VAM 030 | How to Think and Act Like a Professional

VAM 030 | How to Think and Act Like a Professional

Welcome to episode 30 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:

In this episode I wanted to talk about what it means to be professional when you go into a studio to record.

As the cost of recording equipment has dropped, more and more people have decided to enter the voice acting field by creating their own home studio. While this is a wonderful convenience, it does mean that voice actors spend less time going into studio recording booths to audition and perform.

For some who are just starting out, you may not have had as much experience working at a professional studio. You may find the idea of walking into a room with producers, directors and an audio engineer intimidating. I want to help alleviate your fear by giving you some basic tips on how to behave when you visit a professional studio.

More importantly, I want to share with you the mindset you must have in order to act like a professional. Even as a seasoned veteran, I find it helpful to remind myself of this mindset before I walk into the studio to record. It raises my confidence level and puts me more at ease, which then improves the quality of my performances.

In this episode, I’ll focus on and explain the professional mindset, which is the foundation for your success. In the next episode, I’ll share with you some helpful in-studio tips that will improve your recording experience and enhance the impression you make on other industry professionals.

I hope you find it useful!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #30 Here (MP3)


52 Responses to “VAM 030 | How to Think and Act Like a Professional”

  1. Caitlin says:

    The podcast was very insightful. I remember asking you about this week’s topic and next week’s topics, so thanks for answering my questions.

    Professionalism is what it’s all about and first impressions mean everything, something to always keep in mind.

    I practice by reading manga aloud and I didn’t realize how simple words can just trip me up and ruin the whole sentence. It’s even harder to read in an accent sometimes, have to keep in mind how to pronounce every word correctly.

    Anyway, I liked your comparison. There’s always a proper etiquette with any job.

    Was it hard for you when you started dubbing to stay in character when you didn’t know everything that was going on? Or did people always say what happened before to bring you up to speed on why a character is saying something? I often wonder that because when dubbing you jump to your lines and sometimes don’t know what happened when your character was not around.

    Looking forward to the next podcast!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed this episode!

      It was a challenge when I first started working on anime to keep track of the plot as we would jump from scene to scene for the recording. I really had to trust my director to guide my acting and I made sure to ask him questions so I could know what was going on in the story. I would also do my own research about the show so I could come in prepared with ideas about how to act in different scenes. Luckily in anime, we almost always get a preview in Japanese to see what the Japanese cast did before us. That can help a lot in establishing the tone and direction of the show.

      • Caitlin says:

        Thanks for clearing that up! I’m sure that dubbing gets easier as you do it more. I still thinks it’s a shame that the pay is so low when dubbing is harder than pre-lay, but I guess you know that going in.

        • Terance says:

          Speaking of pay, I’ve always wanted to know Crispin; how much does dubbing work pay on average?

          • Crispin Freeman says:

            The union rate for dubbing anime is $64.25 an hour with a two hour minimum. There are also additional $20 bumps if the show is going to TV and you do more than one episode in a single recording session. I’m not familiar with the non-union dubbing rates, but they are often lower. Even if they are the same, the producers don’t pay into any sort of pension or health program so the work does not help you qualify for health insurance.

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          It is a shame that the pay scale is lower, but that has to do with how marketable anime is in comparison to domestic animation. If anime was as popular as domestic animation, I think the pay scale would raise.

  2. Dave Bisson says:

    “As a voice actor, you must be a confident plumber.”

    Truer words have never been spoken, my friend. 😀

    Thanks again for a great podcast!

  3. Wes Davis says:

    Ahhh the plumber analogy, it really is a great way to look at how we behave as actors sometimes. I’d pick on you for using it if I hadn’t borrowed it myself.

    Looking forward to your studio tips.

  4. Eric Rivera says:

    Excellent. I can’t wait for the next part. Aside from my daily practice, I also plan on launching my own podcast to practice my public speaking skills. My podcast will host three different shows, one for professional wrestling, one for anime, and one for resources on voice acting.

