Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sue Blu Character Workshop

One of the great things about Voicetrax classes and weekend workshops remains the high quality of the teachers who work there. This past weekend, I was lucky enough to nab a slot in a Animation Character Workshop with Susan Blu - someone who, quite literally, has written the book on Voice Acting. (There are others out there, obviously, but it was actually the first book I ever got on VO, and it has become a bit dog-eared over the years.)

I really love all aspects of voice acting, but animated characters are serious fun. (For those of you who read this, but have little exposure to the different disciplines of voice work, I'm talking specifically about television animation - which can include everything from preschool cartoons to primetime, to latenight, over-the-top, pushing the boundries kind of stuff.) It's all high energy, fast paced work with super focused intensity.

Actually, this clip of Charlie Adler gives you a sense of the difference -


Thanks Charlie! But, back to Susan...

It's truly impressive to be a room with someone who can recall a role from 20 years ago and - without missing a beat - bring that character immediately to life. Susan worked with us on deriving characters from very interesting and non-obvious places. She'd be explaining a technique do create a new character and then say, "well, I used this to come up with..." and suddenly, this whole other person appeared in front of us. It was a stunning transformation which happened a few times.

We all got a significant chance to have her direct us on copy, coax us further on characters and share words of her significant experience with us. There's really nothing like working with excellent directors to help you cut through the fluff and get focused. It was certainly a highly talented pool of students, and by the end of the workshop, everyone had raised their game noticeably. Another high quality weekend honing the craft.

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