Category Archives: Training

Great Weekend with the Voice Over Whisperer

The Marice Tobias commercial and narration workshop in Dallas wrapped up yesterday.  What a wonderful seminar. I learned some great techniques for self direction which is so important these days in that we work so much from our own spaces. Had fun with fellow voice actors. And it’s always amazing to watch a director like Marice pull reads out of actors that they didn’t know they had.

Also, thanks to audio engineer J.D. of Janimation for letting us kids play in his room.

Finding a Voice Over Coach


I’ve secured my place at the table for the Marice Tobias commercial and narration  intensive workshop in Dallas next month.  Marice is one of the premier voice-over coaches working today and has been instrumental in moving my career forward.

You can see other cities where  she’ll be holding workshops here.

If you are looking for a voice over coach in your area, Harlan Hogan has a  list on his website you should take a look at. Thanks Harlan!

Should I slate in Character?

That’s one of the questions that floats up during the four part podcast interview Voicebanks’s Tracey Patton has with Bob Bergen and Bill Holmes.  Both are busy voice actors and teachers.

So when auditioning for character or animation roles, should you slate in character. Some say yes. Bob says “no” for a simple reason that make sense.  If you slate as “you” and the “character”, you’ve just given the producer two voices.  More choices.  They love that.  Just make sure you give them good seperation between the two.

Voice Over Coach Marice Tobias In Dallas This Summer

I just got word from my agent Nancy Johnson that the “Voice Over Whisperer” Marice Tobias will have a Dallas stop on her summer schedule.  August 22-23 at Janination.  Contact Stacey Stahl of Creative Entertainment Management for more information and other cities Marice will be holding workshops in 2009.

As I’ve said elsewhere on this blog, if you have a chance to work with Marice, jump on it. With both feet.  You’ll never look at a script quite the same way again. She has been instrumental in moving my career forward. In spite of myself.

Improv Training and The Voice Actor

Tracy Pattin over at VoiceRegistry continues her interview with improv teacher Bill Applebaum and a panel of students. Here are a few tips as to how improv training can give the voice over actor a competitive edge:

• The client LOVES Voice Actors with Improv Experience because “they can’t be thrown.”

•Improv gives you a plethora of choices. The more choices you bring to the table, the more your odds improve of getting the job.

•Improv helps the voice actor help the client to figure out what they want by offering a new delivery of the copy. Often something the client never thought of!

Be sure to listen to the podcasts.  They are well worth your time.

Thanks, Tracy, good work!

The Voice-Over Whisperer

Tracy Pattin at the Voice Registry has a podcast featuring an interview with voice-over coach extraordinaire Marice Tobias. Marice specializes in taking her students beyond technique and word manipulation.

True Story: About ten years ago I was doing a phone session with Marice and was reading a piece of New Mexico state tourism copy.  She stopped me mid-sentence and asked what had happened to me in New Mexico.

“I love New Mexico,” I said.  I met my wife there, started a radio career, graduated college, have a dear friend there and go back to visit often.

“What else happened?” Marice asked.

Oh, that part of it. The part where I was uprooted from California at age 15 and sent to military school in New Mexico.  I didn’t know a soul. The marching and yelling, homesickness, and the physical hazing part of New Mexico. (My Dad had attended there and thought I should too.)

So 20 years later I’m reading New Mexico copy and Marice senses that there is something wrong in my spirit, something getting in the way, that I don’t even recognize is there.  She’s hearing and feeling it in my read. That’s what makes her the “Voice Whisperer” and a very unique coach and person.  If you ever have a chance to study with her, do it.

Tweety Bird to Land in Dallas

Voice over actor and teacher Bob Bergen plans an advanced animation techniques workshop in Dallas February 28-March 1st 2009.  Bob is a gifted voice actor and the current voice of Porky Pig and Tweety Bird for Looney Toons. He also appears regularly in animated films such as Cars, Shrek, Toy Story and Wall-E.  So, yeah, he’s big-time.

The workshop will be at Cake Mix Recording Visit Bob’s website for sign-up information.  That is all.

Physical Movement in Voice Acting-Just do What Works

During my time in the voiceover business I’ve been witness to many different styles of acting before the microphone. I’ve seen actors silently but not so subtley move their entire bodies while doing the read. And I’ve seen the flat dry monotone read done while the actor stands stiff as a statue with hands crammed in pockets.

Looking at session videos on YouTube or Voiceover Universe you also see a variety of hand placements and gestures. Some actors bring energy into the read by waving hands or wagging fingers. Others will clinch a fist against their noggin to help get tension into the material. Ed Grover was famous for clasping his hands on top of his head to help him open up that “sweeping” read he would do for Visa.

If I’m doing a training narration I tend to gesture a lot, talking with my hands in order to help emphasize and draw certain phrases or word groups out of copy that is by it’s nature pretty dry stuff.

While voicing retail copy I try to get a little more energy into the read by rapidly wagging a wrist around behind the mic. I do most of the fast legal reads for Nationwide Insurance radio and for those I stand like a statue with arms up and out and pour  the energy into cramming all those words into the shortest space possible.

On the other hand there are voice actors who prefer not to use overly physical techniques and still bring wonderful life to their scripts through emotional connection to the words.

If you are just starting out, practice and experiment. Get training. Use a coach. Find the techniques that work best for you.