By Stephanie Ciccarelli
October 29, 2012
Voice acting in today's day and age is not so much about the voice but what you can do with that voice. This is acting! Interpreting a script, what you do with those words, how you take direction and how you interpret that direction into the character that you're playing is very important. Dave McRae introduces aspiring talent to what voice acting is, knowing how it sounds and becoming comfortable with your own voice.
Dave McRae is a Professional Voice Artist based in Toronto Ontario Canada. With more than 15 years of experience and the credentials to show for it, he is one of Canada's leading voice talents. Considered to be the complete voice over experience, Dave's amazing range and bang on delivery is something to be heard. From the dark, creepy or action packed Movie Trailers and Promos, to amazing and wild character and cartoon voices, to the regular or cool guy next door, Dave can do it all.
Dave McRae's voice has been heard in hundreds of Radio and Television Commercials, Network Promos, Movie and Game Trailers, Corporate Presentation and Training videos and more. He is currently heard Nationally as the Narrator of Four Weddings Canada, the commercial and promo voice for Big Brother Canada and The Real Housewives of Vancouver, as well as the Network Promo and Imaging voice for the adventure channel Travel and Escape. Dave is also heard west of the Ontario/Manitoba border as the Network Promo and Imaging voice for the movie channel Encore Avenue.
Alongside his voice over career, Dave is also an Independent filmmaker.
Welcome to Voice Over Experts, brought to you by Voices.com the number one voice over marketplace. Voice Over Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom, and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voice over. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voice over talent. It's never been easier to learn, perform and succeed from the privacy of your own home, and at your own pace. This is truly an education you won't find anywhere else. Now for our special guest.
Dave: Hey, guys. Dave McRae here, professional voice artist from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I just want to take this opportunity to primarily speak to those who are looking to get into voice overs for the very first time. That's who I'm primarily targeting. Now, that doesn't mean if you have some experience behind you, like, six months, two years, five months that you shouldn't continue to listen. It just means that I want to make it clear that I'm primarily targeting those who are at the stage of I have a passion for this, I've always wanted to do this. Maybe you've been told you have a great voice for this but you're not quite sure where to start. That's who I'm primarily targeting.
So let's start here. The world of voice over is one of the most important parts of the entertainment and corporate industries. Yet, sadly and ironically, it's one of the most misunderstood, unrecognized and unappreciated. And the reason for that is very simple, out of sight out of mind. You are rarely seen and only heard.
But you hear a professional voice artist every single day of your lives. You hear them in radio and television commercials, network promos, movie trailers, radio and television imaging, theme parks, award shows, IVR's, which is interactive voice response, "press one for ...", "press two for ...", et cetera. Video game trailers, video games, talking toys, corporate presentation and training videos, cartoons and animation. You know, web videos, employee training videos.
I mean, it's just ... it is literally everywhere. It is, undoubtedly, one of the most important parts of the entertainment and corporate industries. And that's the irony of it. It's often unrecognized, unappreciated and misunderstood.
So what if you're somebody who has been told that you have a great voice. It sounds like such a cliché but there are people out there that have great voices. And you might be one of them. But it's really important that you understand that in this day and age, in 2012, as I speak to you right now, it's not so much about the voice. Now, that does help. I mean, if you have a great voice, a nice soothing voice, a baritone voice or just a ... you know, a really nice voice it certainly can help. But it doesn't make or break whether you're going to be successful in the world of voice over. You have to understand that this is voice acting.
Now, maybe you've been told that before. If you've done some research, and you've spoken to other coaches out there, or taken some workshops or some classes you've probably heard somebody say that, that this really isn't so much so about the voice as it is about what you can do with that voice. It's about acting, it's voice acting. It's how you interpret a script. It's what you can do with those words, it's how well you take direction and how you interpret that direction into the character that you're playing.
That's what it really is about. There's a lot of great voice talent out there that just have regular sounding, everyday voices but are extremely successful because they know how to interpret a script. They're professional, they're on time, they can take direction well. And they're very good at what they do, because they can read those words so beautifully and make them sound so natural as if they're not even reading at all. And that's really what this is about. It is voice acting, ladies and gentlemen.
Now, whether you're somebody who has been told you have a great voice and you should get into voice overs or you're somebody who has not necessarily been told that ... you don't necessarily have a bad voice, you just haven't been given that cliché comment and you've just always had a fascination with it, an interest, a passion ... whatever one it is there is something that I feel, in my professional opinion, that you need to do first.
And what that something is is you've got to get to know your voice. You've got to learn to like it. You don't have to love it but you got to learn to like it. There are so many people out there looking to get into this industry for the very first time and they've never heard the sound of their own voice. They can hear it when they speak out loud but they've never heard their voice played back to them. And if they have ... some people have, of course ... nine times out of ten, they don't like what they hear.
And if you're one of those people who have never heard the sound of your own voice played back to you, from an objective point of view, then that's what you need to do first. And if you're somebody who has heard the sound of your own voice played back to, from that objective point of view, that's what you need to do first. You need to get used to the sound of your voice.
