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Investing Yourself

I don't know what came over me the other day. Sometimes things come over me subtly and sometimes they just hit me like a brick. Sometimes the light goes off and sometimes the LEDs go out. In this case, I seemed to have had the perverbial "AH HAH" moment. Again, doesn't happen often, but when it does...

Every month we have these online socials via zoom. These are hosted by a group that I am associated with. My particular group centers on voice acting and voiceover (I say voice acting more as a specific identifier). While in a "room" with about four others, I was honored buy one of our attendees there, Emily Jardine, a magnificent Voice Acting coach. She complemented me on my performance in a demo that I was the voice of. I say that out of modesty because I feel it was a team effort. Of course, I thanked her immensely. But for some reason (perhaps the beer) I blurted out I was "invested" in the parts. The others seemed intrigued!

Invested? WHA? What do you mean Invested?

Bear in mind, short of a few bits of acting in college that were just for fun, I am no trained actor. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I just do what I feel is natural. I'm kind of a ham (one who seeks to be in some sort of spotlight, but in my case I don't hog it). I don't mind letting go and involving myself in some role. Call me crazy. Call me a show off. Call me a cab and send me home. Whatever. I will say that I do feel I do have the best times with roles that I can connect with.

So about now, you're probably saying to yourself "Uhhhhh. Yeah. And...? You're just now figuring that out now?" Yeah, I guess I am a bit late to that dance, but something just clicked. I realized that I was invested in those personnas, those roles on that demo. Invested. What a novel term. 

One of the hardest aspects of voice acting is the acting. So many new VAs/VOs don't initially make the connection between reading and being. Reading what is on the page (which does have merit) and actually investing yourself into what is on the page. Owning the words is another way to say being invested. Without being invested, you as a VA have no reason to deliver what is in the script. You have no buy-in to what is being said. You're just a parrot. 

When Emily told me how she admired what I had been able to deliver, it occured to me that at the time I was invested in those personnas. I actually assumed them. I "lived" them -- I became invested in them. They were me. Not the words on the page, they were me speaking and giving emotion and delivering with intent. 

And with that statement; that word "Invested", it finally made sense. That lightbulb (filament or LED or whatever) went off and got brighter. 

So. Lets bring this full circle. I am not an expert VA. However if there is some nugget least a copper nugget I can bestow on new VAs is to get invested in the script. Find something in that script that you can be. Not just read. Not just act on, but actually be. Once you can be that personna that the script is asking for, they you should be able to knock it out of the park. 

If you ever were wanting to hear exactly what I mean, let me direct you to Sir Anthony Hopkins here.

Now. Go out there and make something great.

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