I’ve got a place in my heart of voice acting. Maybe it’s the countless hours of cartoons I watched as a kid or that my parents were goofballs and always supported the sounds I could make with my mouth.
I didn’t learn until many years later, the names behind some of my favorite voices. People like Billy West, Rob Paulsen, Cam Clarke, and Tress MacNeille. You might know them better as Ren & Stimpy, Yakko Warner, Leonardo, and Babs Bunny. But those are just a drop in the bucket compared to their complete work so far. Looking further into careers of voice actors, I’ve come to find that the greats don’t just stop with main characters, but get used as all sorts of one-time and recurring characters in the series. Tress did well over a hundred characters for Futurama, with Billy being in a very close second. It’s not uncommon to do several character voices in just one recording session.
As for me, I’m just diving in. My first stop was to find an online community where volunteers could show off their skills. Since nobody is commissioned, there’s a lot less stress on voicing a piece. But that doesn’t mean you don’t go all-out, though. Even after only a few days, it’s clear to see there are even some amateurs who have that unique sound that’s going to set them apart. Everybody is appreciative of the constructive criticism, because they all know everybody starts somewhere. It’s incredible to hear the range that some voice actors in this community have. Some do it full-time, while others dabble when they have some free time. One presiding sentiment is that everybody providing their voice absolutely loves doing the work. This is even one of those gigs where you may not even consider it work.
Since I’m not out looking for work or listing myself on a freelance directory, I’m able to take my time and learn at my own pace. It’s fantastic having a supportive group of people offering their input on your work and progress. It yields a great product and provides the motivation to expand your horizons. With every new line I try, I exercise my reading, pronunciation, articulation, and emphasis. It makes brand new work easier to read through on the first try and exudes confidence in the reading of the piece itself.
This is a fun new interest that I’m excited to get deeper into. Check out the Rob Paulsen podcast for some fun and inspiration in the field. Enjoy yourselves and I’ll see you on the other side of the mic!