New Year Resolutions
In 2018 I will . . .
I hate New Year's Resolutions. They always feel like a millstone round my neck. It's almost as if the fear of not succeeding, stops me from even starting. No matter whether its a personal NYR or a business related one, I rarely achieve the results I am hoping for - probably because I set the bar too high, or look at the end goal rather than the steps needed to get there.
The only NYR that I have ever succeeded with is stopping smoking. I kicked that habit way back. What was different about that one? How did I make that NYR work, when so many before and since have failed? .
You can find the original article from Audible.com published by Bustle HERE
An actor's technique - tip of the day
'Girls From The Local' by Rosie Archer
A is for ... Acting
Actor's Technique Tip of the Day
A is for ... Accents
WHAT IS AN ACCENT?
The term 'accent' describes the combination of pitch, stresses and rhythm of someone's everyday speech, as well as how they pronounce their vowels and consonants. Everyone has an accent. You speak with an accent even if you speak like all the people around you and even if you speak modern (or traditional) received pronunciation; defined as: “the regionally neutral, prestige accent of British English",
An accent is not, strictly speaking, the same thing as a dialect though they are often confused and it is difficult to imagine a dialect that is not associated with an accent. Strictly speaking the definition of a dialect is:
‘A dialect (or patois) is a particular form of language which is peculiar to a specific region or social group.’"
Everyone has an accent to a lesser or greater degree – no matter in what language they are speaking; French with a Parisian accent is very different from French as spoken in the Marseilles, Catalonian Spanish is different from Andalucian Spanish; The American of the Deep South is very different from the accent of the New York suburbs … and so it is the whole world over.
Even the classic neutral voice as heard in news bulletins and documentary narrations, in theatres and on radio in every country in the world, is in itself a kind of ‘accent’.
We are all judged to some degree by our accent. Some judgements are positive, others less so. Certain accents are seen as more 'authentic' than others - but surely, your voice is your voice. Or are are we all naturally bilingual?
Listen to a child playing with their friends - they will almost certainly speak differently in the playground than they will when speaking with their parents or grandparents. I did when I was a youngster - my Northern flat 'A' 'bath' and 'path' with my friends, 'bahth' and 'pahth' at home. Both are my 'authentic' voice - I am not putting on either - it just depends who I am speaking to - and because of the kind of work I do - the neutral RP voice is the one I use most, though not exclusively..
'A' is for Accuracy
An open letter to VO clients everywhere
Dear, most esteemed and very valued client,
I truly am delighted to work with you, collaborate with you, create wonderful voices for you, but please remember that my life does not revolve around you. Sometimes my diary is very full, and fitting everything into my working day requires a degree of juggling. (Or perhaps that should be a degree IN juggling)!
You see, I have other clients, other jobs awaiting my dulcet tones; I have a home; I have a family, I have a dog that needs walking. I need to shop occasionally, I need to feed my poor long-suffering husband from time to time - and even I need to eat! Yes ... amazing though it may seem, I have a life!
You see, despite the fact that I am a full time voice actor and am really very happy, thrilled, proud and pleased to work with you, I do not actually spend my entire life in a small padded room, sitting at my microphone talking to myself twenty four hours a day seven days a week. So, when you promise to deliver a script at a certain time, I work on the assumption that you will deliver said script when you have said you will ... and that when said script arrives, unless you tell me otherwise, I assume it will be 'THE SCRIPT' in its entirety, complete, whole, perfect, checked and double checked and approved by all concerned at your end. I would never expect to receive an incomplete script (any more than you would expect an incomplete recording with bits missing here and there unless it is an audition or a sample read). Once we have agreed that I am doing the job - then I will only ever upload the full and finished recording. Once we are actually working on the project, if for any strange reason you felt the need to send me an incomplete script, I would hope you'd include a note saying that 'this is a draft' - 'for your information only' - 'please do not record' ... something along those lines would be really very helpful.
Adding to my slight irritation is the fact that despite having agreed the schedule and having told me the script would be ready for me to record on Friday morning, it didn't actually arrive until after lunch.
So dear client - having turned my perfectly ordinary Friday into something approaching a nightmare ... please forgive me but I am likely to be every so slightly abrupt if you contact me tomorrow (which in case you haven't noticed is a Saturday ... part of what we call 'The Weekend') to ask me where my recording is.
Got that dear client?
Kind regards ... and have a great weekend.
Am I being too harsh? Perhaps .... but it's been a tough day. And in case you're wondering, I didn't send it!
November saw two of my recent recordings published.
In other news
May I also take this opportunity to thank the authors, publishers, producers, production houses and colleagues that I have worked with over 2017. It has been my most productive year yet and I am looking forward to reading more great books in 2018.
Thanks also to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog posts ... I will be sharing many more audio insights soon.
In the meantime - I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Peaceful and Productive New Year.
My 'Audiobook Weekend' Takeaway 2
Words of wisdom from Sean Pratt visiting the UK to coach on recording non-fiction audiobooks at the VON Audiobook Weekend 2017
'The danger when recording a non-fiction audiobook, is to equate non-fiction to non-acting. All you'll get then is a deathly dull read.
You can find out more about Sean's non fiction coaching course by clicking on THIS LINK
My 'Audiobook Weekend' Take-away - 1
Quote from the inestimable Johnny Heller, actor, narrator and coach with whom I had a masterclass at the #VONAudiobook17 Weekend:
'Audiobook narration is about Acting .... it's all about acting!'
Johnny is a inspirational coach. He's also a blogger. If you're looking for a voiceover coach (or acting coach, or audiobook coach ... or indeed any other kind of coach ... you need to read this for Johnny's invaluable advice on Choosing a Coach. Just click on THIS LINK
An Actor's Voice
I am so grateful for the in-depth voice training that I received when I was at Drama School from some of the best voice teachers in the UK. The lessons I learned then have stood me in good stead over a career spanning almost fifty years. Through two years' of daily voice classes together with singing classes, I learned to use my voice effectively and safely and thanks to preparing carefully every day, doing a vocal warm up before recording, and generally taking care of my voice, my pipes are still in good working order and are earning their keep!
In addition to that formal voice training all those years ago, I have learned so much from voice coaches, directors, fellow actors and narrators over the years and I'd like to share some of that knowledge. Hence this blog which I hope will be useful to fellow actors (both voice actors and stage actors), public speakers, and indeed, anyone who speaks in public or into a microphone.
So ... I'll be covering all the basics of vocal training and using the voice in performance - starting with the letter 'A'. So I'll be looking at Accents (how and when to use them, how much is too much?); Accuracy (why accuracy is important both in writing and reading); Acting - in particular how to use your voice effectively - and why muttering is not acceptable); Also ... Adaptability; Ambition; Articulation; Audio; Audibooks. and what appears to be the latest buzz-word Authenticity.
I hope you'll join me over the coming weeks.
Photo Credit: Paul Haynes
I've gleaned quite a lot of knowledge over the years, knowledge that might be of interest to others, especially authors, actors and voice actors. Because I read so much, for pleasure and professionally, I also occasionally write reviews of what I read - so they're here too.
My opinions are mine and my views are my own!