Patrick Fraley is one of voice overs greatest living legends.
Earlier this year, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 Voiceys, a distinguished honor bestowed upon him with great humility. During the nomination process for the finalists, those nominated were asked to submit information about how they had given back to their community, how they’ve impacted those around them and what they have done to invest in the voice actors of tomorrow.
It gives me great pleasure to honor Pat and share more about his work with you through three people he has inspired, affected and championed over the years, presenting to you a greater picture of the voice actor, the man, and the mentor.
Giving Back to the Youth
How Pat Fraley’s Influence Emboldened Radio Disney
Submitted by Kara Edwards, Voice Actor
I™d like to take a moment and share a story that took place about 10 years ago. I was somewhere between the age of 19 and 21 (hard to remember now!). I was working at a new radio station called Radio Disney as one of the on-air talent. It was a fun job, a great company, and at such a young age – it hadn™t sunk in with me just how good I had it!
One day, our boss tells us that a man named Pat Fraley would be coming by to teach a class on how to do silly voices. I remember thinking it sounded like fun, but not being able to think of one practical application for this type of skill in my own life.
Within the first few minutes of meeting Pat, I was instantly hooked. He has the most magnetic and magnanimous personality! Plus, his obvious passion for voice over was instantly recognizable. He had a room of 15 DJs sitting on the edge of their seats.
A moment from that day I will never forget was when Pat offered a few of his 4,000 voices for display. Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Wild Cat from Tale Spin, Slick from The Littles, the list goes on and on! I was astounded. These were characters I grew up with, shows I watched! In an instant, ˜some guy™ named Pat Fraley became¦ Mr. Holy-moly-that-man-is-talented Fraley! (Of course, it didn™t hurt that Pat does the single best Jack Nicholson impersonation on the PLANET!)
After hearing Pat™s own incredible talents, there was no way I was going to try it! However, Pat instantly put us all at ease. His simple character break downs and instructions had us all discovering elements to our own voices we never knew were there. Pat was encouraging and dynamic.
With just a few classes, Pat brought a group of radio folks out of their shells. Our imaginations had been inspired, and any one of us could be found roaming the halls at any given time doing ˜silly voices™ and making ˜goofy sounds™.
Pat literally changed the course of my life that day.
I knew that I wanted to be a voice actor after I met Pat – I wanted to take the skills he had shown me and do something exciting with them. It was because of Pat Fraley that I had the confidence to go on my first audition – which has led to a very successful run in this business.
Pat is an inspiration to everyone in the voice over industry. At last year™s VOICE conference in Las Vegas, I watched as hundreds of people fell in love with Pat Fraley as I had years before. You can see it on every face – Pat makes it possible to do this. He can explain the skills necessary like no one else¦ and he can do these voices better than any I have ever seen.
The bio on his website says it all¦ Patrick Fraley has created the voices for over 4,000 characters, placing him among the top ten performers of all time to be cast in animated programs. His is the only character voice curriculum ever to be accredited at the university level. He holds an MFA degree in Acting from Cornell University, and is a member of the Voice and Speech Trainers of America.
Wow. Pat is the only instructor I know that can go from teaching a class on audio books to a class on animation to accents to ADR/looping to¦ well, you get the picture. His talent range is incredible, and his classes sell out because he is the best at what he does. Check my iPod at any given time, and you will find all of Pat™s instructional MP3s.
Each one of us was affected in some way on that day 10 years ago. 3 of us went on to a full-time career in voice over. One is the current voice of Barney the Dinosaur. Another is making quite an impact as a voice actor in LA. And then there is me. The little girl that was so excited to meet someone who worked with The Smurfs. I™ve done quite well myself, and I owe it all to Pat.
I looked up the definition of the word ˜achievement™ in the dictionary. It said: Something accomplished successfully, especially by means of exertion, skill, practice, or perseverance. Pat has achieved a whole lot in his life¦but it™s the achievements he inspires in others that truly define him.
Giving Back to Fellow Voice Actors
Pat Fraley = The Wikipedia of Voice Over?
Submitted by DC Goode, Voice Actor
I have studied with Pat over the last several years. I have been in the business for over 25 years and can say that Pat Fraley is a par excellence teacher, coach, director and of course talent¦ His IMDb page tells the story better than I can begin to in the talent department.
Anyone who has worked with Pat (whether it be as a student, director, fellow talent, casting person, etc.) can attest to the delight it is to see a master at work and at the same time he has the ability to make you feel like his equal in every way.
His ability to think and act inside and outside the box, while mastering the innumerable nuances of character creation and performance is a joy to watch and astonishing to be a part of¦ even if only a spectator. At first look, his Mastery of all the skills involved in acting and voice acting will leave most people overwhelmed (and rightfully so).
The man is a library of knowledge, experience, talent and skill. And any one willing to take one of the books off the shelf in the PF Library is in for one delightful journey of learning, discovery and real Fun. Maybe we should rename him The Wikipedia of Voice Over.
On a personal note, Pat is a consummate gentleman and from the moment you meet him, he has the ability to make you feel like you’ve been friends forever. Or to put it another way, Pat Fraley has never met a stranger. When it comes to his sense of comedy and humor buckle up for the best ride you™ve ever had.
Giving Back to the Community
Sharing Expertise and Building a Legacy
Submitted by Claudia Anderson
Associate Professor, Voice & Speech
I met Pat Fraley in the mid-80s, when he submitted a proposal to present a workshop/presentation at the national conference of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), representing the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA). Not only did he present at that conference, but at several other national conferences for ATHE and VASTA. Each time, he was extremely generous with the participants in his sessions, and all of his work was detailed and accessible to the teachers with whom he was sharing.
I know that as a result of his work at the national conferences, he has been asked to lead workshops at several universities. Sometimes the theatre schools have been able to come up with a little funding to support his travel, but more often he gives his work to us and asks for no compensation. Whenever possible, I have offered an honorarium or small fee, but it has never matched the value of his presentation, and most of the time he has offered his work as a gift.
He has taught my students at Northern Illinois University, California Institute of the Arts and The Theatre School at DePaul University. Each time, he brings equipment, materials and a specific lesson plan to address the needs of each student population. Several of my students have moved to Los Angeles, and sought him out; and when they do so, Pat responds by giving them support, insights and advice. He offers himself as a contact for them each time he leads a workshop.
When I lived in Los Angeles, Pat allowed me to take his Voice Characterization class, which met for eight evenings. He told me that he wanted me to share my perspectives as a Linklater teacher with the class in exchange for the class, but he didn’t really ask for anything from me. It was a gift to be able to take his class.
Over the years, Pat has developed excellent teaching materials in the field of voice characterization and the voiceover business, and he has always shared all of his materials with me generously, sending my packages of his latest work. I am grateful that he includes me.
More than any other voice professional, Pat gives back to the community of voice and speech teachers, and inspires the next generation of voice actors.
When I had announced that Pat won the award on the podcast, I knew that I would write a very special article about him, but wasn’t sure how to put everything that I could share into words that were as powerful and moving as those that were offered in support of Pat Fraley’s nomination as a finalist.
This is why I chose to let the profound words of Kara, DC and Claudia pay tribute to Pat as only they and those he has directly graced could. On behalf of the voice over industry, I’d like to thank you, and your family, Pat, for your dedication, tireless passion for the art and kind heart that knows no bounds. Though far from retirement, you certainly deserve the recognition and we all wish to celebrate with you!
A toast to Pat Fraley, a man who has never met a stranger.
Co-founder of Voices.com