twitter Instagram LinkedIn Email
+44 (0)7976 893 455

 RSS Feed

  1. Speaking and telling stories in voice over form is great and I love it. I love everything about this artistic voiceover industry; from the creativeness seeds planted at the beginning to the unleasing of the spoken word. The joy I experience when I encounter a vast white plain with black ants hurriedly arranged about the landscape that I have to vocalise is truly wonderful. However to conjure up that magic, there is one crucial ingredient that makes the difference between a good read and THE read. A sprinkling of this or a huge dollop can bring words and characters to life in ways that give them their own life and identity. I was lucky to be reminded of this at a voiceover conference in September. I was given the amazing opportunity to read in front of not one but two Disney Casting Directors! 

    Disney voiceover Lorraine Ansell animation

    What an opportunity! I was in the “Finding Nemo" Group and never have I felt such honour and thrill yet absolute fear. Not only to read in front of these Casting Directors who have seen it all and heard it all but to read animation sides in front of colleagues and friends with decades of experience. However and yes as this is Disney, magic happened. Cue the Fantasia theme because did we all go on one amazing Magical Castle of a journey. On day one with our group we were a little shell shocked (getting up early on a weekend and heading into London will do that to you). We read animation sides cold in front of Sarah Sherman who then commented with feedback and direction and we read again. I went first! I read for a character that I should have felt at ease with as I do this type of character a lot. A pre-teen who love magic and can fly! Whether it was the nerves, the room, the ambience but I felt my read was ok. Just ok. Despite me understanding all the guidance and feedback I hadn’t felt this character. I hadn't explored her needs. Fair enough it was a cold read for us all but I know what Sarah meant when she told me to go big. Something to work on. Fast forward that evening and with copious silliness during karaoke (I am always ready and always rumbling) our group gelled like only schools of fish can. 

    Day Two arrived and after an emotional and humanity inspiring talk by Damian Mark Smyth I felt a shift and we had this. As he says, ‘You are one thought away from a new experience." We knew what it was about. We all read animation sides for Arron Drown and maybe it was the space, the change of character or this magic ingredient but the whole room aced it. Disney Style. I read an animation side for a 6 year old fish stuck in her very own fish bowl. With seven different emotional states I took this fish for the ride of her life - which being in a fish bowl is quite something. When you make a whole room laugh not once but twice with your reads, you know you got this. Why? Because I let loose that magic ingredient. Simply, it was vulnerability. This state of being exposed of being judged emotionally is the magic dust for making the good great. Once you allow yourself that luxury and awareness, then, that is then the real magic happens. 

    To be vulnerable is to see yourself, know yourself and shower yourself with love and respect. Opening that door on vulnerability is the trick to unlocking that magical potential inside.  

    Top tips to encourage vulnerability;

    1. Be courageous - there is no right and wrong, just commit to that moment and be.
    2. KISS - Keep it short and simple. perfect moments that flow are made of instant actions and being that have no long drawn out thought processes behind it.
    3. Imagination - Open up to the vulnerability of the moment to let in imagination and exude real magic
    4. Breathe - Always breathe - it is a grand thing
    5. Simply Be - take all of the above and search for that magic and let it be. 

    Disney’s Frozen was right, letting go is the ultimate feeling of freedom. That moment when you feel and are a 6 year old fish in a fish bowl saving the world….the feeling of complete vulnerability, is the moment you fly. Thank you to "Finding Nemo" and everyone else that weekend who opened up and showed their own vulnerabilities. We became richer voices because of it. 

    You are one thought away

  2. Breathing is simple, you breathe in and out thousands of times a day and night. But are you breathing properly? To breathe properly is to actively acknowledge that breath in and out and knowing how to use your breath in a myriad of situations. It is important in daily life and as a voiceover artist it becomes a crucial part of your tool kit.

    Breathing is more than the two step process of oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. This magical inhalation and exhalation process powers us. It has been shown to reduce stress hormones and dials down cortisol. For everyday life breathing mindfully can help us and for acting an awareness of breathing patterns can open doors to different characters and their state of mind.

    Breathing process

    Have you every practised breathing mindfully? When we go through everyday life we get caught up in the minutiae and tend to shallow breathe. Then when we look at our phones, type, or concentrate we tend to micro breathe, holding our breath more so than if we are simply walking to put the kettle on. By breathing improperly we risk being lesser versions of ourselves, in effect not getting enough oxygen into our bodies. Tensing up in a similar way during a voiceover session can also lead to tensing of the voice and the performance falters.

    How do we breathe? While we start breathing from the moment we are born, like many things we can practice to make it perfect. Being completely concious of the process and what you are trying to achieve enables you to breathe much more deeply. For performance whether for voiceover or presenting to people the extra breath may allow you to bring much more to the table. 

    To achieve best practice in breathing, try the following steps:

    1. Physical release work – this will help you release tension enabling you to more deeply breathe. Find a quiet moment, free of distractions and shake out the tension from your body. Check your postural alignment and centre yourself by standing with your feet hip width apart, straight unlocked legs and pull yourself up with an invisible elastic.
    2. Corseting – This is one of my favourite breathing exercises, not just for voiceover work but for everyday lift. Thanks to the wonderful voice coach Yvonne Morley who teaches this exercise, it really delivers. This negative state exercise makes your tummy soften, releasing the tension and drawing more of the breath in lower down. Have a go yourself. Place your hands on your lower abdomen, imagine wearing a corset, tightening those tummy muscles then release or Corset off. Practice putting the Corset on and then Corset off daily. When in a stressful situation you can quickly Corset off to encourage the breath.
    3.  Pause – when we deliver information, whether in a presentation or a character we need to develop story telling skills. Your audience needs to receive information in chunks and then they will need a chance to take on board the information. Pausing allows for that and more importantly, allows for you to take a moment to check in with yourself and breathe deeply again.
    4. Inspire – we inspire every day! The process of breathing in and being mentally stimulated have the same name! Flashes of inspiration can hit us to create all sorts of ideas. How interesting that the process of taking in much needed oxygen shares the name.

    These steps will enable you to become mindful, think more clearly and reflect on you and your needs. Inspire, breathe, be. 

    Inspire Breathe Be Lorraine Ansell voiceovers

     

    Top tip