By Stephanie Ciccarelli
September 6, 2008
VO: Tales and Techniques of a Voice-Over Actor, published in 2002, takes you on Harlan Hogan's journey from the mischievous to the magnificent, complete with colorful anecdotes, real life experiences and insightful "been there done that" takeaways that you can apply to your career found throughout this unique education, the tales and the techniques of a voice-over actor.
Your daily challenge is to make the words that are penned by a stranger your own.
Are you up for it?
Read more about this great book here on VOX Daily.
Recently, I read one of the most entertaining books I have picked up in a long time, regardless of genres, and it happened to be a book about voice overs, written by Chicago-based voice actor, Harlan Hogan.
Harlan Hogan takes you on his personal journey ("Tales") interspersed with applicable lessons in didactic sections ("Techniques") woven in true storytelling style relevant to the tale that precedes them.
Aside from the fact that the book was full of interesting facts, quotations and VO fundamentals, Harlan's writing style really took center stage, sharing his life experiences with humor, candor and wit.
Harlan's tales are mischievous and he uses self-deprecating humor, an extensive vocabulary, and tangible imagery to set the stage for your reading pleasure. Throughout the book, Harlan's no frills honesty serves as a good tonic that keeps him grounded while still enabling this lovable rogue to tell his tales, dozens of embraceable vignettes that make you believe you are there, like a fly on the wall, but only better because his narrative is interactive and involves the reader just as if you were there.
Harlan's like a best friend who has all the experience in voice over and will give it to you freely so that you can excel, showing you how a career in voice over can begin, make progress and succeed using his own story.
When you read this book, you'll learn from someone who has been there, got the t-shirt and wants to help you on your way with no holds barred. Harlan gives you the inspiration and the tools with examples liberally provided regarding real world experiences on the job.
Each section begins with a well chosen quote from a familiar celebrity in the arts or from the advertising world. The Tales and Techniques are consumable in bite-sized chunks that will entertain and instill valuable information with memories and content that you'll be able to relate to if you took a similar path to voice over.
Tales and Techniques are color coded (tales on regular white paper, technique sections have gray printed paper) so that you can flip through to read particular sections, whether just the tales or just the techniques, however it is beneficial to read the book in sequence to get the most out of Harlan's journey and expertise.
You may have heard of having a "skill set". Harlan Hogan calls his voice-over skill set the 4 Ts, which are:
- background and education; not just in acting or voice acting but in business, broadcasting and advertising too.
- skill set in front of the microphone; interpreting copy, reading it in time, and taking direction.
- everything from your voice demo and self-promotion to the performing unions and your agent.
- hard to define and impossible to create - it's the fuel that drives the engine but without the other Ts, it's only raw ability - and unshaped and unrefined.
Each of the chapters in the book highlight how-tos and resources that will guide you through the 4 Ts.
Harlan Hogan shows you all the pitfalls so that you can avoid them and is a master of context.
Harlan lays it out not to discourage anyone as the business will do that on its own but he cautions that there is no magic bullet.
Training, experience, talent and hard work can't be replaced. Don't buy into the notion that it's any other way. Hear it from someone who has been in the trenches and start your own journey armed with Harlan's tips and suggestions today.
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