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Voice-Over Voice Actor: What It’s Like Behind the Mic

Voice-Over Voice Actor: What It’s Like Behind the Mic

By: Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt
Publisher: Bug Bot Press 
Publication Date: January 2010 
ISBN: 978-0-9840740-0-6 
Reviewed by: Pamela Victor 
Review Date: February 17, 2010 

Though brisk sales hopefully will profit Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt, I get the impression that they have written Voice-Over Voice Actor because of their love of voice acting, not to mention their all-around niceness and super-heroic good will towards all. The authors don’t hold back secrets of the field, which would be understandable given the competitiveness of the acting world. On the contrary, Lowenthal and Platt write with abundant generosity, welcoming those new to voice-over acting with open arms. If you are contemplating or starting out in voice-over work, Voice-Over Voice Actor is a must-own. I mean it, folks. And I’m not just saying that because I like talking in funny voices.

In fact, I had hardly dipped my toes into the roiling waters of this book before it became crystal clear that Voice-Over Voice Actor is an essential, invaluable treasure that the voice actor will return to again and again. This book provides a plethora of vital guidelines to make any newbie look more like a seasoned professional. A mere sampling of the topics include: understanding your voice’s range, exercising your voice and maintaining vocal and over-all health, indentifying your vocal signature, preparing for the audition, making a demo reel, and what makes Christopher Walken and William Shatner so entertaining to listen to. As the authors suggest, “Hmmm. Christopher Walken as muse…William Shatner as muse. Ponder that for a while.”

In addition to the basic topics, Lowenthal and Platt offer bountiful tips of the trade, such as how an audio engineer wants you to relate to the mic, why it’s a good sign if the producers ignore you, how a teeming walk-in closet can work for you, and why a Granny Smith apple might be your best friend. These are gifts to the voice actors that will dramatically increase chances for success.

Are you familiar with any of these terms: “Popper Stopper” “walla bed,” “loop group,” “flaps,” and the all-important “three beats”? Within a working context as well as in the glossary, the authors provide definitions to the terminology a voice actor needs to know, so when someone says to you, “Give me a slate,” you won’t look at them like a blank slate. And this sentence will make perfect sense: “If you can master the skills required for dubbing, you’ll look really good in a pick-up or ADR session for a pre-lay animation project.”

This treasure trove of knowledge is presented in a casual, chatty and humorous style that puts the reader at ease, open and ready to soak it all up. From the Roy Lichtenstein-inspired book cover to the eye-catching comics and the retro-styled shout outs peppered throughout the book, Voice-Over Voice Actor sparkles with energy, youthful enthusiasm and wit. We feel like we could hang with Yuri and Tara, and maybe even geek out with Yuri over sci-fi comics if that’s your bent. Because, after all, “Yuri’s been a prince of Persia, a man of steel, and a boy who smacks his watch and turns into ten different aliens; while Tara has repelled inter-dimensional invaders with her Lasso of Truth, fought ninjas, and saved the universe by dreaming the future.” Pretty cool work if you can get it, don’t you think?

Quill says: For the fledgling voice-over actor, this book is a must-own. It’s just that simple.

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