Voice Acting Boot Camp

Boy did I have FUN today!

I finally got to participate in the Voice Acting Boot Camp I’d found out about at Anime Vegas and signed up for in September. Taught by veteran voice actors and anime stars Lex Lang (Sanosuke Sagara in Rurouni Kenshin, among many others) and Sandy Fox (the voice of many young girl characters including my favorite Marie in Hare + Guu), it was a ton of fun and extremely interesting. It was held at Bang Zoom Studios’ place in Burbank for a full day’s worth of microphone time.

It started off a bit rough—when we were all going around the room introducing ourselves, one guy had a seizure and ended up being carted off in an ambulance—but quickly got rolling as a fairly comprehensive overview into the world of voice acting and voiceover work. We talked about a lot of basics, from vocal warmups and terminology, to studio etiquette and SAG rates. We each got to try our hands at a mock audition, reading three different scripts in the studio. Being my first VA experience, i didn’t know exactly what to expect other than to read something and talk into a microphone. Lex did the auditions and played the part of the director, and I was shocked at myself for how much I was able to change and improve my performance as he directed me. One of my parts was a commercial for an auto insurance company where I had to play two sides of a character: the nerdy, practical side and the suave, Italian-sports-car-driving, ladies’ man. The first reading was OK, I guess, but with his direction it almost didn’t sound like me anymore. Woo hoo! I felt like a real voice actor.

My other parts were some kind of wizard/advisor to the king (which I did with a pretty good English accent, if I do say so myself) and some jaded spaceship pilot from a video game or anime. Later on, we got to do the reading for an original animation (I played a fairly convincing anchorman), did some “Walla” (that’s the sort of background audio for a movie—we did a crowd in the stands of a football game: Go possums—moo). The “final exam” was when we did about a 2 minute scene from the anime Fafner, voicing about 8 different characters. I somehow got picked to be the Commander and had twice as many lines as anyone else. I only wish I could have a copy of the finished product, because it was awesome watching an anime with my own voice talking from the screen. I’ll also tell you something I learned: doing anime voice work is really hard! It was tons of fun, and I’m thinking very seriously about continuing on, getting more experience, and breaking into this world. I also learned some things readily adaptable to the e-learning voiceover work I do at my job (which is why my company is reimbursing my fee for the class—lucky).

Lex and Sandy are WONDERFUL teachers and coaches, and I’m looking forward to them offering an advanced class next year!

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