VAM 050 | How to Tame Your Internal Critic

VAM 050 | How to Tame Your Internal Critic

Welcome to episode 50 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:

Allow me to begin by celebrating the 50th episode of this podcast! What a milestone! When I started this podcast almost 2 years ago, I had no idea it would grow into the phenomenon it is now! A big thank you to all my listeners. I’m honored that you’ve been spending so much time with me over the past 2 years!

In this episode, I promised to talk about a subject that Steve Blum and I brought up at the end of his interview with me. We talked about the part of your brain that generates negative thoughts. Some people call it the ego, others call it the monkey mind or the coconut. I tend to call it the internal critic. Whatever name you give it, there is a part of your brain that seems to feel the need to make you feel bad and fill your head with negative thoughts. Ironically, it tends to come out most often when you’re trying to pursue your dreams. Why does your brain do this and how can you overcome it? That’s exactly what I’m going to talk about in this episode!

I’d like give a big thank you to all my listeners, whether this is your first episode or you’ve been with me from the beginning.

If you’re enjoying the podcast, I would really appreciate it if you could give me a positive review in the iTunes Music Store! Here’s how:

  1. Follow the link to the Voice Acting Mastery Podcast in iTunes. Your browser should open up to a page listing the podcast.
  2. Click on the View in iTunes button which looks like this:  in order to view the podcast in iTunes. (NOTE: You must have iTunes installed on your computer for this to work)
  3. Once you’re inside the iTunes program, click on “Ratings and Reviews”. It looks like this: iTunes - Ratings and Reviews
  4. Then you can click on the stars to rate:  iTunes - Click to Rate and you can write me a review by clicking on the “Write a Review” button which looks like this:  iTunes - Write a Review
That’s it! Thanks for giving me a positive review on iTunes, and I’m looking forward to another 50 episodes!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #50 Here (MP3)


37 Responses to “VAM 050 | How to Tame Your Internal Critic”

  1. Tori says:

    Yeah, happy 5-0! You really do well as a teacher! Thanks for bringing up this issue, since the internal critic part is true. So far, this might be my favorite episode, especially when dealing with mental, negative self-thoughts. Thanks for using a special episode to focus on what can hurt you from the mind and affect your overall life and doings.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Thank you! I’m glad you like my teaching style. I’m glad you also like the episode so much!

  2. Meg says:

    Happy 5-0, Crispin 😀 Thank you so much for be a amazing teacher about the internal critic. I know its hard to believe, I do have a lot of negative thoughts how I been through with difficult relationships, my emotional roller coaster, and the experiences that I never had when I was little, which really causes me with major insecurities,stress,peer pressure, emotionally unstable and no confidence. Thanks again for telling us on this amazing episode 🙂 Have a lovely day

  3. Mike V. says:

    Happy 50th Podcast Crispin!
    Thank you for the great advice in trying to quell the inner critic. I’ve been trying to write my own scripts and voicing them. I’ve had a surprising amount of trouble finding good scripts to use other people have written from popular shows and games. I would appreciate any websites that have solid scripts if you have any suggestions. I’ve also been listening to Talkin’ Toons with Rob Paulsen which is really helping me to see the great sense of support and comradery between respected voice actors.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m glad you liked the episode.

      As far as scripts, I suggest you use google and search for animation scripts or animation screenplays. That’s probably going to be your best bet. I don’t know of any central repositories for scripts off the top of my head.

      Glad you’re finding Rob’s podcast helpful as well!

  4. Eric Rivera says:

    Such a great accomplishment. Congratulations. When I saw internal critic, I just imagined a little Jay Sherman in your head saying, “It stinks.” My internal critic likes to remind me that there are voice actors with several credits and roles to their name who are my age or younger. In fact, my internal critic keeps bringing up two names specifically.

    I just have to remember that my life is different from everyone else’s and that everyone starts somewhere.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Thank you. I completely understand your inner critic’s criticism of you. There’s no need to listen to it. It’s not really helping anything anyway.

  5. Eric Rivera says:

    Such a great accomplishment. Congratulations. When I saw internal critic, I just imagined a little Jay Sherman in your head saying, “It stinks.” My internal critic likes to remind me that there are voice actors with several credits and roles to their name who are my age or younger. In fact, my internal critic keeps bringing up two names specifically.

    I just have to remember that my life is different from everyone else’s and that everyone starts somewhere.

    Thank you for your time and wisdom.

