Voiceovers by Gregory Houser
A man, a martini, and a lot of microphones.: VOICE 2010, Day 1 (Part 1)

Friday, June 4, 2010

VOICE 2010, Day 1 (Part 1)

Managed to have a slightly saner wakeup call this morning (6:15AM), which was a most pleasant change from the day before. Got a quick breakfast, showered, shaved, and ready for the day’s activities. First off was the introductory speech by James and Penny, which was similar to what was at VOICE 2008, but thankfully the issues which kept the keynote speaker from appearing did not occur this time.

This year, the opening speaker for VOICE was none other than Pat Fraley. If you haven’t worked with, trained with, or seen a presentation from Pat, then you’re missing out. Without a doubt, Pat is one of the nicest guys in the business, and one most well respected (the man is a VO machine; just check out his imdb page... it's nothing short of astounding). For VOICE he didn’t disappoint, but then again he never does…

Pat opened the convention with the premise of voiceover comedy. As voice over folks, we often bring comedy into what we do, but how often do we actually think about the comedy within the copy? Not as often as you might think. To do this, Pat started to cast for a spot that he wanted to use to kick off the show. He asked for what was nothing less than an unusual character (gruff, Jewish, and 6’9”). If that sounds a bit off, you’re 100% right, but that’s because Pat was setting us all up for his co-host, who was none other than Brad Garrett… hey, I told you that Pat never disappoints.

What followed was one of the most riotous panels I’ve ever seen in my life. Pat and Brad riffed on pretty much everyone and everything, and frankly, this event was worth the cost of admission alone (for me at least). As Pat, Brad, and a host of volunteers demonstrated throughout the 90+ minute panel, there are a multitude of ways to raise the stakes of the copy to the point of hilarity, and still get the message across. All too often, I think these are things which get overlooked (or can be) in the morass of the process. It reminded me a LOT of improvisation, and the things I’d learned during my time training with the People’s Improv Theatre in NYC.

I'm trying my best not to give anyone eye strain from all the stuff that occurred at VOICE 2010, so I've been breaking these up as best possible. I'll have the second half of the the first day of VOICE 2010 up later tonight.


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