CLASSES

Lectures… Seminars… Workshops…

With a comprehensive, rotating curriculum of over 100 classes, Voicetrax has lectures, seminars and workshops covering the full spectrum of the voice acting craft, geared to all levels of training.

For new and continuing students, please contact our registrar for class availability and guidance BEFORE signing up for classes. Because we keep our class sizes small, they fill up weeks and sometimes months in advance and often have a wait list! We also realize that with the multitude of classes to choose from it may be a bit daunting to know what curriculum strategy would work best for your specific situation. We can help you identify the courses that are most appropriate for your needs at each particular stage of your training and confirm there are seats available.

For Voice Acting Beginners…

If you have no previous voice-over training and/or are looking to find out what the voice-over industry is all about and what it takes to be competitive, look no further than our Finding Your Voice introductory lecture, hosted by none other than Voicetrax Founder Samantha Paris – now FREE for the rest of 2019!

Want to peek in on a Voicetrax class? Click here: Class Videos

To see our amazing group of teachers, click here: Guest Directors

Because we keep our class sizes so small, classes often fill up weeks and months in advance, so ENROLL NOW!

Download Voice Acting Class Descriptions

Classes for Spring 2020 by category:

 

Beginners 2020

Intermediate 2020

For Everyone 2020

Intermediate/Advanced 2020

Advanced/Working Professional 2020

To see the current course catalogue, click here:  Voicetrax Star Spring 2020

For actual dates and prices of classes, click here: Registration Form

Voice Acting Courses from Voicetrax SF

Classes for 2020

BEGINNING SEMINAR

Director: Vicki Baum, Aaron Miner

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

Get ready to jump into a weekend packed full of information and FUN! You’ll explore basic voice acting fundamentals including acting choices, script interpretation, microphone technique, monologues, dialogues, improv and video game characters. You’ll get right into the booth from the very beginning experimenting with vocal improv exercises and audience participation guessing games that revolve around making specific acting choices. By the end of the weekend, you’ll have a solid understanding of the voice acting craft, and an awareness of the particular skills and techniques you’ll need to succeed in the current marketplace, and perhaps even a different perspective of who you are and what you can do in the sound booth.


CREATING CHARACTERS

Director: Chuck Kourouklis, Brian Sommer

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

Whether or not you think you “do characters”, we’re here to tell you that you DO! Why? Because you’ve been six years old, when playing wasn’t about pretending to be a character, but about being the character, letting go and using your imagination. And with that mindset, you can learn to do anything, even characters. Chuck and Brian will share their insights, tricks and techniques that have led to their remarkable success in the character genre. Gain an enhanced understanding of the character creation process and realize just how freeing and exhilarating it is as an adult to simply let go and play. After this weekend, you will possess an increased confidence in your ability to invent colorful and memorable, yet realistic characters. With Chuck and Brian’s expertise and encouragement, get ready to unleash the characters that live within you that you never knew existed.


FINDING YOUR VOICE

Director: Samantha Paris

Length: 3-hour overview

Class Notes: It’s FREE!

Join Voicetrax founder, Samantha Paris, for an enlightening overview that’s half “everything you ever wanted to know about voice-over” and half interactive exercises where volunteers who are game get to jump right in and actually go into the sound booth and record a character or a radio commercial! You’ll be introduced to the various genres of voiceovers including radio and TV ads, animation, narration, promos and video games. Samantha will offer a straightforward outlook regarding the financial realities of the business, the commitment and training required to become a successful, working voice actor and how you’ll know when you’re really ready for a demo and a talent agent. What a fun way to spend a Saturday!


INTRODUCTION TO NARRATION

Director: Vicki Baum

Length: 14-hour four-week workshop, 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

With narration being the predominant genre in the San Francisco voice-over landscape, if you want to be a consistently working voice actor, your introduction to this field is as important as ever! The different genres of narration are endless including audio tours, audio books, tutorials, medical narration and documentary narration just to name a few. During this workshop, you’ll explore some of those narration styles and techniques as you work with a wide variety of copy including the always growing field of narration for the populous tech companies in the Bay Area. Learn not only the technical elements of narration, but also how to engage the listener and weave a story that takes your audience along for the ride, without overpowering the visuals. You’ll acquire a clear perspective on the storytelling skills required to deliver strong, connected, narration performances.


SIMPLY ACTING

Director: Frank Coppola

Length: 12-hour four-week Workshop

Class Notes: None

Frank teaches the fundamental acting techniques he’s learned and used successfully over the years, both as an actor and director, including breaking down the script into beats and assigning intentions, developing your character and asking yourself what happened right before the script starts. Through participation in theater games and improv exercises you’ll increase your comfort level, gain confidence in your performance ability and learn to make bold choices that will bring your acting to life. You’ll also spend time behind the microphone learning how to apply these basic acting concepts to performing commercial copy.


TO PARIS AND BACK

Director: Samantha Paris

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

Join our founder, Samantha Paris, as she takes you on a whirlwind journey, exploring the world of voice-over. Samantha takes great pride in the fact that she personally guides each student through every step their voice-over voyage, whether your personal path lasts a day, a couple of years or a career lifetime. Through comedy-driven commercial dialogues, Samantha will take you through “real world” audition exercises, just like the pros do it. And for good measure, Vicki will crash the party late on the second day to work you out on some cool character copy. We can’t promise you croque monsieurs and pommes frites, but good old Domino’s pizza will be provided. Working one-on-one with our Founder will not only develop your acting and script analysis skills exponentially, but working directly with you will allow Samantha to get to know you on a deeper level, so she can recommend with personal knowledge your next best step as your adventure through the voice-over world continues.


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Classes for 2020

COLORS OF YOUR VOICE

Director: Chuck Kourouklis

Length: 12-hour four-week wokshop

Class Notes: None

What color is luxury…Silver? Trust…Blue? Excitement…Red? The Colors method, originally developed by popular Voicetrax Guest Director Thom Pinto, has helped thousands of actors including your instructor, construct a richer, more vibrant voice-over foundation by assigning different emotions to a specific color. As Chuck leads you through an exploration of your full vocal and emotional spectrum and associates it with colors, you’ll uncover a multitude of voices and interpretations that you’ve never before considered or realized you were capable of delivering. Not to mention you’ll now possess a tool that is so relevant and effective, it is used every single dayI by busy, working voice actors.


