Voice Acting and Directing/Getting into Voice Acting

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Question
Hi Eric,

My name is Jesica Williams and I am gifted in oratory.  As far back as I can remember I have repeatedly been told how great my speaking voice is.  As a Ph.D. chemist I have given multiple presentations all of which public speaking and has come extremely easy to me (probably more so than research itself!).  

I am very interested in trying my hand at voice acting.  Do you mind giving me some advice?  How do I get in to the industry?  What type of demo should I record?  What type of work should I be auditioning for?

Obviously integrity is very important to me, so I want to use my vocals to build others up.

Thanks,
Jesica

Answer
Hi Jesica: I believe you when you say you have a very good speaking voice, and it sounds like you enjoy public speaking and do an excellent job at it. You may have talent as a voice actor. But one does not necessarily guarantee the other. There are some very good voice actors who are quite shy and hate public speaking. But they come alive in front of a microphone in the booth.

The main word in "Voice Actor" is "ACTOR". And almost every successful voice actor studies the craft of acting and enjoys acting, is passionate about acting first and foremost. So the best advice is something that most people who are interested in "How do I get into the industry" do not want to hear: Namely, that you should start by taking acting classes.

A background in theater is extremely helpful, as voice acting requires the use of one's diaphragm and knowing how to project is very important!

That said... everyone has their own course! And there are always exceptions to every rule. There are in fact some successful voice actors who did NOT take acting classes. You have to find your own path.

As far as demos and what type of work you should be auditioning for, you are probably thinking ahead a little too far. Get some experience first. Look for things that you can do to get that experience. You can find special projects, ones that have no budget, to build up your resume and gain valuable experience. Again, try to get training if you can. That gives you experience and you will learn how to use your voice and diaphragm in a variety of ways. There are books on the subject you can get at Amazon or Sam French. And there is our DVD called Adventures in Voice Acting. Those are good places to start.

I wish you all the best in your own adventures!

Best,
Eric

Voice Acting and Directing

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Eric P. Sherman

Expertise

I can answer any question related to Voice Acting, such as: How to break into the business, What kinds of jobs exist, and how to develop the necessary skills. Also, regarding tools of the trade, such as demos, agents, and networking. Anything and everything related to the casting and recording process.

Experience

I started a studio called Bang Zoom! Entertainment which has been in business for 17 years. During this time we became the most prolific studio in the world doing voice over work for anime (Japanese animation). In addition, Bang Zoom is recognized for voice casting and recording of well-known video games such as World of Warcraft and Starcraft II, and League of Legends, and original high profile animated series for Marvel, Disney and Lego. I directed a series called The Secret Millionaires' Club featuring the voice of Warren Buffett and produced and directed a documentary entitled "Adventures in Voice Acting".

Education/Credentials
New York University, Tisch School of the Arts 1987

Awards and Honors
Webby Award, Best Sound Design Telly Award, Best Educational Documentary Best of Burbank Award, Audio Post Production SPJA Award, Best Casting Director

Past/Present Clients
Disney Marvel Sony Aniplex Activision Microsoft Warner Brothers Blizzard EA Namco Bandai Capcom Starz Media Viz

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