Sunday, August 30, 2009

Back Up to Speed

Things got a little off track around here for a couple months. As I had some fine fellow open his truck door into me while riding home, I had an excuse for a little while (that actually happened back in the last week of June). Things just seem to have gotten a little hectic in the wake of that.

And I'll be honest with you, when I had the opportunity to go for a bike ride instead of studiously sit and pound out a blog entry...well, the bike ride won. Hey, it's summer!

On the voice front, a couple of nice events as of late - the biggest news is that I booked a nice job with the fine folks out at Antenna Audio - in fact, just wrapped up the second of two sessions this past Friday morning. I'd recorded a couple of "file" reads for them earlier this month. Later that week, got the call that the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan wanted me to narrate an audiotour for a temporary exhibit they were putting together. Fair amount of pronunciations to work through and a good bit of text as well. Very challenging and very, very enjoyable. Great folks to work with.

Also voiced a narration for an in-house video for Accenture on information security risks and solutions. That one came my way directly from a fellow voice actor - one of the really high quality folks I've come to know through classes at Voicetrax.

I got to sit behind the board a couple times this past month as well - once for Sirenetta Leoni, engineering for her Audition Angel class. That was really a fun course - patched in "special guest" directors from L.A. and got to work with a great booth director on the following day. Lots of "real-life" scenarios played out with realistic time and tension pressures. There were a few times when I was glad I was working the sliders rather than the mic.

The other class I just finished engineering for today was the "Gamerology" class - Jacquie Shriver from Sony brought a full class up to speed on the ins and outs of the current video game market. She kept folks busy with a good set of auditions, sides and tasks to work on. I'd taken a class from her before, and it's always good to see her energy and understanding the importance of getting things right, fast!

I even got to get some cheap road miles in as I rode to the gig. Busy, busy... but it's voice work, so it's busy, FUN!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Advanced Invitational Direct Thyself Characters - July/Aug 2009

A new offering, and kind of "under the radar." I think most everyone who was in this class had been in a couple of classes that were, well, definitely registering on the "tough love" scale. In those, and in the wake of SF Idol, we had identified a lack of character-specific courses that "dug deeper" into longer, trickier scripts. Mostly, it was focused on getting us to realize were we really were with our character work.

It was, in short, one of the best classes I've taken from Samantha Paris. There were a couple weeks when I really scared the heck out of myself with what happened in the booth. But, I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

The format of this six week course was pretty straight forward. Characters, characters, characters... scripts Sam chose for us all, duked out in "audition" format with full debriefing afterwards. We brought iin scripts that had troubled us and scripts we brought in that we felt we could nail. Samantha would then go through those scripts, issue it to another student and let us direct them on the script. She'd let us flail our way through it for a couple takes or so, then isolate the key areas which we weren't hearing. Curiously enough, the key thing we were generally missing was the same thing we generally missed in our own efforts.

She's used this "Director's Chair" exercise in some other classes, but for some reason, it seemed to click for a number of people in the class.

Over the final two weeks, we also got to write for our "secret voiceactor" - a name we'd chosen out of a cup. After listening to their work and learning something of their strengths, we wrote a monolog and a dialog for them, which we directed them in over the final two sessions of the class (monolog one week, dialog the next). There were, to drastically understate it, some incredible pieces of writing, which gave flight to some great character acting.

This class was the highlight of my week while it was going. I miss it a bit now that it's finished.