By Stephanie Ciccarelli
June 25, 2012
Disneyland was hopping with voice over artists from all over the world!
Voices.com was the premiere sponsor for VOICE 2012 and we were thrilled to be part of this wonderful conference again.
Ashley and I took some notes on our great California adventure and want to share a bit of the awesomeness that was VOICE 2012 with you.
Find out more in today's VOX Daily.
Every two years, the voice-over industry gets together for a week long extravaganza known to all as VOICE. The VoiceOver International Creative Experience, a conference based in the US, draws voice actors from all over the world including Turkey, the Philippines, England, Australia and beyond. I've included links to our photo albums within this post that you can enjoy if you click on the name of the events.
For the sake of brevity, I'm covering one day at a time save for the combined Tuesday/Wednesday posts covering the kickoff event and the first day of VOICE 2012's official program. Expect more to come this week, but for now, simply enjoy!
The week started off with the VOICE 2012 Red Carpet Reception on June 12th. It was an evening of joyous reunions, camaraderie, and of course...photos! Everyone was a star that night and spirits were running high. Pictures were taken with VOICE co-executive producers, James Alburger and Penny Abshire. There was great food and even greater company to help everyone celebrate.
There were so many sessions being offered that it was difficult at times to pick and choose between them. More than a few people divided their time in multiple sessions so as not to miss out. The foyer was also a great place to live and learn and the exhibitor's hall was busy throughout the week. On some occasions, like Pat Fraley's and Crispin Freeman's sessions, we were all together in the same room. Below you'll find a summary of the sessions offered on Day 1 of VOICE 2012 from the perspectives of yours truly and folks who were at sessions I was unable to attend.
Wednesday morning started off with Pat Fraley and his Melt Down Mix Down keynote. Thanks to some cleverly written copy, James Alburger is now affectionately known as "Jimbo!" Pat assembled casts of characters on the stage and encouraged those performing to give their best as George Whittam quickly edited down a number of wonderful performances for playback. No shortage of talent on that stage! We were treated to a lively, Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean sketch and a split-your-sides funny comedic telephone conversation. Clearly Pat's session was cooking with gas.
In typical Pat Fraley fashion, he shared interesting facts, anecdotes and practical tips for how to improve a voice-over performance and get into character.
à¹ There is no such thing as a cold read. You can always do some rapid text analysis.
à¹ Know why you're in the script, who the other characters are and how the story unfolds.
à¹ Animation voice artists used to sit to record from the 70s and prior (i.e. Mel Blanc).
à¹ Read the script like a first grader. Get the words in order. Before you are a performer, you are a professor.
à¹ Never read anything that doesn't make sense to you. 90% of the actors read it wrong. If you can't get a hold of the director, change it to what makes sense and move on.
à¹ Protect your process. If you need to run through the script once because you haven't seen it before, ask.
After the break, Ashley Davidson and I delivered Voices.com's VOICE 2012 Presentation "Putting Your Best Voice Forward." (PDF) Although we have been to 3 of the 4 VOICE conferences, this marked the first time Voices.com was able to present at VOICE in our own session. Based upon the reaction from the crowd, it won't be the last. We got to tell the story of how the industry has changed, Voices.com's role in helping talent succeed and were able to provide some awesome tips for how to brand effectively on the Internet and audition online.
Another aspect of our Voices.com presentation (photos) covered exciting product releases and announcements such as the Voices.com iPhone App, VoiceMatch, our book Voice Acting For Dummies and a host of new features that give voice talent additional information on how they are using the site as well as a larger window into what clients are thinking as they review auditions. I want to take a moment now to thank everyone who attended the Voices.com presentation!
à¹ Complete your Voices.com profile
à¹ Showcase as many professional voice samples as possible on your profile
à¹ Prioritize your auditions based upon your VoiceMatch score
à¹ Think like an agent to put your best 'voice' forward
à¹ Build a website and incorporate a blog to help you rank in the search engines
à¹ Network both online and locally
à¹ Keep your branding polished and consistent
If we weren't presenting at the time, Voices.com would have attended the session led by Christopher Currier of Sennheiser USA on how to choose a microphone that works with your voice.
According to Kevin Charles Minatrea, "Sennheiser did a great job explaining the differences between microphones in quality, pickup patterns and proximity. The demonstrations of proximity effect were probably the most interesting things for me. We got to see exactly how the distance and placement of the microphone can affect the sound. There was also a good demonstration on how to eliminate the plosives (or popping) without using a pop screen. While the presentation was by Sennheiser, they were not simply trying to sell us on their mics. The information was applicable to any brand."
Andy Barnett thought Christopher Currier had some great information to share both during the session and in individual conversations that he had with him. Andy noted, as did Kevin, that "The proximity effect and techniques for dealing with plosives were both very insightful. What is so interesting is that as independent voice talent we not only have to be great actors but also entrepreneurs, marketers, and audiophiles!"
