Episode 139 April 7, 2014 Voice Acting Masters Round Table


Episode 139, April 7, 2014

Voice Acting Masters Roundtable

Guests: Elley-Ray, Marc Cashman, Randye Kaye and Elaine Clark

To get into the chat room: at EWABS website click on “chat now.”

0:03:30 Skype TX coming someday. 

0:05:00 Guest introductions. 

0:08:00 First topic: Voice Over Styles 

Elaine: Every city/ad agency has a different feel. 

Elley-Ray: Actors forget we’re in a dialogue and to naturally respond (not displaying, 

dictating or announcing).

Randye is having bandwidth problems.

0:11:20 Changing styles isn’t easy. It seems people who are “just me” do well.

Elaine: the more real it is, the more you have to become part of it. For some it becomes 

more about them. The listener should feel and take action. Your delivery will depend 

on how close you are to the mic.

Elley-Ray: we perform by ourselves, but really we’re part of a team. We forget it’s not a 

singular enterprise. We can’t just grab the ball for ourselves.

Elaine: We have to know our job. Sometimes our character personifies the problem, not 

the solution. We have to understand our role.

The “classic announcer” is now more of a caricature. 

Randye says the announcer still works but before a group. VO actors have to have a 

point of view, we’re not neutral newscasters. That’s new in the last few decades. We 

have to know what we feel and what we want the audience to feel. There’s still a place 

for the “engaged announcer read.”

0:16:30 Dan asks how the number of VO actors these days affects what we do.

Elley: adapt and change. For her, time in the biz gives her confidence. For newbees, 

don’t get locked into what you may think is your “safety net.” Things will come full circle. 

Bend with the times.

Elaine: technologically things have changed, but our core is technically based. In the 

late 90s there was so much “attitude” and youth orientation, followed by 9/11 which led 

to heart-felt, deeper. Then with aging baby boomers, now we need 50+ VO. Attitudes 

and styles of writing change, but techniques stay the same.

Elley: Women’s roles have changed from airheads to professions. We’re now more 

conscious about who and how we voice.

0:20:30 Dan asks how do you do it differently?

Elaine: there’s only one YOU, complete with opinions and visualizations. Bring your 

personality to it. 

Elley: we read left to right and get stuck on punctuation. She advocates dumping the 

punctuation. Change pitch speed and play with elongating prepositions. “Not read.” 

Discovery point in a sentence—how do you discover a response. When it’s written 

down, screw with pitch, speed, rhythm, volumes. Play with those things. Take risks, 

put your opinion and put in emotional truth.

Elaine: coaches’ jobs is to put as much as we can in students’ bags of tricks. Change in 

reading copy (after 5 seconds of the same, the client is gone).

0:26:20 Break

0:28:49 They’re back.

0:30:00 Marc Cashman joins via Skype and George sorts it out. 

0:32:00 Dan talks about a script he got today with confusing direction. And then he got 

copy written for what they say they don’t want. How do you get through this?

Dan reads the copy and asked the group to respond.

Randye said it’s difficult to coach since Dan’s read in his “see what this is” mode.

This doesn’t say if it’s for radio or TV. 

Elley: There’s a humility needed that if you know too much, you can sound slick.

Elaine: read it again as a TV commercial.

Take 2.

Dan reads again. Loses the script. 

Take 3.

Coaches reply.

Elaine: you have to imagine when you see the word “imagine.” It implies a storyteller 

style. The copy divides into three parts. Boil it down to a simplistic style. Turn the 

paper over and tell her a story about the script is about, in your own words in whatever 

time you want.

0:40:36 Dan does that and Elaine asks “why does that matter?” She talks about 

personalizing the message so that Dan can care about it. Elley: wrote down the word 

“imagine” – that’s the selling point while you’re selling transit. You have to be sure that 

when you get to that (transit) that we know it. Elley would have Dan do it in gibberish to 

express emotion of the words.

0:43:45 Marc Cashman arrives. Elley has to leave and come back to reestablish 


0:45:00 Randye adds her thoughts—she heard Dan judging the copy as he read 

it. The copy didn’t suit his personality. He got more relaxed as he got further into it. 

He got a little Dr. Seuss when not connected to the copy. Each “imagine” is another 

chance to connect to the listener. Figure out whatever personal connection you can find 

and have a point of view either of you or the character you’ve playing. 

