Master coach and talent extraordinaire Pat Fraley took center stage at VOICE2012 first thing Wednesday morning.

Fraley on stage

You know about Pat, right?  University-trained as a voice coach, Pat’s command of the audience in a setting like this is a treat to watch.

In a session called “melt-down, mix-down”, Pat brought teams of volunteer participants up to the stage for short flowing comedic reads to make the point that ensemble scripts rely on careful interpretation of the story-line, other players’ pacing, and your own role in the narrative.  I played a straight-man in the first skit.  George Whittam was right there on the stage to record the takes, patch ’em together, and lay the music under for the final production…no small feat, and usually done within minutes.

Pat kept everyone in stitches, offering coaching insights along the way for the players, resulting in collective performances that shined.

Whittam recording

Next in the morning line-up was a choice between Stephanie Ciccarelli and her colleague Ashley Hall of Voices.com — or Christopher Currier, the chief spokesperson for Neumann/Sennheiser in the U.S.A.

Did you know that Neumann and Sennheiser are owned by the same company?  Although they keep their product lines separate, both are perhaps the best-known names for quality microphones in the world.  Currier’s talk ranged from polarity patterns, to choosing the right mic for your studio, to the best mic for the particular job, and whether USB mics are in the works for this prestigious company (no, they have no plans for USB mics).

Ciccarelli & Hall

The larger crowd, though, was intently listening to Ciccarelli and Hall talk about optimizing one’s VOICES.com profile to get the best return for your membership investment.  (98% of the audience was either already a Voices.com member, or planning to become one).

Among their bullet-points:

  • use lots of adjectives in your profile
  • write your voice description in paragraph form in the highlight section
  • don’t just create a list of keywords and your name
  • always speak in 3rd persons while writing your profile
  • don’t use “I”, “me” or “my”…use your actual name.

Hall and Ciccarelli ended their talk with an encouragement for people to make full use of their new free Voices.com iPhone app (Android coming very soon)

The first round of talks in the afternoon offered presentations by Elley-Ray Henessey, Bettye Zoller, or a Panel lead by Dave DeAndrea.  I was not able to attend Henessey’s talk on voice placement, but the attendees told me she was a hoot.  I did, however sit in on Bettye Zoller’s talk on “Acting is Reacting” — maximizing your best reads on collaborative scripts.

Demo Panel

The panel by DeAndrea offered some straight talk on demos from those who should know:  Erik Sheppard of Voice Talent Productions, LA voice coach and talent Marc Cashman, Stephanie Cicarrelli of Voices.com, and Chuck Durant of the new Video Show VO Buzz.  This panel could’ve talked for much longer…but certainly touched on all the salient points of this important issue for us all…like length, mix, styles, and trends.

Animé ace Crispin Freeman closed out the day’s presentations with wisdom on voicing for a special kind of client: cartoons, anime, and video games.  His knowledge is truly remarkable, and his talk explained some key devices talent can use to create “real” sounding action characters…not as easy as you might think.

When different seminars are juxtaposed against each other like this conference is designed, there’s potential conflict in deciding where to go.  Luckily, VO talent I saw, seemed happy to share notes and verbalize key points to their peers when asked.

In the morning, I’ll be presenting along with Trish Basanyi and Terry Daniel on the use of Social Media in your marketing plans.  We’ve got some fun surprises in store, and I’ll have a web address posted tomorrow where you can download our PowerPoint presentation.

CourVO

 

 

 

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