Voice Over Experts The Voice Over Training Podcast

Acting In The White Spaces


By Stephanie Ciccarelli

August 14, 2007

Comments (4)

Join Voice Over Expert Elaine Clark as she lectures on "Acting In The White Spaces." The script is the roadmap for the actor to navigate. Learn how read the words and act in the white spaces that connect the words, sentences and paragraphs to tell a cohesive story to connect with your audience.

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Elaine Clark, Voice One, There's Money Where Your Mouth Is, Acting, Voice Acting, San Francisco

Links from today's show:

Voice One
Elaine Clark

Transcript of Acting In The White Spaces

[Opening Music]

Julie-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voiceover Experts brought to you by Voices.com, the number one voiceover marketplace. Voiceover Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voiceover. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voiceover talent. It's never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and your own pace. This is truly an education you won't find anywhere else.

This week, Voices.com is pleased to present Elaine Clark.

Elaine Clark: Hi. I'm Elaine Clark, author of There's Money Where Your Mouth Is and owner of Voice One, a voiceover and acting school in San Francisco. For over 20 years, I performed and taught voiceovers. The goal has always been throughout the years to breathe life into a script, lift the words off the page and make the words sound spontaneous and real so the listener feels and takes action. The script is the road map for the actor to navigate.

The actor's job is to read the words and act in the white spaces that connect the words, sentences and paragraphs into a cohesive story with a beginning, middle and end. You see, voice acting is the tip of the advertising pyramid. Advertising agencies meet with the client, decide on a concept. This can take weeks or months, write and rewrite scripts, audition talent and decide on the actor whose voice and acting skills best suit the job. When that decision is made, the success of their labors depends on you, the actor.

When an actor records a script, producers, directors and clients aren't thinking, "Man, I hope the talent can read the words on the page." No. They are thinking, "What magic can this actor bring to the copy that's not on the page? I've hired this person to do the thing that I can't do in the booth. Let's see what they do."

You see, acting in the white space means this. You need to create a story with a history and future that you and the audience can relate to. That means have an opinion on everything you say. Share what's good, what's bad, what's confusing, what's ironic, what's captivating, funny, et cetera. The list of feelings goes on and on. For a personal touch, you need to select one person to talk to. This person has to be someone you know personally.

The purpose of this exercise is to open you up emotionally. If you say you're talking to one person and don't' have a specific person in mind, you haven't fulfilled your obligation to the client and lifted the words off the page. Acting is not an idea. It's a feeling.

Everyone you know makes you feel a different way. Some nurture, some are great at social functions. Others give you encouragement and strength so what I want you to do is make a list of people you know, people who make you feel - parents, friends, siblings, significant others, authority figures. Then take a script, select one person and visualize that person in a specific situation. Feel the emotions open up inside you. Do that first then read the words with a specific purpose in mind. Perhaps you want validation from your friend, respect from your co-worker, romance from your significant other.

As you're saying words, keep your eyes on the script so you can feel the response from the person you're talking to. The response you get from the listener is also in the white space on the page. When you look up from the page, your focus changes and your proximity to the mic has changed to a "Wah-wah" effect.

So everything we read is a dialogue. Just reading the words without feeling or purpose is talking at someone. When we read the words with feeling and then expected reaction from the listener, we're talking with someone. In advertising, our job is to make suggestions rather than demands. We guide the listener to come to the same conclusion as us yet think that it's their own unique idea. Our job is to empower the listener to take action, pick up the phone, go online, walk into a store, change services and entrust their hard earned dollars to something that will enhance their life by adding time, convenience, piece of mind, relaxation, confidence, et cetera.

So the next time you pick up a script, don't just read the words on the page. Anyone can do that. Give yourself a reason for saying the words. This reason should be something that's not in the script.

I'm Elaine Clark. To find out more about Voice One, check us out online Voiceoneonline.com or pick up a copy of my book, There's Money Where Your Mouth Is.

Julie-Ann Dean: Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com podcast, visit the Voiceover Experts show notes at Podcasts.Voices.com/VoiceoverExperts. Remember to stay subscribed.

If you're a first time listener, you can subscribe for free to this podcast in the Apple iTunes Podcast Directory or by visiting Podcasts.Voices.com. To start your voiceover career online, go to Voices.com and register for a voice talent membership today.

[Closing Music]

Your Instructor this week:

Voice Over Expert Elaine Clark

Elaine ClarkElaine Clark began her voice-over career in the early 1980s. She is an award winning actor, director, producer, playwright and the author of the quintessential voice-over book, There's Money Where Your Mouth Is. Her first voice-over job was for Wendy's "guess how many corners to a square hamburger" campaign. Since then Ms. Clark has voiced hundreds of commercials including Clorox, TiVo, Macy's, Chevron, PineSol, PG&E, California Milk Advisory Board, Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, Manwich, Fuller-O'Brien Paint, World Savings, Wheel Works, Amazon.com, Round Table Pizza, Tap Plastics, Party America, and promos for ABC. A few of her narration clients include Microsoft, Genentech, Oracle, WalMart, North Face, Kaiser Permanente, Better Homes Realty, NIC, Providian, Fujitsu, and L'Oreal.

The owner/founder of VOICE ONE in San Francisco, Elaine Clark and her staff of professionals train actors in voice-over, on-camera, acting, and improv. Ms. Clark has numerous directing and casting credits including two anime cartoon series, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure and Saikano; over 50 video games including Spawn, Aliens, Skies of Arcadia, D2, Mother Goose's Farm, and Dark Wizard; and hundreds of toys. She is featured in the DVD Hello Anime!

Ms. Clark travels the world teaching and directing voice-over, acting, and communication. Recently, she was dubbed the Communication Guru of India.

Enjoyed Elaine's episode? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

Related Topics: Acting, San Francisco, There's Money Where Your Mouth Is, Voice Acting, voice coach, Voice One



    Thanks for the very informative podcast. I enjoyed listening to your voice. Inspires just about anyone to take action. :)


    Posted by:

      Elaine is the greatest. This podcast alone attests to her unique ability to help vo students get to that point where they can consistently access their best reads through imagination and strong acting choices. Her book, "There's Money Where Your Mouth Is" is a revelation too.

      Posted by:
      • Daniela
      • October 4, 2007 2:32 AM

        Finally had a chance to listen - thanks Elaine - I'll link to the permalink and assign this as required listening to my voiceover class this semester.

        Keep your eyes on the script!

        Posted by:

          Hello Elaine,
          I came to know about you from one of my friend who is taking voice-over classes from you.
          I am interested in On-Camera Acting classes. Would appreciate details regarding the same like what day & time, fee per class or for the entire schedule.
          Thank you and regards

          Posted by:
          • Manik Bahl
          • December 21, 2012 3:25 AM

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Voice Over Experts Podcast

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