Voice-Over / Acting – Wonders of the Voice Workshops by Ms Noella from voice4ads.com

And so I came across this Wonders of the Voice Workshop series in one of the Facebook groups I’m in. This piqued my interest as I thought that the voice-over / acting industry here in Singapore isn’t that prominent as compared to United States and Japan, especially since I’m a big fan of Japanese animated series and films. Thus, I was surprised to see something related locally and clicked on it.

As I’ve just mentioned, being almost obsessed with Japanese animated shows was a huge contributing factor as to why I decided to go for these workshops in the end – I’m rather familiar with many of the Japanese voice actors / actresses (they call them seiyuu, or 声優). Used to boast to my friends about being able to identify the voice actor just by hearing a character’s voice in a series – only because some of the voice actors have really distinct voices. It’s like fingerprinting, if you want to put that figuratively. Goes to show how many shows I’ve watched also HAHA.

Anyways, I was really curious to know more about what goes on behind the scenes, how it’s like in this industry, and how voice actors go about doing their jobs. It seemed to me that this workshop series is one of its kind – at least in Singapore, so it really appealed to me. These workshops definitely aren’t for free, but I thought of them as a good investment for me in terms of personal development. Furthermore, it also matches my current goal of wanting to experience as many different industries as possible before I graduate.

Initially signed up for the sessions that the facilitator, Ms Noella, opened in July. However, due to insufficient numbers in the end, it was postponed to August. But since the new semester had only just started for me then, I didn’t really mind. So now, let me share about some of the activities we did during both the Beginner and the Advanced sessions. As usual, it’s mostly just pictures and captions HAHA.

Beginners’ Guide (20th August)

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Mimicking character voices of popular western animated films: Khairul and Elaine attempting the voices of Hiro and Baymax from Big Hero 6 respectively.

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After that, we split into pairs for this activity of Group Character Building, where we had to come up with a script meant for two people and act out the characters in it.

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Execution of the Group Character Building activity

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Next, we formed groups for this activity where we were given a particular keyword. We had to use this keyword to create a jingle – a catchy song to be used in an advertisement, meant to make the audience remember a brand or its products. For example, everyone would probably know Pizza Hut’s delivery hotline due to its singsong tagline.

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My group was given the keyword ‘Pingpong’. All of us were at a total loss while brainstorming HAHA. But we somehow managed to pull it off with Khairul and I doing the main singing of the jingle, Lowell doing the instrumental sound effects and announcing the details of the brand or the product or whatever it was that we were promoting right after, with Harlim beatboxing all the while before finishing our mini performance off with a tagline.

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Subsequent activity was dubbing / lip-syncing, where one of each pair had to mouth the lines and perform much exaggerated actions – with the other actually doing the voice.

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Following that, the activity was one of which where one participant goes to the front of the room. While he / she closes his / her eyes, any one other person at the back of the room disguises their voice and says something. The participant at the front of the room has to then correctly guess who it is. Meant to gauge whether one manages to pull-off not sounding like himself at all.

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Did I mention that there was lunch?

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Group photo at the end of the session

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終わった!Individual completion shot with the facilitator – Ms Noella.

Advanced Guide (27 August)

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So basically the advanced session focuses more on how to put ourselves out into the market as well as to maintain relationships with clients. What to do, what not to do and such. The beginners’ guide is technique-based, where you learn how to make your voice sound totally unlike your usual. It is also when you can find out whether your voice is more suited for narrations, acting and so on. Not only that, but how to make yourself sound of a higher or a lower pitch without straining or endangering your vocal chords.

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Okay so the main highlight of the advanced session is the demo reel recording. Each of us had to prepare four excerpts of different genres (commercial, narration, radio, public service announcement and character acting etc) in English beforehand. Besides that, we could also go multilingual and prepare extracts in other languages to record as well. I definitely didn’t let go of the opportunity to do so, especially when you get to use microphones and pop filters as if in a real recording studio. Furthermore, with Ms Noella giving out pointers in real-time throughout the recordings – when else would one be able to receive professional advice on the spot?
As a result, I prepared a narration in Chinese and a character acting script in Japanese. Had to challenge myself there as I haven’t obtained the native level (in other words, nirvana for Japanese yet or so I’d like to think – suddenly remembered my j2 economics teacher’s favourite phrase and had to use it here HAHA). And yeah I acted as a tsundere character – initially wanted to do a yandere one but there was difficulty in trying to deliver the lines as smoothly due to the choice of words in the script. If you’ve no idea what all these tsundere yandere business being sprouted about are, Google is your best friend. But hope I managed to pull-off the character at least decently enough.
Told my good friend about this afterwards and he totally scoffed upon hearing this. He tried to coverup later by saying that character acting suited me (apparently I entertained many people besides him in the past with my reactions and just how I carried myself really – glad to be of such personal service to my friends yeah thanks a lot la HAHA sometimes I wonder if I’m better off being a comedian).

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終了!It was nice getting to know people from all other walks of life. And not forgetting Ms Noella, who shared with us her personal experience in the voice artiste industry. An immensely talented yet humble individual – still couldn’t forget how during the the first session she gave us a live demonstration of an evil witch and I almost launched myself out of the chair in shock – totally didn’t see that coming. Thankful for her patience and guidance throughout these two sessions as well. More importantly, I’m personally satisfied that I got to learn about something totally new to me – whether or not I decide to take a further step in this industry in the near future.

Looking for something unique? Why not make exciting discoveries about your own voice and realising your capabilities in this field? With Ms Noella’s Wonders of the Voice workshop series, you could well have taken your very first step to become the next internationally-renowned movie trailer voice. I mean – who knows if you won’t try? As long as you have the passion, step forward! Do check out Ms Noella’s website and Facebook for more details on her workshops.

Photo Credits to Ms Noella.

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