FOUNDER’S SEMINAR

Director: Samantha Paris

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

This challenging weekend seminar is script analysis, mic technique and a few surprises all rolled up into one. It’s uncanny how much better your acting gets when you understand the script, so Samantha will take an in-depth look at analyzing copy. You’ll work on dialogues incorporating mic technique to bring the scene alive and tap into a creative side you never knew you possessed. And those surprises we spoke of? Well, if we told you what they were, it wouldn’t be a surprise now would it? As you walk out of the door at the end of the weekend, you’ll be shocked, amazed and most importantly excited at the new level of performance you’re capable of.


IMPROV FOR VOICE ACTORS

Director: Anna Mathias

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Note: None

Ever wonder what a bowling butterfly would giggle like? How would a rhino with low self-esteem approach a confrontation with a co-worker? Get ready to find out as you open your mind to all the endless possibilities that live within you while getting rid of that pesky fear that oppresses your true creative self! In this energetic and fun workout, Anna will jolt you out of your predictable everyday choices, freeing you to take chances and find new and unusual characters, voices and approaches to copy that even you didn’t know you had. Using a variety of tried and true theater games and improv techniques that she’s perfected over decades of experience, you’ll gain confidence as you learn to relax in front of the mic. Not to mention that well-placed improv is an effective way to shake up an audition and get you noticed by casting professionals, a true secret weapon for working voice actors.


THE TAMING OF THE MIC

Director: Chuck Kourouklis

Length: 12-hour four-week Workshop

Class Notes: None

If you’ve ever puzzled over how to show greater range and imagination in your voice acting, this class presents specific microphone techniques that can help you breathe life and variety into your performances. From practical, technical issues like how to minimize “p”-pops and over-modulation, to creative ideas on how to establish a sense of scene, create the sonic environment and define your characters, Chuck will reveal the many tricks-of-the-trade that he’s developed during his 20 plus years in the broadcast and voice-over industries that will immediately take your performances from 2D to a full three-dimensional experience for the audience. It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: If you want to be a musician you need to learn to play the instrument, so if you want to be a rock star voice actor you need to be able to do the exact same thing with the microphone.


VOICEOVER 411

Director: LA Booth Director

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

This intensive workout with one of Los Angeles’ most experienced booth directors from one of the biggest voice-over agencies in the world will consist of industry insights, advice and how-to’s. Topics such as professionalism, attitude, marketing, realistic goals and industry do’s & don’ts will be explored. You’ll participate in a non-stop audition lab, turning over script after script, and get the same type of direction and feedback that you’d receive if you were actually auditioning at a talent agency.


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Classes for 2020

INTRO TO HOME RECORDING

Directors: Jim Edgar, Chuck Kourouklis

Length: 18-hour six-week workshop

Class Note: Prerequisites – Students must understand basic computer commands such as Cut, Copy, Paste, Save, Save As, Undo/Redo, etc. Students must have home recording capabilities.

We stopped short of calling this workshop Engineering for Dummies because you’re not a dummy, you’re just “pre-knowledgeable”. This workshop is designed for students who are about to buy their first microphone or just did. Join Jim as he takes you through the basic fundamentals of home recording including recording hardware and software, editing conventions, exporting sound files along with suggestions for a basic set-up if you don’t already have one. You’ll get some hands-on experience in class and by the end will know how to record, edit and submit an mp3 of sufficient quality so you can start getting in on all those super cool, advanced Voicetrax classes that require home recording capabilities. And JUST when you think the story is over, it’s time to put what you’ve learned with Jim to good use, as Chuck will finish the last two weeks of the class listening to scripts you’ve recorded at home. He’ll not only give you succinct feedback on your acting performance, but will also comment on your new and improved “Edgar-ized” sound quality.


PAY IT FORWARD PARLOUR

Director: YOU and your fellow students (and perhaps a Guest Director or two)

Length: 3-hour lab, monthly

Class Note: FREE!

There’s seriously never been something so “for everyone” in the 31-year history of Voicetrax. We really mean it: Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced/Working Professional students, even Alumni! E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. is invited. This special lab was born from our desire to give back to our Voicetrax family and provides the bricks-and-mortar for a monthly workout group. For one night each month we are opening one of our studios – free of charge – for you to drop in and work on whatever kind of script you choose. You’ll get the opportunity to receive performance feedback from your fellow students as well as providing constructive critiques of your own, which we all know very specifically helps with the ever-important self-direction skills necessary for success. Learn and have fun in a casual environment. And did we mention there’ll be snacks? This is Voicetrax, of course there’ll be snacks. 🙂


VOCAL WELLNESS: FROM HOARSE TO STABLE

Directors: Julia Norton

Length: 3-hour lab

Class Notes: None

Get ready to sing yourself healthy! What better way to learn to care for your instrument than by learning the basics of singing? It doesn’t matter if you’re Julie Andrews or couldn’t carry a tune even in a bucket. This class will give you everything you need to get out of the shower and behind the mic. With decades of experience helping people have a free and healthy voice, Julia will incorporate breathing and relaxation exercises, placement and resonance, warm-up and cool-down approaches along with basic singing techniques amongst a multitude of techniques that will help you to keep your voice healthy and happy for video games sessions with the vocally challenging motion “efforts”, lengthy narration jobs where you need to sound as fresh in hour three as you do at the start of the session and increase your vocal range for character voices. Not to mention that tune you might start carrying. All of this adds up to a fun and information packed lab.


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Classes for 2020

ANIMATION 101

Director: Bob Bergen

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

One of the most sought-after voice actors and instructors in the country, Bob Bergen – Porky Pig himself – brings his popular, widely acclaimed seminar to Voicetrax. You’ll explore all the vital skills, techniques and necessary information that aspiring animation actors need to know including effective mic technique, creating and sustaining characters and breaking down copy. Bob infuses his joy for character work as he guides you through one fun and wacky animated script after another, all the while challenging you to bring the requisite energy and focus animation demands. You’ll develop and expand your own cast of characters and gain confidence in your ability to perform and audition “in-character”.


