Thursday, June 3, 2010

VOICE 2010: Blog 1 (Comedy, Online career, Networking)

Wow! Welcome to VOICE 2010! This is my first year in attendance at what is so far a great conference. 

If you were unable to attend, I hope you’ll gain a sense of the experience here in sunny L.A., and get some valuable information as we go-along. Normally I like to give you the full story when I blog, but as I’m between classes and gobbling down a quick lunch, I’ll give you some fortune-cookie sized tid-bits with a promise to elaborate later on.

Pat Fraley’s class on comedy was amazing. Upon calling for volunteers to act out scripts, a very loud voice started heckling Mr. Fraley from the back of the room.  An outgoing v.o. student? A belligerent party guest who never made it home last night? As it turns out, Pat brought along surprise guest Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond, ‘Til Death)! What a way to start the morning!

Important tips from Pat Fraley’s class on comedy:

  • ·      Read like a first grader. Get to know the twists and turns of the material before you try to make it ‘fast and funny.’
  • ·      Exaggerate. Push the character as far as you can without violating the style or genre of the script.
  • ·      Keep the intent of the writer, but don’t be a slave to the punctuation. This is something Bob Bergen talks about in his classes as well.
  • ·      A comic says things funny. A comedian says funny things.
  • ·      You can’t play anger in comedy. Only frustration. If you play anger, it becomes a drama. I thought this was great advice!
  • ·      From Brad Garrett: an on-camera tip… A good reaction to a joke will not only (practically) guarantee you more screen time, but it will ‘double-stack’ the joke and garner more laughs.

Deb Munro was unable to attend VOICE 2010 in person, but thanks to the magic of Skype, she was able to teach her class from her home in Vancouver, B.C. A perfect example of how you can work for almost anyone, from anywhere. In fact, she illustrated her short commute by wearing pajamas.

Debs class was all about the online voice-career. Her pearls of wisdom?

  • ·      Get a website. Limit the use of Flash animation. It’s cool, but it limits your audience since most mobile devices do not play well with Flash.
  • ·      Join a pay to play site and audition, audition, audition. Make it your job to audition!
  • ·      Get an agent.
  • ·      Don’t depend on your agent. Seek out work for yourself, too. Cold call. Send postcards and CDs. Market yourself!
  • ·      Yes, CDs are still relevant. Especially when your potential listener can listen to your demo in the car during a long commute.

My advice? For those that are here:

We are all cold-calling each other. Networking. For many of us, it’s not within our comfort zone to strike up a conversation with a stranger (I’m one of the quietist voice actors you’ll ever meet—until you get me going). But you’ll be glad you did and your VOICE 2010 experience will be richer for it.

Conversation starters:
  • ·      Where are you from?
  • ·      What do you do?
  • ·      Is this your first VOICE 2010?

Most importantly: LISTEN. Ask follow-up questions. And have fun!

That’s all I’ve got for now. Maybe I’ll see you on the floor. Say hi!



  1. Thanks Dan. I had to cancel because of illness, but today I'm feeling better. Keep it coming I'm your sponge

  2. Sorry to hear you had to cancel, but I'm glad you're feeling better Al. Thanks for the comment. Nice to know someone is out there reading this! (lol)