Mission Audition Live: Creating Character Voices with Ron Rubin

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    On this episode, co-hosts Stephanie and Julianna are joined by voice over animation star and fellow Canadian, Ron Rubin, live in Toronto at VoiceWorld (hosted by Voices.com). Listen in to hear Ron deliver feedback, masterclass style, and give his personal tips and tricks on getting into character, bringing the script to life, leveraging the back story of your character, and balancing your own creative energy for a knock-out performance.

    About Ron Rubin

    Ron Rubin is an award winning actor, writer and voice over performer. For over 30 years he has been one of the busiest voice actors in the country having voiced hundreds of cartoon characters in countless animated series as well as being the voice behind dozens of national award winning television and radio commercial campaigns. Ron received the KARI Award for Best Commercial Performance in Television as well as being a two time nominee and finalist for the ACTRA Award for Best Performance in Voice.

    Visit Ron’s website: https://www.ronrubinvoice.com/

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Welcome to Mission Audition. I’m Stephanie Ciccarelli.

    Julianna Jones:
    And I’m Julianna Jones.

    Ron Rubin:
    And I’m Ron Rubin.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Oh my gosh! We’ve got Ron Rubin.

    Julianna Jones:
    Welcome to the show.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Welcome, Ron. This is so much fun. As we say, we have Ron Rubin here and, for our dear listeners, I want you also to know that this is actually a live podcast. You are hearing something that is happening at VoiceWorld Toronto. Everybody, come on and say hi! Great, yep. We are live, and there is proof there are about a hundred of your friends here listening to the show so, without further ado, we are going to tell you a little bit more about our great guest, Ron Rubin. Ron had mentioned earlier in our conversation that you and I met first at a Comic-Con in our Forest City, the Forest City Comic-Con, in fact. I think I’ve got it right.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    You’re just Mr. Popular, really hard to get to your table and talk to you, but I did, managed somehow to give you a business card or something. That’s what happens when you network, when you talk to people, is that you get connected. So, for those of your listening who do not yet know Ron, Ron is a fantastic Canadian voice actor. He is a coach, as well, and if you have ever watched the Care Bears, if you have ever watched the Avengers, if you’ve been involved with anything to do with Sailor Moon or, oh gosh, what else, Ron? X-Men.

    Ron Rubin:
    X-Men, Beetle Juice, Ace Ventura, whatever, a few.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    My goodness.

    Julianna Jones:
    Only a couple of notable names.

    Ron Rubin:
    A couple.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Only a couple. I was going to say, Ron, is it like a rite of passage for Canadian animation actors to be a Care Bear? Tell me. You all have been a Care Bear.

    Ron Rubin:
    I think it is. I think everyone who I know in the voice business has been a Care Bear at one point. I played Messy Bear. He talked like that. He was very cute and it was in the Big Wish movie, but I think everybody, at one point or another, had to be a cute little Care Bear, yeah.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Oh my gosh! Ron Rubin, everyone. Ron Rubin. Clearly, there’s more to you than that, Ron. Why don’t you tell us your story? How did you get started in voiceover, and why do you still do it today?

    Ron Rubin:
    Oh, man. I don’t know. I’ve always been interested in voices, growing up. I remember I was watching Johnny Carson when I was a little kid and Mel Blank was on, and he was doing all these voices. He was doing Bugs Bunny, “I know I should’ve turned left at Albuquerque,” and they said, “Oh, my God! That voice is coming out of this normal-looking man!” I was just mesmerized. Growing up, I just always did sound effects and voices.

    Ron Rubin:
    I went to university. I was on my way to become a lawyer and somewhere I ran off and joined the circus. I went to the campus radio station, and I had a show there. Back then, there was no sound effect records, so I created all the characters and did all the sounds. If you had to open a door or start a car or open champagne. I don’t know. So, I did that. Anyway, long story short, I got my degree in psychology, which helps a lot in this business. I moved to Toronto, and I had no connections. I didn’t know what to do. I got into a second studio, started doing improv, which is great for voice acting, and then I started doing standup all around North America.

    Ron Rubin:
    I think every comic actor, I wanted to do drama and vice versa, so I moved to New York and I studied acting in New York for a while and did a lot of film and television commercials. Then, I started auditioning for cartoons. My first cartoon, I think, was C.O.P.S., the Central Organization of Police Specialists. I played the evil Dr. Badvibes, hee-hee-ha-ha. I said, oh, my God! This is so cool!

    Ron Rubin:
    Then, Tim Burton hired me to do Beetle Juice. I had a whole bunch of parts in that, and I just couldn’t believe that I could be in the studio just in a baseball cap and a pair of jeans and doing all these different voices, and I just fell in love with the genre, and I slowly got out of the on-camera world and into voice acting and voiceovers full time. That was quite a few years ago. That’s how I kind of got started.

    Julianna Jones:
    Now you passed your knowledge onto others?

    Ron Rubin:
    Yes. If you don’t give it away, you can’t keep it. I never wanted to teach, necessarily, but I was asked to teach at a few different studios around town. I was asked to teach the animation, of course, at Humber College for the graduating film and television students and theater students, and I loved it! It was like, if you’ve been doing something for almost 40 years, there’s not a lot of things you haven’t encountered, so I was able to help some students and answer a lot of questions and help them along.