AUDIO TOUR NARRATION

Director: Peter Dunne

Length: 14-hour four-week workshop

Class Notes: None

Remember the first time you were transported to another place in time just by listening to an engaging museum audio tour? Learn the art of storytelling with Peter Dunne who has locally cast, directed and produced audio tours for many of the world’s best-known museums and most prestigious exhibits. To expand your audio tour auditioning skills, you’ll read a wide range of copy from scholarly and intellectually demanding narratives to funny scripts for kids. Peter will coach you on getting through the challenges all voice actors face during long sessions including reading cold, taking direction on the fly, handling difficult words and sustaining energy, characters, dialects, concentration and connection to the copy as you describe and tell a story.


BEST DAMN DEMO PERIOD!

Directors: Samantha Paris, Sirenetta Leoni, SF Agent

Length: 18-hour, 6-week Workshop

Class Notes: This course includes homework assignments. Students must have home recording capabilities.

During this information-packed (and when we say packed, we mean stuffed to the rafters and beyond) workshop you’ll develop a clear understanding of the demo production process from start to finish including copy selection, recording, editing, post-production, design, branding, marketing strategy, costs and online demos vs. agency demos. Samantha, Sirenetta and an experienced San Francisco talent agent will help you to discover what your strengths are and how to highlight them in a way that will grab the attention of agents and producers, as well as common mistakes to avoid. By the last week of class, students will have produced, performed, self-directed and packaged their own mock demo.


DESTINATION TRUTH

Director: Melissa Gray

Length: 12-hour four-week workshop

Class Notes: This course includes homework assignments.

In this workshop, Melissa will challenge you to think, breathe and voice from the standpoint of quintessential theatre acting techniques. Develop a critical ear and increase your ability to absorb what’s being offered as you take direction and make instantaneous adjustments as you navigate back and forth between monologues from plays and voice-over copy. Exercises are designed to enhance the believability of your reads and develop a fuller, richer sense of “you” and your unique individuality that the microphone cannot help but reflect! If only a significant amount of audition voice-over scripts called for real performances, so you could put all you learned in this class to practical use. Oh wait… only 99% of all voice-over audition copy does!


eLEARNING MADE eXCITING

Director: Jim eDGAR

Length: 12-hour four-week workshop

Class Notes: This course includes a pre-class and weekly homework assignments. Students must have home recording capabilities.

The narration sub-genre of eLearning continues to grow and redefine itself. Long gone are the safety films of way long ago, so companies are increasingly relying upon a steady stream of tutorial video learning resources to keep their employees up to date on current trends and regulatory requirements. As one of the fastest growing sections of voice-over, eLearning can be a rich vein of income opportunities. You’ll develop an understanding of the demands of this sub-genre including the stamina needed for long sessions, as well as discussing the increased use of Virtual Reality in the eLearning process and products. Home recordings will receive feedback in class as you learn how to audition effectively, develop long-term clients and find your teaching voice.


GET ANIMATED!

Director: Townsend Coleman

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

Worried that characters are not for you or you’ll never be any good at them? One of the most beloved animation voice actors in the country (see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Tick) brings his extensive experience to this seminar to prove you wrong… in the most loving manner, of course! With Townie leading the charge, you can become a character whiz. You’ll explore all the vital skills and techniques and foster the required mental approach that aspiring animation and video game actors need to be successful including developing a specific back story, using prototypes to create an original character and of course, breaking down the copy. You’ll develop and expand your own cast of characters and gain some well-earned swagger in your ability to perform and sustain a fully flushed and truly believable character.


GET IN THE ACTING GAME

Director: Dave Fennoy

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

Join one of the first Voicetrax students ever, Dave Fennoy, as he explores approaching video game performances from a true actor’s perspective, as if they were cinematic characters because in video games these days they are! Dave is globally known for his gaming credits (The Walking Dead, anyone?), which means his ability to create a multi-faceted, genuine character is on point! With a million-dollar voice, Dave could have rested on his laurels, but he’s studied hard to develop his acting chops and he’ll absolutely do the same for you. Spend the weekend with Dave as he shares his philosophies examining how authenticity and context always brings a starring and even a bit player video game performance to life.


GOT GAME?

Directors: Chuck Kourouklis, Brian Sommer

Length: 12-hour four-week workshop

Class Notes: None

How lucky are we that we have two of the most accomplished & prolific video game actors in the Bay Area in our back pocket: Chuck Kourouklis and Brian Sommer! This dynamic duo have put their heads together and created quite the curriculum. Because of Chuck & Brian’s extensive experience, both having appeared in League of Legends, The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us (seeing a pattern perhaps?), they are in a unique position to give you advice, guidance and direction from BOTH sides of the sound booth glass. Not only can they speak expertly on what a producer is looking for since they’ve booked once or twice or, oh that’s right… hundreds of times, but they are also in a position, being actors themselves, to delve deep into the actor’s process and teach you what it takes to create a memorable audition that gets you cast. Needless to say, this class is intensive, involving and relevant – so come ready to play!


KNOW YOUR ZERO

Director: Vicki Baum

Length: 12-hour four-week workshop

Class Notes: This course includes a pre-class and weekly homework assignments. Students must have home recording capabilities.

Vicki talks so much about her theory of “knowing your zero” in all her other classes, we finally said, “heeeey, why don’t you develop an entire class around that concept?” Luckily, Vicki jumped all-in and this class was born! Have you ever looked at a long list of specs on the script and been confused as to what to focus on? Or have you been auditioning online and you’re not sure how to choose amongst the dozens of scripts you receive each day that represents your best odds on booking the job? Truly knowing yourself, what you naturally bring to the table both vocally and personality-wise is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to choosing what to add into the recipe to create an outstanding, yet uniquely YOU performance. You’ll work on quintessentially you scripts, as Vicki and the rest of the class will assist each student in ascertaining what makes you, well… YOU. If history tells us anything, we’re betting you just might be surprised at what you learn about yourself, as well as astounded and enlightened by how others perceive you on the very personal journey you’ll take in this workshop.


NARRATION REALITY CHECK

Director: Vicki Baum

Length: 12-hour four-week workshop

Class Notes: This course includes a pre-class and weekly homework assignments. Students must have home recording capabilities.

