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Voice Acting: Can just anyone do it?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

June 28, 2006

Comments (3)

Voice acting is one of the hottest "me too" careers right now, but does that mean that everyone should do it?

Greetings,

Has it ever occurred to you that some people have the wrong idea about voice-over?


The mass populous is immersed in a love affair with celebrity, do-it-yourselfing, and dreaming the impossible dream.

And now, perhaps due to reality television programs like American Idol, everyone thinks that they can be a voice actor. Let's call it the "me too" phenomenon of the performing arts.

To better understand why this is the case, I invite you to examine the psychology behind this with me.

Voice acting, to be sure, looks like a great deal of fun, especially from the Hollywood perspective.

Everybody is smiling, lounging around in their street clothes (pajamas in some cases), and happily strolling into the recording studio at the crack of noon to record for an hour or two, completing an entire days' work in the course of a lunch hour.

People are able to stand there, animated and let loose, and are completely uninhibited by their surroundings. Characters seem to come out of nowhere and everywhere at the same time, various pitch levels resonate, personalities are out in full force, and conversations take place in the ethereal atmosphere that is a 'voice acting session'.

That's what an audience sees when the cameras are rolling for special 'behind the scenes' cuts on TV and limited edition DVD excerpts.

What they don't see is years of training, talent, and fortitude. They don't acknowledge the physicality of it, don't understand how each sentence starts with a deep breath and proper placement.

Viewers don't think about diction, accents, interpretation, control, posture, phrasing, memorization, the recording process, or the labour of love that goes into developing a character people can relate to.

They don't think about the strict health regiment that keeps a voice in good form, the warming up of a voice, or the way that each voice actors instrument complements the rest of the cast.

They aren't there for the takes that didn't work out, the glottal attacks, or the fits of coughing when the air gets too dry. Viewers don't see how taxing a role can be. They don't know that your voice can get tired and certainly have never heard of 'vocal rest' periods.

How many things do you need to avoid to make sure your voice is healthy and can maintain a consistent tone and support throughout the session?

No one knows the sacrifices you make for your career better than other voice actors and professionals who make their living by using their voice.

Did this stike a chord with you?

I welcome your comments.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

Related Topics: Accent, Celebrity, Hollywood, TV


Comments


    Great comments. VO had been a "niche" occupation for so long. Now it's as niche as being a burger flipper at McDonald's. So many with no voice or talent...claiming to be God's gift to VO. Obviously, many future great vos out there too. I think the cerebral aspect of doing vo is implicit in this definition of what vo is: Understanding a piece of copy and to whom it is directed and then bringing something "special" to the interp, all within the time alloted and direction (if any) given.

    Posted by:

      Hi, Stephanie! Your post not only struck a chord, but you inspired me to write a symphony on this topic at my blog at www.KarenBlogs.com! I have noticed that people are stampeding into voice-over to escape their present circumstances rather than following what's in their heart.

      While you commented on the performance aspects our profession, the newcomers also don't realize that voice-over is actually a BUSINESS. I think anyone can be anything their heart truly desires IF they put forth the time, energy and effort needed for mastery.

      Jumping into a career in voice-over just because it looks like easy money for little work is the wrong reason and will not lead to fulfillment.

      Posted by:

        Just getting around to reading these wonderful columns, and wanted to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for these!

        Everyone in the country seems to be glued to the 'reality' of reality TV and don't realize the hours / days / weeks / months / years/ decades/ LIFETIMES of work that it can take.

        One of the things I love hearing are blooper reels or outtake sessions, where you can really hear some of the work it takes - sometimes in takes after takes after takes. It's never an easy process, in my mind, and I think having this type of record shows the commitments people make to really WORK their talent, to make it truly unique and memorable.

        Posted by:

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