[*This took place this past weekend at New York Comic Con 2018!]
At NYCC 2018 actor Phil LaMarr delivered a master class on the art of voice acting. He covered a lot of territory and shared some funny personal anecdotes. Here are some main tips from the master.
Acting Comes First:
The term “voice acting” is a misnomer. The real skill isn’t what your voice sounds like, but in your ability to act and convey character. To that end take acting classes, improv, and do school plays. Acting is acting, and once you have a basis for what it takes to create a character, then you focus that skill on your voice.
Read Past The Script:
Often times voice actors are handed a script that has innocuous character descriptions. “He’s warm and trustworthy.” How do you make your voice sound that way? Think about the way people you trust talk and emulate that.
Play to your strengths. If the script asks for a French accent but you better at German, give the German accent a shot. Deliver the best performance you can, even if it’s not what they’re looking for. You may not always get the job but you will get the right job.
Know Your Voice:
“You don’t have to like your voice, you just have to know it… like a family member.” The more you know your voice you’ll know what you can and cannot audition for. Knowing what puts stress on your voice will save your from harming yourself. LaMarr schedules voice-overs for video games in the afternoon. That way his voice is warmed up from eating and talking. So when it comes time to scream like he’s being cut in half with a chainsaw for four hours, he won’t wreck his throat.
Feedback For NYCC:
LaMarr delivered a solid lecture, but considering that the event was separately ticketed, I’m not sure that it was worth it. Much of what was covered has already been said on podcasts. I’ve attended past voice-over master classes that had smaller groups, improv games, and a table read of a script. I understand that these special seminars are new territory for NYCC. Many elements of the Con have improved over time, so I hope for more audience participation seminars next year.