Artistry in narration? Sure, there is a ton of technical elements that every competitive narrator must be able to manage like a master puppeteer manipulating the dancing doll’s strings. But can you commit those fundamentals to muscle memory so that you can focus on your acting and telling a great story to become a true artist in the genre? Maybe you’ve been practicing or recording on your own long enough that you aren’t sure where you are on the path to owning those skills. Do you wish you had a benchmark to guide your progress? Well, have we got the gut check that you might not even know you are craving. Vicki will take you on a wild narration ride by giving you that much desired feedback on your pre-recorded and in-class performances with her trademark direct authenticity, delivered with a soft, gentle and encouraging hand inside a steel gauntlet.


ONCE UPON A TIME: ACTING FOR AUDIOBOOKS

Director: Roni Gallimore

Length: 14-hour four-week Workshop

Class Notes: None.

It’s official! Audiobooks is a billion-dollar industry that shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. Don’t tell your local librarian, but eventually generations to come won’t know anything other than digital and recorded books. And we all know what that means to voice actors: opportunities, opportunities, opportunities! Join Roni as she shares her extensive knowledge on how she books all her audio book work on her own without an agent! She’ll share with you her techniques on refining a first person and third person narrator, performing a male/female dialogue by yourself and the very tricky task of performing same sex dialogues while creating separation between dozens of characters by utilizing pitch, speed, rhythm, accents and of course… acting! And whether or not you think you’ll ever record an audiobook this course will absolutely help you up your narration and character defining skills.


”PLAY”-TIME WITH PARTNERS

Director: Jeannie Elias

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: This course includes a pre-class homework assignment.

Brace yourself: this class requires you to enter into a committed relationship… at least for the weekend anyway (so you can wipe that sweat off your brow). Usually in voice-over, being on your own is just how it is, whether it’s home auditioning or recording the session you booked. Experience the ultimate “fix-up” when you are assigned a scene partner to work on a dialogue from a play. Being paired up will allow you the experience of working with the energy and choices of your scene partner which will ultimately result in a better imagined character for yourself. Not only will this encounter strengthen your acting skills, but it will bolster your voice-over ability to wild line (acting one side of a dialogue by yourself) and treating each commercial monologue you come across as a dialogue.


SCRIPT ANALYSIS

Directors: Samantha Paris, Chuck Kourouklis, Sirenetta Leoni

Length: 18-hour six-week Workshop

Class Notes: This course includes weekly homework assignments.

Simply put…if you don’t get the script, you don’t get the gig! This triad of teachers will help you unravel the mysteries of script interpretation as you analyze a variety of TV and radio commercials, animation, video game and narration scripts while discovering how to dissect copy intelligently. You’ll learn to look for hidden clues (aka “bunnies”) and not just the ones buried in the body of the copy, but the ones you can glean from the sound effects, visuals, directions, music, length, even the agency name. Strengthen one of the most important foundational skills necessary for voice-over success in this class newly fortified with an additional two weeks in response to overwhelming student demand. We can take direction, too!


SCRIPT ANALYSIS II: GET TO THE POINT

Director: Sirenetta Leoni

Length: 12-hour four-week workshop

Class Notes: Prerequisite: Script Analysis or prior approval from Voicetrax.

Now that you’ve peeked behind the script analysis curtains in the first level class, it’s time to fully open them up and let the light in and dig even deeper into the vital skill of script analysis. Actors often get so caught up in planning how they’re going to perform, worrying about whether they sound “right” or planning their spontaneity that they completely miss the point of why they are saying what they’re saying. As a result, they fail the most basic test of auditioning: getting the central point of the script across effectively. This workshop will help you develop the discipline to always look for the meaning of the script and how your role serves to advance the message or narrative before you make your acting choices. As you work through a variety of commercial, narration and character scripts using your endless imagination, you’ll find that learning to get to the point first will help you become a stronger, more engaging actor and turbo-charge your confidence.


SIMPLY ACTING II

Director: Frank Coppola

Length: 12-hour four-week workshop

Class Notes: Prerequisite: Simply Acting or prior approval from Voicetrax..

Going deeper into the story is something that all actors must learn. To succeed it must become second nature for you to think “I need to go further to create more layers in my performance”. But how exactlydo you do that, especially in a 30 second script? In this seminar you will continue on the path started by Simply Acting of learning and developing new tools and techniques designed to spark your curiosity to research your craft both past and present. Using both dramatic and comedic longer form scripts from plays and movies – contemporary and historical – you’ll develop the ability to create the arc of a character’s story. By sussing that out in longer form, you’ll develop the muscle memory to go deeper into character, and with practice will be able to succinctly apply that skill to the shorter form of 30 and 60 second reads. This class will beautifully set you up for the more advanced levels of scene study classes by knowing exactly where your treasure chest of creativity lies and how to access and feed it.


THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS

Director: LA Booth Director

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

The phenomenon of home auditioning has taken our industry by storm. Amongst the pros (and there are lots of them!) and cons, some bad habits have been created. With the freedom to do 50 million takes (ok, maybe only 49 million) and edit the life out of your performance, the lost art of live performing starts to diminish. Yet if you book the job and get to the session, the curtain goes up and you have to perform. To close this widening gap between home and live performing, this seminar will ask you to jump in with both feet as a top-notch LA Booth Director takes you through a variety of scripts including commercial, character and narration. Not only will you only get a minute or so to prepare your read, but you will only get a couple takes to lay down your best stuff. A TRUE One-Take Masters class… This workout is designed to hone your versatility and quick preparation skills (and kick all that over-thinking to the curb) and ultimately make you a more dexterous live performer. So, get in, be AMAZING, get out. Rev up your home auditions and session work with this intensive seminar. Sorry, cool cars not included. Neither is Vin Diesel. 🙁 Sigh…


THINK VISUALLY, ACT VOCALLY

Director: Chuck Kourouklis

Length: 12-hour four-week workshop

Class Notes: None

Now that you’ve built a strong foundation in the fundamentals of voice acting, there’s no time like the present to start dissecting the individual voice-over sub-genres since they require different performance styles. And there are many components that contribute to a stylized performance when lending your voice to television visuals. Chuck will ask you to consider all the factors visual elements add, and how you can use them to shade your performance in a distinct way. What kind of influence should a television commercial that emphasizes wide open spaces have on your interpretation? Would a tight, detail-oriented shot mandate a difference in your approach? And what kind of impact does the music make on your acting choices? And finally, what are the implications of all this on where you should position yourself on the microphone? Explore all these factors to make your performance just that much more specific as you play and have fun in the television voice-over sandbox. Ultimately, you’ll be able to leverage that knowledge to be the actor that gets the script, and therefore, the actor that gets the job!