    Ron Rubin:
    I like to share everything I’ve gleaned over the last 40 years of doing voice work, and I love working with the students, young or old. I do workshops. I teach privately. I teach online. I do demos. I started my own business, and it’s been great, and I just love working with people for commercials or animation or anything.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Wow! Well, you’ve absolutely got the right background for this episode because we are going to be talking about character voice work. Is anyone here interested in being a character, doing that kind of work? Yeah, yeah. Hands are up. There’s at least 80% of the hands went up just now, so what we’re going to do is just talk about this job. In every episode of Mission Audition, we do actually have a job, most often anyway. Some special episodes, we don’t, but this one is for a video game.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Essentially, what we want this voice actor to do, and you’ll hear many auditions. You’ll hear eight, in fact. We’re asking them to sound as follows. A U.S. general American accent so, obviously, we’re speaking English for this role, just so we are all on the same page. We want a young adult voice, and this is a heroic role. Of course, they need to sound animated and genuine and, again, animation. Who is this best suited for, Julianna, and what do they really need to do to pull this off?

    Julianna Jones:
    Sure. For artistic direction, the voice for this role will sound heroic and courageous, yet innocent. The hero character adores his pet. That relationship is very similar to the relationship that a child would have with their dogs. George is pronounced with a hard G, like in the word good and not like George like I just did.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Oh, you mean Gorgs.

    Julianna Jones:
    Yes. There we go.

    Ron Rubin:
    Can I just mention … So, the breakdown here is under action adventure. You mentioned animation and then conversational, so this isn’t a character-driven script. It’s not highly cartoony, so the voices are not a lot of over-the-top characters. It’s kind of more of a natural read for gaming. As a rule, gaming, they want to go with more natural, authentic read than an over-the-top kind of cartoony.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Thank you for clarifying that. We are going to begin listening to the first of our eight auditions. Cam, can you role audition number one?

    Audition 1:
    Good morning, Cloudsy, you cute little ball of cloud fluff, you! You want to go outside? Okay, I’m coming. Whoa! That storm’s rolling in rather quickly, Cloudsy. You sure you want to go outside right now? Okay, okay. Wait for me. This isn’t any ordinary lightning, is it, Cloudsy? Oh, no! The lightning struck the Lovelands. We have to chase off the Sky Gorgs before they completely destroy the Lovelands! You ready, Cloudsy? Ahhhh!

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    All right, Ron.

    Ron Rubin:
    Oh, it’s me?

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    What do you think?

    Ron Rubin:
    Okay. I thought there was a … He’s got a nice voice, and he showed some range there. He was cute and playful off the top. Let’s just talk about energy for a second. He was showing some good energy, but I would’ve loved to see a little more variance in the reads. There are certain reads that I think he could’ve brought down a little bit. For example, “This isn’t any ordinary lightning cloud.” See, the direction was to do it with awe, and I thought he could’ve, “This isn’t any ordinary lighting, is it Cloudsy?” That way, if you do that, it really helps when you do project. It brings that out again.

    Ron Rubin:
    Also, in commercials, there’s a time element. You’re doing a 15-second, a 30-second, or a 60-second. With animation, as a rule, they lay the voice track down first, and then they animate to it, so I felt he was rushing just a little bit. The line, “The storm is rolling in rather quickly. You sure you want to go outside?”, he made into one line. Each line has their own emotion, so I wanted to hear a little fright in one line and a little hesitation in other lines, but he’s got a great voice and he was nice and playful.

    Ron Rubin:
    There was no yawn off the top. The sound effects are very important. Hero wakes up with a yawn. Also, there was supposed to be a battle certainly at the end, which he missed out on, but I liked his energy and I liked his voice and I think if he just slowed down his read a little and gave it a little more variation through the transitions, it would’ve been a slightly better audition.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    That’s great feedback. You know, in the script of which we can see and you cannot, it does actually say, “Hero yawns” or what-have-you. Now, when there’s direction like that and if you don’t follow it as an actor, then the person who’s casting’s like, “Uh, didn’t follow my instructions”. We see this sometimes because talent will change a word. They think that they’re going to make sure that someone doesn’t steal their audio, so they’ll mess something up. They’ll change how it comes across, but that ultimately sends the wrong message.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    It’s the same thing. If you don’t follow instructions or if you don’t take the cues that you’re given, then no one knows what on earth you’re going to do in that actual studio situation where they need to direct you, where they’re spending thousands of dollars on this production, if not hundreds of thousands, and they really need you to nail that sort of thing. So, I think that was really great for you to point out, Ron, just how it should’ve been.

    Ron Rubin:
    Well, it also shows preparation, and the first line is “Young hero wakes up with a yawn” and, if the yawn’s not there, it’s like something’s missing. More importantly, it’s a great developmental part of the character, like “Good morning”. You can really use it to develop your character, as well.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    You just did a yawn, right?

    Ron Rubin:
    Yeah.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    So, okay, okay, I know.

    Ron Rubin:
    Was it that bad?

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    You did, you did a … Okay.

    Julianna Jones:
    No, it was great!

    Ron Rubin:
    Okay.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    What I want to ask you though, Ron, is how do you do a yawn that doesn’t actually sound like a forced yawn?

    Ron Rubin:
    No one’s ever asked me that. You know, when I do a yawn or a cough or a laugh, I just try to make it as realistic as possible. It depends on the character. If the character is talking this way, the yawn would be there. If he’s a little tiny character, ahh, the yawn might be there. If he’s a New York character, dah! I don’t know. It depends, so I try to align the sound effects with whatever character I’m playing.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Awesome! Julianna, any thoughts there you want to add?

    Julianna Jones:
    Yeah, when it comes to following the directions in an audition, it’s those little things that you might not pay attention to that can actually make or break whether or not you get the project. I know so many talented voice actors who have come to us and said, “I don’t understand why I’m not booking. I’m so good other places.” Then, when we listen to their auditions and we can pick out those little things that they missed and we can tell them and then they do follow the instructions and then they start booking work. Sorry. This is live. That was my water bottle. I am so sorry!

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    I got to go get my pen now. I just remembered that. Go ahead.

    Julianna Jones:
    Yeah.

