Podcasts Voice Over Experts Physical Voice Acting with Anthony Pica
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Physical Voice Acting with Anthony Pica

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Geoff Bremner
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Join Anthony Pica as he covers the importance of using physicality in voice acting. Anthony covers, in detail, the techniques used to incorporate physicality such as gestures, facial expressions, and body language. He also explores the use of pantomime as a basis for incorporating physicality into your voice acting.

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Hello and welcome to Voice Over Experts. This is a monthly podcast helping you bring your voiceover career to the next level with insightful lessons presented by Voices voiceover coaches. That's the script, folks. My name is Anthony Pika. I'm a voiceover coach, voice actor from AVEO's Journey Elite Academy. It where I coach and run, which we have over 200 students. And I am so excited to be doing this. Partnering with Voices.com to bring to you a really exciting topic that I find is the basis for success in what we do as voice actors. The title today that we're going to be talking about is physical voice acting. Bring your performance to life.

I started on stage, oh, gosh, 25 years ago. Something a long time ago. Well, I mean, actually, technically, I started over 30 years ago when I was younger. And I learned right away that physical voice acting, or physical acting in general, because I was a stage actor, physicality is by far the best way to show emotion and expression. Now, as voice actors, we are never seen. No one is going to know our names, no one is ever going to see our face. They're never going to see a recording of us. And so a lot of times we don't think that being physical in our performances really matters. But what I'm going to do today is I'm going to talk about three different things and we're going to dive into this. And hopefully what we can accomplish today is bringing your voice acting to life to really immerse the listener and in the end, win you more jobs.

OK. All right. So let's go ahead and start. Let's just dive into the first part here.

So the first part is the importance of using physicality in voice acting. Why is it important? What's the big deal? Well, as I was just saying, bringing your character to life to create a more immersive experience for your audience is more important today than ever before. I know that this session is about voice acting and the physicality and voice acting, but I can't do something without talking about AI right now and how it's definitely part of what we are all experiencing. And our jobs as performers is to be better than AI. Right? And I look at AI as a competitor. We need to be better actors. We need to tell better stories. We need to do more and be better than we've ever been before. And as voice actors, we have the capabilities to up our game tremendously through things like what I'm talking about today. So what are some of the things that we can do in voice acting to be physical? Well, these things can include gestures, facial expressions, body language right. That match the tone and emotions of the character's dialogue. All of these things we can add up to create a better performance. And like I said, an immersive performance. All right, so that's kind of like why it's important. And also, if you think about it, when we don't use physical actions, things that we do become stale.

Okay, we're going to talk later on about how we build in archetypes to our performances and how this can just help you leaps and bounds. But you might already have archetypes built into your performance, or you might already have precreated characters that you bring to life when you do a voiceover. And remember, when I say characters, I don't mean just for video games. I mean for everything, for commercial spots, for elearning their characters, all right? They are versions of yourself or versions of something that you've created from yourself, all right? But the idea here is that we want to be able to take those characters and those creations and turn them to even more than what they are.

Now, I want to talk to you about the next part here, which is techniques, something that I'm very passionate about, and we're going to talk about today as the basis for your ability to incorporate physicality into your voice acting, and that is pantomime. I've taught acting for a good part of my life now, and pantomime is always at the basis for everything that I teach.

Now, pantomime, if you don't know what it is, refers to the use of gestures, facial expressions, body language to convey a character's thoughts, their emotions and actions without the use of dialogue, right, of a spoken word. The idea of using pantomime is to share these expressions, these emotions, without you talking. Now, the joy of us marrying pantomime with voiceover is that we are physical beings. We have, throughout our lives, attached emotional states to physical movements.

So, for example, if you ever wanted to learn how to make yourself cry, look at the physical actions that you take when you cry or that you make right. You hunch over, okay? Your posture becomes enclosed. Your shoulder is hunched down. Your head hunches over. Your hands usually cover your face. Your body closes in. These are repeatable actions that can bring about emotional states or emotional expressions. That's our job, and that's what Panama can do for you. So, for example, something to think about when we're talking about Panama. You know what I mean? If I want to show, for example, crying by physically doing those things, I'm going to create an atmosphere with my body that it will trigger emotional memory from physical action. I want to show you.