VOICE-OVER ANGEL

Directors: Thom Pinto, Chuck Kourouklis, Vicki Baum

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

Gain wisdom, confidence and the ability to think on your feet from this role-playing workshop as Thom utilizes his fellow directors to throw numerous different real-world recording situations at you born from his wealth of personal experiences including working with a producer whose personality and sensibility is different than yours, having to deal with a first time director who knows what they want but has no idea how to communicate it or worse yet, a producer who doesn’t even know what they want and you’re supposed to figure it all out! And what about a casting director that gives only one chance to book the job? But don’t fret, you are not alone. Thom will serve as your “angel”, determined to earn his wings by helping you in these various scenarios. You’ll learn to deal with adversity, uncertainty, insecurity and a host of other confidence assassins that can undermine an actor’s ability to give their best performance. Feel more in control and better prepared to handle the art of self-direction even under the most challenging and demanding real-world circumstances.


YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS

Director: Jeff Howell

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

Most actors find it easier to be funny and have crisp, comedic timing when performing a dialogue with another actor. What happens when you have to be funny, clever and entertaining all on your own? No anguish necessary, qualified help is on the way! Paint outside the lines with producer and casting professional Jeff Howell in this seminar that will focus on the script analysis and performance of comedy monologues that rain very popular in the voice-over industry. Character study, quirky reads, that oh-so-elusive conversational read and a variety of improv styles will all be a part of this hysterical, thigh-slapping seminar. You may want to prepare yourself for some sore ribs. Hee… hee… hee…


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Classes for 2020

ACTING PROMO-TION

Directors: Dave Fennoy

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

We’ve all heard it (close your eyes and insert silky smooth, bass voice here): The following is brought to you with limited commercial interruption… Who better to explore the world of promo performance with than one of the most recognizable promo voices in history, Mr. Hulu himself, Dave Fennoy! Get ready to take your promo acting skills up the corporate ladder as you survey the various television promo genres including comedy, drama and the ever-expanding variety of lifestyle channels that cater to a smaller but unique audience. And although promo generally has a signature rhythm and intensity, there is absolutely, positively still acting involved. (Awww…man…)


ACTING UP

Directors: Dan Gilvezan

Length: 7-hour one day lab

Class Notes: None

Acting, in its most basic form, is about what your character wants and how they go about getting it. These objectives and choices are what give a performance depth, variety and emotional connection. Actors that aren’t agile at using their imagination operate in a very limited space with their choices, and as a result their auditions stay in that same narrow band. In this one-day intensive, fast-paced lab, Dan will employ a variety of different techniques and exercises including the aspects of The Method system, improv and role playing to expand the sphere of your choices and help you break free of your status quo. You’ll be challenged to make quick choices to avoid overthinking and trust your instincts. At the end of the day you’ll be thinking about familiar tools in a brand-new way. Learn from a 30-year veteran that has kept himself relevant and booking through the decades due to his superior acting skills.


ANIMATION EXTRAVAGANZA

Director: LA Agent

Length: 14-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: This course includes pre-class homework. Students must have home recording capabilities. Class may be repeated.

Spend two full days working under simulated, “real-world” recording-session conditions on complete episode scripts of an actual cartoon series, with one of the country’s top animation experts. Before class, you’ll receive character sides to “audition” and submit. In class, your director will announce the role(s) you have “booked”. Once cast, you’ll participate in mock sessions where your director will walk you through the process step-by-step from the table read through the group recording. You’ll gain belief in your abilities to interpret copy on the fly, develop characters, maintain energy and continuity, create a definite difference between multiple one-line roles, respond and react to your fellow actors and absorb direction quickly with the poise of a seasoned pro. And speaking of seasoned pros, because your teacher is an agent that works with the best talent in the animation business, imagine the ears you’re working with. You’re sure to get an exact notion of where you are on your character path.


DIALECT INTERVENTION

Directors: Kimberly Mohne Hill

Length: 14-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: This course includes a pre-class homework assignment.

Your bad accents have affected us negatively in the following ways: it makes us sad that your British video game character sounds more like he’s from New York high society and it keeps us up at night thinking about the session where you’ll have to sustain your shaky Chicago accent (that regrettably sounds equal parts Irish, US Southern and just plain bad) for 100+ lines of dialogue. But don’t give up, there is hope! We’ve invited interventionist, voice actor, director and dialect dynamo, Kim Mohne-Hill, to rehab your inconsistent dialects. This full weekend class is formatted to give you the time you need so that when you finish you will possess the knowledge necessary to practice and polish an accent you can take to the bank. Throughout this odyssey Kim will introduce you to two different approaches to building ANY accent in the world, which translates to solid gold for a video game voice actor. The time has come for you to make a decision. Will you seek help today?


DO PUT WORDS IN MY MOUTH

Director: Jeff Howell

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

Dubbing has become an exciting new revenue stream for all voice-over actors, so of course we worked to bring you the opportunity to learn this specific skill! Due to the massive growth of the online streaming platforms, the need for international programing has increased exponentially. What was once a small niche of the industry, program localization has exploded on to the voice-over scene like never before. Older dubbing procedures and techniques have been redefined, allowing for burgeoning newer technologies to assist in the dubbing process. Through his experience directing the dubbing of numerous Netflix movies, Jeff will uncover what it’s like to be in an actual dubbing session including breaking down characters, scene analysis, choosing specific voices for multiple roles, dialogue rhythm and timing. Experience reading from a “rythmo band” – a scrolling band of information (dialogue, mouth sounds, breaths) that the actor needs in order to dub the scene.