Dave DeAndrea of Killer Voice Demos assembled a cast and crew of people who could speak to voice-over demos, specifically the commercial demo. Members of the panel included instructor and performer Marc Cashman, voice talent agent Erik Sheppard, casting director MaryLynn Wissner, demo producer Chuck Duran and yours truly, online marketplace founder, Stephanie Ciccarelli.
Each one of us had different perspectives on how demos ought to be produced and promoted. One of the topics that came up was whether or not it was advisable to use copyright protected scripts on a demo. What a can of worms! This panel in particular was of great interest to those getting started in the industry as they learned a variety of dos and don'ts regarding creating a commercial demo, one of the staple demos all talent should have.
Other demos were also discussed such as animation demos and audiobook demos. Duration of spots and slating was also covered initiating conversations that were as diverse as the panelists on the stage.
Paul Hernandez shared his experience at the panel, saying, "I thought the perspective from each panel member was interesting in that each panel member was looking for something slightly different from a demo. From the angle of an agent, recording engineer and online demos for uploading to Voices.com. It appeared to me that you need lots of different demos for different applications. One demo does not fit all."
Susan Bernard offered, "I think the 'Demo panel' was one of the most interesting sessions at the entire VOICE 2012 conference. As a VO talent, whether we are new to the game or seasoned pros demos are still our audio calling cards. And, just like each of us, who have our own unique style and interpretation of copy, there are definitely different styles and philosophies on how demos should be done and what is most important. Makes me realize in this great biz of VO, there's no one specific right way or quintessential perfection to doing business. We all have our own story, our own niche, our own way of making it right....but no matter what, the end result better blow your clients away!"
Elley-Ray Hennessey is our Canadian fireball. She is so full of life! Many people, like Jordan Reynolds, found Elley-Ray's energy, passion and attention to her audience to be unreal and was quick to say that the session served as a once in a lifetime experience for him.
Michael Robles thought it was awesome! Michael relates, "Elley-Ray is a true actress and I am looking forward to working with her via Skype. I walked away believing that her session was the most influential. She gave me a few nuggets of information that I will place in my tool-kit."
Karin Allers shared, "Elley-Ray's class was fabulous! She had a whole different way of creating character voices and really good exercises to strengthen your soft palate as well as lips and tongue. Great ways to warm up before a tough session. She also talked about positivity and not letting negative thoughts take over. All in all I thought a very good, albeit a bit crazy, session!"
Darla Middlebrook noted that Elley-Ray's session was high-energy and informative and found that it was very much worth it to attend her session. Even though Elley-Ray wasn't feeling 100%, she could still hit the ball out of the park! A true performer.
Pearl Hewitt was involved in Bettye Zoller's workshop as one of her actors on stage, performing sample commercial scripts with Andy Boyns, Jennifer Dixon and four others. Pearl states, "We had a lot of fun. The presentation was titled Acting is Reacting and was based on trying to sound as natural and conversational as possible without sounding as if you're reading. I think we did a good job and the audience seemed very responsive."
Kevin Charles Minatrea also had some thoughts to share about Bettye Zoller's session. He writes, "Bettye's presentation focused on using our talents to make scripts involving dialogue come alive. A group of six volunteers worked their way through several pieces of commercial copy as Bettye coached them. It was pretty amazing to see how a simple change of inflection by one of the actors could completely change the direction of the spot."
Pocholo Gonzales came all the way from the Philippines to join us at VOICE 2012. Pocholo intimated, "I've learned that ADR Dubbing in the USA is so different from how we do it in the Philippines. I do almost the same as what Crispin Freeman is doing here but we do it faster way. We can finish 5 episode a day. We don't have beeps and we don't do it per loop. we do it per scene. Crispin is a good voice actor. One last observation: I think dubbing is almost the same across different countries in terms of content...only the language changes because we only see the same picture."
Toni Lynne Cousineau was also in attendance. She writes, "At first I was not sure what Crispin would do to share the complexities of 'flaps and dubbing' for anime. He showed some examples onscreen, explained some of his experiences and then had a couple of folks from the audience try it out for all to see...while directing them to almost-perfect duplications of the Japanese actors' versions! Very enlightening and to-the-minute education!"
Matt Kincaid loved Crispin's presentation, saying, "Crispin is a very dynamic guy, and a great presenter and speaker. This was a very entertaining look at anime dubbing, which I knew nothing about. It was a great demonstration on how to get inside your character and truly bring it to life based on what you see on the screen."
The evening ended with a fantastic display of water, lights and projected images with a showing at Disneyland's California Adventure theme park. Conference participants and their families were invited to attend free of charge to watch this Disneyland presentation on Wednesday evening.
If you have anything to add, please do! Over the next week I will be publishing material that covers more of the conference. For those who can't wait, check out some VOICE 2012 photos via our Facebook page.
Did you go to VOICE 2012? If so, I encourage you to relive the week and share your memories with the rest of us.
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