches I finally minored in Theater to help as a step towards voice acting. I completed the minor but as far as being involved in our theater community outside of class, and being in productions (I was in 1 musical produced twice as a dancer with one line ^^’, lots of singing though!), that was it. Most of that is chalked up to me being timid, which is something I constantly battle so that it won’t hold me back. I learned a lot from my minor but considering the amount of experience I have, I guess I just wanted your opinion on what you think in this stage of the game? I know age shouldn’t really stop you from anything but I was hoping for an honest opinion if you could.

    Again thank you and I love your work! You’re great for helping aspiring voice actors like this 🙂 Oh, I should also mention that my main interests are voice acting for anime, animation & gaming. But even if you aren’t able to respond your podcasts really really help and are extremely informative! Sorry to write an essay ^-^’

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m glad you’re finding the podcasts useful.

      I don’t really know how to advise you about a city that has an opportunity for both dance and voice acting. There’s only a couple of cities where you can voice act in animation or video games and that would be LA, NY and Dallas. LA is the biggest market and I’m sure there are dance companies there. If moving is not an option, then you need to advance your skills where you are using whatever means necessary.

      No one cares about your age when it comes to voice acting, they care about your talent. Are your acting skills of a professional quality and are your reads competitive with others who are working in the industry? If not, you need to practice until you are competitive. That’s really the only requirement. Voices of all ages are used in voice acting.

      Hope that helps. Best of luck to you.

      • Samone says:

        Thank you so much for such a quick reply! Thank you, that does help, a lot. And I definitely plan on going back and listening to more of your podcasts. You’re one of my top favorite voice actors so it’s an honor to get advice from you. :)While it feels like one of my dreams to be a voice actress my step right now is to explore acting to make sure I’m good at it, and that it’s something I enjoy. I want to try to let go this time. Because the catalyst for this dream for me is anime and the most enjoyable portion of the anime process for me I felt was voice acting. So I look forward to exploring more. Thank you so much!

  18. Mark Elgie says:

    Hi Crispin,

    I’m Canadian, and it’s been a dream of mine for a while to some day do voicework for anime. Nowadays, pretty much all anime work is done in the US as opposed to Vancouver, so I was looking into moving to the US. Though, with immigration to the US being what it is, it would most likely take years for me to get in to the States because I’m just not a priority, given my qualifications. I’ve heard stories of some voice actors like Tara Strong moving to the US on specialized visas for actors. Obviously I wouldn’t do this right away, I feel I have a lot more work to do before I could be competitive in the LA market, but would it still be possible to enter into the US in this manner in today’s world?

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