Hey gang! Got a VO related question? Need a demo critiqued?? Just need an ear to eh-buh-beh-eh-bend? Ask away!!! Glad to help out!
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  • Hey Bob, As always, thanks for being so very generous with your time and wisdom. You are a real blessing for us on the path.
  • OK-that didn't work.

    Go to this page from my site and listen to track 5:

  • Here's one more lil bit of Daws. I first met him at an animation exhibit when I was about 14. Knowing he'd be there, I went with my handy dandy portable Panasonic tape recorder. I put it in front of Daws, asked him to do some voices.

    Here's that recording:

    Daws Butler
  • Hey Michael!

    Daws was a mensch! For my gentile friends, Daws was da bomb!!!!

    His workshop was $10 or a handshake, whichever you happened to have that week. The class took place in a guest house behind his main house. When you walked in, it looked like Hanna Barbara had exploded! Miles of stuffed Yogis, Huckleberry Hounds, Snagglepusses. Animation cels, the original Beany puppet from the Time For Beany puppet series.

    We'd gather at a rectangular table, with a plate of butter cookies in the middle. Daws would go to his file cabinet and hand out scripts. We never really worked with commercial or animation copy. These were all original scripts written by Daws. More along the line of radio acting. Some comedic, some ironic, some more dramatic.

    Daws stressed acting. He stressed timing and phrasing. He taught the importance of the words, and what an actor can do with them. And our workouts were beyond cold reads. More like frozen reads. Daws liked the spontaneity of first impressions.

    The only reason I stopped studying with Daws was because an acting school asked me to teach an animation VO workshop on the same night as his class. Between breaks in my class I'd stop by Daws' for a workout. Every once in a while I'd get to his class early and sit in his living room with him watching old cartoons. The last time, we watched "The Honeymousers" which was a Looney Tunes take off of "The Honeymooners." Daws did both Ralph and Morton, one of the few times Mel didn't voice a Looney Tunes cartoon. Daws recalled how that Ed Norton voice did very well for him. Besides The Honeymousers, he also did an homage to Ed Norton with Yogi Bear. Many of his characters were "versions" of Hollywood stars. Snagglepuss is his take on The Cowardly Lion.

    Daws also taught me that you can take a "voice" and alter it for various characters. He said his Elroy Jetson "voice" was also used for Augie Doggie, but Augie had a quiver. The same "voice" was used for Babalooie, but he had a Mexican accent. Daws was stressing that there's nothing wrong with taking a "voice" you've used before, and tweaking it to fit other characters.

    Here are 2 other lessons that Daws taught me, which if you've taken my classes you've heard me preach:

    1) There's no such thing as an original voice. Most, if not all voices have been done before. Rarely is something so original in sound that one has never heard it before. BUT-there ARE original characters. It's what you do with that "voice" that makes it original. The personality, the way the character interacts. The acting! THAT'S what makes the "voice" a character.

    2) If you physically play the character, the voice will follow.

    Watching Daws do Yogi Bear, his chest would expand. Every character was performed with a very different facial expression. His hand gestures and posture would change with each character.

    He was a gem! And very missed!!!

    Wanna know more about Daws, check out this site:

  • Bob,
    I really appreciate all the savvy advice you give.. and everyone should view your website -- loaded with gems.
    I knew of your relationship with Mel Blanc -- but did not realize you had been so close with the great Daws Butler.
    Everyone knows him from Hanna Barbera -- but he was consistently great working with another all time great, Stan Freeberg.
    Listen to the "Dragnet" spoofs from the 50s!
  • (to self) I can learn something from this guy.I just feel it.

    Greetings, Mr. B. Always good to see you.

  • YES!!!

    So, here's the deal! When I was 5 years old...............................

  • Wow! I had no idea you met Mel Blanc...fascinating!!!
  • This is great advice. Thanks so much for taking the time and the kind words.
    I'm going to rework the demo here pretty soon and add some more dynamic characters doing more physical stuff. I'll be looking for some more feedback soon.

    Again, thanks for being so generous.

    Like I told Dave DeAndrea, if you come to Seattle, I'm there!
  • Hey Joey!

    First of all, you are one talented guy, my friend!!!

    Your animation demo is "OK" but it didn't knock my socks off. Here's an excerpt from the VO/FAQ page from my website:

    "Your animation track should sound like a montage of real animation clips cut together into a minute and a half demo. Stay away from telling a story!! Also, never repeat a voice. Once you've established a character move on to the next. Try to have each character DOING something, not just SAYING something, in each byte. Give them some kind of action to be doing. This will show off not just your vocal range, but also your acting range. In cartoons they are looking for actors first, and funny voice people second. Which means if you are a great actor who can only do a few voices, you have a better chance of booking a job over someone who does dozens of voices, but can't act. Your animation track should consist of characters with distinct personalities. Everyone can do a witch. What makes your witch different?? How are your kid voices different from the Rugrats?? Nancy Cartwright, who does Bart Simpson, had been doing kid voices for years before booking The Simpsons. What makes her Bart stand out is her acting. His personality is as memorable as his voice. That's because Nancy is a brilliant actress. She makes the words on the script come to life. Think of the script as a skeleton, and you, the actor have to give it a body. When all of this sounds easy, then and ONLY then are you ready for an animation track for your demo."

    You absolutely show off vocal range on your demo. But I need to hear more acting. Not just a slew of one liners. And I do hear you are a good actor on your demo. But the agents and buyers won't be as generous with their time as I am. Ya get about a 4 second listen, and you'd better stick out amongst all the other demos!

    Give each character a situation with an unheard scene partner to react to. Establish relationship. Have an adjustment with each character to show off 2 sides/attitudes of their personality.

    Example: You're the captain of a space ship, reporting to Earth over the intercom that the mission was a success and you are coming home. When all of the sudden the ship is hit by a meteor shower, which jolts the ship, adjusts your performance from calm/matter of fact to "red alert" mode! It might even knock you off your feet, which adds to the physicality of the scene.

    The demo still needs to move and draw the listener in, so you don't have a lot of time.

    The good news is you've got the talent. Now you just need the demo to match the talent!

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