    Ron Rubin:
    Also, Steph, I just wanted to say, speaking of sound effects, his battle cry at the end, there was tons of energy, but to me, it kind of sounded angry. It sounded a little painful almost, so if you’re going to do a battle cry or any sound, kind of know where it’s coming from. He’s off to save the day with his dog, so it shouldn’t sound like he’s got a toothache.

    Ron Rubin:
    The way you can do that is, physically, I teach that if you’re doing a character I want, if you’re doing the superhero, I want your chest out and I want you to be this way. If you’re doing a little nervous guy, I want you to kind of be this way, but it works for the scream, as well. If you paste a smile on your face, even an artificial one, no matter what you say is going to kind of sound smiley and, if you’re kind of frowning, it’s going to kind of naturally go down. So, even with the scream, if I get shot, it’s going to be, “Uh!”, but look at my face. It’s there. If I’m going off to battle, it’s “ahhh!” It’s there, so use your physicality and use your facial expressions for all the sound effects.

    Julianna Jones:
    Yeah, physicality’s a huge part of it. As we all know, your body is your instrument. If you are a voice person, an actor, what-have-you, literally everything that you do, whether it’s moving around or how you breathe or how you prepare the space in your mouth, like when you’re going to, I don’t know, yell or something, it all plays in. Certainly, the more you use your body and, obviously, don’t knock your microphone over, don’t kick your water bottle like me, and don’t do that either. That was not good. Then, every little piece of you that gets into that matters.

    Julianna Jones:
    I think there’s this voice actor, if anyone knows George DelHoyo. He’s one of the promo trailery sort of voices. If he didn’t have his hands to move around with, and he’s literally like using his fingers and pushing and pulling and pointing, he couldn’t talk, he’d say. Like if you tied his hands behind his back, could he do voiceover? I don’t know. I mean, I’m sure he could, but he’s the first to say in the videos online that, if he didn’t have his hands there, then he couldn’t actually do this stuff.

    Ron Rubin:
    If I see someone in the recording booth and their hands are in their pocket, I immediately remind them of that so, obviously, keep your feet planted because you don’t want noise and, if you’re wearing bangles or have change in your pocket or a ticking watch, lose all that, but as far as the character itself, be as free and as easy and as open as you can and be physical because it really helps the performance. It totally does.

    Julianna Jones:
    Wonderful! Okay, well, that was our first audition. Now, we are going to move around to audition number two.

    Audition 2:
    Good morning, Cloudsy, you cute little ball of cloud fluff you. You want to go outside? Okay. I’m coming. Whoa, that storm is rolling in rather quickly, Cloudsy. You sure you want to go outside right now? Hey, wait for me! This isn’t any ordinary lightning, is it, Cloudsy? Oh, no! The lightning has struck the Lovelands! We have to chase off the Sky Gorgs before they completely destroy the Lovelands! You ready, Cloudsy? Yaaa!

    Ron Rubin:
    Okay.

    Julianna Jones:
    She did a great job following the commands and the cues.

    Ron Rubin:
    Such a cute voice!

    Julianna Jones:
    It really was.

    Ron Rubin:
    Love, love, loved her voice, and she really did a great job with the sound effects. She incorporated the yawn into the sentence. She incorporated the breathing. The battle certainly at the end was awesome! It was full of energy. I kept thinking where was that energy during the rest of it, though. I felt she was just a little soft on her reads. I felt she was internalizing her reads a little bit. She’s got a great cued voice, but I was looking for maybe a little more energy throughout the rest of it.

    Ron Rubin:
    As I said before, if you’re big and over the top, it has much more of an impact if you soften others and vice versa. Unlike the first audition where he was maybe a little over the top energy, I felt her energy was just lacking a bit in transition. Also, understand who you’re playing. This is a young little action hero, right? So, I felt that she was kind of keeping it in. I wanted to hear more heroic and determination from her. I felt her tones were maybe a little too similar.

    Ron Rubin:
    As you said, Julianna, they’re asking for heroic, courageous, and innocent, so I heard the innocence. I didn’t quite hear the courage and the heroicism so much, so I think she underplayed it a little bit, but I think if she just added some more action and energy to the read, it would’ve been a much better read. I really liked listening to that, but I think she needs to break out of her she’ll a little bit and be the hero, be the young hero.

    Julianna Jones:
    Do you think that a client would invite this read to a second audition or pass because of the lack of energy?

    Ron Rubin:
    That’s a good question. It depends exactly what the creators had in mind for the part. I really liked her voice. I really did. I’d like to work with her. I felt that a lot of these auditions, the people are extremely workable. If I was looking for a cute-sounding woman … What she did well, just the incorp-… That’s not so easy what she did with the yawns and with the running. A lot of people separate those, and you shouldn’t separate them and have them take focus, so the fact that she did that and the fact that she kind of changed the transitions enough, I know that she has good instincts. So, if I really liked the voice, which I did, I’d absolutely invite her.

    Julianna Jones:
    So, you’re saying that you would rather someone go over the top in the audition because it’s easier to pull it back than saying to an artist, “I need to push you a little bit farther,” which is a harder thing to do.

    Ron Rubin:
    Absolutely. When I’m working with students, if they’re too big, I say, “Don’t worry about that. I can always pull you back.” It’s good to have the energy up there. I can bring it back but, sometimes, people who kind of don’t have that energy, it’s harder to get that out of them, so, yeah, I’d rather you go big and I can bring you back, but for the sake of an audition, try not to go too crazy big. Show some variants.

    Julianna Jones:
    All right. Great commentary. I hope everyone … I think I do see notes being taken. If you aren’t yet taking notes, you don’t have a pen or paper out or your phone, we won’t be offended. We know you might be Tweeting anyway. Just feel free to write down some of these great tips because they are like, if you went and got these in a coaching session, you’d be paying for them. Tonight, you’re getting Ron Rubin’s awesome advice.

