Becoming A Better Voice Actor #3: Be A Better Voice Actor

(cue Inception noise thanks to the circular title)

So, this is the third in a series of posts emptying the cup of everything I know about being a voice actor thus far. In this article I’m going to be talking about performing. As always, take the advice here with a grain of salt.

I only know what works for me, and if you ask me next month, I’ll tell you that this is the month I’ve finally built a robust set of tools around performance.

IT’S NOT ABOUT SILLY VOICES.

At least, not initially. And then it is.

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Becoming A Better Voice Actor #1: Build Systems

This is the first in a short series of posts where I’m putting down what I would travel back through time to tell myself, in order to become a voice actor/voice over artist/person who talks in front of a microphone and gets paid for the privilege QUICKER.

Everything written here comes with a big caveat: it’s what worked for me, and it’s my answer so far. It may not work for you, and I may have an epiphany next Thursday that throws everything here out the window. If said epiphany comes, I promise to let you know.

This first post is about what I think is the first, most critical step to lay infrastructure down for moving forward as quickly as you can:

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The Jenga of Managing Energy

Last week was AWESOME. It was an absolute prince of weeks where a number of great opportunities presented themselves unsolicited, I had some great training sessions with vocal coaches, took part in a week-long marathon of classes at the Actor’s Lab, and got to catch up with some of my favourite people. I’ve been steadily building my regular practice brick by brick, adding components as they’re suggested by mentors. I’d included (I thought) care and maintenance to make sure that I can keep the engine running, as well.

But on the Saturday at the end of that week, I got knocked down with food poisoning. It’s most likely a coincidence, as it’s difficult to give yourself food poisoning, but the timing bears thinking about. Many years ago, when I was a rather different person, I might have taken a few mental health days at the end of a stretch like that to hide away and recover; recharge the batteries. But that’s most definitely not the person I am now. Losing three days to feeling horrible and doing nothing sucked, to be frank, and I wanted– no, needed to spin back up all of the plates I had in motion and get into the thick of things.

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AUTHENTIC IN ALL CAPS: Out in the wild!

AUTHENTIC IN ALL CAPS

Personally, I think the best kind of project is when you surround yourself with incredibly talented people and hustle as hard as you can in the hope that no one notices that you probably shouldn’t be there, because seriously, THE AMAZING PEOPLE THAT YOU’RE WORKING WITH.

AUTHENTIC IN ALL CAPS is one of those projects. I talked in my newsletter earlier this year about the experience of recording for the project, but I’m super-amped to be able to tell you that AUTHENTIC IN ALL CAPS is now available in the App Store for iPad. Here’s why I’m excited:

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GenreCon Wrap-Up

(written Wednesday the 16th)

So here I am at 1AM in the morning writing my wrap-up of GenreCon Oz. It might seem like I’m being fashionably late here, but my GenreCon only ended officially around 1:30 Wednesday morning, and today has been lost to flying home, and trying to shrug off a lingering hangover.

So how was GenreCon? My capsule review is that it was AMAZING. It’s back on again in 2015, and if the Venn diagram of your life connects with writing (or, hell, being a creative) I’d recommend it. It’s put a fire in my belly, and got me thinking real hard about heading to Faffcon, the closest equivalent in the voice over world. It was a blur of passion and connection and meeting old friends and new, and sharing enthusiasm, ideas, and potential ways to play together. And a solid backbone of REALLY GREAT ADVICE. For me, the convention occurred half in the Library proper, and half in the discussions into the wee hours of the morning in bars, or San Churro. It turns out churros are the hook in the cheek to drag anyone into hanging out.

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Thoughts On Being A Good Freelancer

Freelancer video game box art

Recently for a project with a regular, well-loved client I needed to subcontract some recording out for a voice type I couldn’t provide myself. The recording was done interstate by a contact I’d provided voice over for in the past, leaving me a step removed from the whole process.

While the client was satisfied with the end result, getting there was long and frustrating. So I wanted to turn the situation on its head, and look at some rules to keep in mind when dealing with clients as a freelancer. I’m by no means perfect with these myself, so this is as much for me as it is for you.

If You Have To Email Me, I’m Not Doing My Job

This is a game I play with client communication normally. While you don’t want to overwhelm the client with the minutiae of a job’s progress, if a client needs to reach out to me to find out what’s happening, I’m not doing my job. If a client has to email me twice to get an answer, I’m really dropping the ball.
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Two Golden Rules For Getting Better

I’ve been revising what rules I have around voice over recently, as part of a mental spring cleaning, and digging at the fundamentals as part of a writing project of sorts.

I was reminded of one of them on Thursday night. I study at the Melbourne Actor’s Lab, and I’m working on a scene at the moment with a great guy who’s an absolute sweetheart and far more talented than I. We got a fairly detailed set of notes this week, and you could see in my scene partner’s body straight away that he took it on the chin as failure. When we got back to our seats, he was quietly shaking his head. “Too many notes”. This brings me to:
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Some Thoughts On The Last of Us [CONTAINS SPOILERS!]

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I’ve been in a bit of a slump over the last few days after finishing The Last of Us, and I’m starting to think I need to process the experience of that game. Get what’s been rattling around my head down on paper.

BIG HONKING SPOILER WARNING: This will contain spoilers, so if you haven’t finished the game yet, please read no further. Go finish the game! Then come back. Also, this may meander somewhat messily. After all, this is what this post initially looked like in my head:
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