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  1. This is a little of a trick question. Not much would be the flippant and rather quick answer. However, in truth moving as a voice actor is as important if not more so than an actor specialising in film, TV or theatre. 

     

    Performance art of a sort, voice acting at times can be seen as a solitary still pursuit. In fact some roles may call for an inward and outer stillness. It may be the character you portray and the story you are telling may ask for you to be introspective and make yourself small and quiet. This would be especially true in an audio drama or a video game where in these genres there is time and space for the character to develop and breath like a fine wine. 

     

    And yet, there is movement. The human body is made for movement. We know this simply from sitting or standing too long in one position and how our muscles ache from the exertion of holding that pose. Tension is constantly necessary or we would sag like those string puppet dolls. Holding onto too much tension can cause holds and stops in our body and which in turn can have an impact on our own vocal capacity. Everything in our body is connected so if you have a tight hip flexor it may impede your vocal tract to be as open and loose as it could be. 

    Moving is a voice over art 

    But why is it so important to move? Simply put because we are human and the human condition is to move and this includes when in a vocal booth. Preventing stickiness in our joints and muscles is crucial to ensure good bodily health which includes your vocal and oral health. Not only it is key to keep your mouth exercises going to ensure your muscles are in tip top condition to perform but also your body and especially the upper thoracic region so that your shoulders and back and neck muscles remain loose and free and easy to use. 

     

    In the voiceover booth, I tend to move my head, neck and arms in movements that match the tempo of the copy. At times it may mean I am weighing myself down to ground myself for a voice or character. Then at other times I may flow with the melody of the text to create a naturalness and upbeat intention for the piece. It is important to note that all movement should be maintained silently so as not to be picked up by the mic. Foot tapping can be very tempting especially if you get a music bed to voice along to but exchange the tap with a flap of the hand or a shoulder shrug. 

     

    Some copy even speaks to having that shrug inbuilt into it and it couldn’t possibly be read without including the shrug. When text ends in questions or a throwaway comment often the shrug is implied and if it is then add it in. So yes, it may look like I am flicking at a fly in my booth but in fact I am moving in time with the content.

  2. I am a self confessed marketing nerd. I have been slightly OCD obsessed since a child, picking apart what makes people pick up a trend or product and buy it. After all, why did I really want Ariel the toy from McDonalds when the film came out back in 1989? So obsessed was I that I wrote commercials and worked for several huge companies marketing their products. The trick is always finding a way to connect you with your audience in a unique way.  

    So how can a voiceover artist market themselves as an independent creative? Especially during these isolating times. A few things need to be considered first: 

    1. What sort of voice are you? Know your range, your abilities, your strengths and weaknesses.
    2. What voice genre do you work in? Are you a VO specialist working in audiobooks or are you a generalist that works across the different disciplines in VO?
    3. Who are you? Do you have other hobbies or disciplines that make you different from others?

    Take time and be truthful as you consider this list, working through each point. It becomes relevant as you build your marketing profile. After working through your list, what have you got? What is your USP? Your unique selling point? Are you a big voice and know something or two about cars/cooking etc? Or can you sing professionally and like longs walks with dogs? Perhaps you are an impressionist that enjoys running? 

    Lorraine Ansell FVO at workWhoever you are it is crucial to knowing before you market yourself. By definition we are all different so you will by your own life experiences, personality and ambitions attract and be attracted by different groups and so different clients. Understanding this is crucial to knowing how to market yourself and cast yourself. 

     

    Ways to market yourself include getting on social media - there are many channels from Instagram to twitter and you have to decide which you prefer and what you will use it for and how. They ae all different with different rules and flow in a variety of ways. If you already are on these channels, have a look at your content and what you want to be saying. Do you want to be an expert? Show your personality? Some of both? How much time will you dedicate to these channels? Can you find the clients that you are looking for there? Or do you just want to play around on them? Be honest with your answers, avoid copying others strategies because they may not necessarily work for you. 

     

    Perhaps you want to do a mail shot to clients. But what to send? Have a look at marketing material online and see what might appeal to you. What reflects your brand and personality?

     

    Or maybe you can do this online with newsletters and reaching out to clients. Note that during this lock down the simply truth is that there will be limited work in the pipeline overall and it is tempting to spam agents, clients, friends, colleagues to ask for work. However while it is good to keep in touch, do so on connected level and appreciate that many are also in the same boat as you and trying to figure out what to do.  

    If you like to create videos, make some that are true to you and what you do. There have been some great examples of sports commentators narrating competitions between their pets while other actors have been working from home on improv or others that have decided to concentrate on themselves and self care. All are valid and how ever you choose to work is what feels right to you. It creates an authentic structure to your strategy. So take a moment and think about marketing the real you.

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