Improv Helps You Connect With Your Listener and More

July 16, 2008 by: Tracy Pattin

The other night I was at Bill Applebaum’s Improv Class at Compost Productions in North Hollywood. I wanted to experience just how improv can help the voice actor. Improv and voice acting isn’t mentioned a lot. Maybe it’s because VO is so specific; analyzing & reading copy, mic technique etc. But there is room in the booth for this unique skill.

We started the class doing warm-ups by walking around the room making eye contact, then Bill added emotions and physicality like “now you’re really cold, you’re hot and sweaty.” The purpose? Connecting. Okay, there is a connection to voice over here. As voice talent we must be able to connect with another voice actor in dialogue spots, that’s obvious, but we also need to connect through that microphone to the listener, and that starts with us. But it’s got to be organic. Hence the improv warm-up we did.

Then we moved into stream of consciousness exercises. We were given a place or object and we had to run with it, speaking off-the-cuff, allowing whatever came into our mind. Another connection to voice over. When you’re in the booth, needing ideas for your read, this ability to trust your instincts could come in handy. It was my turn, and I was a little scared. What if I couldn’t think of anything? Ah ha! Just the point. Turns out this experience was one of those Ah ha! moments.

Check in tomorrow’s Voice Registry blog to find out what happens.

-Tracy Pattin

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