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Humility and Voice Acting

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

October 29, 2009

Comments (8)

Humility woman prayingWhen people are voice acting, their names are not generally associated with the voice over or the product they are selling.

The one exception that I can think of is in the world of character voice acting where there may be credits included at the end of a cartoon, film, or in a video game.

Bearing that in mind, how does this affect the voice acting profession?

Share your thoughts on the topic here at VOX Daily!

Voices Heard, Faces (and Names) Unseen

Voice over is very much behind the scenes work. You are at home or in a studio and rarely (if ever) get to see your audience or be seen by them.

What motivates people to do voice over at this point?

Is it recognition?

Voice over has to be one of the most humble occupations in the sense that recognition is not what is really what's driving the individual voice artist to do their job.

Based upon what I know of voice over professionals, recognition for themselves is probably the least motivating factor... these people would rather be part of a greater whole and pin their motivation upon effectively conveying and spreading a message.

The ultimate goal is to ensure that the audience comprehends the message and acts upon it in a positive way.

Remember when we discussed ego in voice acting? This is very much the essence of humility: a modest view of one's own importance.

What Do You Think?

Is humility a hallmark of voice acting?

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/Peter Brutsch

Related Topics: cartoons, humble, humility, SAG, voice acting, voice overs, voice talent, work


Comments


    Hi Stephanie,

    Yes, I agree that my main goal and concern is that the audience "gets" the message I'm trying to convey... fully. That's my drive. My satisfaction in voice acting is knowing that I can bring people to a greater understanding of a product or service I'm voicing. I don't need to have my name in lights. Maybe that's considered humility, I'm not sure. As long as I continue to get work, I know I'm doing my job well. Also, I have never done the 9 to 5 thing well. I'm a mom, and I feel lucky that this profession gives me the opportunity to be at home, work around the family schedule, and have fun at the same time.

    Best,
    Michelle

    Posted by:
    • Michelle Kienzle
    • October 30, 2009 9:26 AM

      Michelle's right...the message and its proper presentation should be the most important aspect of the work itself. Personally...I've always been amazed at voiceover in its own right...where the performer doesn't have to be seen to give a great performance. That concept flies in the face of our need to scrutinize and judge people according to appearance. There is still a sense of wonder attached to seeing what 'Bart Simpson' looks like in real life, for example. Most of my acting heroes have been those who were known for their performances first--the recognition came later.
      This is not a business that invites stardom or recognition--but there is definitely room for great satisfaction for a job well done!

      Posted by:

        Good topic...

        I agree with Herb. The sense of satisfaction and accomplishment is important, and well deserved on a good gig.

        That being said, I've gotten to meet some people who are definitely "name" voice actors. How they react to the fame is different for each. Some of the best are extremely nice in person, and I believe their primary goal may be to give a quality performance. Others are in it for the fame or fortune... and it shows when you meet them.

        In the end, fame and fortune are fleeting. I'd prefer to have that feeling of a job well done (and be able to look myself in the mirror every day ;-)

        ... still... I'll take the fame and fortune when it comes... with humility!

        Posted by:

          I quite like being a nobody and know that deep down no one really cares what I do for a living. Zen working, you do what you do because you do what you do knowing that it isn't what you are. That said, there are opportunities for fun. Like yesterday for example.

          In the morning we took Jazz to Roseisle for a run on the beach before driving to Tesco in Elgin for a Supermarket shopping extravaganza.

          I tend to go through life looking like an unmade bed so took the opportunity to go to the upper floor in the store where I could find clothing items all for under 27p. Cheap, yes, worth wearing even by Portgordon's resident Scarecrow ...NO. Before I run the gauntlet of the veg section I remain upstairs and look at the electrical section, TVs, chairs, cattle prods, that type of thing.

          As it's lunchtime in Elgin a number of school children are in Tesco buying food and dreaming of one day having a 9ft plasma TV in their bedrooms to play the latest video game "Pancreas IV" - Now available for anyone who has to get up in the middle of the night for a Wii.

          A noisy bunch of malnourished herberts are stood around a HDTV channel hopping, they stay with each channel for 0.05 nanoseconds. When they get to Zone Horror they stop.

          "Och this is mental kewl" says one.

          "Aye!" say all.

