One of the things that separates a voiceover actor from a theater or film actor is memorization. In VO, we don’t have to memorize. While both are “acting,” the techniques are different. And one of the reasons why not all good stage or film actors can make the transition to VO. And vice versa.
I love the fact that I don’t have to memorize. It goes in my eyeballs, rolls around in my brain for a little while, out my mouth and then it is gone. Sometimes I can’t even tell you what I did yesterday!
When I was doing on-camera work as a spokesperson, I used teleprompter or ear-prompter, so I wasn’t memorizing either.
But a dozen or so years ago, I auditioned for a live “radio show” that was going to be done on stage. After the run, I had been bitten by the “acting” bug. It was wonderful to actually feel the the audience. As a voice talent, I do so much of my work alone in my studio with no one listening. You don’t hear people laugh, clap, hoot, or cough – or hearing aides squeal. The closest you come in VO is being in a studio or ISDN session. There at least you get response and interaction.
So, after the run of the “radio play,” I auditioned for a show that consisted of several short plays. I was cast in two of them and suddenly had to memorize!
And so I did. And that play led to another and another and another. Right now I am in the last two weeks of rehearsal before “Vanished” opens here in San Diego.
My techniques for memorizing have advanced over the years as I incorporated some of my voiceover tools to help. I record my scenes reading all the parts. Then I silence all my parts and save the scenes as separate files. I save all of the files on a CD or in my phone and listen and talk back as I go about my daily tasks. As I learn the lines, I test myself by listening only to the tracks without my lines. If I hesitate, then I can go back to the tracks with my lines and remind myself of what the playwright actually wrote.
So, as we go into the last two weeks of rehearsal, I only have a couple of little spots where the right words are not flowing, but I know where they are.
And the ability to memorize can be incorporated into my voiceover business. There are times when just a little bit of memorizing can help you get off the page and bring a little bit more you to the project.