Saturday, January 31, 2009

Voice acting vs. Stage acting ...

As some of you already know, I've been taking acting classes for quite some time now. The course I'm doing right now is running about half a year (once a week, two hours) and will end with us, a group of eight women, performing the play we studied on stage on march 19th. The play will last about three quarters of an hour, and every one of us is performing multiple roles - I'm doing three characters (one big role, with a nice, overdone french accent, two small roles) - and it involves a lot of costumes, wigs.... Fun! :)

I find acting in sight of of others very different to acting in front of a mic - though of course the acting classes have helped me a lot with my voice acting.

For one thing, in voiceacting, like on stage, my whole body is involved. I'm actually changing expressions, ruffle my hair, avert my face when shy.. etc. when doing a voice role - and though I take great care to not change my position in relation to the mic, which would of course impair the quality of the recording, I'm constantly moving. Sometimes I have to do retakes because I forget about the sensitivity of the mic - when angry (for the role), I tend to bang my fist on the table... and almost always, just when I've got the sentence right, a bus goes by outside my window.... some people might have interesting things to say about the outtakes I sometimes send along. :p

Nevertheless, acting on stage is very different. For my current role, my acting teacher is constantly admonishing me: bigger, bigger, bigger!
Body language is so important. I found that I tend to be too subtle sometimes - which does work for the mic, which is very intimate, but not on stage. The audience is too far away, so your gestures have to be grander, and even your voice has to convey more urgency. That's one of the biggest challenges for me - if anything, I tend to underact, and get curiously shy as soon as I have to go all out.

One of my acting teachers once told me

When you come to class, leave all your inhibitions at the door.

She is absolutely right. Forget who you are - or at least, most of who you are - and be the character - don't just change your voice, change your body language, too. If the role demands you to be a serial killer, be cold. If it demands you to be a flirtatious person, go all out. Play. Try to forget about the reactions - it's not you, it's your character! Only then can you be believable, and that's were the demands for voice acting and theatre acting meet. I'm not saying this is easy - on the contrary - and I'm certainly not saying that I always succeed....
but I give it my best, and every little thing I learn, I try to incorporate in my voice acting.

A very nice exercise is about subtext - take a sentence like "The weather is fine today".
Now convey anger with that sentence.
Now flirt with someone.
Now be desperate.
Now say it in a way that takes the whole world in your arms.

Funny, isn't it?
You don't seem to hear the words anymore when doing this - you're conveying emotion, just by inflection, and to make it really work, you need body language, too.
This is one of the reasons why I always stand in front of the mic when I have to be angry for a role, for example.

Now where was I going with this?
Aaaah yes... :)
For anyone who really wants go into voice acting, acting classes are always a good investment. It helps you to loosen up, and teaches you valuable skills and exercises. The same goes for singing lessons!
Singing demands a certain body posture, which will have a very positive effect on your acting, plus a positve influence on the way you breathe, and your self-confidence.

More on that later!

3 Kommentare:

Phil Rice said...

lol at your description of your motion when you voice act. I can't tell you how many takes I've blown because I gesture too forcefully and - just like you - bang something when I'm angry.

Good for you on honing your craft with these classes!

Killian said...

I bust my last mike when I jerked my head back too fast recording a line, dropped it on the floor then stumbled back and trod on it!

Character acting can be a tad harsh on the equipment! ;)

chatNoir said...

"When you come to class, leave all your inhibitions at the door.

She is absolutely right. Forget who you are..."

How strange a thing to do!

Post a Comment