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!


Rodney Stoner said...

Hey Kara,
I HAD to laugh and tell you how I relate to this.....
Having been the host of a children's tv series for 9 years, I can truly understand working with children and just how interesting and rewarding it can be. To have a preteen point something out about my "performance" on camera has been eye-opening on numerous occasions. I've had them tell me: "You make funny faces alot", "You're loud", "I'm tired..being on tv is not as fun as I thought"...OR they say things you NEVER FORGET in letters they "I love to watch you on tv jumping out of airplanes because it makes me feel like I can fly....and I spend each day in a wheelchair". Kids can bring a whole new view to our jobs....
Hope you are well..
Rodney Stoner
Charlotte NC

Kara Edwards said...


Thank you for your comments! I hear ya about being on TV. My husband gets the funniest comments sometimes! But- it sounds like you really made a difference to a lot of kids :)

My 'humble pie' moment came as Jake was leaving. He noticed I had a DragonBall Z game for Wii (I did some voices on it). I asked if he wanted to borrow the game. He snickered a little as he said, "Nah."


Jorge Velasco - Hispanic VO Talent said...

I've been reading your blog for a few months but I think this is my first time leaving a comment.

What a nice story, Kara!

I love working from home. I love the fact that my client list is not limited to the country where I live (Colombia). And of course, I love technology for letting me build business relationships ALL OVER THE WORLD.

It seems that sometimes we forget how COOL our job is... so thanks to your little neighbor for the reminder!

And talking about love... I love your work, by the way! ;)

Hasta pronto!

Hispanic VO Talent
Bogota, Colombia

Kara Edwards said...


It is truly a pleasure to meet you! It is amazing that we can work together all over the world. I was linked up with Philip Banks in Scotland via ISDN just a couple of weeks ago- and it sounded as though he were right there in the studio with me- incredible!

Yes- we do have a great job- but the best part is meeting our 'co-workers' through the power of technology.

Thank you for your comment!

Dave DeAndrea said...


Thanks for sharing that. My kids have grown up around it and so they're no so wide-eyed with wonder.

But I do often catch myself thinking, "This really is a cool job!" I love it!

BTW... when you geta sec could you email me and explain how the audio goes into the computer.. :)

Kara Edwards said...


HAH! OK- so ' how audio goes into the computer' may have been the worst possible way to have written that! FUNNY! But in 'kid speak' it made sense :)

I can imagine your kids are very used to the entire process, and having a dad with a million voices- hah!

Thank you for stopping by!!