Founded in 1996, Mike Kirby’s Voiceworx has served students of voice over for 13 years, and has introduced Canadian talent to the wonderful world of voice over, including Shakespearean actors who have performed at The Stratford Festival, broadcast professionals, and aspiring voice artists.
Based in Toronto, Canada, Voiceworx focuses on helping people to find the part of themselves that will blossom in the booth. It didn’t take long for me to see that the very core of Voiceworx is HEART.
Jessica, Erica, and I had the opportunity to sit in on a couple of Voiceworx sessions at their Weekend Warrior Workshop in October and had an amazing time!
Learn more about this fabulous training company for voice over artists in our own backyard.
What is Voice Over Work?
Mike Kirby relates that it’s all about the message and how the voice artist personally feels about the message being said. Voice over work is all about acting.
In addition, the voice must also create the pictures and images using only words… a challenge and a half for most!
Understanding that voice work is very intimate, voice artists face the unique challenge of speaking to an audience of one even though it may be promoted to an audience of millions.
The message will mean something different depending on who your audience is. Once you know who you are speaking to, the interpretation will become clear.
Some of Voiceworx’s philosophies are:
1. Each voice artist has a personal vocal signature that is unique to the artist.
2. Voice artists further develop the art of communication to become great storytellers.
3. Your voice is a reflection of who you are, and that voice needs to come from your heart, not your head.
Libby (Elizabeth) Lennie, whose session we were able to stay for in its entirety, was absolutely amazing. Libby shared a number of tips and strategies for voice artists to employ. We stayed for lunch with Mike and Libby and were also able to stay for a portion of animation voice actor Julie Lemieux’s workshop on character voices.
The Voiceworx Experience
Something I noticed right away is that students were sent into the booth early into the first workshop session. While spending time on verbal instruction and discussion is significant during a workshop, time in the booth is crucially important when you are training with an instructor
Exercises were both didactic and practical. Some of the reads the students were asked to perform as warm ups before reading the copy were tidbits of educational, testimonial, and anecdotal gems relevant to the voice over industry that taught you a lesson and enriched the workshop experience.
Riding on emotion was also emphasized when rehearsing copy. The simple gesture of placing your hand on your heart to feel its energy grounds you and can positively affect your performance.
By living in the heart of the message, and not working toward a result, your interpretation will be freer and sound less contrived.
Another recurring theme was making the message meaningful to you, the voice artist. You have to be able to make it part of you, to visualize it, and to be fully supportive of what you are saying. If something doesn’t mean anything to you personally, how can you compel people to receive your message, trust you, and then act on your recommendations?
Central to voice acting, and the Voiceworx company, is the relationship between the voice artist and their audience, whether the audience is the intended audience or the audience that you as a voice talent feel most comfortable communicating to when delivering your message.
Voiceworx brought out the best in all of the students who participated and you could see potential blooming in the booth. It was both a privilege and a pleasure to be present during the workshops.
Mike Kirby’s Voiceworx is a training and production facility for performers who wish to pursue a career in commercial voice-over work. With 30 years of acting and commercial voice-over experience, and 12 CLIO Awards for advertising excellence to his credit, Mike Kirby has developed a unique method of work which he and his associates are happy to share with you.
Participants can expect top quality in-studio instruction in radio and television commercial voice-over, documentary and corporate video narration, cartoon voice, character multi-voice, and studio protocol, in a state-of-the-art recording studio environment. Class size is kept to a minimum and Performers receive valuable in studio personal instruction behind the microphone. All materials are supplied and personal voice work is recorded to CD for home review, complete with instructor’s comments.
All Voiceworx instructors are professional performers, directors and producers who make their living in the performing arts.
Training Opportunities for Voice Talent
If you’re looking for voice over training in Toronto, Voiceworx is superb and offers a number of opportunities for coaching, including a book and CD companion for those who want to start their voice over training from the comfort of their own home.
You can learn more about Voiceworx here:
A big thank you to Mike and his team for inviting us and for their hospitality!