Monday, January 12, 2009

What 12 Year Old Jake Taught Me About VO

I spent this past weekend voicing and producing an audio project for one of my regular clients. It's a project I've been producing every month for about a year now. I had reached a point in the story where a group of children say the words, "we do" and "we do, too". I couldn't find this in my sound FX library, and had made a decision to voice the children myself and overlap the audio to sound like a group.

I was needing a break, and decided to take a walk outside and see what the neighborhood was up to. I saw our new neighbors and their 12 year old son Jake outside playing football.

Now Jake is a supremely cool 12 year old. He's smart, funny, and honestly a very good kid. The thought hit me that maybe Jake would like to help me out with my little project.

Jake was MORE than happy to lend a hand, and we all headed down the street to my studio. Even though Jake had seen my studio before, it was a blast to see his face as he looked around. Jake was now looking at things as a soon-to-be voice actor himself! I spent some time showing him how I record, how the audio goes into the computer, and how I use editing, music, and sound FX to make the final piece.

Jake's parents were chatting with my husband in the living room while I gave Jake the little tour. He finally turned to be beaming and asked, "Can my parents come in and see this?" Of course. So- with our audience now in place- Jake and I made our way into the 'booth' to record.

By this point, I was about as excited as Jake- as his smile was more than a little contagious! I showed him the script and explained what I was looking for- then I let him do a few practice runs. I'm quite sure Jake had never heard himself speaking into a microphone before, so he got a big kick out of wearing my headphones during his session.

Since the two lines I needed had to sound like a group- I read them along with Jake. Looking up at me, Jake mentioned that I had a habit of moving my arms around quite a bit when I spoke. When I said, "We do, too" I actually pointed to myself. I didn't even realize I was doing it! So, Jake gave it a try and decided that moving around really did help.

When we were done, I played back the audio for everyone to hear, and e-mailed the family a produced copy of Jake's work. On his way out, Jake mentioned that he had seen video of actors doing voices for feature animations- but he never knew it was possible to do this job from an actor's house!

So, what did 12 year old Jake teach me? That every aspect of being a voice actor is cool. Sure, I've always talked about how much I love my job, but sometimes seeing things through someone else's eyes can help remind us how awesome technology is, how fantastic working from home is, and how neat it is to have our voices heard world wide.

Thanks Jake. I hope we can do it again sometime!