Debating the Signature Voice
Join Voice Over Expert Cynthia SongÃ© in her lecture “Debating the Signature Voice.” Your personality is a passport to individuality — the individuality that is at the very core of your performance and the energy that people will respond to. You will have different emotional responses for every project, but you have to know who you are and trust yourself to break free from the limitations that may be imposed by having only one “signature” voice.
Cynthia SongÃ©, Signature Voice, Voice Actors, Susan Blu, Voice Overs, Voice Acting
Transcript of Debating the Signature Voice
Julie-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voiceover Experts brought to you by Voices.com, the number one voiceover marketplace. Voiceover 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 your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else.
This week, Voices.com is pleased to present Cynthia SongÃ¨.
Cynthia SongÃ¨: I recently was working with an actor whose commercial and animation demo I’m producing and he said, “Cyn, you know, I know who I’m talking to when I do my characters. I know who they are. But who am I in these commercials spots?” He said, “I’ve listened to so many commercial reels that I’ve heard posted to see if I can figure out who my voice is. I think I’m suppose dto have a brand, you know, a signature.” and I’m starting to hear this a lot from the actors.
Personally to me, that’s just too limiting of a concept because we all are multifaceted in our attitudes and emotions and of course how we exhibit them differently depending upon who we’re talking to and certainly what we’re talking about. As actors, particularly voice actors, we have the ability and the technique to call upon them out honestly. That’s our job. If I’m talking to someone about a great hamburger that I just had at a big fast-food chain, my delivery will be enthusiastic with some energy and some excitement as I recall the delicious taste and the pleasure button that it pushed, “Hey, I just had this great hamburger. You’ve got to try it. It’s got extra cheese and extra lettuce and they may even add a little bacon if you want.” And of course if I’m describing an elegant and beautiful qualities of a De Beers diamond it will have a totally different feel. Which one is me? Well, both and everything in between.
Similarly, who I’m talking to will be altered. Am I describing the diamond to my best friend as I’m excited by receiving it as a present? “You won’t believe this gorgeous diamond he gave me,” or am I describing to someone who I’m having a romantic relationship with that maybe gave it to me as a gift, “Oh, thank you for this gorgeous diamond. It’s beautiful.” Again both are real and authentic and that’s what our job is as voice actors, reading, giving the illusion that we’re not reading as Susan Blu says and being authentically our selves in the doing of it.
Our personality is our passport to our individuality and that is what casting directors, producers, clients and the target market is responding to. We can all read the very same piece of copy and follow the specs to a (T). What will make your read different than mine is that it’s you and in being you, you will have different emotional responses rather than just one emotion or attitude or sound for whatever you read. Of course, it’s very important to know who we really are and not try to be someone we’re not but not at the sake of pigeonholing ourselves with limitations.
When I hear demos with lots of variety and great reads, I’m not going to say, “Gee, I wish they had less range.” No, we must honor who we are, all of who we are and know that everyday that we wake up, we’re that much more. As voice actors we learn how to navigate these feelings and emotions and combine them with our heart and our soul. So, know that who you are is enough but be sure to be all of who you are.
Julie-Ann Dean: Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com podcast, visit the Voiceover Experts show notes at Podcasts.Voices.com/VoiceoverExperts. Remember to stay subscribed.
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Cynthia SongÃ© grew up in Southern California and graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Theater Arts. She is an accomplished actor, voice actor, voice-over teacher, casting director, and demo producer who loves teaching, her students, the sound of the ocean, watching her “kids” grow up, and her four-legged furry creatures. She calls the Central Coast of California home.
Cynthia has voiced numerous animation characters as well as commercials including such nationals as Mercury Sable, Sizzler, and Nationwide Insurance Campaigns. She has also appeared on television and in feature film roles as an on-camera actress as well as theatrical roles. She is a long standing member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre and a recipient of the Hugh O’Brian Acting Award. Cynthia works with Susan Blu at Blupka Productions as a voice over instructor and casting director. Together, Susan and Cynthia have co-authored “Word of Mouth, A Guide to VoiceOver Excellence, Vol. 3â€³.