F#@K THE SPECS

Directors: Samantha Paris, Brian Sommer

Length: 12-hour four-week workshop

Class Notes: This course includes homework assignments. Students must have home recording capabilities.

The specs on a piece of voice-over copy have long stirred epic debates on how much or how little to pay attention to them. Are the specs a barren wasteland that say, “friendly and conversational”? On the other end of the spectrum, are the specs verbose and conflicting, making it easy to get caught up in them, getting in the way of a truly connected (translation: bookable) performance? So, what do you do? Every time you look at a new script the FIRST THING you should be asking yourself BEFORE you look at the specs is “what are the words in the script telling me?” In this student-requested workshop, you’ll get the answer to that all-important question. Samantha and Brian will take you through various spec-centric exercises with commercial and characters scripts respectively including reading the script without benefit of the specs to see if you naturally SEE the specs in the script. Find out what happens if you let the words on the page tell you what to do instead of relying on the specs. Take your script analysis skills to the highest level by making strong acting choices that result in a SPEC-tacular performance.


FROM A TO “Z”AGER: LAYIN’ DOWN THE LAWS OF NARRATION

Director: Lynnanne Zager

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: The course includes a pre-class homework assignment.

As one of the absolute best crime narrators in the business, Lynnanne Zager has her fingerprints all over this sub-genre of narration, and she’s bringing all of her forensic know-how to Voicetrax! Investigate the various styles of crime show narration – which is more popular than ever with new shows being created all the time – with different exercises including recording to picture, a mock audition and an acting game or two to loosen you up. You’ll also bring in a script of your own to get a top notch, eagle-eye assessment on your performance. Be advised that after a weekend with Lynnanne, you’ll emerge with some legit crime show skills that you can take all the way to the bank.


GLUED TO THE TUBE: THE COMMERCIAL EDITION

Director: LA Booth Director

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: This course includes a pre-class homework assignment. Students must have home recording capabilities.

Despite all of our pleading and cajoling, many working professional voice actors still don’t take the time to explore the commercial part of our industry. You DVR fast-forwarders know who you are… To make smarter, more relevant choices when you audition, it’s mandatory that you grasp the style of different types of commercials that are currently on the television and radio. Utilizing a super fresh approach, our super-savvy LA Booth Director will assign you specific types of commercials to focus on, whether it be health care, retail, car ads and the like. After watching television or listening to the radio, you’ll transcribe two commercials and record them for feedback in class. You’ll be forced to traverse a tricky exercise: How do you keep true to the style and vibe of the commercial, without mimicking the on-screen performance, yet still bring your unique self to the party? Nowhere else will you have an opportunity to work on more current copy!


HE SAID/SHE SAID: THE MICROPHONE EDITION

Director: Samantha Paris, Jim Edgar, Brian Sommer

Length: 12-hour four-week workshop

Class Notes: This course includes pre-class and weekly homework assignments. Students must have home recording capabilities.

We happily continue to expand the immensely popular He Said/She Said class format to the point where this version is actually He Said/She Said/He Said. And because being a savvy engineer is now as nearly important as being a great actor, we’ve included the technical side of things: enter Jim Edgar who’ll provide you the experience of testing out numerous microphones (at once!) to assist you in your studio set-up. Equal parts engineering and acting, your trio of directors will focus on the various aspects included in the day-in, day-out life of a working voice actor including script analysis, character development, self-direction and professional grade sound quality. Consider this class the whole kit and caboodle for the modern, professional voice actor.<//p>


HOME AUDITION HAVEN

Director: Jeff Howell</a >

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

Are you standing all by yourself out in the “cold” world known as home auditioning? Come into the safe and warm refuge with top casting professional Jeff Howell, as he guides you through direction or specs interpretation, an essential part of giving a good audition, understanding the writer’s intent, as well as making solid, but bold acting choices. As someone who actually listens to auditions and casts voice actors day in and day out, Jeff will help you avoid the pitfalls of home auditions including knowing when to say ‘I’m done’ and resisting the temptation to engineer the life out of the read. Build certainty in home auditioning when you have only your instincts to guide you and no feedback is given.


HPXEDCHVBSEPRIUCH

Director: Gavin Hammon, Lauren Kelly, Aaron Miner

Length: 12-hour four-week workshop

Class Notes: This course includes a pre-class homework assignment.

Tsjdokks iwynso hyytisqe nagacdi py sjneuscild jazpl datdofg! Say What?!? Imagination is king in the world of gibberish speaking toys and video games, and the demand for actors who have these particular set of skills continues to rise. So, we’ve asked three of the busiest toy actors in the Bay Area – our trio of toy talent – to reach into those beautiful brains of theirs to come up with a class full of fun and creative exercises to get you in the right state of mind to tell the story when there is no script at all. They’ll challenge you to communicate through emotional connection instead of English words. Learn how improv, physicality and just letting go are keys to success in the silly but serious industry of toys. Not to mention how learning to tell a story without the crutch of using words will develop your overall storytelling skills. And hey, you’ll get to tell your parents you finally learned that second language. Tdekpjuhieqb! What the heck does that mean? We’ll leave that to your imagination!


INVITATIONAL LEFT TO YOUR OWN DEVICES

Director: Samantha Paris

Length: 10-Hour Weekend Seminar

Class Notes: By Invitation Only. This course includes a pre-class homework assignment. Students must have home recording capabilities.

You can’t imagine how many times Samantha has heard from students, “Gee, my performances are so good when you direct me in class or a private lesson. I wish I could have you in my pocket when I audition from home every day.” Sure, it sounds great, but since our cloning experiments are still in the early testing phase, this class will have to suffice, and knowing Samantha with all her NEW plot twists and turns, suffice it surely will. Considering this class is all about the all-important self-directing, you can pretty much figure there’ll be some stuff you record at home and send in for Samantha’s trademark… let’s call it… straightforward feedback. If your performance didn’t quite hit the mark, you might find yourself explaining your script analysis thought process by sitting in the director’s chair directing a fellow student on the same exact copy you performed. What better way for Samantha to peek behind your “brain curtains” (that’s right, we said it… brain curtains) to improve your directing process than actually witnessing it live? Whether you are at the beginning of your self-direction pilgrimage or are a seasoned pro who’s unconsciously created bad habits, allow Samantha to crawl into your directing mind and sort your stuff out. Whatever happens you can count on this weekend taking your self-direction skills into the stratosphere.