Take 4.


Responses at 0:49:24.

Marc—initial take, Dan forgot to breathe. Breathe to the end of your phrases. He also 

thought it was a little too intimate. He thought Dan pulled back his personality too 

much. Ignore the direction and be yourself. Also, Marc didn’t hear a smile.

Randye says Dan was reacting to coaching from take 1-on. She thinks there are 

moments in the script that need intimacy, but he didn’t change with the story. She liked 

that Dan took the risk. Elley urged Dan to change rhythm. He lost emotional truth while 

making a good change away from take 1 read.

0:53:45 Dan said he chose this copy with four coaches because he knew what would 

happen. Elaine points out that there’s an arc to the story, from personal to global. Marc 

said that there needs to be a build. Marc asked him to go back to Take 1 more.

Take 5.


Marc reacts at 0:57:00 and says take the “sell” out and to emphasize “transit.” Elaine 

says there’s an “In a World” facet to this piece. Too stiff on the numbers. Marc 

suggests relaxing on the number to fourteen-forty, for example.


Dan tries to corral the discussion. 

0:59:37 Break

1:01:00 They’re back. 

Time for questions from the chat room.


Q What’s the definition of conversational reads?

A Elaine-having a dialogue with the listener, reacting with in-between-the-lines talk, 


Elley—authentic responding with mental, physical, & spiritual action in the voice.

Randye—to add on, conversational doesn’t always mean casual. It means “natural for 

the situation.” Figure out the situation and decide what suits the copy. A thought is a 

breath and a breath is a thought. We use sounds and tempo changes to emphasize as 

opposed to mechanical reading.

Marc—the way we talk we sometimes stutter, stammer, we never talk in a rhythm, but 

do talk in a cadence. Depending on the copy you can enhance with “glue” phrases 

like “so,” “you know,” and so on, to enhance the “flavor.” Don’t read as if in stone. 

The actors who bring more to the table than just the copy are the best to work with. 

Sometimes you have to add a little bit to the copy; this isn’t suitable for every piece of 

copy. George added that the higher the pay, the less suitable it may be to add to the 



Q Are men still dominating the industry?

A Yes

Elley: Example, MacDonald’s ad to lipsynch a hen clucking—job went to a man. 

Randye--P.S. It depends on the field. Lifetime Network is nearly all female. Elaine: 

there are more women. VO reflects society. Thirty years ago only 10% female. Now 



Q Do you feel union is overrated, should new actors stay non-union.

A Sticky question. Elaine: we need the union to establish standards and rate of 

pay. It’s there when people are ready for it. Marc it’s nice for somebody to establish 

minimum scale. His concern is that union doesn’t go after companies for residuals. He 

hears about VO’s getting screwed. 


Q Is there an upsteak trend?

A Use sparingly. Marc says uptalk is viral. It’s part of the venacular. You should 

control it and use it when you want, not let it control you. Marc said 30-40% of 

commercials have it.

Elaine: Uptalk makes it hard to edit video. It sounds insecure. 


Q My voice changes morning to evening. How should I deal with that?

A Elaine pick a time and record consistently at that time. Record yourself throughout 

the day and listen to changes. Elley: warm up if you need to record first thing. Work at 

your optimum. Discussion about voice care follows. 

1:20:30 Randye talks about singing exercises helping her. Warm up with easy vocal 

exercises, drink a lot of water. Your mouth gets tired. Take breaks, massage your jaw. 

Singing and tongue twister exercises are good. 

Elley talks about soft palate exercise where you yawn. She also puts ice packs on her 

throat to reduce swelling.

1:23:19 Break

1:24:15 They’re back. Time to talk about Harlan Hogan products. Voice Over 



Q What is the difference between “east flavor” of coaching and “west flavor” of 


A Elley-Ray each uses different language, but they all come from the same place. 

They know what truth and response is, that there are no monologues, just dialogues. 

Elaine: we all possess good ears so students can hear what needs to be fixed. Marc 

figures that because of the internet, there’s no north-south-east-west anymore. 

1:31:30 Cumbayá breaks out.

1:33:00 Announcements. Thanks to donors. Spread the word.

Third Anniversary Show is on April 21. 

Next week: Dark. No show. 

Thanks to support staff and wives.

This week, George will be at NAB in Las Vegas and at the Vegas Voicers workout on 4/


1:36:49 End of show.