Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Scene Study with Frank Coppola - 04/09

This was a four week course (April 2009) specifically focusing on acting techniques. In other words, no booth time at all - and you had to perform "on stage" for the class and Frank. We performed monologues which we were expected to memorize for the first class meeting and then hone over the four weeks, as well as dialogues with another class member for later sessions. Although we were not required to memorize the dialogue, the less reading we could do seemed to benefit everyone's performance.

I liked this course a great deal. I've also taken Frank's "Simply Acting 1" and "S.A.2", and always appreciate the presence he brings to class. There seemed to be no wasted time during the classes - he actually tightened this up from a six week version (and honestly, a six-week version would've been even better - just started feeling like I was firing on more than half cylinders by the fourth night). As I recall him saying in the first course, "you need to go to the things you fear." For most of us who seem drawn to being in a dark, silent room behind the mic, actually memorizing lines and then bringing them to life in real time may not be a place of fear, but it certainly is a place of reasonable uneasiness.

For me, "acting" has historically been something I watched and enjoyed. Now that voiceover has such a hold on my life, this class was very helpful in both recognizing and then refining the techniques of presentation. Good stuff and I'll always take another class with Frank.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Voicetrax Edge: LucasArts - 04/09

Weekend class Saturday evening and all day Sunday. (4/09) This appeared in the spring catalog as "The Voicetrax Edge: Game Company Voice/Dialog Directors"

Game-geeks delight. If you know what these folks are working on, then you probably have an idea of the scripts we worked. As they were all collected at the end of class, you can surmise it was pretty cool.

Evening class sessopm involved working with Sirenetta on the specific needs of LucasArts game animation. They have a style which is different from most of the game companies, reflecting the more "cinematic" aspects of their heritage. (Some of this is covered in the class "Commercial vs. Cartoons vs. Video Games") She passed out a good variety of scripts (for both men and women - an improvement to earlier versions of this course) and we chose 2-3 characters which we felt right for. As the second studio was unoccupied, we set up over there to warm up and then folks headed over to work more specifically with Sirenetta, audition style, to record two characters. After that, we were free to go.

The next day, Will Beckman from LucasArts came in, gave some interesting background on the project - "Knights of the Old Republic." Then, we played back one of the characters from the previous night (Will picked the one so we heard a broad selection of characters) and then commented on needed changes. That person then went into the booth and redid the script under Will's direction. After that round, Will suggested other roles for a second round. All takes were wild lined.

Darragh O'Farrell came in for the afternoon session. He handles more of the directing end of things. We did a round of the characters which Will had chosen, then Darragh assigned "hot off the press" characters for another round. Some of these he hadn't seen. These we did in dialogue fashion, with another student (typically the person that was "on deck").

Excellent class for this genre and company. Very specific with direction and feedback.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Voicetrax Confidential: Voice Actors Tell All!

Good stuff afoot last night (4/17/09) at the Holiday Inn Express!

Micha Berman, Freddi Rogers, Aileen Casas and Monterey Morrissey all shared stories, experiences and opnions gleaned from the path which we're on. I like panels like that because there are always things that you get to hear that worked or failed, and many of the comments served to distill things we hear so often in class. It was also encouraging because I've had classes with two of the people who spoke, where they seem so polished, strong and assured. Then you get to hear their stories and realize that the work that went into it. Just helps to reinvigorate you.

The large group get togethers are also nice because you get to see the Voicetrax "family" in the larger sense. Too often, the VTX world seems to consist of the 10 or 12 people in class. It's a nice reminder of the diversity of talent and personalities which make up the gang. Plus, I got to hang out with Don, Greg and Alex, among others.

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