    • Terance says:

      Believe me man, I have that same problem with my internal critic from time to time. If I don’t watch myself sometimes I’ll start thinking, “But so and so is successful and around my age. They’re making moves while I’m barely making baby steps!” We all want to stamp a timeline on when we plan to do certain things in life, but that’s just not how life works. We have to take the journey for what it is and above all I guess not compare ourselves to others. When we finally find our success there’ll be someone else wanting what we have and then the cycle repeats itself.

      • Crispin Freeman says:

        It’s true. You need to trust your life. Easier said than done sometimes, but it is your unique path that makes you valuable and different from others. It would be no fun if we all walked the same path and did the same things.

  6. Michael says:

    Happy 50th podcast Mr. Freeman this has helped me with negative side of my mind. Though it can’t really help what traumatized me when I was a kid. But it did got rid of some of the minor negative things in life. I also read about your Improv for Voice Actors I think that’s what it said on my e-mail. Once I read it I felt relief again but the sad part was that I don’t live in California. But it’s alright as long as you’re still making these wonderful podcasts I’ll pull through. Thank you Mr. Freeman for this information. 🙂

    • Michael says:

      One other thing I want to ask you Mr. Freeman if a person like me or someone else took things seriously through-out life would that also be a negative impulse?

      • Crispin Freeman says:

        I’m sorry but I don’t understand your question. Could you rephrase it more clearly?

        • Michael says:

          Why yes of course Mr. Freeman what I meant was that people who take things seriously like when a random person make jokes about someone, makes fun about someone, or say something that would get that serious person teed off. Usually some serious people can’t ignore a random person because they don’t have a “sense of humor”. But how would you help someone who’s serious like that? Should they ignore or just let it go and go on with their life?

          • Crispin Freeman says:

            There is no way I can possibly come up with a rule that fits all of the situations you are describing.

            I think it is important to have a sense of humor about things. At the same time, I also feel it is important to point out someone’s insensitivity when they insult someone else. When is a joke just a joke and when is it an actual insult? You have to take it on a case-by-case basis. It usually has a lot to do with someone’s intentions. There’s no way I know of to codify that as a rule that applies in all situations.

            If you are too serious in your life then everything offends you. That’s not a pleasant way to live. However, if you’re too laid back, you let people walk all over you and take advantage of you. That’s no way to live either. You have to find a balance.

            I have to ask though, what does this have to do with voice acting? This forum is for voice acting questions and we should stay on topic.

          • Michael says:

            I only ask this because what if that serious person works in the voice acting industry and becomes negative towards his or her colleagues? I am very sorry that this was an off topic question. I’m just concern but this won’t happen again Mr. Freeman and your correct I should stay on topic.

          • Crispin Freeman says:

            It’s all right. It wasn’t clear from your first articulation of the question that you were asking about how to interact with other voice acting professionals. Your initial question sounded more like you were asking for psychological help.

            Why would you become negative towards your colleagues in voice acting? The fact of the matter is, you don’t usually interact with them that much in the work place. Most voice actors record by themselves in video games, commercials, promos, narration, trailers and anime. It’s only in American animation that voice actors record together. Usually voice actors are very congenial towards each other. However, if you’re having issues with another voice actor on a personal level, that’s something you have to work out for yourself the same way you have to work out personal issues with anyone in your life.

          • Michael says:

            Well thank you Mr. Freeman but I’m not negative towards others. In fact I get along just fine with my colleagues at school no matter how annoying they all get. The only thing I hope for is that I’m not negative towards my favorite voice actoing teacher which is you. One other thing that I recall from your last response was that you said “psychological help”. I be willing to take psychology, acting, and mythology in college even though that might be exceeding my expectations in my future.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m glad you found the podcast useful.

  7. Zach says:

    Happy 50th Crispin! I appreciate the time you take out of your schedule to plan, record and post these podcasts. I just started listening to them about two months ago, and have enjoyed them all…..a nice variety of topics and guests, keep it going for 50 more and beyond!

  8. Perry King says:

    That was an Excellent podcast Crispin you have some great advice on the Internal critic. I hope this lesson comes in handy for all future voice actors someday.


  9. Kalyn McCabe says:

    All throughout this episode I was just screaming mentally “THAT’S SO ME! ME TOO! Yes, someone understands my inner turmoil!”

    I always like turning negative things into positive things. The internal critic is definitely a force that has beat me down a lot. But now I can reword my goals! Yay!

    Happy 50th episode! I’m looking forward to more lovely podcasts!

