Voice Over Experts The Voice Over Training Podcast

Confused? You Were Probably Paying Attention

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

March 11, 2013

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In his VoiceWorld Toronto Keynote Presentation, Patrick Fraley will lecture, demonstrate and drag volunteers up on the stage to address voice over skills techniques, methods, mindsets, agendas, procedures, concepts and down-right dirty tricks, which advance the performer's desire into a world of voice over opportunities. Like getting hired. And making money.

Pat Fraley is the Keynote Speaker at VoiceWorld Toronto, a conference being held on May 4, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario Canada.

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Patrick Fraley
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Your Instructor this week:

Voice Over Expert Patrick Fraley

Pat Fraley 2013, voice acting coachPatrick Fraley is one of the best and known and respected voice-over people in North America. 2013 marks his 40th year performing and teaching. As a performer, he has created voices for over 4,000 characters, placing him in the top ten of all time to be cast in animated TV shows. As a teacher, Pat has guided more performers into meaningful voice-over careers than anyone in the history of VO Instruction. He lives and works out of Hollywood Heights, California.

For more information, visit his website PatFraley.com

Confused? You Were Probably Paying Attention
Voice Over Experts Lesson, March 7, 2013 by Patrick Fraley
Duration: 6 minutes

Description: Patrick Fraley, Voice Over Teacher and Performer, teaches a six-minute lesson addressing the importance of avoiding confusion when learning a discipline that is simple, yet complex, and "mini lesson" on how to gain confidence and its value.

[Transcription of Lesson]

Hi. This is Pat Fraley. This is a lesson on the importance of avoiding confusion when learning a discipline that is simple, yet complex, and mini bonus lesson how to gain confidence and its value. Confused yet? Give me time. Before I begin this lesson, I want to apologize to all my students for the past 40 years. I apologize for those times when I confused you. I'm guilty. Here's how I confused you: In my zeal to deconstruct vocal performance skills down to elements and aspects so I could teach them, I forgot to take the time to point out which skills were more important than others, which is critical to study. Why is avoiding confusion critical? Because confusion leads to fear and fear is our most formidable enemy.

Here is an example of how I confused my students, and I suspect how other teachers do so. Say I'm teaching performance skills or "Realizing" the copy to a commercial. I exuberantly say, "It's critical that you tell the story about the dog begging for the dog food because that's what the spot's all about!" Then, a couple of minutes later, in my excitement to teach, I emphatically say, "You have got to be clear when you say the product name, "Tail Wagger Dog Food." And then I just move on to another lesson. What I should have done is taken the time to point out that storytelling skills are more important than saying the client's product or service clearly. It's not that saying, "Tail Wagger Dog Food," is not important, just not as important as the story. I have often not clarified the hierarchy to skills. Well, no more. I've changed my ways. Have I confused you yet? Like my teaching and writing partner, Pamela Chollet says, "If you're confused, you were probably attention."

Performance is simple and complex. How's that for confusing? Here's what I mean: Take brushing your teeth. It's simple. Simple, but when you think about it, it's complex. You pick up your toothbrush with your right hand; pick up the toothpaste tube with your left. While still holding your toothbrush in your right hand, remove the cap from the toothpaste with the thumb and forefinger of your right hand without placing the toothbrush down. Place the cap near the basin. With your left hand, depress the tube with your little, ring, and middle fingers, with a rolling, diminishing pressure beginning with your little finger, applying less pressure as you approach your middle finger. And so on, including 64 more actions as you brush the anterior and posterior surfaces of each tooth. What's that? About seventy-four actions. It's simple, but complex. Brushing your teeth, with practice, becomes second nature. So it is with your voice over skills: You practice, voice over performance gets simple.

Now, here's where this lesson comes back to benefit you. You can't just seek out teachers who are clear and avoid confusion. Again, many are excellent teachers, but aren't as sensitive to this issue as I am. Why? I'm old. I've have either been learning or teaching my entire life. Here what you need to do. When you study with a teacher, or when you are learning on your own, have a piece of paper with two columns with the headings, "Recognizing" on the left side, and "Realizing" on the right side.

"Recognizing" refers to all that you do to understand what the text, copy or script means. For example, rapid performance-oriented text analysis goes under the heading, "Recognizing."

"Realizing," refers to the skills you use to get those written words off the page, through your mouth and into the listener's ear so they can think and feel about what you've said. In other words, it's all the things you do to realize the story.
As you go about learning your craft, list your skills under the appropriate columns. This includes, k.

After you accumulate new information, review your list, and judge which of the skills are more important, and give them a number in order of importance - number one being the most important. This is an on-going list. It gets longer as you study. You may need to discuss your order and prioritizing with a colleague who is like-minded. What you will accumulate has two benefits. The first is obvious: You avoid confusion. The second benefit just may out weight the first in value. By keeping a list, and reviewing it, you are recognizing you have specific skills, and this encourages confidence.

This is where I yield a mini lesson on how to gain confidence and its value. Confidence comes not only from having skills, but also knowing you have skills. I have had students who were highly skilled, but lacked confidence, because they didn't take stock or inventory of them. It's a two-part process.

Confidence is the real juice. If I could teach it directly, it would be the only thing I would teach for the rest of my years. With confidence comes the ability to commit to your choices as you realize each and every line. With true confidence, you can't be bad and you are usually always good. You can only be wrong for the part. Imagine Jack Nicholson doing Polonius in Hamlet.

[As Jack Nicholson, SFX EKO] "This above all: to thine ownself be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man."

Not bad. Actually, kind of good. Probably wrong, but I'd like to see it.

I hope this lesson is of value to you. Confused?

[As Jack Nicholson] Well, you were probably paying attention.

Thanks for listening.


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Voice Over Experts Podcast

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