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Character Voices 2

Character Voices 2

If I asked you to voice in lip-synch to a cartoon character, or create three very different voices for the mic, how would you do it? Building on training I did at the end of last year, this follow up session with Yvonne Morley had me doing just that today!

In a small group, we took the acting and vocal tract skills a little deeper – including breathing techniques, retraction, anchoring and Laban Effort Actions. Again, this is  stuff thesps spend years on, but essential to learn to protect your voice and deliver better performances. We had great fun delivering the voices we’d created, including some to animations – my sides were hurting with one friend’s camp southern USA drawl version of Puss In Boots. Some real talent in the room, and a great learning experience. Roll on part 3!

 

Acting For The Mic

Acting For The Mic

As part of my continuing development into the more creative end of voiceovers, I’ve completed an Acting for the Mic course.

I haven’t acted for years so it was great to let my hair down with others and be expertly guided by Glynn Steele (no relation) who challenged to really listen, react and immerse.

It was astonishing to see how much improvement can be made in an afternoon with a great teacher, permission to try anything and willing participants.

Now, one day does not a thesp make – those guys take years of training and practise, but dipping a toe has refreshed skills which help bring ad copy and characterisations to life!

Character Voice Workshop

Character Voice Workshop

It’s all very well having a warm and trustworthy voice, great for delivering corporates, medical, elearning and what not, but a VO has to have some fun once in a while… which is why today I did the first of a series of workshops learning how to perform character voices.

Now, everyone can do a funny voice and those who know me will have heard me mucking around doing them, but today was about learning how to control each element of the vocal tract safely and work out either by listening to someone or by taking direction, how to create just about any voice required.

It was a fantastic session run by the incomparable Yvonne Morley at The Showreel. Highly recommended. And I got to be the voice of an earthworm for the afternoon performing alongside other attendees, which was a hoot!

Art Gallery Film

Art Gallery Film

I’ve just spent an enjoyable afternoon afternoon voicing an abstract, gothic and poetic piece – Syposium of Plato – for a fashion film project about identity, self-cognition and self-expression.

The whole film is about a person meeting others as he tries to find his true love, but finally, he discovers that all the people he has met are his own identities.

The first passage was a romantic, poetic piece, the second abstract and worried and the third required me to sound terrified and almost screaming for help. So, a real test of my ability to emote and deliver an unnatural script – without seeing the visuals or hearing the music (which is being composed simultaneously).

Thankfully my studio is pretty well soundproofed, or my neighbours would have heard me yelling “heal me!!!!” about a hundred times as I recorded and edited!

The film will be exhibited in art gallery and used in social media, magazines and even a film festival submission. I’ll let you know if I get to see it!

Not a lot of people know that!

Not a lot of people know that!

It never ceases to amaze me what I get to read out loud for a living.

In the last month there’s been home security products, a short piece for a film, a piece on airport expansion, a coach company promo, medical products, finance and insurance (I get a lot of that!) and a piece for a power tool manufacturer.

I now know more than I need to about syringes with self-retracing needles, the footfall of a London airport, the importance of cyber security to financial organisations and safety standards of screwdrivers which need to be delivered just in time to stores.

Sadly though, none of this ever comes up in a pub quiz.

Barbados

Barbados

Just back from a quick break with “him indoors” and Dad.

My in laws are from Jamaica but it’s the first time I’ve been to Barbados and I can see why so many people love it. Great beaches and scenery, good roads, excellent foods and drink (although eye-wateringly expensive) and of course a warm welcome.

Apart from an ocean of rum punch and reading two novels under a pergola, we walked around Bridgetown, did the Harrison’s Cave tour and St Nicholas Abbey and it’s steam railway (and yes I got to blow the train whistle like a big kid!).

Now safely back in the UK, it’s back to the studio with peeling shoulders, a slice of rum cake and happy memories.

Deloitte part two….

Deloitte part two….

Just headed back from another session at Deloitte. Thanks again to Sue and Richard at Enable Media and Nick at Deloitte – great team I’m honoured to work with.

As a voice-over, it’s fascinating what you learn in the scripts you get to voice. For example I had no idea that Adidas will make 11 million shoes this year from plastic scooped from the oceans and recycled? Search for their Parley oceans rage.

And it’s not just plastic – Stella McCartney is using regenerated cashmere yarn in her clothing instead of virgin cashmere, and Unilever are reporting that sales of their products with better environmental credentials grow faster than others.

Sir David would be pleased.

Comfy bottom

Comfy bottom

Sometimes, it’s the small things which bring the most pleasure. And today’s thing, pictured fresh from the box, it’s my new studio chair for my posterior to perch upon!

I shall now edit and mix in far greater comfort than before.

If you’re quick you can grab one on sale at John Lewis. It’s a Humanscale “Diffrient World” (yes, Diffrient… because Designer Niels Diffrient dreamed up this cleverly engineered, ergonomic and environmentally friendly bum rest!).

And, yes it’s very comfy!

Back to the City!

Back to the City!

Delighted to be called back to the City to record more for Deloitte next week. Looking forward to be working with the team there again and learning more about how ESG is playing a bigger part in global investments.

Thanks to Sue at Enriching Media for the repeat booking!

TBT

TBT

Going back through some old pics recently unearthed some gems… one of which I posted in Throw Back Thursday a few weeks ago. This is even older.

It was New Year’s Eve and I was broadcasting live from parties all over Liverpool and Wirral. Each year, people would call in and invite me to their parties via the studio where the legend who is Roger Lyon would be playing the music and picking where I went.

It was seat of the pants stuff … with no prep and often some rather well-oiled interviewees! With me are the lovely Harry (for security!) and my old friend Paul.