My Dream Job When I was young, I watched a lot of cartoons; they made me laugh and held my attention longer than any baby doll or toy car could. Part of me still has a strong appreciated for animated shows. Cartoons bring so much joy to children everywhere, and I want to be part of the process. I want to be a voice-over actor. All my life I’ve loved singing and making up different voices to make people laugh, so why not make a career out of it?
The pathway to success in the acting industry is winding and hard; I’ll have to take classes, make demos, go to auditions, book jobs (LOTS of jobs), and try to eventually land where I want to work—PBS Kids Sprout. Getting Started The absolute first thing on the path to voice-over acting is taking classes. Jim Duncan, a meteorologist in Richmond, Virginia said, “[he] just got thrown into being on TV and in the studio. [He] wished that [he] had taken extensive classes prior to booking the job” (Duncan). This personal reflection shows just how vital training is to be comfortable in the industry.
A person living in Texas or Tennessee will not have problems taking classes and receiving training, however he will have trouble booking a job and using those new skills effectively. The most logical places to live if a person wanted a voice-acting job would be New York City or Los Angeles, which comes as no surprise to most of us. One of the most famous and effective voice acting studios in the United States is located right in the heart of it all— Los Angeles (Bevilacqua). Voicecaster Studio W. Burbank Blvd. Burbank, CA 91508
Phone: 818-841-5300 Fax:818-841-2085 Since 1975, Hugh Liggett and Voicecaster have made connections for voice talent with producers and advertising agencies. It has the largest, most extensive database of voice actors, which ahs made the studio and its team a leader in the industry for the past 37 years. The studio offers classes at a range of different levels: beginners, intermediate, advanced, and a special class just for animation. Once a person is in its database, the studio finds auditions to suit that person’s talents.
Some of the clients Voicecaster has served in the past include FOX, Disney Channel, Starbucks, and Bravo (“Voicecaster”). The Audition Process Auditioning is the most stressful part of the entire process. An actor can go to a hundred auditions and only be accepted for one or two jobs. That is just part of the industry, and actors will need to get used to being rejected. However, actors must enjoy the process of auditioning, because they will likely be trying to book gigs more than actually working in the studio (Bevilacqua).
Some things stand out to potential directors as instant “no’s:” •The actor doesn’t understand the character for which they are auditioning •While the actor may have prepared something for the audition, he does not seem to have any versatility •The actor has not prepared a “unique” voice (i. e. if the director requires a witch voice, 9 out of 10 actors sound like the Wicked Witch of the West) • The actor is not able to take direction in the studio (Kenyon) What talent should do instead is make the audition stand out in a number of ways.
The first and easiest way to look good to a director is to be on time (Kenyon). If the employer sees that an actor is punctual, he will be more likely to cast that person because of his responsibility. Another guideline is to make sure unique skills are displayed appropriately (Bevilacqua). Showing a way to approach a line that no one else has done before can make an actor pop instead of blending into the sea of actors who the client has already seen. Another way to stand out in the auditioning process is to be completely involved in the performance.
Even though ultimately only the actor’s voice is what is being broadcasted, showing involvement in the words takes the audition to the next level and shows the director that the actor is really interested in what he is doing and that he is the one to book! (Bevilacqua) The Recording Session There is not just one type of recording session available to directors and actors these days, but there are three popular ways that almost every animated piece uses. Sometimes, actors have a session separately with their character(s).
Then, a producer works with a sound engineer to mix all of the separate clips together. The actor has a difficult time performing this way because he is by himself, not able to play off the other actors’ energies or feel like he is having a conversation with them (Bevilacqua). On some occasions, the animation is completed before the voice-actors even step inside the studio. This is done by taking the voice-over clippings and putting them to the animation. Actors simultaneously watch the cartoon and speak the words their character is meant to say.
This is the most difficult method for an actor because he has to try to match what the animation is doing. Many cartoons that are originally in one language and translated to another language are done this way (Bevilacqua). The third type of recording session is arguably the easiest and best for voice-actors. In this type, all the actors are in the same room. They can see each other and can feed off of each other’s energy. Instead of trying to predict how the co-actors will respond to a certain piece of the script, the actor can see for himself and act accordingly.
