Loneliness and the Voice Actor

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A few months back I was talking to someone who was interested in getting in to voice acting. She asked me an interesting question that I hadn’t really given much thought to: Do you ever get lonely?

The truth is, I don’t. Partly because I had already been working from home as a writer for several years before I began focusing full-time on voice acting. Even before that, my previous two jobs had me working alone quite a bit. My husband is also at home, so a conversation is only a few feet away if I need it.

As much as I enjoy being around other voice actors and going to an outside studio, I actually talk to a lot of voice actors every day on the various forums I frequent. Some of them I’ll even get to meet in person soon. How cool is that?! Not to mention, I have fellow VO I occasionally get coffee with, voice over meetups I sometimes go to, and most recently, I started going to an improv meetup. Add to that, my editing and proofing team for my audiobooks, and I feel as though I have plenty of co-workers to commiserate/share good news with.

So going back to the question, no I don’t ever get lonely, not really. I’m sure everybody does sometimes, and I certainly have those moments, but none of that is related to my job. Having said that, you do have to be a certain kind of crazy to be willing to shut yourself in a space the size of a closet for 2-4 hours a day. It’s not for everyone. It’s why many voice actors steer away from long form narration. For me, however, this works. I’m happy doing it. But I also have a family, neighbours, friends and co-workers who help keep me, if not sane, at least lucid.

In other news, book two in The First Ordinance series by Connie Suttle is going to be heading to Audible in the next couple of weeks, and I’m hoping to get started on book three shortly!

Let Go

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One week into the new marketing campaign and it’s going really well. I’ve already got one video game company who is very interested in using me. Ironically, I’d contacted them previously and the email address hadn’t worked. I guess this is where persistence pays off. I did really well getting most of my tasks completed over the first few days, although less so the last couple of days due to errands. So clearly I need to work on my home/work priorities a bit more.

I confess also that I played hookey on Monday and went indoor skydiving. It was a Christmas present from my husband. I was totally nervous about this new adventure. I wasn’t afraid I would get hurt or anything like that. I’ve been parasailing, hot air ballooning and scuba diving before, so it’s not too adventurous for me. Mostly, I worried about my body’s tendency to fight for control (which it does when I scuba dive). I hated the idea of being watched while my body is flailing about trying to get stable.

So how’d it turn out? Great! I was too busy focusing on the instructor to worry about anybody else, and rather than fight for control, I just let myself ride the wind (blasting in at 93mph!) until the instructor told me to make adjustments. Ultimately, I let myself relax. To think I stressed so much about it beforehand!

I think learning to relax and focus on the job at hand is a skill we all have to learn, especially as performers. Going on stage scares the bageebus out of most people. Theoretically, it scares me too. Before I get up on stage I worry about flubbing a line or missing a cue. But when I’m up there, I don’t have the time to think about that. I don’t even think about the audience, although I might be somewhat aware of whether or not we got the laugh we intended. On stage, I let go of those worries. I ride the wave, stay in the moment and go with the flow of the performance.

Those not in voice over might find this strange, but there is plenty of nerves with speaking into a mic. And you can hear it too. I don’t know about other VO peeps, but my nerves are exacerbated when I don’t have someone there directing me. I start over-analysing every nuance of every word I speak. Perhaps I just don’t like wasting other people’s time but I absolutely perform better with an audience. When it just me and the mic, it’s only my time I’m wasting.

Lately though, I’m changing. I’m starting to go with the flow more, ride that gust of wind, be more intuitive, especially with auditions. Chances are, 90% of what they’re looking for is whether my voice sounds right for the job. So why worry so much? Over-analysing. Recording take after take. Is your tenth take really going to be that much better?

I’ve heard from a friend who studied with Marice Tobias that she recommends not recording with cans and I think I might start trying that. It would take some getting used to, but maybe, just maybe, if I can get past the over-analysing, I can let go, stay in the moment where the performance exists and ride the wind. It’s worth a shot, anyway!

Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion

Kiri Nind Nancy Drew Last Fall I booked a job at local studio Her Interactive, voicing the role of Kiri Nind, a competitor and potential suspect for the newest Nancy Drew video game. Kiri was such a blast to play. A reality TV star. Manipulative. She says hilarious lines like “You best stroll on out, less you want to roll on out.” Kiri is from New Zealand which was a fun accent to try out. It’s tighter lipped than Australian but not as much as South African. I’m not sure that I didn’t sound more Australian as I got more into character, but it was still a fun time. Anyway, Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion finally came out May 20th and I decided to make a fun tribute to Queen Kiri.