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  1. November is more than just magical fireworks and gunpowder. It is all about plotting. With Christmas right around the corner, the New Year beckons and it is time for some magical planning for the voice over year ahead. This year I have been given an extra boost to my plan for 2018 by the wonderful team behind That’s Voiceover, Joan and Rudy Gaskins. They worked some incredible magic for a New York Style high octane spectacular for voiceovers. Thank you for making my female voiceover dreams come true! 

    Nancy Cartwright and Lorraine Ansell female voice talent together in NYC 2017

    Their show was incredible with a line up of audio drama played out with live sound effects to having animation heroine, Nancy Cartwright being honoured - yes, the voice of Bart Simpson! There are many great voicing moments throughout the weekend. A star studded gala event with the good and great gods and goddesses of global voiceovers. These talented voices gathering to celebrate the beauty of the voice. I was lucky to be a finalist and honoured to be one of the amazing nominees at this event. Having your name up huge with other amazing talent is a huge motivator.

    Outstanding e-learning best female voiceover

    What was clear is that planning and having a strong vision was key to the success of these talented people. Bob Bergen told a story, his plan to meet his hero Mel Blanc. A plan that involved phone books, a tall tale or two and dedication and ambition that led him to see his hero. That is just one of many examples of how to reach your dreams, you have to commit and act to make them happen. The main theme of the weekend was a comment stating that this is all there is. This is all there is. Yes, when you love voiceovers, when you have such a passion for this amazing industry, then yes, this is all there is. A lot of luck, a lot of talent and most of all, a lot of planned action. 

    Which brings me back to planning. Planning for the year ahead is important. To reach your dreams and live in them, set goals and work out how to reach them.  How best to do that? This is where the coloured pens and sheets of paper come in. I love to get creative, get messy and get thinking. I fill my sheets with ideas, information, wants, needs and anything else that pops into my head. Then I break those all down and work out what I need to do monthly to do that. The key for me is to explore ever more creative avenues. I have a good think about what big dream voiceover work I want to get involved with and start mapping it all out. 

    Here is my top 5 list of how to plan and get ahead:

    1. Make time: carve out a whole day if needs be, find some mental and environmental solitude, commit fully and explore. Turn off the phone, social media, emails and sit down to actually think, free of noise and drama. 
    2. Get ready: What medium do you prefer to brainstorm ideas with? I love my pot of coloured pens and pencils, sheets of paper and some dance music to set the mood. I have plenty of water with me, good food and the intention that something magical will appear.
    3. Get steady: breathe and take a moment and then….
    4. Go: Write all the ideas down. Avoid censoring yourself, just get it all down on paper and then like a great artist, step back and have a real look at what you have come up with.
    5. ACTION; As Nancy Cartwright said, yes luck but you need to put a whole lot of action in. 

    So now, after bubbling with excitement and a new found motivation for next year, what will be on my voiceover plate for 2018? I have so many voiceover ideas already, what shall it be next year? Commercial spots? Great games? Audacious audio dramas? Big dreams? Yes to all those and more please! 

    Plan, prepare, play.


    Dare to Dream

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. It has been a busy past few months in terms of character creation. I have been lucky enough to participate in not one but two courses on character creation. Having the ability to understand a character, develop it fully and do this in a blink of an eye is an incredible asset for any actor. As a British voice over it is something that I am very proud and honoured to say that I invest in myself so that clients know that I work hard at my art.

    In March I was on the amazing Dian Perry Character animation course. Dian is an incredibly talented and funny artist and watching her work is pure joy. So when a place on her course came up, I jumped at the chance.  There were so many acting gems and my favourite part was having to ADR an animated cartoon series. Best quote of the day was “If all the elements are the body then the rhythm is the soul”


    Then in April, I booked straight onto Stephane Cornicard’s course. He is a well-known voice actor and director and I have been lucky enough to work with him and be directed by him. He has also been in a Bond film which is amazing. I love working with him and watching him in action is magical. So over a course of two days, we played, acted, and developed, over and over again with some lightening quick rounds of accent/language improvisation. You know you have truly let go when you can talk to a fellow actor in their own made up language, be a super hero’s sidekick, a policewoman Vampire and play a Bishop at the trial of Joan d’Arc. Stephane was great at getting up to examine character creation by “defining things by their opposites”.

    Pure Gold

    Apart from loving to learn and exercise my acting muscles, I do these workshops for fun. They are incredibly liberating and when performed right, you just feel the flow and are completely in the moment. Pure Gold. However I do this to be ready, to polish my craft, layer myself and understand how to layer characters and develop. I do them because I am inspired to improve myself because with hard work, practice and dedication comes amazing things.

    Bafta w Cissy and Rachael

    Last week, I saw how hard work, dedication, practice and patience saw an amazingly talented voice over artist win at the Bafta Games Awards. Female voice over artist, Cissy Jones is an acting inspiration, and many many congratulations for a well-deserved Bafta. Such a humble person who gave such a unifying speech to the voice over community, Cissy has not had a conventional route into voicing and yet has shone through with such magnificent talent that she inspires me daily! She also let me hold her Bafta. I was lucky to meet Nolan North and Troy Baker, such amazingly talented people and funny as well – the voice over dream team! Now, time for me to dream big! 

