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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  • Hi Bob,

    MABUHAY from the Philippines! I'm your number one fan here in the Philippines. Hope to meet you soon.

    Best regards,

  • Gotcha!

    Diagnosis: You are in your head!

    You are judging and second guessing, which always prevents you from ever committing to your choices.

    Read below a few posts at the 3 things that make up a character. It's a short cut explanation, but it might help a bit.

    Also, here are a few of my golden rules:

    1) You can't make a wrong choice. Let's say you are auditioning for a new Smurf show. If you commit to those 3 things when creating a character, who can possibly tell you that you, "Thanks for coming in to read, but you just aren't a Smurf!"

    What the hell does that mean? What does a Smurf sound like?????

    Now, you may not be the "Smurf" they are looking for today, but if you commit to your choices, show off amazing acting skills, make the character memorable, trust me, if you aren't right for this project they'll remember you for another.

    Today's audition is an insurance policy for another.

    The biggest mistake I see actors make with all auditions is trying to please. They worry about being "correct" rather than just "being."

    Also, the sound of the character is just one tiny part of the character. It's your acting, the character's personality, that will set it apart and define it.

    All characters have a voice. But not all voices have character.

    Golden rule #2:
    If you physically play the character, the voice will follow.

    Use your body! use your hands when you talk. Conduct the scene. This will bring the character to life.

    To answer your question, I myself don't dwell on sounds or octave range. I look at the picture, read the description and the script, and start playing. I start with character. As I said, the voice will follow. I layer. Think of who your character is talking to in the scene. You may be reading solo, but there is still a scene partner. What is your relationship with this scene partner? Where are they in the scene??


    You see? It really isn't about the sound of the character. It's about the character. The personality. Your acting.

    Does this help??
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  • Hi Bob, thanks for your reply. I think my biggest obstacle is second guessing myself, thinking either it sounds silly or too close to my regular voice. In addition to being a voice talent and producer I am also a singer (operatically trained) so I would think that I have an ear for character work, even if it doesn't come naturally, but I could be wrong... When you're creating different characters do you play around with octaves and ranges and inflections and pitch or do you focus more on who you see in the character based on the personality you/the director wants to see and the visual image and then from there you just start speaking and become that "new character"? or do you do use both methods?

    I guess I don't really having a process of creating characters. I just play around behind the mic changing the style and pitch of my voice and seeing what comes out. Trying to see if I can find enough variation to create truly different characters...
  • Hi Heather!

    Without being able to work with you and watch you in action, I really can't "diagnose" anything here.

    But I'll try. ;-)

    Can you elaborate on what stands in your way?

    No, not everyone can do this. Not everyone can dance, or sculpt, or write. But often, those who can don't know how to bring it out without technique. Once they apply the work with specific technique, they are able to make choices. Without technique, you make guesses. With a guess you are never confident that your work is "right." You hope it is, but you are always doubting. You are hoping to please, rather than making solid choices, while being available to adjustments by the director.

    SO-what is your process of creating characters, and where in the process do you find something "standing in your way?"

  • Hey Bob, thanks for posting all that info regarding bringing the character to life. I have a silly question actually, how do you create a bank of characters? I have always wanted to push myself past my comfort zone and niche voice and get into character work, but something always stands in my way... not sure exactly what. Is there a way to break out of that or is it something that either you have or you don't? :)
  • Thanks Bob, that's what I was looking for. And I hope someday to have the chance to take that 8-week workshop. ;-)

  • Great, James!!

    And I'm sure I'll get the stutter back. Soon as my agent calls for another gig!

  • Hi Charles!

    Gotcha. OK-to your first question, I hate it when the writers write in the stutter! First of all, they rarely put it in a word/place where I like it. I have no problem if they have ad lib ideas. Porky often finds an ad lib or alternate word for whatever he's stuttering. But I also like to add my 2 cents on the ad lib as well. Another problem with the stutter in the script is, it's often hard to find the story or lines through all the written stutter. Bottom line-I like a clean script and just stutter where it feels organic.

    As for your second question? Wow-that would take me a ton of time to answer! That's 8 weeks worth of my VO workshop! ;-)

    Quick summery-there are 3 things that make up a character:
    1) Voice (how the character sounds)
    2) Acting (what you do with the script that brings it to life)
    3 Signature (something you add to the character that makes the character memorable and gives it the essence of it's personality.

    Based on all the information in the audition, the picture, the script, the description, you figure out what the character will sound like. You make acting choices that make the script come to life. The script is a skeleton, you must give it a body. And you add any interesting little something or signature that sets your choices apart from everyone else.

    And once all of this is a breeze with every script you get, then and only then are you ready to pursue!

    Hope this helps!
  • Just got the word from Marian about your class in NY in December. I definately plan to making it.
    and I hope the stutter returns by then ;)
  • I guess I'm asking for Porky's trade secrets. ;-) I guess what I'm wondering is, when you first get a new script for Porky, have the writers put stutter suggestions in? Do you mark it up with places to incorporate the stutter? Or have you internalized the character to the point where you don't have to think about it any more, and the stutter just happens?

    In approaching a new character, how do you look for appropriate vocal "tics" that will bring it to life and make it your own?

    I promise I'm not a speech therapist... :-)
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