20% off special

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20-off-rubber-stamp Sometimes it helps to have some extra incentive to try out a fresh voice or to go ahead and move forward on a project you have been considering doing.

So, I’m offering a 20% OFF special to ALL clients – new or old. Good now through December 31,2014. Please check my demos for samples.

Please call, text, or email to schedule a session. Oh, and as a reminder, I am always happy to do a free custom audition to ensure that you get the best voice for your project!

Get 20% OFF your next voice over project special going on now. Tweet This

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Pilates to care for your voice

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Breathing from your diaphragm is different than breathing from your chest, it uses your core and your belly pushes out as you exhale rather than your neck and doing all the work as your shoulders rise to your ears. There are many benefits to diaphragmatic breathing for your voice. First,  you can get out those marathon sentences with no commas, or periods that just keep going and going and going in one breath instead of having to go back and edit out a breath in the middle just to get through them 🙂 Diaphragmatic breathing is also great for relaxation, expelling even more carbon dioxide from our bodies, and is the way the body is designed to breathe.

Here is a quick video tutorial on how to breathe this way

It helps to have a strong core when breathing from your diaphragm and Pilates is one of the best ways to improve your core strength, particularly for vocal health. According to Cari Cole in 8 Ways to Improve Your Vocal Health,

“Pilates are better than abdominal crunches.

Six-pack abs are a hit at the beach, but not all toned abs are created equal. More often than not, people do abdominal crunches to strengthen their abs. While it may look good, it’s the exact opposite of what a singer needs to support a healthy voice. Short, contracted abdominal muscles can cause vocal problems because there is no room for the diaphragm (the muscle that supports the singing voice) to descend and it creates constriction in the throat muscles, which will not help you sing better. Pilates lengthens abdominal muscles while strengthening them, giving you support from your diaphragm while improving your vocal technique.”

Have you noticed a difference in your voice and endurance when using diaphragmatic breathing?

What does a strong core have to do with vocal health? Tweet This

10 ‘other’ benefits of working out for Voice and On-Camera Talent

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exercise-illustrationWe have all heard about working out to look good and help keep the flub at bay. I have found that there are many ‘other’ benefits of regular exercise for voice and on-camera talent, that don’t get much press, if any.

  1. Increases performance ability – cardio makes for a strong heart and lungs which make for increased performance when doing those marathon never ending voice over sentences that just keep going and going without any punctuation or pauses to allow you to catch your breath 😉
  2. Better range of motion so you can do more – working out keeps all of your muscles functioning at the peak including improved balance and flexibility. Sometimes on-camera work requires physical activity, voice-overs often do too. What a shame to lose a job or be miserable while doing it because your body isn’t able.
  3. Increased confidence – working out makes you feel better, feeling better makes you more comfortable, feeling more comfortable makes you more confident, and more confidence makes for a better performance.
  4. Stamina to go for those 10 – 12 hour days on set or in front of the mic – whether it is standing, moving, or sitting for long periods of time, your body can handle it like a pro because it is strong and flexible and ready to work for you instead of causing pain and slowing you down.
  5. Your voice performs better – when your core is strong, both front and back, your muscles are prepped and ready to work for you not against you. Especially in voice-over work where we breathe with our stomach not our chest, having a strong core is key.
  6. You feel good – you are in a better mood and more relaxed, so it becomes easy to ‘smile’ as you read voice-overs for hours on end, you don’t have to force yourself to do it.
  7. More energy – working out increases energy rather than depleting it, I don’t know the science behind it, but I know it is true!
  8. Better health over the long haul – better health means better quality of life which means you can keep working and enjoy life longer.
  9. You ‘need’ less or no caffeine for energy – after tapping into your real energy you don’t ‘need’ as much or any fake energy. Caffeine negatively impacts your vocal performance and your skin’s appearance, so the less you consume the better.
  10. Last, but not least, it definitely never hurts to look your best especially for those on-camera jobs 😉

What benefits have you noticed from exercise that help your voice and on-camera work?

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Not your usual list of the benefits of working out for voice and on-camera talent. Tweet This

How singing improves voice-over performance

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Lately, I have been increasingly doing longer sessions and am reminded that much like runners can sprint at a speed they can’t maintain for a marathon, I can’t do everything with my voice during a long read that I can for a :60 sec spot.

I’ve started actually doing the warm-ups that I’ve always been told I needed to do, instead of just the :30 sec warm-ups I had been doing. (Imagine that, my teachers were right! :)) One of the things I’ve found that I most enjoy and is the most effective, is to sing.