INVITATIONAL THREE-IN-A-ROW VARIETY SHOW

Director: Thom Pinto

Length: 10-Hour Weekend Seminar

Class Notes: By Invitation Only. Prerequisite: Three In A Row or prior approval from Voicetrax. This course includes a pre-class homework assignment. Students must have home-recording capabilities.

Lights, Camera, Action! (insert catchy theme song music here) Ok, so technically there’s no camera involved since this is a voice-over class, but this show must go on! Why? Because being able to effectively perform a tagline or branding phrase three times in a row each with distinctly different attitudes is a mandatory skill for every voice actor working professionally everywhere. Thom will take the lessons offered in the first level class and crank up the heat, using both studios, and will on one hand leave you mostly on your own, asking you to direct yourself on different copy including the ever-challenging two and three-word lines and direct you live. And to sweeten the pot, getting swept up in the Voicetrax pay-it-forward mission of giving back, Thom will offer two top performers a free demo consultation ahead of their Voicetrax-produced demo.


INVITATIONAL UNMASKING YOUR INFINITE POTENTIAL: THE SCENE STUDY EDITION

Director: Peter Coyote

Length: 7-hour weekend lab

Class Notes: By Invitation Only. This course includes a pre-class homework assignment.

Join the one-and-only Emmy® award winning Peter Coyote as he furthers your acting evolution through unique exercises including mask work as you prepare to dig into and really strengthen your acting prowess. In the weeks before class you will be assigned one half of a scene dialogue to memorize. The fun, exciting and challenging twist is that you won’t know who your scene partner is until you show up for class! Peter will bring the wisdom hard-earned from decades in the industry, with over 100 motion pictures and tv shows under his belt, to help you get lost within your character and truly emotionally connect with your partner. You’ll learn at the feet of the master as he lets you in on the world his imagination and A-List experience inhabits for script analysis on a whole other level. What else do we reeeeaaally need to say? We could talk about him being in the blockbuster movie E.T. or narrating the critically acclaimed Ken Burn’s The Roosevelts: An Intimate History PBS documentary, but seriously it’s scene work with Peter f’ing Coyote! C’mon, people!


LESS IS MORE, BUT NOTHING IS NOTHING

Director: SF Agent

Length: 10-Hour Weekend Seminar

Class Notes: None

You know that saying, “less is more”? Well, this is an entire seminar focusing on that exact premise. With the preponderance of real and conversational requests from producers and casting directors, the phrase “not over the top” is showing up all the time in copy specs. What does that mean? How far is too far? Most importantly, how do you stop from going too far in the opposite direction and delivering a boring, flat performance? Join this revered San Francisco agent whose been at the top of this industry for decades (and continues to be) to get an insider’s view on this very popular current trend and learn the balance between going for it and leaving your audience wanting more.


LUNCH WITH PUNCH

Director: Samantha Paris, Jeff Howell, Townsend Coleman

Length: 20-hour five-week workshop

Class Notes: This course includes a pre-class homework assignment. Students must have home recording capabilities.

Are you frustrated or exhausted by the home auditioning process that provides you little to no feedback unless you book the job? Are you in a rut, feeling rusty or has the pressure you’ve put on yourself strangled the creativity right out of your home auditions leading to discouraging results? In this smorgasbord of a workshop Samantha is locked and loaded to bring back the FUN and give you exactly what you need. How is that possible? Because each time we run this class, Samantha looks at the class roster and custom builds her lesson plan to specifically address what those 12 particular students need at the moment. The lunch will be brought to you by your fellow students as you take part in a delicious, time-honored Voicetrax tradition: Friday afternoon potluck lunch. The punch will be provided by Samantha and her fellow Guest Directors Jeff Howell and Townsend Coleman – a trio of teachers that’s never been grouped together before! We promise no voice actors will be hurt in the making of this class… we hope. Spend five afternoons getting your process and mindset “punched” up while eating the most scrumptious potluck west of the Mississippi.


PARKIN’S PLAYHOUSE OF IMPROV

Director: Scott Parkin

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

Batten down the hatches and get ready for the tsunami that is the one and only Scott Parkin. His clever mind, razor-sharp wit and unyielding energy are just the elixir you need to bring the joy to your voice-over performances and spontaneous unpredictability to your home auditions. In this non-stop fun-fest where imagination reigns, Scott will force you to get out of your own way and become more secure outside your oh-so-cozy comfort zone. Develop a mindset that’s sure to juice up your comedic auditions as you embrace coloring outside the lines. Creepy clowns and funhouse mirrors not included.


PLACE YOUR ORDER

Director: Brian Sommer OR Townsend Coleman

Length: B. Sommer: 12-hour 4-week workshop, T. Coleman: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: These two individual courses each include a pre-class homework assignment.

When we hit upon a popular format, we have no shame in going back to the well and “gently petting that alive-and-kicking horse” (Get it? We’re lovers, not fighters). Our troubles emerged when we were trying to decide WHO should teach the class: Brian or Townsend, Townsend or Brian? Finally, a member of the legendary Voicetrax Think Tank said, “ummm… why don’t we just have them both do it?” Brilliant! Format refresher: you’re invited to create a personalized lesson plan based on your specific needs. Before class you’ll choose three categories from a menu of voice-over specifics to work on with Brian or Townsend (Brian will concentrate on video games and Townsend will focus on animation & promo). So not only do you get to place your order on the stuff you’ll be working on, you’ll also place your order for the teacher of your choosing. It surely doesn’t get more customized that this, does it? Join this “weekend (or four weeks) of whatever you want” and remember to tip your waiter.


PROCESS PURIFICATION

Director: LA Booth Director

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: This course includes a pre-class homework assignment.

Ruts and plateaus in the creative audition process are frustrating, yet ironically are an important part of developing yourself as an artist. Without these obstacles to push us forward, we don’t grow, and embracing these moments are a part of every successful career. Lucky for Voicetrax students, we have our favorite Los Angeles Booth Director to help you break things down, discover where you might be stuck and help you move forward. You’ll open up your modus operandi for inspection and glean valuable information about techniques you may or may not be applying when your fellow students do the same. Your Guest Director will use that data to not only give you incredibly specific feedback on in-class performances, but also to identify habits that are getting in the way of you booking more jobs. It’s nearly a private lesson in class form. Remember there’s a difference between being stuck and choosing to stay there. Set yourself free to realize your full potential.


SOMETHING TO SING ABOUT

Director: Ned Lott

Length: 10-Hour Weekend Seminar

Class Notes: A professional sounding singing voice is not required. Seriously! 😉 This course includes a pre-class homework assignment.

Over the last several years – especially since the blockbuster film Frozen was released – the demand for characters that sing in feature films, television series and apps has greatly increased, and that will be the focus of this super unique class. Now before you say “Nope. Not me. I can’t sing!”, pleeeease remember that not every nutty, silly animated character sounds like Mariah Carey, Barbra Streisand or The Candlestick from Beauty And The Beast, so you don’t have to either! And if singing is totally comfortable for you, then it’s time to bring that “shower superstar” into the light. You will come to class with a song prepared that Ned will work on with you and then record it to a background track. You’ll also get a chance to perform speaking lines of that character. Get out of your comfort zone, let loose, remember why you started in voice-over in the first place and have some fun. And we haven’t even mentioned how singing your copy can bring about a freer you – oh wait… we just mentioned it… Whether singing scares you or you’re eager and ready to get your singing groove on, we know you’ll leave this class with an expanded fearlessness to audition singing characters.


TAKING ON THE PROTOTYES II: YOU!

Director: Thom Pinto

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

While producers constantly ask for a tone, attitude or performance that requires channeling the vocal style of a celebrity, we working stiffs must also learn to develop our own signature styles. In this seminar by disseminating all the different aspects of celebrity prototypes, Thom helps you to discover what makes you special and marketable as a voice talent. And the ability to match your own performance (basically prototyping yourself) comes in pretty darn handy when you’re asked to do subsequent pick-up lines weeks after a session is done and dusted. Through experimentation and the wisdom of a voice-over authority right by your side, it all boils down to deftly incorporating some celebrity vocal traits into…well, YOU!


TECH SUPPORT TUNE-UP

Director: Jim Edgar

Length: 4-hour lab

Class Notes: Limited to six students. Prerequisite: Intro to Home Recording/Audio ER or prior approval of Voicetrax.

As a working voice actor, you ultimately end up using recording software, but are you using it efficiently? Designed for graduates of Jim’s other tech classes, this lab will delve deeper under the hood into the different recording softwares there are out there to choose from. This time around Jim’s focusing on the Mac offering: Twisted Wave. If you use this particular software to record (or are thinking of a change) and feel as though you’ve only scratched the surface on all the wonderful tools it includes, then this gathering is meant for you. Jim will go “deep nerd” as you explore the many facets you likely didn’t know existed and how knowing your recording software better can improve workflow which will fundamentally and inevitably help your voice-over business $oar.


THE NARRATION VARIATION

Director: Dave Fennoy

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

Wait, he does narration, too?!? Is there nothing he can’t do? That’s right folks, video game extraordinaire and Mr. Hulu promo voice himself Dave Fennoy does narration and does it very well we might add. His range is limitless… he is a Voicetrax alum after all! Dave brings his encouraging teaching style and decades of acting experience to the challenging world of narration. And as we all know that narration is more than just reading, Mr. Fennoy will impart his trademark emotion-based perspective to the art of storytelling, covering several of the most popular sub-genres including corporate narration, explainer videos and lifestyle narration that is heard on a variety of shows aimed at specific audiences.


THE POWER OF PERSUASION

Director: Thom Pinto

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: None

As another election cycle comes around in the Fall of 2020, the number of political ads that need voices will explode. And although we are all painfully aware of the timbre of most national political ads, luckily that is not what this class is about (phew!). Instead Thom will bring it back home to focus on local and regional candidates as well as issue-oriented ads that are incredibly lucrative and news flash: not always negative. Some even have hope and humor! And ladies, there is tremendous opportunity for you, too. And because conviction is more important than ever in these types of ads, committing to an acting choice is paramount (we’re sure there is somewhere else that could be applied, like everywhere). Join Thom for an informative weekend but please leave your politics and political debate hat at the door. Seriously. 🙂


WHEN ART IMITATES LIFE

Director: Samantha Paris

Length: 10-hour weekend seminar

Class Notes: This course includes a pre-class homework assignment.

The most accomplished actors in history all have one thing in common: they bring themselves to their performances, whether it’s a dramatic court scene in a movie, a tender dialogue between father and son on stage, or the harried mother with her three kids running errands in a radio spot for McDonalds. No matter the words you are tasked to bring to life, utilizing your own life experiences – and dare we say feelings – is what separates greatness from brilliance. Samantha will tap into those rich experiences you may not even know you’re suppressing within you to work on scene monologues and dialogues, no voice-over copy to be found. She’ll challenge you to truly put yourself in the scene and make realistic choices based on what you would actually do if faced with the same scenario in real, REAL life. You may even be forced to look in the mirror and ask yourself what’s holding you back from really “going there” and ultimately letting your art imitate life.


WIZZARD OF BLIZZARD: END GAME

Director: Andrea Toyias

Length: 14-Hour Weekend Seminar

Class Notes: This course includes a pre-class homework assignment. Students must have home recording capabilities.

The name of this class sounds like a bad-ass, Hollywood superhero mega movie that stars Chris Hemsworth or Robert Downey, Jr. (Weird Science anyone? Aww… #memories), and that it absolutely, positively by design. Leading you into battle for this gaming weekend is none other than Andrea Toyias, casting and voice director from video game developer juggernaut Blizzard Entertainment, the publisher of numerous titles including World of Warcraft (oh, you’ve heard of it?), the Diablo series and the stupidly successful Overwatch. She will share her insights on what it takes to be an actor in the crazy world of games, impart her hints for successful auditioning, along with running a mock audition as she narrates her thoughts out loud through the casting process. You’ll dig up your best Tolkien voice, sculpt your craziest non-verbal creature sounds and learn what it means to die (in video games, of course).


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