The way they interact act looks almost like they were doing a fifties radio play. The other advantage to recording with all of the actors is that parts can be changed to fit the professionals’ talents and skills (Bevilacqua). Working with PBS PBS Kids would be the perfect place for me to work because of its goal of education for children. It’s mother station, PBS, is “America’s largest classroom, the nation’s largest stage for the arts and a trusted window to the world.
In addition, PBS’s educational media helps prepare children for success in school and opens up the world to them in an age-appropriate way” (“PBS”). PBS Kids’ mission statement is as follows: “PBS KIDS is committed to making a positive impact on the lives of children through curriculum-based media, using new and traditional platforms to support children in their acquisition of knowledge and critical thinking skills while empowering their imagination and curiosity of the world” (“PBS”). I would love to work for PBS Kids because I feel that I relate best to children.
I like to be silly and sing catchy songs that young boys and girls can learn from. I strive not to be vulgar or stepping on anyone’s toes, so adult cartoons would not be a good fit for me. Overall, I have my sight set on a particular subset of PBS Kids—Sprout. PBS Kids Sprout Sprout is the first 24-hour preschool channel available on television, video on demand, and online for children ages two to five. It was originally launched as a video on demand only station in April of 2005, but quickly changed to a 24-hour channel in September of that same year.
Some of its partners are the Comcast Corporation, HIT Entertainment, PBS, and Sesame Workshop. A few of its key programs include Sesame Street, Bob the Builder, The Wiggles, and Caillou. Along with those children’s shows, Sprout has created some original programs: The Sunny Side Up Show, The Goodnight Show, and The Sprout Sharing Show. It has many distributors including Comcast, DirecTV, RCN, Time Warner, and Verizon, and it broadcasts to over 50 million households (“Sprout Online”). The Success of PBS and PBS Kids •Over the course of a year, 91% of all U.
S. television households (236 million people) watch PBS. The demographic breakdown of PBS’ audience reflects the overall U. S. population with respect to ethnicity, education and income. •In a regular month, almost 123 million people watch their local PBS stations. •In a year, 79% of all kids age two to eleven (32. 7 million children) watch PBS. •PBS had four of the top 10 programs among mothers of young children in June 2012, including Curious George, Sesame Street, The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That, and Super Why! PBS’ primetime audience is significantly larger than many commercial channels, including Bravo (PBS’ audience is 104% larger), TLC (75%), Discovery Channel (70%), HGTV (58%), HBO (54%), A;E (36%) and History Channel (6%). In addition, PBS’ primetime rating for news and public affairs programming is 60% higher than that of CNN. (“PBS”) Every year, PBS does research to measure its performance and value by the opinions of the American public. Recent national studies confirm that PBS is •#1 in public trust •An “excellent” use of tax dollars •The most fair network The #1 educational TV/media brand, for PBS KIDS (“PBS”) The following graph displays the public’s trust for PBS compared to a number of different government institutions. Not only would I be doing my dream job by working in a studio, putting voices to animated characters, but I would also be changing the lives of children and working for a company that Americans trust more than the legal system. Bibliography “About Sprout. ” Sprout Online. The Children’s Network, 2012. Web. 16 Sep 2012. . Bevilacqua, Joe. “Voice Acting 101. ” Animation World Magazine. 04 1997: n. page. Web. 6 Sep. 2012. . Bissell, Tom. “Voicebox 360. ” New Yorker. 87. 24 (2011): 48-53. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Sept 2012. Cartoon Voice Talent. Interactive Voices Inc. , 26 Aug 2008. Web. 16 Sep 2012. . Duncan, Jim. Telephone Interview. 10 Sept 2012. Kenyon, Heather. “Getting That First Voice-over Role. “Animation World Magazine. 09 1999: n. page. Web. 16 Sep. 2012. “PBS Overview: PBS. ” PBS. Public Broadcasting Service , 07/2012. Web. 16 Sep 2012. . “The Voicecaster. ” The Voicecaster: Casting The Best Hollywood Voice Over Talent since 1975. N. p. , 2012. Web. 16 Sep 2012. .