Fun: It’s what we do.
Fun. There, I said it. Hi, my name is Rhonda and I’m addicted to having fun at work. I’m not talking fun as in holding the annual chair Olympics in cubical land. I mean having fun every single time I step into my studio to work. After all, happy people are more productive people.
As a voice actor, my work changes from day to day. One day I’ll be working on radio commercials for a large tire chain, then the next day I’ll be playing the sweet southern voice of an ATM machine for a video game. But no matter what type of script I’m working with, I do my best to always infuse the session with a little fun. Even if the final prouct is dry, you can still have fun in the booth during the session. Why? I say, why not? After all, us voice actors are just that. Actors. And if you aren’t having fun “acting” then why do you call yourself an “actor”? Granted, not all scripts are created equal. Some just have fun written all over them while others are as dry as the Sahara desert. But no matter what, I always seem to make myself laugh at some point or another during the session. Perhaps working alone all of the time may have something to do with that? Maybe. But the bottom line is that I love to keep myself entertained and the voices in my head need to make an appearance regularly, and they do. Even my most serious reads sound better once I step outside the box and then step back in. Plus, when I’m having fun recording, the listener is having more fun listening. Having trouble having fun in the booth? Let’s work on that!
Let’s say you are recording something that requires a natural or conversational read and you are just not getting it right. Try this! (I suggest recording this entire exercise.)
Read the script as you normally would interpret it.
Now create a new character and read the copy as that character. This character can be your annoying mother-in-law, a hyped up football player, a frightened monster, a snarky valley girl, etc.)
Don’t forget to use your body language! I mean really, what is your frightened monster’s body language saying? How about the expression on its face? Go over the top with this read. Flail your arms around and flare those nostrils. Even though it makes no sense with the current copy, act your way through it baby. You can do it!
Wasn’t that fun? Do it again! This time, keep the same character but change their attitude. Were you happy? Try being melancholy instead. How about sleepy or even sexy?
Now that you’ve had a little fun and have stepped outside of your comfort zone, read it again normally. As you. Just you. Nothing fancy smanshy or forced, just be yourself.
Now go back and listen to all of that nonsense. Pay close attention to your initial “normal” read and your final “normal” read. Hear the difference? I’ll bet it’s huge!
See, having a little fun doesn’t hurt anyone! Plus, you may even discover a new character voice you didn’t even know lived inside your head. Smiling and generally being a happy camper will help your overall performance on any script. Today I push you to step outside of your “I’m all business and I can only convey that I’m all business all day every day for the rest of my life” box. Its time to unleash your fun side!
Thank you for stopping by my new blog. I’ll be writing about all types of FUN things related to the voiceover world. Feel free to share your comments on how this practice sessions goes for you. I love to hear success stories!
Until next time, keep on talkin.