    Ron Rubin:
    We’re not charging?

    Julianna Jones:
    Well, for the event.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    We’re just not giving you any of the proceeds.

    Ron Rubin:
    Oh, I’m just not getting anything. Okay.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    No, we have a little gift for you at the end, Ron. That’s okay. Honestly, this is the sort of advice you would never get if you were just sitting at home and even if you were reading blogs and whatever. This is actual feedback from someone who books a ton and has seen a lot and coaches talent to be the best that they can be, so please take some notes.

    Julianna Jones:
    Yeah, I will also say that coaching is such an integral part of a voice actor doing well. Actually, Jolene was telling me a story the other day where she was watching an actor in an audition, and they did their first read just on their own, and their coach came in and said, “Hey, tweak this, do this. Okay, now go.” The second read she gave was absolutely transformed. You can have a great voice and you can think you know what you’re doing, but having an expert like Ron or whomever you decide to work with can make such a difference in your career.

    Julianna Jones:
    So, if you’re at a place where you’ve kind of hit a plateau, you’re like, “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong,” don’t stress yourself out. Just reach out for help, and there’s tons of coaches like either on our directory, like people that you will have met here that can really give you some great advice, so don’t struggle. Reach out.

    Ron Rubin:
    I mean, what they’re asking for these days a lot is a lot more of the natural conversational voice, especially in commercials and in gaming and even in a lot of the cartoons. There’s still some cartoons that are big and over the top, but a lot of them are very kind of natural. You would think that a natural read would be the easiest thing in the world to do, but it’s not. It’s the hardest thing in the world to do so, yeah, there’s a lot of tricks and tips about how to do that, but just be true to yourself. They’re looking for not a version … If there’s a hundred people up for a part, 90 of them are probably going to do it this way, so try to set yourself apart by being yourself.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    All right, Cam, let’s play number three.

    Audition 3:
    Good morning, Cloudsy, you cute little ball of cloud fluff, you! You want to go outside? Okay, I’m coming. Whoa! That storm is rolling in rather quickly, Cloudsy. You sure you want to go outside right now? Hey! Wait for me! This isn’t any ordinary lightning, is it, Cloudsy? Oh, no! The lightning has struck the Lovelands! We have to chase off the Sky Gorgs before they completely destroy the Lovelands! You ready, Cloudsy?

    Julianna Jones:
    My first thought is, they sound a little bit older than I envisioned for an innocent hero.

    Ron Rubin:
    Yeah, I agree. I liked the voice. He’s got a nice throaty tone, but I think it was almost more suited to an over-the-top kind of, not cartoony, but he was a little older than when I think of young action hero. I found it a little pushed in places. Remember we were talking about the sound effects? I don’t know if you picked up on it with his panting. He was like, “Huh-a-huh-a-huh. Wait for me. Huh-a-huh-a-huh”, so he didn’t kind of incorporate that as well as maybe he could’ve. I think he could’ve slowed down a bit, and I think he really could’ve softened the read.

    Ron Rubin:
    Like I was saying, it’s so important that he transition between the energy and bringing it back down again. The guys are pushing the energy here, and I think it’s really important to internalize the read a bit. For example, “Whoa! That storm is rolling in rather quickly, Cloudsy.” He said it rather full voice and almost flat, and that’s an opportunity. “Whoa! That storm is moving in rather quickly!” You know, you can really internalize it and show some emotion there, so I thought he was pushing things in a slightly different direction and, as you said, I found his voice a little older than maybe what the caster wants.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    That is what you will get on this podcast. You will get the truth, but the truth spoken in love. We do not want anyone to think that their auditions are … This is a learning opportunity. In every show, we say this, don’t we, Julianna, that this is really about helping people to understand what it is that is going to help them to book and how they can turn a read around. Even just a tiny little change can make a huge difference, so this fellow here, although maybe he’s not the right voice age for this role perhaps, it’s not as if there weren’t any good moments in there, so we do want to acknowledge that.

    Ron Rubin:
    Oh, I still really liked his voice. He had a really great throaty read, and he had lots of energy. Like I said, it’s very malleable. I mean, you can take the energy and place it in different places, so I don’t know if he’s right for this part, but that doesn’t mean anything about the next audition.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    That’s what this is about, though, right? Everybody likes this sort of thing. Who here likes to get feedback on their auditions ever? Yeah, that’s almost every single hand. Who here actually gets feedback on their auditions?

    Julianna Jones:
    Your mom doesn’t count?

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Not many. So, this is a good example of how one can go about safely getting feedback. All of you here, you can go to each other, too. You can say, “Hey, what did you think of this read?” or talk about it amongst yourselves because then, at least, you have someone else who’s listening who has an ear that is attuned to what it is that you’re meant to be doing who doesn’t have a bias, who isn’t going to feel poorly at the end of the day that they maybe told you something, like say your spouse.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    They might not be the best judge of that, but you could go to somebody else who you know is going to give you the honest truth about whatever it is, and that’s just really a gift, is to be able to know what to do because then you can make a change or you can know that you’re super awesome, and it’s not just someone telling you that. It’s because you are.

    Ron Rubin:
    Also, record everything. Obviously, for auditions, you’re recording but, when you’re practicing, when you’re rehearsing, every time I rehearse something, even if you don’t have a recording studio, every smartphone has a voice memo or something. I’ll do a read and, if it’s a two-hander, I’ll read the other lines and leave space for my lines to be there, but I record everything.

    Ron Rubin:
    Some takes that I think are really good, I hear them back and I say, “Jeez, that was kind of crappy” and other reads that I didn’t think were so good because what’s happening when you’re just saying it into the air, you’re hearing it inside your head, which is completely different from how it sounds to you, so record everything and hear it back and you’ll kind of go, “Oh, that wasn’t bad” or, “Eh”, but it’s important to get constant feedback, even if it’s yourself.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Definitely. All right, I know you just want to say something, “Oh, my gosh! Am I going to keep us to this time?” That is absolutely what I’m going to do. Someone has to.

