VAM 024 | Interview with Melanie Chartoff about Improv, Part 2

VAM 024 | Interview with Melanie Chartoff about Improv, Part 2

Welcome to episode 24 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:

This is the second part of an interview with my friend and improv teacher, Melanie Chartoff. In it, we talk about how important it is to find your character’s point of view from inside it, in order to give life to a role.¬†Melanie also shares a three part technique for helping you develop that point of view. In order to imbue your voice with more character, you should ask yourself three questions:

  1. What is your point of view on yourself?
  2. What is your point of view on the world around you?
  3. What is your point of view on your current situation?

By asking yourself these questions, you can begin to bring a richness and believability to your vocal performance.

We wrap up this episode by talking about how voice acting is not about hiding behind a silly voice, but about revealing who you truly are so you can make the emotional journey of your character believable.


Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #24 Here (MP3)


12 Responses to “VAM 024 | Interview with Melanie Chartoff about Improv, Part 2”

  1. Kalyn McCabe says:

    Very useful podcast! I’ll definitely use the three POV questions in the future.

    I sometimes have a bit of trouble settling into a character opposite my natural personality (Calm, logical, balanced) so spiteful, hateful, and mean characters confuggle me. Three questions will answer that! Thanks!

    Hey, what was the most opposite-in-personality character you’ve ever played, Mr. Freeman?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m not sure what would be my most opposite character since all the characters I play are aspects of myself. But in terms of the one that was the biggest stretch for me, it might have been Amon in Witch Hunter Robin. I’m just not that brooding in real life. It was a challenge to figure out how to play him properly.

  2. Rico Gayle says:

    Great podcast. I really appreciate all the interviews you provide us, allowing a sneak peak to pick the brains of professionals. I haven’t received any professional training as an actor as yet, so hearing voice actors speak about the craft allows me to understand the process better. Quite exciting, looking forward to part 3.

  3. Wes Davis says:

    Once again, nice episode. It’s so easy to forget to answer these questions when you’re in the thick of it. You’ve got a stack of characters to audition and a limited amount of time to do them so you just spit out a go to archetype and move on. But Melanie does a great job explaining why it’s so important to put the extra effort into the characters, if you have the time you’re really only shooting yourself in the foot not doing it.

    I especially liked hearing about Melanie’s process of creating the voice of Didi. Growing up watching the show and now hearing her dissect the voice I heard so many time and seeing how the layers go together is fascinating.

    Looking forward to the conclusion.

    Excellent job in Diablo 3 by the way.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      So glad you liked it! I love how concise and articulate Melanie is in her responses. It sure makes interviewing her easy!

      Glad you enjoyed my work in Diablo as well! Can’t wait to play it myself!

  4. Pat Foley says:

    I think this interview really hits the mark! When I did drama classes and acting workshops, I found improv really became the basis for my acting as a whole- ideally I’d try to simulate the thoughts and emotions of a character in my mind, and I think improv developed my skill in that approach: if you can react quickly and appropriately to any circumstance, you can spend less time dwelling on actions and more time communicating the truth of the character.

    Really enjoying the podcast! I’ve always been fascinated by the voice acting process, so I was delighted when I found it.

  5. leesha S says:

    Hi Crispin: I’ve been listening to your podcast for several months now and never miss a new cast. The conversations with Melanie are among the best. Knowing yourself and who you are is so important to really establishing yourself as a talent and correctly identify your point of excellence in VOs. Thanks to you and Melanie. Keep up the great work; you keep me going.

  6. Ryan Ashlight says:

    Interesting to hear Melanie speak of archetypal characters and their relation with respect to leading characters.

    My impression is that, although you always want to be genuine and authentic, naturally the emotional investment you’re going to have in a character you’re playing will grow the more you play him/her; this being ever more so the case with a leading character.

    One thing I’m curious about however. As a VA, as you grow to learn more and become ever more connected with your character, how do you feel that affects your performance? Do you ever feel it should shift your portrayal in a way that differs from your original stance – particularly so if said stance was one that landed you the job. And if so, what sort of a mindset might you approach that with? Cautious? Daring? Skeptical?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Usually as I am working with a character in a show, it is the plot of the show that helps reveal the character to me. People think of character and plot as two separate and independent things. They are not. Plot reveals character and character helps drive plot. So as the plot continues I get to discover more about any character that I’m playing. That was certainly the case with Zelgadis in the Slayers when we went back in Revolution and Evolution and saw much more of Zelgadis’ back story.

      I’m not sure it’s ever shifted from my original stance on a character. If I got cast as a character, it’s because the director and producers thought I was appropriate. If what I did did not match where the character would be going eventually, then they probably wouldn’t cast me. So no, I haven’t had the experience where I started playing a character one way and then had to shift how I was playing him later. But then again, I do my homework and I like to really understand where a character is coming from before I portray them.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: