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Resources For Animation Students

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

August 7, 2013

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Man animating a character on a computer using dual monitors. Animator.A new generation of animators is about to take the stage.

When walking the exhibition floor at SIGGRAPH 2013, I met with a number of institutions that offer programs schooling the animators of tomorrow in both traditional and computer animation.

As I spoke with representatives, a common thread emerged: each school assigns animation projects to their students where voice talent are required...but not every student knows how to work with voice actors, what to budget or where to find them.

Hear about 3 resources offered by Voices.com useful to animation students working with voice over talent.

Building an Animation Portfolio?

Just like voice actors, animators need to have samples of their work to show to prospective clients. Building a portfolio of their best work includes more than just animation, however. Similar to making a voice-over demo, other elements come into play during the production of an animated project.

For an animator, voice-over figures prominently in shaping their work because the performance of a voice actor guides their hand when animating characters. That said, being able to translate an animator's vision from tech speak to the artistic, more flowery language used by voice artists is key to successful collaboration.

Knowing how to articulate a vision and interact with voice talent is very important for an animator, particularly as they progress in a degree program. This may go without saying but collaborating with voice talent at their same skill level (or higher) will result in a work that the animator can be proud of. Sometimes this means working with actor friends, peers in a drama program or professional voice talent found at Voices.com.

Addressing Voice Needs

There is a greater need for "pro" voices where senior level students are concerned and from what I understand having spoken with a number of schools, some of these students do set aside an overall budget for their project, a portion of which is dedicated to audio.

Students can use Voices.com to help them:

Finding Voices

When animation students visit Voices.com in search of voices for their projects, they can listen to samples quickly and easily.

Three of the most common ways animators find voice talent are:

  • Advanced keyword search
  • Browsing the directory
  • Posting a job to get responses

Keyword and Advanced Search

Our voice talent search engine gives you the ability to look for voice samples based upon Language, Gender, Voice Age, Category, Union Affiliation and by keyword. When you enter your search query, all matching voice talent will show up in your search results along with a demo for you to listen to. If you like what you hear and want to listen to more voice samples from a particular talent, you can click in to their profile and find additional samples.

Browsing the Featured Talent Directory

Did you know that you can find talent based upon the kind of demo you want to hear? There's a category specific to cartoons on the site as well as one for narration. Take a look in the Voices.com Directory to find voices that will meet your needs. This tool is also helpful for listening to great animation voice artists and getting an appreciation for the caliber of talent out there. The voices you hear may serve as an inspiration for character voices in your projects!

Posting a Job

If you are working on a project you intend to use in your portfolio, one of the best ways to create a production that shines is to hire a professional voice talent. Setting aside a budget of at least USD$100 to secure such talent is necessary and the money you invest in this aspect of your production will be worth every penny (and then some!). When you post a job at Voices.com, you can outline your needs, upload a script to receive reads from your script and also include an image of your character to help talent better identify with the role. Talent who match your job posting will audition with a read from your script, a quote for how much it will cost and a note letting you know why they are the best voice for your project. All of this is managed within your Voices.com client account. When you've found a voice that you like, you can award your job and then work with the talent to complete the project.

Working With Voice Actors

Another avenue Voices.com uses to teach students about working with voice talent is through guest lectures, either in person or online. The presentation speaks to the importance of character development, providing artistic direction, auditioning and creative ways to collaborate with voice actors. Our goal is to help young animators to better understand how to work with voice talent to get the performances they want to animate to. If you are interested in learning more about bringing a Voices.com lecture to your school or receiving a package specific to what's covered in the presentation, you can email stephanie (at) voices.com for more information.

Honing Your Own Voice Talent

Don't have a budget or any friends in the drama department? Some students find themselves doing their own voice work or bartering with their peers to complete assignments. In that case, the Voice Over Experts podcast may be of particular interest as it includes tips and tricks from voice over coaches around North America and the UK. Featuring over 140 episodes, you can be subscribe to Voice Over Experts for free in iTunes or listen on the web.

Have You Found This Helpful?

There are a lot of great ways to work with voice actors as you can see. Did you find anything in this article to be especially interesting to you? If so, I'd love to hear from you!

Be sure to comment here on this post to let me know.

Best wishes,
Stephanie

ŠiStockphoto.com/small_frog

Related Topics: animation, Apple, cartoons, how to, portfolio, union


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