    Ron Rubin:
    Okay.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    I know that you all won’t. All right, so we are going to listen to audition number four.

    Audition 4:
    Good morning, Cloudsy, you cute little ball of cloud fluff, you! You want to go outside? Okay, I’m coming! Whoa! That storm is rolling in rather quickly, Cloudsy! You sure you want to go outside right now? Hey! Wait for me! This isn’t any ordinary lightning, is it, Cloudsy? Oh, no! The lightning has struck the Lovelands! We have to chase off the Sky Gorgs before they completely destroy the Lovelands! Huh! You ready Cloudsy? Yeah!

    Julianna Jones:
    I know when I’m talking to a dog, I don’t sound the same as when I’m talking normally, and I kind of got the feeling that every line was said the same as when he’s talking to “you cute little ball of fluff.”

    Ron Rubin:
    I really liked his voice. I found it a really entertaining read, but I found all the energy and the pacing were very similar. Everything was, “Good morning, Cloudsy, you cute little ball of fluff! You want to go outside? Hey, wait for me! Whoa! That storm is rolling in. You want to go outside now?” I think this is a really good actor. He made some good choices within that, but I think he could’ve really slowed down the pace of it and showed some variation in the transition sentences.

    Ron Rubin:
    I would’ve loved to see this actor kind of just slow down the pace a little bit, you know? I wanted to hear the awe and the determination and the fear. That said, this guy is, once again, so … I’d love to work with him because he’s got a great voice, and he’s got wonderful energy, but it all came out a little, not one note, but at the same pace, and so I think it was a good audition, and I think if you slowed it down in places and added a little emotion here and there and gave me a little internalization and externalization, it would’ve been a great audition.

    Julianna Jones:
    Can you elaborate on what you mean by internalization and externalization?

    Ron Rubin:
    Externalization is just, “Whoa! That storm is rolling in rather quickly!” You know, you’re kind of projecting. Internalization, “Whoa! That storm is rolling in rather quickly,” so you’re kind of bringing it back in. Let’s just talk about energy for a second. Energy is so important in animation and commercials and everything. Don’t confuse energy with projecting. Energy is not talking loud. That’s just talking loud, and it’s not talking fast. That’s just talking fast. When I talk about energy, I’m talking more about intensity or focus on the character.

    Ron Rubin:
    So, whether you’re doing a big character like this or whether you’re doing a little character like this, they both have to have that intensity and that energy. So, when I say internalization, I don’t mean whisper it. I just mean to kind of have the same intensity you would, but change your voice variants. “This isn’t any ordinary lightning, is it, Cloudsy?” You can do that or you can do, “This isn’t any ordinary lightning, is it, Cloudsy?” Sometimes, saying less or whispering has a bigger effect on it, so I’m noticing with some of these reads, some of the energy is really out there and some is inside, and it would be nice to have a combination of both.

    Julianna Jones:
    I see you have … All of your script is totally marked up. When you sit down to do an audition, how do you go about putting this into your head?

    Ron Rubin:
    Yeah, I spend a lot of time prepping my scripts. Usually, the things that are important, I underline. The things that are less important, but still need emphasis, I put a little mark under there. The things that need to be in quotations, I do. I always highlight the sound effects. This isn’t even marked for me. This is marked for the auditions. My scripts are way all over the place, but it’s really important the preparation you put into a script. Break it down.

    Ron Rubin:
    Each sentence is different, you know? This line, I have action and urgency, and this one’s determination, and this one’s apprehensive. This one is scared, and this one is tired, and that’s all my handwriting because, no matter what the direction is, I want to hear that in the actor and I want to present that as an actor, so don’t just go over every line kind of the same. I think this fellow has a lot of potential. He just has to mix it up a bit.

    Julianna Jones:
    I can see this guy doing really well in commercial reads.

    Ron Rubin:
    Yeah, he’s got a good commer- … He’s got a very youthful … Like we were talking about one of the guys sounding a little old, I think he’s right on the money as far as a young hero type. I can see him doing that and also commercial reads. He’d be perfect for, “Come to McDonald’s! For only 99 cents, you can get a Big Mac!” He’s good for that stuff, too.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Don’t make me hungry, Ron. Every episode, we get hungry. I know there’s food in the back. Anyway … We all move on to audition number five.

    Audition 5:
    Good morning, Clousy, you cute little ball of cloud fluff, you! You want to go outside? Okay, I’m coming. Whoa! That storm is rolling in rather quickly, Clousy. You sure you want to go outside right now? Hey, wait for me! This isn’t any ordinary lightning, is it, Clousy? Oh, no! The lightning has struck the Lovelands! We have to chase off the Sky Gorgs before they completely destroy the Lovelands! You ready, Clousy?

    Julianna Jones:
    So, we’re missing some of the audio cues, but I did really like her voice. What do you think?

    Ron Rubin:
    What?

    Julianna Jones:
    I did.

    Ron Rubin:
    Oh, you did?

    Julianna Jones:
    I did. Yeah, I did.

    Ron Rubin:
    Was it just me or did anyone notice she was calling the dog Clousy, not Cloudsy?

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Oh.

    Julianna Jones:
    Good point.

    Ron Rubin:
    If you played it again, you’ll hear it, so that’s kind of important to get one of the lead character’s name properly. She had a really sweet voice. I really liked her voice, and she showed some high energy and low energy once again, so she showed a few good transitions. The transition I wanted to hear that I didn’t hear was the transition from cute little girl voice to hero. I never felt that hero happening from her. She had that cute voice kind of throughout.