    Also, the fall semester starts in two and a half weeks, and I can’t wait. I want to start my acting class as soon as possible.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Congrats! Sounds like you’ve got some great projects with which to practice your voice acting skills.

  5. Meg says:

    I agree! Thank you so much for the episode with alot of important facts as well. I believe it is very strong and extremely important episode indeed. Last couple weeks after episode 29 has posted, I’m not sure if you got my voice message or I didn’t send it very well. If not, I’ll try again for the future. Thank you for your time and the amazing lessons about how to be confident before became professional 🙂

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Glad you enjoyed the episode.

      I’ve received numerous voice mails. I’ll be doing my best to share the most relevant ones in the weeks to come. Thanks for leaving yours.

  6. Kirby B says:

    Hey Crispin I love your podcast!

    I had a question regarding classes and workshops. What things should we look for/avoid when looking for classes and teachers near us. I recently took a small class centered around voice over but I couldn’t tell if I was getting the most for my time. Any professional tips on that?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I tried to answer this question in an earlier blog comment, but basically I can’t be a clearing house for which voice acting classes are good and which aren’t. Only you can decide whether you’ve gotten something useful out of the experience or not.

      As far as my own criteria in trying to decide whether or not to take someone’s voice over workshop, I make sure to check out the work of the person actually teaching the class. If they’re teaching animation, what shows have they worked on? I usually try to listen to their performances and see if I like their artistry. If they’re teaching commercials, what clients have they worked with? Can I find some of their commercials on YouTube? If I cannot easily find examples of their professional work or find their work lackluster, that usually is a sign that I don’t want to take their class.

      Also, you can get a personal vibe off someone. I know my students usually have very flattering things to say about my classes, and I’ve included many of their testimonials in the classes section of the site. However, my teaching style may not be for everyone. Others may find different teachers help them more than I can. Different strokes for different folks.

      In the end, you have to trust your intuition and judgement.

  7. Tony says:

    I wanted to be a voice actor, ‘cuz I draw and if I was to someday have my own series I wanted to voice one of my characters, but then I remembered, I’ve never yelled/screamed in all 21 years of my life. My momma said I was always a quite baby… lol. I tried to scream one time but afterward I coughed like I had a bad case of smokers cough lol

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      It is possible to learn how to yell. I have a hard time imagining that you never cried when you were a baby. Back then you instinctively knew how to use your voice at loud volumes for hours at a time if need be. Believe me, mothers have first hand experience of this.

  8. Taylor Wallace says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I’ve shared your podcast with my old high school director. Aside from running our drama program, he also teaches an acting class every year. He was extremely grateful for the information that I was able to share with him because of you, Crispin 🙂 And he fully intends to play some of the episodes in his classes too! Thank you so much for what you do for us.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      That’s fantastic! I owe a lot of my professionalism to my high school drama teacher. I’m honored that yours feels inspired to share my podcast with your class. I hope you enjoy the episodes!

  9. Kalyn McCabe says:

    Psychology is wonderful. I recently took a Psych course and read in our book that an experiment was set up with mentally impaired young adults. They took a test and got scored on it. Then they took the test again, but this time, they were told to answer the questions like a normal teenager would answer. Surprisingly, they all scored better the second time.

    The plummer reference was beautiful, though. I was a bit surprised how relevant it was. But it could translate to all professions, I suppose.

    I can’t wait till next podcast, it’ll be fun!

  10. Terance says:

    While searching on Youtube for some voice over tips, I came across this video. I thought I should share it since it’s useful for letting people know how their voice sounds to others.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      While it is an interesting video, I disagree with his method for finding out what you sound like. While his technique may work for singers who want to know what they sound like in a large space, it doesn’t really apply to voice over where you are recorded very close to your mouth. A better way is to cup your hand to your ear so that you can more direct the sound out of your mouth to your eardrum. This increases the volume of your voice in relationship to the transmission of your voice through the bones in your skull. I find that a much more accurate way of knowing what I sound like than using his “folder” trick.