          As the channel is in a commercial break we eventually get to a promo, probably for something like "Sabre toothed Zombie Nuns from a little village just outside of Honiton where there's not much happening but the local pub has an extensive selection of real ales and the steak and kidney pie is delicious!" As I walk behind the shower of Elgin Academy's finest the promo ends.

          "Och that wizz mental spookie!" said one wide-eyed midget. I couldn't resist .....

          "And it's about to get a lot spookier" said the fatbloke pushing a trolley.

          You could've heard a pin drop.

          I'm sure you may be able to work out the name of the Promo voice for Zone Horror without too much help from me.

          Posted by:

            Dear Stephanie,

            Mel Blanc was once used in an American Express television commercial saying “You don’t know my face or my name but you might recognize my voice(s) and that is why I carry the American Express Card” and then signed off in Porky’s famous signature B,B,B, That’s All Folks! That really sums up the voice actor, an entertainer for sure but not on stage. Voice acting and cartoon voice work are as separate and distinct in their performance categories as a dancer and a movie actor. On screen every nuance, every emotion is fully expressed in body language, using the eyes and the voice it becomes a complete package of human communication. The dancer uses her body or his moves to create a feeling that transcends the choreography to reach into the depth of the soul. The movie actor and the dancer take on the persona of a role and in that moment when they lose themselves the new life is born and it lasts for the length of the performance. Voice actors love the cozy anonymity of the studio and the microphone to ‘morph’ into a character in much the same way a painter opens up a blank canvas and begins the journey of creation. It is a comfort zone unlike any other on earth where you can and do literally leave yourself behind to enter a new world in a new form. The human voice stands alone alone as the bodies single most complete instrument of communication and expression and the mastering of its complexities and beauty takes a lifetime of practice and performance and that is why award categories exist within the performance industry to recognize those artists who are the top of their craft and work in solitary, in most cases, to achieve their apogee.

            Michael Morgan
            Vancouver


            Posted by:

              Hi Stephanie,

              Daniel Goldman here. Great article and philosophical thought. Humility is definitely a part of voice acting which is how one can reason that voice acting is good for the soul! (:=>

              But in all seriousness, yes it is inherent in voice acting. But as a voice actor, I personally am fine with that because:

              1) Being humble and grateful is a strong personal trait of mine;

              2) In order to make any form of media a success there is SO much that goes on behind the scenes and the realization is (mathematically as well as philosophically) that very few can be 'stars' per se.

              For anything or anyone to be a success, it requires everyone they depend upon to be at their peak-best. I found-out long ago that I get more joy out of being a reliable member of a team so that I can positively affect the lives of my teammates, clients as well as those who see/hear the end product... the audience etc. I concern myself more with that than with having my name in lights. Being a foundational member of a team works; it was very much part of my life over 30 years in the Corporate world.

              So yes, humbling and egoless but like many things it is a matter of reference-frame as well as personal expectation. I look-around and I have observed that some got into this business because it would be their chance to be a 'star'... to tell their friends they speak into a microphone and see their names on a CD label... just based upon casual/social discussions I have had with some. But when you look at it through humble eyes like my own, you realize there is indeed a greater whole and much satisfaction to be gained by contributing to it. I want my teammates (producers, agents, fellow voice talents and especially clients) to be glad I was on their team and proud of me because of the good and loyal job I do. That feels better and warmer to me inside versus having my name in lights so to speak; and to be honest they'd be more likely to hire me again and want me back.

              Thanks for the chance to share my opinion on this, Stephanie. As always, great job you and David do owning/running Voices.com!

              Daniel Goldman

              Posted by:
              • Daniel Goldman
              • October 30, 2009 12:51 PM

                Hi Michelle, Herb, Joe, Michael, Philip, and Dan,

                Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts! I truly appreciate hearing from all of you and am glad that this generated discussion :)

                If anyone would like to add to our conversation, you're more than welcome to!

                Best wishes,

                Stephanie

                Posted by:

                  Humility is definitely an asset when it comes to any profession. From my days in the radio industry, I saw egos damage more careers than anything else. What it simply comes down to is you are providing a service to someone that has graciously accepted you and your talent to represent them. Customer service should always be the key.
                  As far as dealing with colleagues and other industry professionals, every one of them are valuable to you. Just like a doctor relies on other doctors for referral business, the voice professional relies on his peers. Humility may be one of the most important qualities a professional can display. Just my opinion. :)

                  Posted by:

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