VAM 044 | Do You Think Like an Artist?

VAM 044 | Do You Think Like an Artist?

Welcome to episode 44 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 want to ask you a serious question:

Do you think like an artist?

The reason I believe this question is so important is because often I find that many people who are attracted to voice acting, especially for animation and video games, started out as fans of those artistic mediums. That was certainly the case with me. Much of my desire to work as a voice actor was because of my love for animated storytelling. However, as I pursued my dreams of becoming a professional actor, first in theater and then in voice acting, I had to make a mental shift from thinking about working on stories from a fan’s point of view to thinking about collaborating on those stories from an artist’s point of view. You could also think of it as the difference between being a consumer and being a creator.

Consumers and creators don’t just think differently, they think opposite from each other. The best way I know to articulate this difference in mindset is to quote the famous acting teacher and father of modern acting styles, Konstantin Stanislavski. In giving advice to aspiring actors, Stanislavski once told them,

“Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art.”

A pithy statement to be sure, but one that deserves a more detailed explanation. I spend this episode exploring that advice in depth and explain how important it is to have a truly artistic mindset if you want to succeed in voice acting!

Thanks for listening!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #44 Here (MP3)


28 Responses to “VAM 044 | Do You Think Like an Artist?”

  1. Pat says:

    It’s so interesting to me that you chose this topic, because I’ve been thinking about this sort of distinction ever since your VoiceGuideMe chat!

    I’ve experienced a bit of this transition myself. It was around a couple of years ago that I became so completely enamoured with digital art that I felt I could do nothing but learn it. At first this was just to satisfy myself: I had a lot of visual ideas that I wanted to be able to communicate in a very rough sense. But as I learned more about the scope of the artistry I started to focus on developing the skills almost for their own sake. I still have a tremendous amount to learn, but the focus is very different now. Someday I hope to dabble in voice acting for a bit to see if I can be similarly inspired 🙂

    I know that at conventions and whatnot, voice actors are put in an interesting position, being seen as almost the avatars of the characters they play (hence, I guess, why fans enjoy having you say lines, as if your characters were really standing right there). I imagine this can become sort of tiring, but does understanding this powerful story-consuming fan-psyche stuff as you do help you come to terms with it in a more objective way?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m so glad that you were able to apply my message in the podcast to your own experience as a digital artist. I’m glad you find my ideas applicable in other areas outside of voice acting.

      As far as being the avatar of a character at a convention, it only becomes tiring when a fan wants nothing more from me but to be a human jukebox and entertain them. Behavior like that, which honestly is rare, I find tedious because the fan is disregarding the fact that I’m a human being. In that moment, the obsessive fan just thinks I’m a machine to entertain them and not a fellow person who deserves just as much respect as they do.

      I understand the fan mindset because I too am a fan of certain things. In fact, I’m such a fan of anime and Sci-Fi and Fantasy and Games that I create academic presentations on them. I do my best to share what I have discovered with others.

      It is the selfish fan that becomes annoying. Luckily, the vast majority of fans aren’t like that.

  2. Eric Rivera says:

    I know a lot of people fall into that trap, myself included. As harsh as it sounds, there is a time where one has to “grow up” and start acting professionally as an artist. Fans do have their fun and playing is cool. I enjoy it too. But when a lot of money that isn’t your’s gets involved, that’s when things change. I’m not saying you should stop playing, just play seriously. There is always a lot on the line in any given production or project.

    I’ve enjoyed acting since I discovered that I had a knack for it at junior high, and I’ve loved anime since I saw the Sailor Moon dub on NBC when I was a kid. I respect the craft and the industry too much to just jump in and mess around. With acting or even editing, I want to make sure everyone sees what I see in anime.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I like what you’re saying. “You shouldn’t stop playing, just play seriously.” That’s a great way to put it. I may quote you on that. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing.

  3. Kalyn McCabe says:

    Absolutely LOVED this podcast. For some over-enthusiatic actors just starting out, no-doubtedly they were thinking of seeing their name next to a character and saying “I did that! Me, me, me! You may love and praise me for my awesome work!”

    Which is appreciated, but will get annoying in the long run.

    I’ll definitely spread this podcast part around.

    I also have a bit of a question for you that’s been on my mind for a while, and I thought you’d be the best person to ask.

    I’m graduating this May with a B.A. in Theatre, and was wondering if going to graduate school for acting right after was a wise choice.

    I’m planning to take a break from school to get my professional career started, but I’m second guessing myself.

    Would it be wise to take a break? Or should I keep the pressure on and go straight into it?

    I’ve heard from both sides, and they both have their benefits and hardships.

    Also, could you recommend universities with quality acting MFA programs?

    Thank you in advance for everything. I really love what you do for us just starting out.

    Much love and reverence,
    ~ Kalyn McCabe

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      So glad this episode hit a chord with you.

      As far as deciding whether or not to go to grad school, that’s a very personal choice. There’s no one recipe. I went to grad school right after college because I felt like as wonderful as my college theater department was, I was looking for a lot more rigorous training than my college could offer me. I wanted to jump into New York City Theater and start building momentum in the Big Apple as soon as possible. However, I met people who had enrolled in grad school with me who found the environment stifling and they went off and pursued their own goals outside of an institution. Both of us were successful. You have to be honest enough with yourself to decide which will suit you best.