      In the end, recording yourself is the best way to know what you sound like to others.

  11. Angelican Marcos says:

    Thanks for another great podcast Mr. Freeman keep up the good work teach. 🙂

  12. Zach Aguilar says:

    Hi Mr. Freeman. I just called in asking a question but I’m not sure if it was very relevant to the podcast. It has to do with acting professionally. I really love these podcasts and can’t wait for the next one!

  13. Jack says:

    Thanks for yet another great and informative podcast. I think it’s fantastic how this applies not just to aspiring proffesionals but people like me who do some amateur VA work on the internet.

    I was wondering if we can still leave answerphone messages and if so, is it possible to call via the internet because I’m not sure about international calling.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      So glad you’re enjoying the podcast.

      Yes, you can still leave messages. I’m not sure how it works if you dial from a number outside of the U.S., but it is a google voice number so hopefully there’s a way for you to call a google voice number without being charged.

      Hope that helps!

      • Jack says:

        Thank you. I’ll try to ring via my Gmail account then.

        Erm, also, i may be overstepping the line a little but i was wondering if i could make a small line request too.

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          I like to keep the tone of this blog and podcast professional. I want to speak to those who are interested in pursing a career in voice acting. This is not a forum for fan requests. While I appreciate your desire to have me perform a line, I would ask that you reserve your request for when I am attending a convention. I’m happy to do line requests at a fan-oriented event like a convention.

          • Jack says:

            I thought so and i appreciate your answer and i understand what you mean. I look forward to the next podcast.

  14. Terance says:

    At some point Crispin would you mind doing an episode explaining the difference between working union and non-union and the benefits of both? I understand to some degree how both work, but your incite would make it clearer.

  15. Kira Cortorreal. says:

    Hey Mr. Crispin, I really enjoy listening to your podcast, it’s very helpful, but I have one question. I’m only 14 and I’ve never gone to collaege nor took any acting classes, but I feel I should still ask. Should a person still go to an acting college if they have training from a pro acting coach and have gone to acting classes?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      A person should do whatever it takes in order to feel confident about one’s acting skills. If you feel that you can learn what you need to learn about acting from private coaches, then pursue that route. If you feel like you want the experience of going to a formal school for your acting training, go that route. I have a lot of formal acting training from schools. My good friend Steve Blum has had almost no formal acting training. We both work as voice actors. There is no formula. You have to follow what works for you.

  16. Angelican Marcos says:

    Hello Mr. Freeman sorry to bother you as always but i have question to ask. How many years have you been doing theater acting and how many years have you been doing voice acting? It may seem weird to ask that question but it’s always somewhat good to know a little about your “teacher” once in awhile. I mean at least a man who have some culture in life. I would have loved to see you in one of the plays you have been in. To tell you the truth i want to model myself after you a little. To me it seems a little weird that a woman models herself after a man. Don’t you think? But for me cross-dressing is fun once you get used to it. It kind of sucked that nobody believed you were the voice actor of Alucard while you were cosplaying as him. But you and Alucard look alike but you don’t think alike which is a good thing i assume…
    Angelican Marco 🙂

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Technically I started my professional acting career when I was in middle school back in the mid-1980’s when I was a supernumerary at the opera in Chicago. I guess you could call that the beginning of my professional theater career if you needed a hard and fast date.

      I started voice acting not long after I finished graduate acting school in 1997.

      • Angelican Marcos says:

        Well that’s good to know even though i wish i was a professional voice actor/actress like you Mr. Freeman i kind of find it cool considering I’m learning from you. You’re a great voice acting teacher Mr. Freeman i hope you still continue with your great podcasts and have a nice day. 🙂

  17. Hello Mr. Freeman! I found out about your blog a week ago and started following it on Twitter. So far, I have listened to your first podcast as well as your “Top 5 mistakes” podcast and have been taking plenty of notes. I thank you for providing a haven of help for everyone.