So if I go ahead and I want you to listen to what I'm doing, and I'm going to try to narrate as I do it. So first I'm going to go ahead, and I'm going to change my posture, all right? Now my shoulders are hunched down. I'm changing posture. Now I'm going to change my head position. Now I'm going to try to do this with the microphone. I'm going to lower the microphone down. So now my posture is down. My shoulders are down, my head is over. All right, now I'm going to take my hands and I'm going to put them over my face. And again, I'm trying to keep the microphone and I'm just going to be here like this. Now this is just what's happening with my posture. All right? I'm going to stop doing that because I feel sad already doing it because that was the state I was putting myself in. Hopefully you could hear that in what I was doing just from the changes in my posture through pantomiming that and then me narrating through that pantomime. Okay?

Now right now what I'm doing is, and hopefully you can see this, I'm using my hands, I'm using my hands, I'm moving them around. I'm explaining. I'm almost pushing my actions forward through my hand gestures, right? And I'm just talking with my hands and you can hear it. It is incredible what we can do using pantomime. And then we add in while we're pantomiming our speech. Now to what end does pantomime help us? And I believe that. And we just got done doing mission audition, which was fantastic. We had some amazing auditions and we got into the talk about archetypes. And that's what I want to kind of discuss is the third part here is the benefit of incorporating physicality to build repeatable archetypes. All right?

So pantomime and practicing using pantomime with your voiceovers allows you to create repeatable archetypes that you can, on the drop of a dime, use to audition with, to perform with. Okay, so let's take a couple. So for example, the friendly Neighbor. Now you can name an archetype whatever way works best for you. There are some of course, common things, but these are your characters, okay? These are general characters that we as society or people relate to. You can call them stereotypes, whatever you want to call them, but they are characters that you can take and then build depth around them. So the friendly Neighbor, for example, starting off. So this is an archetype that we kind of characterizes what, being like warm, having like an inviting tone down to earth. We use this for all kinds of stuff, commercials, announcements.

And what is the point of it? The point of it is to build a sense of trust and reliability through pantomime. Okay? Through taking your posture and making it less aggressive, relaxed, not as forward, not as pushed, can create something that really brings a friendly type of feel to what you're doing. I'm kind of doing it right now. I've relaxed my body. I'm not hunching, but I'm just being normal everyday. I would say semipour posture, but just more of a friendly, non threatening. And I'm not even using anything else other than changing my posture.

You can see how now I'm changing my posture back again. I started using my hands and you can tell the difference in what happens when that occurs. All right, that's just one way. And that was just a quick show of how again, it can change with action. Now, another one is like the Smooth Operator. The every man or woman, the serious authority, a quirky storyteller. These are just a couple that I just put up for you to think about. How does like the Smooth Operator, they got a deep, rich tone, confident. They are probably used. I use mine for like luxury products or high end services if I'm doing commercials or explainer videos for those things. Sophistication elegance, all of these things can be built into you using pantomime to create your archetype. Now, something that I do, it's funny because I don't know why, but I almost put a shoulder like one of my shoulders forward, right? And I'll dip my head a little bit, but I'll put my eyes up and I'll begin to speak like this. I'm leaning forward, my arm is out. I'm expressing this confidence to you. My voice deepens as I push it to the back of my throat. I want you to buy this BMW, right? And that was from a pan to my movement where I'm pushing. And again, this is posture shifts, body shifts, hand and head and facial shifts that bring out an emotional response. So I know I'm unlimited time. This I think I'm probably over. So I don't even know if they're going to hopefully they don't got anything.

All right, I know I got to end it here, but I hope that this has been really helpful and give you an opportunity to start to explore, even at a bare minimum, the physical actions that you can take in order to bring about emotional responses, to give you specified archetypes, to add context when other people have nothing behind their performances. You have meat, you have substance, which then again generates an immersive experience for the audience and sets you apart from everybody else. That, my friends, is physical voice acting. You can do it. You can make it happen.

Listen, thank you guys so much. I really appreciate this opportunity and I've had a blast. I'd love for you guys. If you get a chance to check out a Vo's Journey Elite Academy, it's www. Dot AVO sjourney.com a Vo's journey, it's all one word. And check out our academy there. We have a couple of hundred students. We work on beginning acting, advanced acting, marketing, et cetera. All about helping you grow your voiceover business. An incredible community. And I want to thank Voices.com for allowing me to be here. And don't forget to subscribe to Voiceover Experts for more of these podcasts and to help you grow your career. You guys, well, listen, thanks for listening again, I really appreciate, appreciate it. I wish you the best and I'm excited to see you guys in the webinar. All right, talk to you later. Peace.

Geoff Bremner
Hi! I'm Geoff. I'm passionate about audio. Giving people the platform for their voice, music, or film to be heard is what gets me up in the morning. I love removing technical, logistical, and emotional barriers for my clients to allow their creative expression to be fully realized.
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