Monthly Archives: January 2018

Jan
31

Finding The Bunny: The Class

DATELINE SAUSALITO: THE FIRST “FINDING THE BUNNY” AUDIOBOOK CLASS! What an amazing Saturday and Sunday it was! A fantastic mix of traditions and firsts – traditions as in Samantha’s never ending quest for voice acting excellence and of course Pizza thrown in for good measure. And “firsts” as in Sunday brunch lovingly prepared by Graziano and the students, followed by Walla/ADR training that culminated into wonderful performances to be folded into the up coming “Finding The Bunny” audio book! Check out this particular scene we recorded for the book. Does it look familiar? You know, a ground-breaking audio book needs ground-breaking performances and that’s exactly what Samantha got all weekend. It was incredibly stirring watching the students give their heartfelt 100%-all for the project… Thanks to everyone who participated, and we can’t wait to work with the next group in May! A few pictures to follow in our next post!

Finding The Bunny, the January Class

DATELINE SAUSALITO: THE FIRST “FINDING THE BUNNY” AUDIOBOOK CLASS! What an amazing Saturday and Sunday it was! A fantastic mix of traditions and firsts – traditions as in Samantha’s never ending quest for voice acting excellence and of course Pizza thrown in for good measure. And “firsts” as in Sunday brunch lovingly prepared by Graziano and the students, followed by Walla/ADR training that culminated into wonderful performances to be folded into the up coming “Finding The Bunny” audio book! Check out this particular scene we recorded for the book. Does it look familiar? You know, a ground-breaking audio book needs ground-breaking performances and that’s exactly what Samantha got all weekend. It was incredibly stirring watching the students give their heartfelt 100%-all for the project… Thanks to everyone who participated, and we can’t wait to work with the next group in May! A few pictures to follow in our next post!

Posted by Voicetrax SF on Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Jan
26

Umasking the Coyote Way

It’s always a treat when Guest Director PETER COYOTE comes out to share his wisdom on creativity and performance! And after another intensive and exciting Saturday of mask exercises, status interaction study, and documentary narration, we got a fresh cascade of insights from our students:

“When you suddenly see your eyes, hair and accessories behind a seemingly expressionless mask, the brain tries to scramble and make sense of it. In my case, I found if I just let go, and sort of through my mind out of focus, all this unexpected information just came rushing in. From where, I couldn’t say, but suddenly I was looking at someone who wasn’t me, and it was exciting and risky, and I liked it. DNA/survival techniques strike again in a really unusual way. That the feeling and information could be reproduced later without the mask was the cherry on top.

Thanks!” – Victoria Hunter

“The experience of using masks to tap into our formless possibility was an awakening experience and very powerful. The experience with the masks allowed us to embody the actual practice of tapping into aspects of our self that may not normally tap into. It also awakened us to reach beyond our normal engrained personalities. The experience was both both playful and profound. I felt deeply touched by Peters centeredness and wisdom and excited to challenge myself going forward to bring meditation into a regular practice in my life. The tools that Peter shared with us not only help to awaken and create a powerful base for acting, these tools are also powerful in everyday life no matter what we’re seeking to do.” – Lani Faulkner

“Peter started the class by telling us that the only acting technique we need is getting out of our own way. And the mask exercise delivered just that. I didn’t have to think ‘how do I act like this character?’ In putting on a mask and seeing my new ‘self’ in the mirror I simply became that person. My rational mind took a (much needed) rest and allowed my intuition and instincts to take over.

Once we had a chance to work with masks, we worked on treating the script as a mask and allowing the language of it to be the mask we wear.

Peter also told every woman in the class that we’ve got to take power without apologizing for it, or as he helpfully put it [when going in the booth] ‘bring your wonder woman suit’.” – Yuliya Patsay

“Ever since working with the ‘status’ equation with Peter, I have begun working on defining my emotions, trying to keep them in check, and when needing to audition for a powerful spot, visualize the laser pointer coming right out of my chin, and that energy flowing through the microphone. And when I need to assume a lower status, I can roll my shoulders forward and work through that emotion too. We all wear masks in every way, everyday.

Because of Peter’s class, I am going to use my newfound awareness to be true to my intentions and emotions, to truly be authentic.

Great class! Really great! Thank you Peter! Thank you Voicetrax for everything you do!” – James Larsen


Jan
25

There’s nothing like that FIRST BOOKING…

 

In all our years, we don’t know if we’ve ever seen such a vivid depiction of that first-booking thrill as this astonishing account from ‘Traxer Emiko Susilo:

‘I can’t believe I’m sending something to our booking news, but I swear there is a check on my mantel from a voice job!

Ok, this is part booking news and part love letter to all of you amazing teachers and engineers.

I remember distinctly where I was sitting the first time I called Voicetrax. Vicki answered my call. She was honest, supportive and realistic all at the same time. I perform professionally so I know that any kind of performance requires serious commitment if we want to be good and even more commitment if we want to be exceptional. Though I had been hoping for someone to say, “Oh after a few classes you’ll be ready”, Vicki’s thoughtful response and realistic assessment of how long I should expect to spend on this new direction in my life solidified my respect for Voicetrax. “Ok, these guys are serious” I told myself.

That conversation was a while ago now, and this term, I had a perfect storm of classes I was taking: home recording had me geeking out on recording equipment, software and soundwaves. Got Game had me pushing, pushing, pushing my comfort zone. My second round of script analysis gave me a bigger analytical toolbox to work with. Vicki’s Booking Gigs 123 had me getting to know the nooks and crannies of Voice 123 and how to navigate the system effectively.