    As for my question, I wanted to know how you would approach becoming a voice actor today with the economy and troubles like it. I’m currently in college majoring as a telecommunications major at Ball State, and I was thinking about obtaining a job in the field afterward. I thought I could take the beginning steps into voice acting while working in order to have some type of currency, but after listening to your “Top 5 mistakes” podcast, number 3 had me a little worried. I knew we were marketing ourselves, but treating ourselves like a business/company seems like it would dominate most of our time. What should I try focusing on right after college?

    If you want me to explain a little more, I will do just that. Thank you for the time!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      You should focus on what inspires you after college. I cannot possibly tell you what you should and should not do after college. You need to trust yourself as to what you’d like to pursue.

      However, if you would like to try some voice acting, I don’t see why you can’t do you best to expand your voice acting skills while pursuing something else. Number 3 in my Top 5 Mistakes is just to impress upon people that voice acting is not like getting a job at a company. You don’t check in every day from 9 to 5 at the voice acting factory. If you’d like to pursue voice acting as a career, you need to think of it as running your own business. That doesn’t mean that you can’t work on your acting skills while you’re pursuing other means of employment. It just means that if you do decide that voice acting is your vocation and that you want to pursue it full time, you will need to think of it as a business, not as a job.

      Hopefully that clarifies.

  18. Pat says:

    Hi Crispin, great episode as usual!

    I just a question about vocal performance; I’ve seen in some of your con videos that you need to have the camera close to you when you perform do an Alucard line. Do you find you get more range out of your voice the quieter it is? I certainly find that when I use my voice to whisper to myself it just feels like I have more control over it. I expect this has something to do with the singing trap of allowing your throat to tense up.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I get closer to the microphone to do Alucard’s voice because that’s the relationship I have with the microphone when I’m in the studio. Deep, rumbly voices rarely carry in a noisy convention hall. That’s why you pitch your voice up when you’re yelling so you can be heard over the noise.

      Whispering to act is not a good habit to get into. I find that I often have to encourage my voice acting students to use their full voice when acting. Many times my students are nervous and they end up “de-voicing” which is not a very expressive way to voice act. In fact, whispering can be harder on your voice and cause more strain than actually using proper vocal production.

  19. Kira Cortorreal. says:

    I have another Mr. Freeman, I understand that you said that you to get close to the mic to do Alucards voice. Were there any different things that you had to do with Haji voice?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I am the same distance from the microphone when I am playing Alucard as when I am playing Hagi. I act differently when I play Hagi which is why he sounds different from Alucard or Kyon or any of the other characters I play.

  20. Matthew Ray says:

    Hello Mr.Freeman! Do you know if there is any website or techniques that you know of for a beginner like me to practice sync my voice to lips flaps of an anime. I ask only because I heard on a panel once that when people have tried out for big companies like funamation they are amazing actors but fail so bad when it comes to the lip flaps that they aren’t hired. Any help would be appreciated. thanks!!!!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      There is no website I know of that helps you match lip flap. I’m not even sure how you would do that on a website since matching lip flap requires split second timing and with internet latency, there’s no way you could get it to fit right.

      Practicing matching lip flap has to be done in person, either on your own recording setup or by taking a class. I offer my Anime Voice Acting Workshops as a way to learn how to match lip flap. So does Tony Oliver at Bang Zoom.

      It is possible to practice matching lip flap at home, but you must have a home recording setup and be able to manipulate video on your computer. You can silence the audio on a video clip and then try your hand at replacing the dialogue on that video using your home recording setup. That’s the best way to do it at home. However, it’s ideal to study how to match lip flap in a class with a professional who can show you the ropes.

      Hope that helps.

  21. Thank you for this great advice Mr. Freeman, I now know what thinking professionally is in Voice Acting. It has helped boost my confidence, and also but my mind at ease for when and if I’m being asked to voice in a project.


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