    Ron Rubin:
    Oh, speaking of … Can I just mention, in here, it says it’s for U.S., okay? So, this is really important. Every time I do a job, a cartoon or a commercial, I find out what market it’s for, for Canada or for U.S. because there’s obviously certain words that are pronounced differently. We all have heard the out and about, and her outs were very Canadian, and this is for a U.S. market, so just …

    Ron Rubin:
    It sounds like I’m being picky here, but this is kind of important. When you’re doing a Canadian, it’s o-a-t, like that’s a typical Canadian ‘oat’ and ‘aboat’. In American, it’s o-w-t, ‘owt’ and ‘abowt’. The best way I had it described to me is, pretend somebody hit you in the arm and you go, “Ow!” Just add a t, okay, ‘owt’. That’s American. “Oat’ is Canadian, so that’s just a little something I picked up on that.

    Ron Rubin:
    No panting. No battle cry. I found that it was a cute voice, but I would’ve liked her … I found it was a little pushed at times. I wanted her to give a more natural read, to be honest. She was really good in showing fear on the ‘ordinary lightning’ part and some strength on ‘struck the Lovelands’, but at the end, I didn’t get the, “We have to chase off the Sky Gorgs before they completely destroy the Lovelands!” I didn’t get that young hero. I didn’t get that determination out of her so, once again, I felt the innocence, but I didn’t quite get the action girl part.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    I was bracing myself. You can see us. This isn’t normal for the podcast, but you can all see us. Sometimes, we will actually have physical reactions to what we’re hearing and, for me, it was like I was waiting and I was tensing up to wait for this battle cry because, based on all that she was building up to, I was like, “Oh, what’s it going to sound like?” Wait, wait for it. Here it goes! Here it goes! Then, it didn’t come at all like, “Oh, my gosh! Why is it that this battle cry didn’t happen?”

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    It left me as a listener, as someone who’s expecting to hear something, as being either confused or is this audio file done yet? That just, for me, because you have an expectation, right? So, if you’ve written a script and you know what you put in it and you’re waiting to hear certain things and you hear the majority, the actor’s doing them and then you don’t hear someone do it, you’re just kind of like, “Oh. What’s that about?”

    Julianna Jones:
    I will say that we’d said in the artistic direction or the direction for the job was not to read the italicized parts, which are like, “the hero yawns,” so we were expecting that the characters would know to do the yawn, but not read, “I’m yawning,” if that kind of makes sense. So, if you ever have questions about the job posting and you’re like, “I don’t know to take it this route or this route,” you can always reach out to our customer support team because chances are, if you’ve had a question, somebody else might’ve had that question and they’ve already asked the client for clarification on it and they can quickly give you the answer.

    Julianna Jones:
    If you’re confused and you don’t know which direction to take it, simple. Do two takes, and you’re going to set it up by saying exactly that. Two takes and then read a quick portion of the first take and then go right into the next portion of the next take. If you do two takes without setting it up to let the client know you’re doing two takes, you’re going to get three seconds of their attention and, if you don’t give them exactly what they’re looking for, they’re going to move on. They are not going to read your proposal unless they like you, and they’re going to check, “Okay, are you available?”

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Yeah. I like what you said, Julianna, but just the whole bit about, “Yeah, we had italicized some of the other words that they’re not meant to say,” but just because those words are italicized and you’re not meant to say them doesn’t mean you’re not meant to do them. You know what I mean? So, that was one thing that I know we’ve run into in a previous episode with our AI one, actually on the Alexa job that we were doing, and someone actually said, “Prompt one,” and then they went and read what the thing …

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    So, I mean you all laugh, you laugh, but oh, my! This is a journey for everyone, right? Different learning curves, different whatever but, if you see something in italics and it’s says to do something a certain way, then that’s the direction, right? It can come across in story words in different ways, but I was waiting for that battle cry, and it so did not happen.

    Ron Rubin:
    Can I just mention one last thing? I noticed when she was soft, her voice, it wasn’t like a different person, but when she really pushed it, it kind of hit some high notes, a little screechy like, “Wait for me!” It kind of went up there, so every time I develop a character with students, I will say, “Make an imaginary bar, like a horizontal high and low and, whatever character you’re doing, live within the bar, okay?”

    Ron Rubin:
    So, if you’re doing a big character, the bar can go way up here and it can go way down here and you’re still okay. If you’re doing kind of a smaller character, the bar’s going to be a lot narrower. If you pass the bar, you kind of break character, and I found, just on occasion, some people are pushing it too much. When I say pushing it too much, it’s maybe breaking that top bar and losing that character a little bit.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    All right. Well, we have three more auditions. We are going to zip through them, so I will keep my commentary to nothing, and I will let Ron speak.

    Ron Rubin:
    Am I talking way too much?

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    No! No! This is the beauty of this show. It’s just that we don’t have an hour-and-a-half to do this with you.

    Ron Rubin:
    Well, stop talking and let’s go!

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    I know. Usually, in studio, we take an hour-and-a-half to do this and then we cut different parts, but we do not have that luxury tonight. All right, let’s play audition number six and then, in quick succession, seven and eight with minimal commentary.

    Audition 6:
    Good morning, Cloudsy, you cute little ball of cloud fluff, you! You want to go outside? Okay, I’m coming. Whoa! That storm is rolling in rather quickly, Cloudsy. You sure you want to go outside right now? Hey! Wait for me! This isn’t any ordinary lightning, is it, Cloudsy? Oh, no! The lightning has struck the Lovelands! We have to chase off the Sky Gorgs before they completely destroy the Lovelands! You ready, Cloudsy?

    Ron Rubin:
    Okay.

    Julianna Jones:
    Can you imagine how good that battle cry would’ve been?

    Ron Rubin:
    Yeah, I was bracing myself for the battle cry.

