Improving Your Improv


    Ever wondered what kind of a role improv plays in voice acting? Being able to think on your feet will be required of you often, especially when working in animation voice over. Marc Graue shares ways you can experiment with your voice and visualize exactly where you are going to help you book a role.

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    Transcript of Podcast

    Julia-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voice Over Experts brought to you by, the number one voiceover marketplace. Voice Over Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom, and techniques from top instructors, authors, and performers in the field of voiceover. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voiceover talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and at your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else.
    This week, is pleased to present Marc Graue.
    Marc Graue: Hi, everybody. This is Marc Graue from Marc Graue Voice Over Studios in the metropolis of Burbank, California. Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about improv skills and those will definitely come into play for you as a voiceover artist. Animation especially, a lot of the time, they will have you do the scrip verbatim and then they will have you do a version where you can adlib and kind of bring to the party your sense and style and interpretation of the copy. A wonderful example of that is Tom Kenny doing Sponge Bob. Tom, of course, added the wonderful Sponge Bob laugh that now becomes central to that character.
    In that vein, you need to be able to think on your feet and once again, that involves improv skills. Now, a lot of people will say, ah, why improv, I mean that’s kind of weird, I mean I’ve never really done that and it feels kind of strange. If you’ve ever called the boss and fed him a line as to why you were late for work, that’s improv. And if he believed it, that’s good improve. So again, thinking on your feet will definitely come into play.
    Let’s say you went on an audition and they wanted a street rat. So all of a sudden, everybody’s doing a voice like this, I think that’s great. Now, let’s add a couple of pounds to the guy so let’s get the guy really big so now all of a sudden he’s doing this. And somebody goes, no, no, let’s make him stupid so now– now you got to make him, um, like a–like a, um, because he’s a-a stupid rat. Let’s now make him the boss rat so let’s get the voice down like this because now the guy is the boss rat and if you mess with me, I’m going to pull your tail out of the socket, do we understand each other? That’s improv. It’s very much thinking on your feet and each one of those, you’re visualizing exactly where you are going.
    One of the exercises you can use at home that will really, really hone your skills is to sit around the table with inanimate objects and have them converse with each other. Another exercise that will work very, very well for you is to grab a piece of copy and progressively make it angry, make it old, make it young, give it a dialect, make it French, make it English, but do it very, very rapid fire. And each time you do that, you will have a visual image of the character that you are doing. This will help you immensely during the session to slide into whatever it is the casting director is looking for.
    Something else you can do at home is rent old movies. If you want to learn how to do a Russian accent, rent an old James Bond film, you know, perfect Q’s voice as far as an English dialect. Each one of those will really, really help you hone your skills as a voice actor, and that in turn is what is going to set you apart during the audition process and that’s what’s going to book you the job.
    Julia-Ann Dean: Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this podcast, visit the Voice Over Experts show notes at Remember to stay subscribed. If you’re a first time listener, you can subscribe for free to this podcast in the Apple iTunes podcast directory or by visiting To start your voiceover career online, go to and register for a voice talent membership today.


    Marc Graue, Burbank, Voice Over Studios,, Auditioning, Improv, Acting, Producers, Recording Engineers, Voice Actors,

    Links from today’s show:

    Marc Graue Voice Over Recording Studios

    Your Instructor this week:

    Voice Over Expert Marc Graue
    Marc GraueMarc Graue is the owner of the legendary Marc Graue Voice Over Studios, a Burbank California landmark for more than 25 years. His client list reads like a who’s who of the voice over business including the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, HBO, Disney, Warner Bros., Dreamworks, Showtime, MTV, Discovery Channel, ABC, CBS, NBC, HGTV, Activision, Electronic Arts, THQ and many more can be found in the studios daily. As a producer, Marc’s voice over demo clients include: EG Daily (Rugrats / Babe), Yeardley Smith (The Simpsons), John Dimaggio (Futurama / Kim Possible), Randy Thomas (Academy Awards / Entertainment Tonight), Brian Baumgartner (The Office) and 100s more!
    As a voice over artist Marc has been represented by William-Morris in Beverly Hills for the last 12 years and can be heard on Avatar-The Last Air Bender, Veggie Tales, Code Name: Kids Next Door, Warcraft, Spiderman 3 the Video Game, Ratchett & Clank, GUN, Gothic 3 and on countless trailers and promos.

    Enjoyed Marc’s episode? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

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    Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.



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