VAM 064 | Q & A Session 10 – Removing Your Accent & Hearing Your True Voice

VAM 064 | Q & A Session 10 – Removing Your Accent & Hearing Your True Voice

Welcome to episode 64 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 answering questions from my podcast audience! For those who may not be as familiar with the podcast, in past episodes, I’ve given out a phone number where you can call in and leave me a question about voice acting as a voicemail. From time to time, I’ll pick the most relevant questions I receive and answer them here on the podcast.

For this round of Q & A, I answer questions from Wallace from Savannah, GA and Jacob from Melbourne, FL.

Wallace is unhappy with his regional accent and would like to know what he can do to get rid of it.

It is true that one of the first things you should become aware of as you begin your voice acting career is how you sound to other people. If you don’t become aware of the way you speak, then your artistry will be limited since you will not know what you need to change in order to adapt your voice to different characters and situations.

However, there is nothing inherently wrong with the way someone naturally speaks. Our speech patterns are influenced by the environments in which we grow up. We adopt the regionalisms of the people around us in order to be more socially acceptable and to “fit in”.

So rather than thinking you need to eliminate your accent permanently, begin to see it as just one tool in your toolbox, or one costume in your wardrobe. You don’t want to invalidate your native accent, you just want to learn to turn it on and off when you need to.

I give Wallace a couple of suggestions on what to do to work on his accent including listening or re-listening to episodes 19, 20 & 21 of the podcast where I interview J.B. Blanc on his expertise and experience in accents. I also give him detailed directions on how to voice match talented actors as a way to become aware of one’s habitual speech patterns.

 

Jacob wants to know why his voice sounds different when recorded on a microphone versus when he is recorded on someone’s video camera.

If one is recording oneself on a high quality microphone like the ones I recommend in the Toolbox section of this website, then chances are it is a large diaphragm microphone. Video cameras and smartphones tend to have small diaphragm microphones that are of much lower quality. Also, when recording on a large diaphragm microphone you are often much closer to the mic whereas in a video, the camera person may be many feet away from you.

It is best to evaluate your voice on a large diaphragm microphone, since that is the most common recording situation you will find yourself in as a professional voice actor. However, I also give Jacob some advice on what to avoid when working with a large diaphragm microphone.

 

I hope you find the answers useful in your own voice acting endeavors!

 

If any of my listeners would like to call in with your own thoughts, thank you’s or questions, the number is:

323-696-2655.

Please donโ€™t forget to include your first name and what city in the world youโ€™re calling from. Iโ€™m looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for listening!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #64 Hereย (MP3)

 

22 Responses to “VAM 064 | Q & A Session 10 – Removing Your Accent & Hearing Your True Voice”

  1. Eric Rivera says:

    I was reading this comic on deviantART before I just went to the artist’s official website and read all his other stuff. What he had to say really got me thinking.

    http://doodlealley.com/2012/10/01/taste-is-your-teacher/
    http://doodlealley.com/2012/11/21/practice-does-not-make-perfect/

    I found voice matching to be incredibly useful way to learn. I couldn’t put it into words how it helped, but this artist nailed it perfectly: “We don’t want to merely replicate the form of a work; we want to repurpose the formula used to make a work.”

    Thank you for your time and wisdom. And thanks to Jacob and Wallace for their questions.

    (Also, I bought a copy of The Hobbit and Undisputed by Chris Jericho. I hope that’s okay.)

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      That artist’s comics have been crossing my path more and more. He reminds me of Scott McCloud and his musings on art and creation.

      I’m glad that you’ve found voice matching a good way to learn. I certainly think it can help immensely.

  2. Maurice Cooper says:

    This is a very interesting episode, because I, too ran into the exact same predicament when I was using my high quality microphone. When I always listen to myself on a camera, my voice sounds slightly monotone and deep, but when I use the microphone, I sound more rough and much deeper than usual. I’m happy that this episode shed the light on such a problem.

    Thanks again, and I can’t wait for the next episode.

  3. Kalyn McCabe says:

    I’m a terrible actor; I rarely use my normal voice when doing lines. xD but I can use my natural voice if need be.

    I really liked this episode. I would like to add that Wallace could go to a speech therapist if he has the cash to do it. They could help a lot in reshaping his voice.

    ~ Kalyn

  4. Terance says:

    Is it okay to use the proximity effect in animation to create deeper voices every once in a while or is it something most voice actors shy away from doing?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      While it is okay to use it for effect every once in a while, more often than not, professional engineers don’t want you to use the proximity effect. They would rather hire someone with a deeper voice. I’ve seen Frank Welker use the proximity effect to do a couple of monster noises in Scooby-Doo, but if they actually need a character to speak a number of lines with a deep voice, they’re just going to hire someone with a deep voice.

