Hearing Recordings of Your Own Voice
I've left a little something special at the top of this entry. It's an audio recording, and should play in your browser if you click the link. I'll explain what it is soon.
But first, a word of advice: get a job in the industry.
I don't care what it is, if you're paid to be surrounded by professionals in the industry you're trying to make it in as talent, you're going to be paid to learn things. Yes, also to work. Fine. But, think about it for a second. Paid to be surrounded by the people who will get you the work you're really going for. Most of whom will be happy to answer questions on a coffee break that you'd otherwise have to pay hundreds of dollars for in a seminar.
I haven't yet done this for theater, but I'm now getting into voiceover. So I've started a job at Edge Studio, a voiceover studio in New York City. I'd been doing some work for them in exchange for training, and was recently hired as an actual wage-earning employee. Part-time, to let me keep tutoring and to give me flexibility with auditions and shows. It's a fun gig, and I'm learning things every day I'm in there. One of the things that seems a little silly until you try it is practicing voice over.
This is something I reccomend to any actor. Sit down with a microphone, and record yourself talking. Do a monologue. Or half a scene. Listen to it. Record it again. Listen to it again.
It's a really strange experience.
If you want to get serious about it, download Audacity (free), and get a USB mic. I picked up a CAD u37 for about fifty bucks. It's not going to record a professional movie dubbing, but it's better than anything built into your computer or those cheap five dollar things at drug stores or radio shack. If you're interested in voiceover in particular, my employer happens to have a few thousand practice scripts available for free on their site, and if you spent a little time with google, I'm sure you'll find more.
Plug in your mic, turn on audacity, and read. Then listen. Does it sound like how you thought it would sound like? Probably not. Try it again.
Professional voiceover coaches will ask their students to practice at least ten hours before coming in for another coaching session. So I've been experimenting with things. Like the one above. It's an audio recording using the setup I've described (note to audiophiles: sorry it's a little echoey-- I'm still working out where in my apartment outside of my closet I can record without echoes) of one of my favorite scenes in contemporary drama: The game of questions in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.
It was good practice for me, and I liked making it enough that I thought maybe I'd share it. Once again, if you click the link at the top of this post, it should play in your browser. Enjoy!
image courtesy of Edge Studio, New York.