Adventures in Voice Acting: My Biggest Hurdle Thus Far

It's been a crazy few months since I put myself (and, more importantly, my voice) out in the public arena. I hadn't been expecting very much, to be honest. Voice acting is something I've always done and always had an interest in doing publicly and now, with a tech-savvy husband who takes pride in his recording equipment and software, I finally had the means to do just that after years of waiting in the wings...so to speak. 

So now I'm here and I've gotten so many fun roles in this short amount of time. Nothing could've been a bigger boon to my spirit than to see evidence of the fact that I'm entertaining people with my voice. 

However, it's also been in a learning experience, one that I'm sure will remain that way as long as I pursue this interest. Given the progress I've made in these short months I'm already noticing my biggest weakness when it comes to voice acting; emoting. 

One of the first criticisms I ever got on my voice was from a fellow VA friend, Joel. His was the first indication that I wasn't putting enough life into my voices. The tone was there, no problem, but when it comes to something like this just sounding like a character isn't enough- one has to also bring the pizzazz.

When I listen to my 'old' work I hear it, that lack of emotion. No matter how 'big' I thought I was being when I recorded those voices it just didn't match. This comes into really sharp relief for me in the Thomas and Friends Need for Speed  episode wherein I played Molly. Opposite a very animated James, Molly (to me) sounds very wooden and ineffective. For my debut on something as amazing as the Thomas Creator Collective I sometimes regret that my delivery wasn't more colorful to match the environment. It could just be me. I'm very critical of everything I do. 

Regardless, it's something I now put a lot of focus into when I'm recording. If I think I'm being big in my delivery, I know I'm not. I have to reach that level of feeling like I'm taking it too far for the animation to be just right; big, animated, everything said 10 levels higher than anyone would say anything in real life. It feels awkward when I'm doing it but when I listen back, I'm pleased. It fits. 

It can be disheartening sometimes to listen back to my old work and be disappointed with what I was once so proud of...but then again, it means that I'm making progress as a VA. It means I'm getting better and honing my talents, getting a trained ear for what a good character voice should sound like.

It's all part of the journey.