Tandem Voice School

28/03/10

Tandem held its Voice School over the weekend, introducing interested talent to the voicing market. Having voiced commercials for radio and television for a few years now,

I didn’t think there was really any need for me to attend a voice school. I mean, I’m getting work, so I’m obviously OK at what I do, right? Ahhh, yes, the arrogance of youth..

I had the opportunity to take part in Tandem’s Voice School over the weekend, and when I turned up at 9am on Saturday, all I could think about was it was way too early to be awake, let alone ready to learn. But as soon as Dave Dunlay went through what we would be doing over the course of the weekend, who the tutors were, and the mention of lunch, I started to get a little more excited. Our first tutor was Deb Stanaway, a familiar voice from radio and television commercials, who had us write up a ‘pros and cons’ list of what we thought of our voices. I would go through this list with you, but it’s so long it might bore you to extinction. However, there were a number of things I wanted to work on, and was interested to see how that panned out. Toby Ricketts went through the basics of what to expect in a studio - etiquette and professionalism, which lead into Deb’s tutorial on how to be conscious of your voice and how to take care of it. And then it was time to head into the voice booth – reading children’s stories. I was last to have a go in the booth, and as I sat there while the five guys had their turn ahead of me, I was getting more and more nervous. It’s funny how your brain can do these funny things to you. I mean, I’ve performed in front of thousands of people before, yet, reading a story to just a few had me holding my script with sweaty palms. But as soon as I was in the booth, all anxiety was gone and away I went. The feedback Deb gave us was instant and valuable. We stood in the booth, behind the mic with our headphones on, and as she gave us direction we would take it on board and try again. It’s amazing what can be learnt just by reading a children’s story. Key point: remember your audience; who are you speaking to? Michael Morrissey, one of New Zealand’s top commercial voices, including being the voice of Telecom, hosted the afternoon session – interpreting the creative. It was an invaluable lesson on how to record ads with different scripts, different reads and different interpretations – how to ‘meet the brief’. He was an exceptionally encouraging and honest tutor, which we all appreciated. The following day’s morning session saw us learning how to speak in different accents, with Norman Forsey. Although accents don’t come naturally to most people, Norm made it fun for us, and giving it a go in an environment where everyone else was doing the exact same thing made it OK. In the afternoon, Ron Rodger took us for an acting for radio session. Ron had written an original script for us all to perform in this acting and improvisation session. View the session here: Binary Data The weekend voice school is definitely something I would recommend to other ‘voices’ around New Zealand, or anyone thinking they might like to give voicing a go. It's amazing how much you can learn in just one weekend, and you leave with a sample of your best work on CD for potential employers to listen to. For more information about Tandem's Voice School: http://www.voiceschool.co.nz/