    Julianna Jones:
    I know. Me, too. Excited.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    I wonder what Cloudsy thinks at the end of all this. Are you ready, Cloudsy? I don’t know. He might’ve run away for all we know.

    Ron Rubin:
    Okay, lots of energy, obviously, but let’s use energy for good and not evil. I found this voice was a little pushed, a little over the top. It would’ve been suited, I think, a little more for animation or for cartoons as opposed to a little action hero. I don’t mind big energy. Like I said, I can always bring you down again but, boy, he really needed to kind of pick his spots to kind of come down and to show some awe and to show some fright and to show different feelings.

    Ron Rubin:
    I felt the yawn was just a little too big off the top. You know, you don’t want it taking too much focus. Yeah, the bar was kind of a little bit all over the place. Now, he did something a little interesting. Instead of panting, well, running after the dog, he went into kind of hysterical laughter, which was interesting choice.

    Ron Rubin:
    He gets points because he did what no one else did, so if the producer listens to a hundred, he’s going to remember him from doing that but, in this scene, there’s a storm coming in and the dog takes off and you’re freaked out and you’re running after the dog. I don’t think laughter was necessarily the appropriate choice there but, like I said, good for him for trying that out. Anyway, overall, lots of energy, which I love, but I think, overall, it’s just a little too pushed, and I would’ve liked to have seen the transitions, the awe and the determination and the fear.

    Julianna Jones:
    When you say pushed, is there a physicality that goes along with that that we can maybe remember so that we don’t do it in our own auditions?

    Ron Rubin:
    Push just like projecting like a 12/10. It’s just kind of like pushing the performance. It sometimes can sound like overacting or bad acting. “Hey, I got to get to the store now!” You know, I don’t think people normally talk that way, so we’re looking for a, “Hey, I got to get to the store now,” a more casual read. So, when I say pushed, I just mean they’re pushing the energy way over the top. If it was a full-on kooky cartoon, that’s great but, in this essence, because innocence was one of the word. I didn’t hear a lot of innocence in that read so, when I say pushed, a physicality? I’m not sure. It’s just kind of …

    Julianna Jones:
    Like a lot from your throat, from your diaphragm?

    Ron Rubin:
    A push can come from any and all … I mean, I can push it here or here. It’s just overdoing it, overacting a little bit.

    Julianna Jones:
    All right. Let’s hear audition number seven.

    Audition 7:
    Good morning, Cloudsy, you cute little ball of cloud fluff, you! You want to go outside? Okay, I’m coming. Whoa! That storm is rolling in rather quickly, Cloudsy. You sure you want to go outside right now? Hey! Wait for me. This isn’t any ordinary lightning, is it, Cloudsy? Oh, no! The lightning has struck the Lovelands! We have to chase off the Sky Gorgs before they completely destroy the Lovelands!

    Ron Rubin:
    No battle cry. Crazy cute voice. I mean, really cute.

    Julianna Jones:
    Absolutely adorable.

    Ron Rubin:
    Yeah, just adorable off the top. She’s great for cartoons and a nice energy. I just found that she was rushing a little. She was over-articulating a bit. Did you notice, “Do you want to go outside? Do you want to go outside?” Now, her t’s were really hard. It sounds like I’m being really picky here, but it’s little stuff like that that producers pick up on. If you’re talking normally, “Do you want to go outside?”, and I think her read was a little stilted in places. It sounded … Okay, I’m going to tell you the secret to all voice work, and then you can all go home.

    Ron Rubin:
    Whether you’re doing commercials or animation, the secret to all voice work is reading the words on the page without making it sound like you’re reading them. Sounds easy. It’s really difficult. In places, I just felt that she was reading some of the words a little bit. I loved her voice and her energy, but I wanted to see more transitions. “The storm is rolling in!” I wanted to hear more fear and, once again, the last line, “We have to go chase off the Sky Gorgs!” I didn’t quite get that young hero running off to save the day, so I think if she just smoothed out her reads a little bit and added a little more of an emotional curve, it would’ve been a really nice read.

    Ron Rubin:
    When I hear someone doing the character and when I’m working with students in the studio, I don’t want you voicing you character. I want you becoming the character, okay? I don’t want you to kind of, “Let’s put a funny voice on this face” and whatever. I want you to become that face. I want you to embody the character. So, I felt sometimes … I’m not talking to anyone specific, but you really need to create the character and know what that character does.

    Ron Rubin:
    At the end of most cartoon sessions, usually after the first day of doing a cartoon, you stay for about an hour and you do what’s called the sound effects library, and you have to do the character happy sounds and sad sounds and how he would cough and exert and certainly. So, if you’re doing this character, you got to know how he’s going to cry and how he’s going to laugh and how he’s going to exert, and you really have to embody the character fully. So, there’s some of that missing, but it’s really important just not to use your voice.

    Julianna Jones:
    Not just for animation, but creating a character in your head is a them that we’ve seen in almost every episode of Mission Audition that we’ve done. Whether you’re an audio book narrator or you’re doing a medical narration, everybody has a point of view and a lot of the coaches have told us that they’ll take a second and pull a character from their vocal archetype, so they know if they’re being a medical expert, they have this character in their mind. Just like Ron said, for this character, the young hero, they can feel what they’re feeling, they can think, they can see everything. It’s a very vivid picture.

    Ron Rubin:
    When I work with students, say for a demo, say an animation demo tape, and I have them write down all the voices in their head, all the cartoon characters, the natural voices and the accents and use your natural voice and pretend you have a cold and be kind of a nerdy, geeky kind of voice or add some gravel and see where that goes or go falsetto and see where that goes, but I say give each character that you create a name and give them a backstory.