    Dream Team BFTAS

  5. As the Academy Awards nominees take their seats tonight, I recall my own LA “Oscar” like red carpet experience. In November 2016, I was in LA as I had been nominated for a Society of Voice Arts and Science award. What an honour to be recognised by the great and the good in the voice world. It is such a prestigious award ceremony that I was thrilled. I had made the shortlist for outstanding TV promo campaign for my work with Sony TV. Hopping across the pond, I was ready for a great adventure. My destination? The home of The Big Bang Theory: The Warner Bros. Studio. In the high-spec Warner Bros. studio, I watched a live radio drama; saw a panel talk led by ACX with narrators and producers; witnessed a live audition for a contract with an agent; and heard million-dollar voices talk about work. In the afternoon, I had a one-in-a-million chance to meet and greet some casting directors, agents and managers in a speed dating session. It was a huge opportunity to play my reels to people with over 300 years of cumulative experience.

    The LA red carpet

    Drum roll please! The day of the Voice Arts Awards gala ceremony! A knock at the door: a Redken artist appeared ready to make me look fantastic. What a fantastic gift – thank you Redken – Zoraida Saray is amazing! Joan Baker and Rudy Gaskins were our hosts and – wow - they host in high-octane style with a fantastic red carpet. It was a glitzy affair and lights flashed on and off as I walked along it. I smiled widely, stepping along in my pink high heels that were clashing wonderfully. I stood centre stage and grinned as the light bulbs went off left, right and centre. What a wonderful red carpet moment!

    Redken to the Red Carpet Rescue

    My top tips for the red carpet:

    1.       Lights, Camera, Action - It can be daunting with banks of cameras and lights set up. When you stand on your mark, adopt a comfortable stance and turn slightly with the upper body to the camera (photographer’s top tip) and smile. Smile, smile smile.

     2.       Stars are wonderful up close - At red carpets events, with everyone all dressed up, it is like a show but this time when you are there taking part, you realise that even the Stars and Celebrities are like you and me. Or rather, wonderfully normal people like you and me.

     3.       Keep hydrated - From prep to red carpet it takes hours, so in warm weather keep hydrated by drinking water in sips, little and often.

     4.       Be more cat - Red carpet events can be overwhelming with something exciting to look for at each turn. Be cool and, just like being a cat, own each step you take on the red carpet.

     5.       Enjoy - Looking great on the red carpet is hard work but it is a lot of fun and an utterly fabulous place to shine, but it can be over in quick as a flash! Work that smile, take that step and ENJOY IT!

     And the award goes to….

    What a spectacle! The awards categories were announced in style. Everyone was cheering on their favourite nominee. My highlights included an academy award winner on stage, famous voices being honoured and Erin Brockovich making an impassioned speech. I held hands with other nominees that night and, although I didn’t win, I still felt like a winner. The best part was seeing and feeling the passion, respect and love for the art of voice over. Thank you. For all the Oscar nominees tonight, good luck y buena suerte! 

    Voice Arts Awards 2016

  6. After the fun festivities and gatherings in December, January can often look boring and grey in comparison. Not so. January is ….CREATIVITY MONTH. This is a great reason to carry on celebrating.  


    Being creative can take many forms and I love how you can feel fulfilled when you uncap a pen, bring out the paint, tap away on the keyboard or simply head out to take some photos.  Even rustling up batches of some homemade cooking or baking can encourage the creative juices to flow. I even have a friend whose doodles during meetings are things of creative genius.  

    Creativity is magical. I love how taking a moment to imagine something can take you to new ideas and directions.  As I was typing this, the radio was on.  I sat through Pop Master in the morning and then came by my favourite feature, on the Jeremy Vine Show: What Makes Us Human. This time it was Brian Eno who talked about imagination and creation. Have a listen.


    Many people tell me that they are not creative.  I beg to differ.  Everyone has creativity bubbling away inside of them; the form of expressing it just varies.  I love to express my creativity through voicing, writing and even social media.  I carve time and space for creativity so that I can come up with something personally and professionally satisfying.

    This quote from Leo Burnett sums up that magical secret ingredient to creativity:  


    Being creative through curiosity brings us back to being a child.  Remember those days when you had no concept of time as you played and played, making up stories, giving them life through the magic of your imagination?  That joyous state should be celebrated.  

    But just how to unleash your creativity?  Some of my favourite creative outlets include: bringing characters to life, dancing, taking photos, hiking and storytelling.  The list is endless and I keep adding to it every month. What brings out the creativity in you?  What do you enjoy as a creative outlet? 

    To tap into your creative side, take a moment and reflect what “being creative” means to you?  Is it writing, painting, planning or something else?  Even organising your books into colour-coordinating sections is being creative.  Make the time to be creative and when you get the urge, use that energy to concentrate on your creative project.  It will be rewarding.

    Make January a creative month and celebrate what your imagination and curiosity brings to you.