      As far as recommending MFA programs, the last time I looked at MFA acting programs was back in 1994. I don’t know where those programs are now. The artistic head of an acting program really shapes the quality of that program. If the artistic head changes, the whole tenor of the training will change. It’s best to look at the faculty of current programs and see if they do the kind of work you want to do and if you feel like you’ll learn useful things from them. Historically, the most famous acting schools in NY have been NYU, Julliard and now Columbia. Yale Drama School is also famous, but again, I don’t know who’s actually teaching there now. That will be the deciding factor.

      Hope that helps.

  4. Amy Scott says:

    Hey there Crispin! 🙂

    Another great episode. You always hit the nail right on the head. I want to become a voice actor so that I can be apart of the industry that I love and to bring my ideas to life.
    Going to conventions and giving panels is the icing on the cake, I know that I need to work on getting the right ingredients first.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      For me, the joy is in making the art. Conventions are simply an opportunity for me to share what I know about the industry and what I know about mythology with like-minded people. Any actor who’s acting for the attention of others doesn’t tend to last long.

  5. Tori says:

    Whoa…interesting topic! I’m glad you addressed this issue since it DOES point out how many people will try to get involved in a media simply due to their liking to the media. I love how you used the quote and said that you should love the art in yourself over yourself in the art. How true.

  6. Maxwell says:

    You hit the nail on the head. I’ve always been curious about that threshold any performer must cross in order to be successful in their work. There is indeed a sense of enlightenment that comes when trying to contribute yourself wholeheartedly towards a project. I’m a little embarrassed I don’t remember that quote from my studies. -_-

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      No worries at all. Stanislavski said a lot. That’s just the quote that seemed most apropos.

      Glad you like the episode.

  7. Meg says:

    Hi Crispin, I really like this episode the most 🙂 To be honest, I am much more of a creator/artist than a consumer- I always wanted to fix it if there is something wrong with my artwork or story that I made- I can fix it! I always love that quote as well, because I think it is very helpful for me. Thank you 🙂 I have a question, have you ever seen or heard about Pia Zadora? She’s quite short, but very pretty and her voice sounds young and lovely. I looked at the article about her most Golden Raspberry (Razzie) awards that causes a major critical of her film career during the 1980s as the ‘Worst Actress of the First Decade.’ But, her singing career was very successful. Thank you so much again and I’ll be looking forward for the next episode.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the episode.

      While I know of Pia Zadora, I’m not terribly familiar with her work.

      • Meg says:

        Oh, sorry -I didn’t know 🙁 On the other hand, as an artist – I believed learning about marketing, sales, and production is really the best things to do if you want it to be as an artist instead being a starving artist with very struggled and dependable situations. I hope it clarifies the answer.

  8. CTVO says:

    Juan Carlos Bagnell turned me onto your site. Thank you for your podcasts and helpful information.

  9. Stephen says:

    After hearing this podcast I can’t help but wonder if you are able to enjoy the shows and games you have done’ or do you find that you are to critical of yourself? I ask because shows like Hellsing quickly became my favorite partly due to the amazing voice talent. It would be horrible if you couldn’t enjoy watching your work the way we do.

    Thanks for another great podcast.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I am not overly critical of my performances in shows I have worked on. I know certain actors are, but I am not one of them.

      However, I don’t enjoy the show the same way the audience does. That would be like saying that a chef at a restaurant enjoys the food in his restaurant the same way his diners do. The chef’s satisfaction comes from knowing people are enjoying his food. A chef doesn’t eat in his own restaurant.

      So yes, I enjoy watching the shows I work on, but I don’t enjoy it from the same perspective as a fan.

      Glad you liked the podcast.

  10. Dana says:

    I believe I can say that this has been the podcast that has resonated with me the most. Thank you for elaborating on the subject clearly and honestly. I will remember this lesson well.

  11. Michael says:

    This is a nice podcast Mr. Freeman. Though I became an artist by choice throughout my whole entire life and I always admired art ever since I was a young boy. But what occured to me was that since I’ve been watching anime for quite some time. Can anime relate to the artist by personality? Or no?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m glad you like the podcast.

      I’m sorry, but I don’t understand your question. Anime is an artform. It can’t relate to anything because it’s not a person. Only something that’s alive can relate to something. Could you rephrase your question?

      • Michael says:

        Yes well as an artist we express our feelings and emotions through our art. So my question was can an artist’s personality show through their art or anime. Considering anime is art after all correct?

        • Michael says:

          Oh! Wait! You did said that anime was an artform. I’m sorry I always skim sometimes when I want to get something done basically I rush alot Mr. Freeman I’m very sorry how rude of me.

          • Crispin Freeman says:

            Yes, anime is an artform. However, the word is used differently in the U.S. than in Japan. In Japan, the word anime refers to all animation regardless of where it’s made. In America, anime is used to refer to animation that is made in Japan.

            Both are artforms, but the way Americans use the term anime, they are referring to a subset of animation, specifically only that animation that is produced in Japan with Japanese sensibilities.

          • Michael says:

            I didn’t know that Mr. Freeman well thank you I learned something new from your response.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: