05.13.15

Stop selling and start booking

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One of the biggest mistakes actors make when approaching Commercial copy is to try and sell a product or service. The result is often an over enthusiastic, pushed and sometimes even kinda desperate sounding. A sell can be very impersonal, lacking human connection. Instead, envision who exactly/what audience you’re communicating with.I encourage you to think of someone in your life, someone who is close to the market of the product or service is aiming for.  Use personal actions such as to confess, to admit, to flirt or to warn (depending on the text’s content). Just having someone in mind will help ground your read and make those targeted listeners feel like you’re talking right to them.
For more practical and effective direction (wink wink), sign up for my upcoming Commercial Voice Workshop on June 14th. Don’t delay – space is limited!

05.13.15

More June Workshops!

I’m excited to announce that another workshop date has been added to the June calendar – woop woop! (June 14th registration is still open for Commercial).

I’ll be offering an IN STUDIO ANIMATION VOICE WORKSHOP on SUNDAY JUNE 7th.

April showers bring May flowers. May flowers bring June Workshops (totally rhymes).

1 DAY IN-STUDIO ANIMATION VOICE ACTING WORKSHOP 

Date: Sunday June 7th, 2015children_monsters_1c
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Class Size: Max 8 Students
Cost: $200 + HST – REGISTER NOW!

 

  • Combining Sound & Movement
  • How to create dynamic characters on the spot
  • Energy levels, voice placements, mic technique
  • Audition Coaching

 

To register, please send an email with some essential info about yourself to melissa@voiceprostudio.ca

*Please note that all workshop payments are final

 

04.24.15

Commercial Voice Workshop

It’s STILL cold outside and spring hasn’t yet sprung. Boo.

The good news is that I’m offering a 1 day COMMERCIAL Voice Workshop on June 14th. Yay!

Don’t see the connection between the weather and a new workshop? Well, there isn’t one. Good job!

Below are all the deets. Wee!

1 DAY IN-STUDIO COMMERCIAL VOICE WORKSHOP  REGISTER NOW! 

Date: Sunday June 14th 2015FullSizeRender
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Class Size: Only 8 Students
Cost: $200 + HST

  • Breaking down commercial copy
  • Exploring different types of spots
  • How to use pacing, projection, inflection and improvisation
  • Playing ‘roles’ vs. ‘characters’ to bring a genuine and real feel to your reads

To register, please send an email with some essential info about yourself to melissa@voiceprostudio.ca

*Please note that all workshop payments are final

04.21.15

“Who says girls can’t lift things?”

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When I was 16 years old, my older sister was moving to a new apartment and asked for my help with carrying boxes and furniture. My face immediately contorted at the request. “I CAN’T carry heavy things or  move awkward furniture pieces!”, I adamantly exclaimed/nor did I even want to try. After some big sister ‘encouragement’ (telling me I had no choice) I decided to give it a shot and help with what I could.  Flash forward a week later to me, carrying one side of a clunky desk over my head up a flight of stairs cheering, “WHO SAYS GIRLS CAN’T LIFT THINGS!?!”  Yup, not only could I do it but I liked it and felt strong. Those 7 words have stayed with me every since and serve as an excellent reminder that I can accomplish so much more than I think I can.

We all feel resistance and doubt, especially when it comes to being creative, writing, playing characters, performing, etc. Just last week I arrived at the recording studio and was told that I would need to belt out a song like a rockstar. GULP!  I hadn’t practiced, was not mentally prepared and was not feeling particularly rock-staresque that day. “There is no freakin’ way you can hit those high notes/nor do I even want to try” said the negative little voice in my head. Then I thought, wait a sec this is going to be a  “WHO SAYS GIRLS CAN’T LIFT THINGS!!” moment. And it sure was. I got up to the mic, let er rip and totally nailed it.

It feels SO good to surprise yourself and that only happens when you take risks and go beyond what you think you’re capable of.  So the next time that mean little voice of yours speaks up, just tell it to PIPE DOWN and keep pushing through. GIRLS CAN LIFT THINGS! (and boys, too).

03.18.15

 Know thy characters

What-He-WantsCasting directors and agents are always talking about the importance of versatility for voice actors. Ideally, you want to be able to play a 90 year old man, a French frog and a nerdy tween at the drop of a hat in order to increase the amount of roles you can audition for. Thing is not every actor has that range, especially when they are just starting out. And that’s okay. Instead of trying to be everything all of once, Hank Azaria style, try to identify what type of characters come to you easily, organically and truthfully. These are the voices that should lead in your demo, that should be the first thing your agent hears, and your other characters can build from this grounded core of truthful characterization. I often see actors go right for the wacky ones, but they have no depth and you can hear the strain. For some, wacky truthful voices come easy and more ‘natural’ voices are their challenge.

This business is all about knowing thyself, both thy strengths and thy weaknesses (I’m such a philosopher). We all strive to be more versatile but I’d encourage you to never sacrifice truth in order to show range.

03.13.15

March workshops: Sold out!

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REGISTRATION UPDATE:

Both upcoming VPS workshops (In-Studio Animation March 22nd & Agent Info on March 29th ) are  currently SOLD OUT.

Yes, the wait list is OPEN! 

 

 

 

03.9.15

VPS VOICE AGENT INFO SESSION

The agent search can be a tricky one. One of the hardest things for an actor to do is self-promote. Finding agent representation can feel so daunting and just the thought of the challenge may leave you feeling lost and overwhelmed.

Some of the most common questions I get from students are “I recorded my voice demo(s), where do I go from here?” and “Where do I start looking for an agent?” and “How do I create an effective agent submission package?“. If you’re looking for answers to those very questions then this 2-hour info session is for you.

I know how easy it is to fall victim to a feeling stuck mode, but you recorded that awesome voice demo(s) so you OWE it to yourself to get it/them heard. No more procrastinating. Capeesh? (fyi that’s me playing tough cop. You can expect A LOT more from where that came from at the info session, grrrr!).

The deets: main-qimg-42dbd62da1069e6122c345267cae817f-2

Date: Sunday, March 29th, 2015
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Class Size: Max 8 Students (location -The Annex)
Cost: $60 + HST (coffee & muffins included) REGISTER NOW!

This 2-hour workshop will address questions like:

  • I recorded my voice demo(s), where do I go from here?
  • Where do I start looking for an agent?
  • How do I create an effective agent submission package?

You will leave this session with resources and an action plan to move forward!

02.25.15

Next Workshop – March 22!

What’s that? You say you’d love to play the voice of a cartoon character? First things first, take my workshop on March 22nd and get the tools you need to make it happen. Now if only I could actually use any of those tools below…

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1 DAY IN-STUDIO ANIMATION VOICE ACTING WORKSHOP 

Date: Sunday March 22, 2015

Time: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Location: Downtown Toronto Recording Studio

Class Size: Max 8 Students –> *UPDATE ONLY 1 SPOT LEFT!!!*

Cost: $200 + HST

Class Topics:

  • Combining Sound & Movement
  • How to create dynamic characters on the spot
  • Energy levels, voice placements, mic technique
  • Audition Tips

To register, please send an email with some essential info about yourself to melissa@voiceprostudio.ca

02.25.15

Audition Tip: Improve-ise your reads

chicken hat

How do you make your audition stand out from the rest?  Wear a chicken hat?  Yep, that would do it.  However, If you want to make it stand out in a good way, Improvisation is one of the best tools you can use.  Always be on the lookout for spots in your script where you can throw in a little improv.  It could be a couple of extra words off the top or at the back end of your lines, some vocalization, bizarre noises, whatever makes sense in the context of the scene or moment.  Doing so shows the casting director that you’re bringing ideas to the table, you’re spontaneous and you know how to PLAY.

It is not uncommon for improvised lines to make it to the final product.  One of the best examples is Robin Williams in Aladdin;  most of what the Genie ended up saying came on the spot from the mind of Williams and not from the written page.  Don’t feel confident improvising?  Get out there and take a class.  It’s a muscle that needs to be worked out.  Bad Dog or Second City offer a variety of great classes.

So leave the chicken hat at home and book that next audition with your new and improv-ed self. Sorry for the lame puns, I couldn’t help myself.

02.18.15

voice directing wonder woman

As actors, one of the scariest questions you get is “so, what have been up to lately?”  When you’re busy, it’s easy to rattle off this and that in a casual, nonchalant ‘it’s always like this’ kind of way.  When it’s slow, that question can tie your stomach in knots and have you searching for the nearest fire alarm to pull.  I think the best remedy for this, besides avoiding tying your entire sense of identity to acting blah blah blah is to ALWAYS be working on your own projects.  I am constantly inspired by my students and especially those who create their own work.

Enter Lisa Berry, an amazing actress/singer/artist with double bodied energy who is always creating something new.  When she asked me to voice direct what she referred to as her “super geek” vision for a  comic book video, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this incredible team (Dion Johnstone, Jean-Michel Le Gal and Olunike Adeliyi).  The project is not intended to make money, it is simply a creative endeavour for its own sake. When you always have your own thing on the go, you always have something to talk about but more importantly, you always have something to do to release the creative energy that drives all of us in this nutty profession.

Check out the vid below produced by a real-life Wonder Woman and voice directed by little ol’ me.