    Ron Rubin:
    I make all my students give them a backstory, so it’s not like, “I’m Farmer Joe.” I want to know exactly where they’re from, what they’re wearing, what they look like.” Some of the students look at me like, “That’s weird. It’s just an audio voice,” but the more you know about the character and how they dress and how they look and what they eat, go as deep as you want, but that’ll kind of help you with the characterization and the voicing of it.

    Julianna Jones:
    Awesome! Okay, I can’t add anything more to that. Let’s listen to our last audition on the program. This is audition number eight.

    Audition 8:
    Good morning, Cloudsy, you cute little ball of fluff, you! You want to go outside? Okay, I’m coming. Whoa! That storm’s rolling in rather quickly, Cloudsy. You sure you want to go outside right now? Hey! Wait for me! This isn’t any ordinary lightning, is it, Cloudsy? Oh, no! Lightning has struck the Lovelands! We have to chase off the Sky Gorgs before they completely destroy the Lovelands! You ready, Cloudsy? Ahhhh!

    Julianna Jones:
    There it is.

    Ron Rubin:
    You want energy? He’s got energy. Yeah, I think he might’ve been pushing the sound effects a little too much in places. Yeah, the yawn off the top, he kind of turned the yawn into King Lear. It was … The breathing, it sounded pretty labored. By the end of it, the poor guy needed a nap, I think. First of all, let me say, interesting voice, very animated and tons of energy, but the breathing, for instance … This is a young, energetic hero. You want to hear youth. You want to hear energy. He’s off to save the day. You don’t want him to have a heart attack, so I think it was just a little pushed in places.

    Ron Rubin:
    Also, his relationship with the dog, as you mentioned, he sounded a little angry off the top like, “Okay, I’m coming!” It’s supposed to have a very nice relationship with the dog but, as far as all that, I think he just really needed to slow down the lines quite a bit. Maybe his voice was a little too old for a young action hero, but he gave it his all and he gets full points for that, but he might’ve just been pushing things a little too much. I enjoyed it, but it was …

    Julianna Jones:
    Immensely!

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Yeah. Well, that’s a whole other thing is like, if you were in your studio and you’re alone, you have no feedback, you don’t sometimes know if what you’re doing is too much because you are literally in that vacuum. You don’t know.

    Ron Rubin:
    Yeah. That’s why I say always listen back because the last line, he rushed a little bit, and it came out a little mumbled and a little choppy. I had to listen to it a few times to get the nuances of it, so you’re not under a time restraint. For commercials, you are. Keep that in mind. They want you in at a certain 15, 30, 60, whatever, but for animation, the pace is important. Keep it going, but you don’t have to rush. God bless him. He gave it his all, and he just pushed it a little too far in places.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    We’ve come to that time, and we all know what that time is if you’ve listened to the show. It is now time for Ron to pick the winner. Ron, I know you have an idea. Can you [crosstalk 00:46:33]?

    Ron Rubin:
    I’ve changed … Oh, boy. I’ve actually gone back and forth. I hate to do this. You guys might be surprised who I pick because the winner I picked needed some work with the transitions, but I loved the voice and the energy and there’s work to be done, but I felt with a little bit of work, it would’ve been a really great audition, so I think, for potential, I am picking number four.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Wow!

    Julianna Jones:
    Ooh!

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Well, congratulations, audition number four!

    Julianna Jones:
    Number four, yeah!

    Audition 8:
    Let’s play it.

    Audition 4:
    Good morning, Cloudsy, you cute little ball of cloud fluff, you! You want to go outside? Okay, I’m coming! Whoa! That storm is rolling in rather quickly, Cloudsy! You sure you want to go outside right now? Hey! Wait for me! This isn’t any ordinary lightning, is it, Cloudsy? Oh, no! The lightning has struck the Lovelands! We have to chase off the Sky Gorgs before they completely destroy the Lovelands! Huh! You ready, Cloudsy? Yeah!

    Julianna Jones:
    Nice job!

    Ron Rubin:
    Well, you know what? I would love to work with him and slow down some of the transitions and have him change up the pace, but I love the voice, I love the energy. He didn’t go way too high. He was true to the character, and I think his voice suited the part. If I was casting a young action hero with energy, he showed me some hero, courage, innocence. I could sense a little bit of that throughout, so he showed me enough of everything that I’d definitely bring him back in again.

    Julianna Jones:
    Nice. Well, congratulations to him.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Yeah, absolutely. So, now it’s also time to wrap the show up but, before we go, Ron, we would like to know how we can get ahold of you if someone here should like to study with you.

    Ron Rubin:
    I’d love to work with all of you. Ronrubinvoice.com is the best way to reach me, R-O-N-R-U-B-I-N voice.com. If you go up there, I have a website. The first page is about me. You can find out a little bit about me, and then if you go to the teaching page, I talk about what I offer in my workshops or private teaching. It’s got student feedback and testimonials. It’s got prices. It’s got everything.

    Ron Rubin:
    It’s got a lot of sample animation demos. Please listen to those. There’s a spot, contact Ron. I’d love to hear from you, so ronrubinvoice.com. I have a workshop coming up on October 5th, although it’s pretty full, but I’m always having workshops so, if you’re interested in working with me for any reason, I’d love to work with you.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    That workshop, hopefully, is on our website at voices.com/events.

    Ron Rubin:
    I think it is.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    If you go look there, we’ve got all kinds of listings of the various coaches who were on our coaches program here and, if you have any questions about the coaches program at all, whether you want to find a coach, you want to study with Ron in particular, Jolene, who’s here tonight, can certainly help you out with that. So, without … Yep, waving over there. There’s Jolene right there. Thank you, thank you.

    Ron Rubin:
    Stephanie, before you sign off, can I just say what a pleasure it was, and I thank all of hopefully for coming out. This is an awesome opportunity, and thank you so much for getting this all together. This was fun.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Absolutely. Well, thank you. All right, everybody. That’s Mission Audition! We’ll see you next time!

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