So how do you hear yourself from that objective point of view. It's very simple. What you need to do is you need to record yourself, whether that's something like an analog cassette tape recorder, or from your computer, or a digital device of some kind, or maybe you know somebody who has a recording studio and you can go to it, or perhaps you've even set yourself up with your own little recording studio at home.
You need to do this. We're not worried about broadcast quality at this point. So if all you have is an old tape recorder that you can record yourself on, as long as it's clear and it's precise then that will do perfectly fine at this point. Because what you're trying to do is listen to yourself objectively. So try reading magazine articles, the back of DVD cases, newspaper articles or just ramble on about who you are and how your day is going. And the more you do this the more you will allow yourself to get used to hearing the sound of your own voice from that objective point of view.
And, by doing this, you're going to learn its range. You're going to learn to like it, and get comfortable with it and know it when you hear it. It's all about confidence and being comfortable with this being your voice.
And when you are comfortable with your voice you can start finding your niche, and you can start playing with its range, and you can start doing this, and stepping out of your comfort zone and doing all these wonderful things that you can do. But if you don't like the sound of your own voice first, if you don't like the basis of what your voice is, then you're not going to feel comfortable stepping out of your comfort zone to do animation, or to do a monster truck read, or a movie trailer, or a network promo or all these wonderful things that come with the world of voice over.
You need to be confident in your voice. Because when you stand in a recording studio in front of a microphone and you put the headset on you not only hear the client and the studio engineer in your headset, you hear yourself as you're talking into the microphone. And if you're not confident in your voice and you can't stand the sound of your voice, then you're going to lose focus and you're not going to have the confidence that you need and that is required to give a professional confident read.
Because, let's face it, the whole time you're standing in that studio, with you headset on, and you're looking at the script, and you're reading and you can hear your voice in your headset, the whole time all you're going to be concentrating on is, "That's what I sound like?" "I sound terrible," "I hate my voice." And then you're going to mess up on a word, and you're going to screw up on a sentence, and then you're going to feel more agitated, and you're going to feel nervous and you're going to start apologizing. And then you're going [stumbling over words] and it just goes on, and on and on.
So it's really important that you like the sound of your own voice, that you're used to it, that you know it, you're comfortable with it. This is all about being comfortable, ladies and gentlemen, and having the confidence that you need to perform well.
Now, let's talk a bit about workshops for a second. I just want to touch on this for just a moment and then we'll call it a day here, folks. It is vitally important ... I mean, everybody says you got to take acting workshops, you got take voice over workshops, you got to, you know, seek out a great coach. That is all true. But please, please, do your research.
Now, don't get me wrong, there are a lot of wonderful workshops out there, taught by some outstanding individuals, who are coaches, who are voice artists themselves. And that's what you want, you want a voice over coach who is also a voice artist, who is also currently doing voice overs, who has a track record, who has a wealth of experience and knowledge. That's what you need, do your research.
But this a business, ladies and gentlemen. And there are a lot of people out there that aren't that great and some workshops that are a little shady. And, you know, yes, we all want to make money, don't get me wrong. But you want somebody who is passionate about the art. You want somebody who is passionate about voice over work, who is willing to teach, and share their knowledge and their expertise, and tell you stories, and ins and outs and little things that you may not have thought of or ... you know, that's what you want, you want somebody who lives and breathes voice over work.
You don't want somebody who just woke up one day and thought, well, you know, I know a little bit about it and maybe I'll get into teaching it a little bit, you know, make some good money and, you know, kind of call it a day there and ... that's not what you want. You want somebody who lives and breathes it. And they are out there. But there are also people out there who aren't that passionate about it and they're just in it for the money and to make a quick buck.
Ask as many questions as you can. Don't ever think, well, I can't really ask that because, you know ... no, ask it, ask it. Send ... you know, send the coach ten e-mails if you want. However, having said that, do your best to send all your questions in one e-mail as opposed to one question in ten e-mails. But you know the point I'm trying to make.
Don't feel like you can't ask questions. This is vitally important. And if you're going to be spending two, three, four, five hundred bucks on a workshop and then, eventually, six, seven, eight hundred bucks on a demo, and then maybe a thousand, to fifteen hundred, or two thousand or five thousand, depending on what your budget is, for a home studio, well, you need to feel comfortable. You're spending money here, ladies and gentlemen. You need to feel comfortable. Ask, ask, ask.
And if they are professional, and they are legit and they are the real deal then they will have absolutely, unequivocally no problem with getting back to you and answering the questions thoroughly. You want a coach that understands the business, and that this a business, but you want somebody who also understands the position that you're in. And that's really important, ladies and gentlemen.
So do your research, take those workshops, take those acting classes, seek out a good coach who has a wealth of experience and knowledge behind them in not only teaching voice over but, preferably, in doing voice over as well. So do your research, vitally important.
And get to know your voice, get used to the sound of it. Play it back to you so you can get comfortable with it. If you do that, with taking a great workshop, taught by a great coach and you're also on the side at home getting used to the sound of your own voice, you're well on your way.
My name is Dave McRae, folks. I'll be back again in the near future with some more insights into what I've learned as a professional voice artist. Thanks again. Take care.
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