The night before I recorded this audition I was in Chuck’s class. I had let my inner ‘bitch’ loose much to the surprise and giggles of my classmates. I had SO much fun, and had an epiphany. A realization that the dark side of me, the things I had been trying to suppress /control and which I am tremendously critical of were actually a RICH mine of emotional gems. I could have FUN with them and OTHER people could ENJOY them! The next day I was working on an assignment for my Booking Gigs class, and I decided to go ahead and ‘submit’ the audition we had done as homework. I still had the spirit of playfulness and risk taking that I had so enjoyed the night before in class.

BEHOLD, I got an email! I couldn’t believe it! I got my first voice-over job!

I came to class and sheepishly asked Vicki to confirm if an email saying “I’d like to hire you for this job” meant I was actually hired. Vicki, lovingly talked me down from the tree branch of nerves that I had backed myself onto…Could I DO it? What if they didn’t LIKE the ‘real’ take?

My self doubt came in a big flood, but my classmates were celebrating my job. They were so sweet, everyone was excited.

Like so many times I have had in Voicetrax, my teacher gently but firmly re-grounded me. I left class with the confidence (and mental tools!) I needed to do the take. I sent two takes in and spent an unbearable, sleepless weekend waiting to see if their client would approve it. I literally could not sleep. I was over the moon when they said the client really liked the first take, and where should they send my check?

O.M.G. Vicki had even discussed how to do our invoices, keep our records, and what the tone of professional communications in VO should be. So I was SET.

It’s just a baby step, and I feel like I have more to learn than ever, but I’m so grateful to have booked my first job. It’s true. It’s not about a ‘talent’ we are born with, it’s about a lot of work and dedication and taking risks and trusting these amazing teachers.

I wanted to say one more thing to you all amazing teachers…not directly related to booking the job, but about this process. I realized at some point that certain kinds of voices (angry, bitchy, funny) were exceptionally difficult for me in the booth. I drove home wondering one night last year, “Why do I not have an angry voice. Where is my angry voice? How come I cannot sound silly or fun? “ I knew that those were emotions that I have, but I got teary when I realized I had spent my entire adult life trying to sound calm, professional, friendly, completely under control and knowledgeable. It was essential for my professional life. I had cultivated one part of my voice, but I had completely denied parts of my voice…not just the ‘sound’ of my voice, but even my thinking process.

A Javanese singing teacher once told me, “I don’t want you to sound like that famous singer. I want you to sound like you. When people hear you sing, I want them to say…ah…that is Emiko’s voice.”

And in that moment, I wondered. Where was my voice? What did it even sound like? How was I supposed to find it?

I’ve come to realize it’s not just the vibration of my vocal folds he and Sam are talking about, it’s something much deeper than that, it’s all the richness of our lives, our sadness, joy, anger, love and silliness. That is our voice, and I’m so grateful that being here is helping me to find those part of me that have been under lock and key for so many years.

I’m ready to dive into my next round of classes and continue this process of learning with this amazing community.

Thank you Voicetrax. I LOVE YOU!!!

emiko’


Jan
18

Bringing that mic to heel

With our constant focus on acting, Acting, ACTING, sometimes it’s easy to lose track of the MICROPHONE recording it all! That’s why we’ve just debuted The Taming Of The Mic III: The Final Battle, a class designed to re-orient advanced and pro-level students who might not have thought of mic technique in a while! A happy accident has resulted in permanent multi-media additions to the format, and here’s what students had to say:

“Loved the one day format. Just enough time to gain 5-6 mic techniques to enhance future auditions. Chuck’s talent combined with his upbeat directing style make for a fast, fun informative day. 5 stars!” – Susan Vlahos

“Properly applied mic technique combined with strong acting choices can really bring a scene to life. Thank you Chuck for so skillfully helping us to up our game in this regard.” – Bruce Friedricks

“It was great to refresh some techniques while also learning to master some new ones. I’ve always relied on stepping back from the mic, but learning the quick head shift to deflect away creates a whole other realm of possibilities now squirreled away in my toolbox.” – L.C. Boros

“…All in the course of a one-day lab, we worked on mic technique that is not just about caressing the mic, or not popping ‘p’s’, but also on creating the proper sonic environment to make your read come to life. This requires thorough script analysis… your relation to the person you’re reading with… what type of vocal ‘distance’ arc is required… how will your voice change to rise above crowd noise? And once you’ve decided all of this, then you take into consideration the size of the studio you’re auditioning in. How much reflection and echo will there be? What type of materials (i.e door, walls, music stand, etc.) in the studio will help you in getting the reflection you want? So much gold in just a 7 hour workshop! It’s just another reason I am sooooooo thankful to study at the Voicetrax! Thanks Chuck! Thank you Voicetrax!” – James Larsen

“Taming Of The Mic III should have been called mic technique 911 for me!

It had been awhile since I took the last mic technique class and to say I was rusty is an understatement. At one point… I felt like I was doing the pat your head and rub your tummy game. Sheesh!

But Chuck made the class informative, fun and not intimidating at all. And of course there were lots of laughs and giggles along the way.

Chuck had a few technical glitches at the beginning of class and we all thought it was part of the exercise. Watching Chuck tackle the technical issues, one by one in a thoughtful and methodical way was also a valuable lesson. Everyone… even the great and wise Chuck has technical issues from time to time.

Thanks Voicetrax!” – Diane Hayes


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