    Much love,
    ~ Kalyn

    • Kalyn McCabe says:

      Small question, well, more of a situational problem:

      I’m used to performing in front of people. I did colorguard/marching band for 4 years, been in several plays, given numerous presentations, but I cannot, for the life of me, sing solo.

      I’ve also been singing ever since I was 2. I’ve been in choir for 7-8 years, done numerous concerts… But when it comes to solos, my voice clams up, and I can’t hold a note. Unless it’s a song I know extremely well, I can’t sing it at all. And it happens only in front of crowds or in an audition.

      I know I can sing well, and I want to show people that I can. Sure I get nervous, and nothing I can’t control when I’m speaking normally, but singing… it just goes south and fast.

      Any advice or tips to control my voice when in an audition situation?

      I just believe I’ve lost so many opportunities because my voice clams up when I sing publicly.

      Thank you in advance.

      Much love,
      ~ Kalyn

      • Crispin Freeman says:

        Singing solo, especially in front of friends, is one of the most nerve-wracking things you can do. Don’t feel bad. It makes me nervous as well.

        One tip a singing teacher gave me was when you’re alone and practicing your song, try doing 40 jumping jacks before you start to sing. After 40 jumping jacks, your heart rate will be at about the same rate as it will be when you get nervous. Now try singing your song with that elevated heart rate. Eventually you’ll be able to get through the song, even if you’re nervous. That will do a lot to build your confidence.

        Hope that helps!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Thank you! I’m glad the episode spoke to you.

  10. Nicendeth says:

    Not just good advice for acting, but for all aspects of skilled activity. Thanks Crispin, quite a few people of professional level actually reinforce the internal critic when it shouldn’t be so empowered. Here’s to the best podcast on voice-acting on the net 🙂

  11. david martin says:

    ok so I do have a deep passion for voice acting and I was wandering, if you believe that you have a speech problem how would you go about “improving” on that, cuz you see all my life I have had a learning problem but that hasn’t stoped me from doing what I have a deep passion for, and because of that I have come this far so im not going to give up. that’s why I was hope you could help me on that. 🙂

  12. Stacey Bertran says:

    Congrats on 50 Episodes. It’s been a wonderful journey learning the in’s and out’s of being a voice actor. If this were around when I was a kid my career goals would have turned out differently. I love every episode, and thank you for all your hard work. I’m looking forward to the next 50. Thanks Crispin !

  13. Dana says:

    Thank you so, so much for bringing this subject up. I have a very nasty internal critic, and your articulation on how to deal with such was very encouraging.
    I’m glad you’ve been able to share, and have shared, your wisdom and fascination with the world. I (and certainly not just me) truly appreciate it.

  14. Some Canadian says:

    So to get right into it, thank you so much for this episode. I only recently started listening to the podcast so I’m slowly catching up to current, and this episode resonated with me even more than your interview with Steve Blum (though I did take some notes from that one as well).

    I come from a place of extreme, unceasing self-deprecation. I have an overabundance of shame. I can’t help but feel like I not only cannot but should not try voice acting in any form because why would anyone want to listen to my voice doing anything. Essentially, I have such little confidence in myself that I stop myself from even thinking of trying, because surely failure is the only possible end path.

    And then I listened to this episode.

    In previous podcast episodes I’d taken heart with some messages, and it was especially useful since I also listen to an RPG Actual Play podcast. Listening to these group of friends put on accents and funny voices, my first thought was “God I could never do that it’d be way too embarassing.” But then I realised, they can do it. They probably had the same thoughts at some point but they did it anyway. Who am I to judge this person, and further WHY couldn’t I do that? They’re enjoying themselves, they’re laughing and having fun. I am actively enjoying listening to them using funny voices.

    So why wouldn’t others enjoy listening to me?

    This revelation matched with your breakdown of how to tame my inner critic was like a supernova going off in my head. The very concept that my self-worth as a person has absolutely no bearing on my abilities as an artist had honestly never even occurred to me. The idea of separating my inner critic from myself is such a profound idea that I’ve renewed several hobbies I’d put down indefinitely due to a lack of inspiration/motivation, and I can finally realise that all this time I WAS putting myself down for giving them up. I beat myself up and enter a cycle of forcing myself to do a thing and hating it because now it’s a chore rather than something I love.

    In any case, to cut this rambling comment down, I want to thank you again. I’ve reset my goals, I’ve told my inner critic to take a back seat for a second, and today I forced myself to record some voice over. It wasn’t long and it wasn’t very good, but I’ll get better.

    Thank you.

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