Now, I’ve always been told that I can not sing. I went to School for Creative and Performing Arts where we are tested in several categories; signing, art, music, dance, acting, writing, and tech theatre. Your score in each discipline determines if you can take it as a major, a minor, or you can’t take it at all. I didn’t score well enough to even take singing classes 😦

But, I love singing and have always wanted to be able to do to it. So, a few years ago, when I shared a house with an incredible singer in Nashville, I began to imitate her warm-ups and started practicing singing, even asking her questions about where I should feel notes in my body etc. I also began to notice a change in my voice over work and realized they have a symbiotic relationship. As in my singing helps me to do a better performance with voice overs and voice overs help me to sing better.

I’ve begun to add some vocal warm-ups for singers into my warm-up mix and not only do I enjoy them, but they are making quite a difference when it comes to long sessions. To make the most of these exercises I needed to find out what my range is, and for someone who doesn’t even sing Happy Birthday at parties, I had no idea? That’s where this handy video comes into play.

Turns out I’m an alto, with a large range, which must be why I like to sing along to Fleetwood Mac!

For me, the difference between the voice over warm-ups and singing warm-ups is that while they are both GOOD :0 The singing warm-ups help condition my voice to perform for an extended period of time. It is a deeper work-out for my voice. Whereas a voice over warm-up like a tongue twister is a just before you get in front of the mic, last min work-out. Both are necessary when doing long form narration and I’m grateful that I get the results I need from singing warm-ups.

Oh and BTW – not one but two strangers have complimented me on my singing lately – ha! 😉

What kind of warm-ups do you do and why?

Does singing improve your voice-over performance? Tweet this

 

Thank you Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

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Thank you to Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for asking me to share about how important audiobooks are from my perspective, as both a writer (check out my historical fiction book here) and as voice over talent. You can listen to samples in my demos tab here. GPaxVoxcrop1 GPaxVoxcrop2

You can also connect with Lighthouse Publishing, get your free audio book, and see it live here.

Where do you like to listen to audio books?

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Where do you listen to audiobooks?  Tweet this

Movement and Voice

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One of my greatest challenges in acting is overcoming the many obstacles between my voice and body moving as one. I may nail the lines but then forget what I did physically, or make some great facial expression but botch the line. (Even though my voice over work is not on camera, I also do a good bit of on camera work, check out Discovery ID, TV 1, and DIY). These things matter because we want to give our best and we often have to re-create what we just did so the camera can get it from a different angle. Sometimes though the voice and body are both out of sync together because they are both so closely connected, we move when we communicate, even if it is just our face, and usually it is much more. Many don’t realize how physically demanding some voice over work is. Check out Robin Williams (skip to about 6:30)

I recently had the pleasure of continuing my acting training with the New York Studio out of Asheville, NC. I did the Movement and Voice class described as, ‘physical training for the organic actor,’ this class combines these four methods to provide the actor with physical freedom, emotional openness, and release. This work pinpoints and dissolves physical and vocal blocks in the body, which inhibit the actor’s ability to freely process their ongoing experience.  Actors will develop and expand their natural movement impulses and vocabulary beyond what is habitual to develop a deeper, more vulnerable connection with themselves, their environment, and other actors.”

It is fascinating how many blocks we can have, and how small they can be. Even a toe can hold tension and our ‘self’ which then will come out in the character. The goal is to be so free of yourself that you can truly embody the character. We did some wonderful exercises in breaking through those blocks and I not only learned a lot how our voice and body connect but I also got to apply what I learned. Big high 5 for the class and my instructor Richard. I’m looking forward to learning more with them!

MIDWAY FILM – less is more

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Poignant, Striking, Captivating

There are so many things I love about voice overs; telling stories that need to be told, helping others make their dream a reality, combining video, music, and words to portray something greater than any of them alone could do.

This video is an excellent example of how sometimes, less is more, and the ever important – especially in the world of writing and media – show don’t tell. There isn’t a word spoken until almost 2 and half minutes in, and then only a few sentences.

The videography is exquisite, even if it is hard to watch at times.

The music ebbs and flows with the images – changing in tone to perfectly convey the emotion felt as you see the images.

The point of the short film is clearly made. I am now painfully aware of where many bottle caps and pieces of garbage that aren’t recycled or even thrown away end up.

Beyond this being a magnificently produced short film example – I of course also hope everyone that sees this is propelled to take action in whatever way they can. Spread the word about the film, stop buying so many things made from non-degradable plastic, stop littering, start recycling, clean the beach if you live near one. Clean up where ever you are! Show this to kids, neighbors, and co-workers, blog about it, get creative and make things or re-purpose things that you can use from your garbage, get a water filter and stop buying bottled water, stop drinking soda, go make your own movie…

For more info http://www.midwayfilm.com/ and http://www.MidwayJourney.com/

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