Voices come in a number of temperatures. The more you use them, the hotter they get until they blow. You want your voice somewhere in the middle, pre-combustion.
Good habits. A morning ritual.
To move my voice from cyrostatsis to working fitness, I wash both my cats with my own tongue every morning.
Renovating the Mind Palace
Vital to any voice actor is the INNER NINNY. Your Inner Ninny is mindless pattern-recognition software that picks up amusing noise, repetitive cultural references, and jokey linguistics and then repeats them like a toddler with a copy of Frozen, until all maturity and stability flee the burning building of the brain. Restraint, so useful in civil society, has to vacate the premises in order for you to clear your Mind Palace and make it your Bouncy Castle. A well-tempered voice actor’s brain is like shot elastic, and you should throw it out, but it’s sewn into your favourite knickers and knickers are funny.
I’m surprised. I think this I going well.
Should you get a new laptop, Pro Tools, a Pre Sonis Audio Box, Shotgun and Omni-directional mics, baffles, a prefab booth kit, foot eating carpet, speakers that can bounce signals off the nearest gas giant? Sure. Get all the crap you want. Here’s the thing. It’s human nature to say: I can’t do this work until I get this fancy mic, or a hit man to take out all the neighbours, or that sound-cancelling nuclear fall-out shelter.
Ultimately you got one tool. Your voice. Start immediately. I do most of my auditions in Voice Memo on my iPhone. There’s great equipment in there. The government uses it to spy on you, so don’t worry that it’s not professional enough.
I just wanna work
Again. Just start. There’s YouTube, there’s Vimeo, all kinds of places to put up videos of yourself. And again, you will be helping your government to spy on you. What kind of a patriot are you? Don’t be stingy with your facial recognition ops.
Get a teacher
Other than me, obvs. And maybe, other than other voice actors. If your teacher just wants to show off how great they are you won’t learn much other than how great they are. It should be about you. There are some really good teachers out there. You may think, ‘I don’t need a teacher, how hard can it be? I’m an idiot, cartoons are idiotic, we’re made for each other.’ I want you to capitalize on your idiocy, and no, voice-acting isn’t rocket science, but any territory that’s uncharted for you, you’ll do better with protocols. When you meet the troll under the bridge(or that one director from L.A.) are you supposed to solve a riddle, do a 15 minute monologue, leave a sacrificial pancake? You don’t know. That’s were a teacher comes in handy. Even if eventually you toss out everything Teach says, having a game-plan puts that bit of your mind that scatters like the first break in a pool game when faced with the unknown, to rest.
Don’t do it.
Don’t be a voice-actor. Not yet anyway. The thing is, most good voice actors come from other disciplines. They are theatre actors, improv artists, and live-action performers. In other words: actors first. So learning the craft of acting is probably a better place to start than learning how to use a mic.
Using a mic
I’ll just solve for you right now: point your face at it and talk. Done.
Over-achieve to Under-achieve
We toons aren’t all Meryl Streeps and Daniel Day Lewises, but it’s good to learn to go for the quality so you can appreciate how short you can fall of it, and still make a healthy living. I’m kidding, but only a bit. The fact is, everything you learn is going to feed your well as an actorette. Take singing, acting, improv, join a choir, check out linguistics, learn to ride a horse. Learn, learn, learn. All the good stuff. Study brilliant actors. And then don’t do any of that. As a voice actor, you’ll be in much shallower waters. You don’t have to embody everything. Your body will be drawn by a third party. You’ll use about .2 of your human potential. The LOUD part. And that’s while you are giving 100% at the mic. Or 75%. Or 25% if you’re on a super shouty show. Then all you really need is MORE LOUD, (and they can do that in post, so really, what are you even doing there?)
All this talk of percentages brings up another point. Math. You don’t need it. And that is mainly why I’m here.
Okay. Well. I think we’ve all learned something here.