Pat Fraley recently taught a webinar called Pick Up Your Oscar: The Craft of Voice Over Acting. I sign up for just about everything Pat offers because I know I will learn great info that propels my career forward.
This webinar about acting was no exception. In fact, it was more useful to me than much of the voice-over training I have had! In publicizing the event, Pat wrote: “It’s not an MFA for 50 bucks, but it’s the only acting system created to meet the rapid rigors of the voice over world.” He further promised to teach how to:
- “Play Actions” not present emotions
- “Play the Subtext”
- “Raise The Stakes”
- Create “Motivated Contrast”
The big golden nugget for me was the fact that you can’t act an emotion. You have to think in terms of the ACTION VERB in order to bring the emotion to the text. You can “up the stakes” by finding a verb that has a different connotation or intensity.
After the webinar concluded, I found this fantastic book ACTIONS: The Actors’ Thesaurus at Amazon, and it already has been extremely useful in creating more evocative auditions.
The introduction offers this explanation:
If the actor plays a specific and real action on each sentence, then, even though the audience are unlikely to be able to identify the technique or the individual action, the work will be interesting and absolutely watchable because of its precision. Actioning enforces a specificity which can liberate the actor’s performance and ensure a cohesive integrated character with each moment leading naturally onto the next.
The book also provides an example of finding and using actions in analyzing a commercial script.
During the webinar, Pat coached several people through the process, and I could really hear the difference in their reads. You can order a copy of Pat’s webinar, along with a variety of other programs, at this link.