  5. Lydia Gray says:

    This podcast was incredible! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for posting this up!

  6. Nicendeth says:

    /Rant
    To expand on the “true voice” in a completely different way, I believe it’s a problem with self-consciousness too. I believe it’s a problem for people to step away from their ego when talking & listening to themselves (which is a natural reaction) which

    Makes you regard your voice as “different”
    And by this I’m not saying you’re not special or unique, but you can fail to realize how your voice functions by not connecting it to our understanding or standards of human communication, thus confusing you about how ‘voice’ works.

    Having fun is a really important concept, believe it or not, but while also being able to understand when you’re using your voice to act the way you intend, so that you’re in line with the requirements of the script.
    /endrant

    If I’m dumb, let me know *shrug*.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m not completely sure I understand what you’re saying. You’re clearly not dumb, but I’m unclear how you define the “ego” and what part it plays in terms of hearing your natural voice.

      The main reason we cannot hear our natural voices is because the bones in our head conduct the sound of our voice to our ears and add to the frequencies that are entering from outside our head. The other reason is we develop a “blind spot” about how we sound because we don’t take the time to truly listen to the way we speak and compare it to others. That’s why it’s so revealing to record oneself and listen back. Often people will say, “Is that what I really sound like?” and the answer is always, “Yes, that is what you sound like to others.”

      Once you start to develop an awareness of what you sound like to others, then you can begin to modify your vocal production to achieve different effects or artistic goals. Ideally, this should be a fun and enjoyable process.

      • Nicendeth says:

        Yes, that “blind spot” is what I was meandering around but not being able to succinctly say X.X

        I have never been coached professionally, so I’m as clueless as anyone I guess. I don’t even know why I phrased what I was saying that way…

        …regardless, thank you for taking the time to show me this haha. You basically stated all of what I wanted to say and then some.

  7. Meghan (Meg) says:

    Very amazing stories and very interesting ideas, Crispin ๐Ÿ™‚ I absolutely agree with you on everything you said about the problems of an accent. I remember about your words- ‘On and off’ – when you answered my question from VoiceGuide.me podcast about a few months ago – It’s really impressive. For Wallace, I’m sorry when he fell down about his accent ๐Ÿ™ I do feel the same thing- but, after I got so many compliments from my friends and other people, I’m very pleased about my true background and my accent. Although, I don’t sound any Southern accent at all since I was born and raise between West Viriginia to Tennessee to Kentucky and then, Mississippi- I still sound like a normal American young lady with a half of a bit of a European accent. Thanks again, Crispin and can’t wait for the other episode. Also, I really enjoyed your role of Kirei Kotomine from Fate/Zero- You did awesome job ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. Leonard says:

    This episode speaks to me a lot since I live in Canada.

    I’ve heard people say we have an “accent” but honestly when compare my my fathers, my best friends or even my own voice to the voices that you & Colleen O’Shaughnessey, have, I don’t really notice a difference or at least a huge difference in accents. Just a few people like Carolyn Lawrence & John DiMaggio are voice actors I notice a huge accent difference in from my own.

    I am curious, have you noticed any difference in accents in the Canadians you’ve met? You may remember hearing my voice in one of your other Q&A’s in August, did it sound like I had an accent there? It’s very interesting to me.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Some Canadians have a more pronounced accent than others, just like some Americans have more distinctive regionalisms than others. Part of becoming a voice actor is getting in tune with those subtle differences.

      In listening back to your audio from that Q&A episode, I can hear just a slight Canadian inflection on phrases like “what di yah do” but in order to evaluate your accent effectively, I’d have to hear you work on some actual characters and see if your regionalisms get in the way of portraying those characters.

      Hope that clarifies.

      • Leonard says:

        Interesting. Had I not asked you, I would never have known that I sound like that. J.B. Blanc was right about people not being able to hear their own accents. I wouldn’t mind trying trying out some characters for you to see if my regional accent does get in the way of my ability to play characters but currently I don’t have the finances or time to take part in one of your online workshops. But that doesn’t mean I won’t ever be able too cause I’d really love to. Thanks for your clarification, you’ve helped me a ton.

  9. VAM listener says:

    I contacted J.B. Blanc, but he doesn’t do coaching any more. It would be great if you can recommend some experts that work with accents. Thank you!

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