Some may think that training in voice-over is only useful for those interested in ADR, animation, and commercials. However, Heaven Macpherson, host of Dodge College’s recent Voice-Over Acting Workshop on December 3rd, proved that voice-over acting can be helpful and relevant across a variety of creative disciplines.
Having played recurring roles on FX’s Emmy Award winning hit series Archer and acted in feature films like Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) and Deep Water (2022), Macpherson infused her practical knowledge of the craft into an exciting, interactive 3 hour workshop for Dodge students and alumni. Attendees from various academic disciplines were taught how to voice lines from different content, like commercials, animation/live action dialogue, and walla (murmur and crowd noises). With Macpherson’s expert guidance, students practiced voicing commercials for popular shipping and tech companies and scenes from popular animated films.
Ella Landino, a sophomore BFA Animation and Visual Effects Major, attended the workshop to inform her future career as a Storyboard Artist. “With [this] career comes a lot of scratch voice acting, and sometimes the opportunity for real voice acting too, so I really wanted to learn more!” said Landino when asked how the workshop would help her career path.
One highlight of the workshop was when Macpherson let students practice with an excerpt from a popular animated film about a princess plagued by an evil queen. In the scene, the queen lets out her notorious evil laugh. “Use your whole body. [Use] your arms, hands, and torso to put your body into it,” instructed Macpherson. Those who read the lines aloud gave it their all, executing the lines and evil laughter perfectly while embracing their own unique interpretations of the character. “Take risks. It’s okay,” MacPherson said multiple times to participants throughout the event.
Ace Brown, a second-year TV Writing and Producing Graduate student, has dreamed of voicing a cartoon character since she was a kid. “I’ve never fully outgrown that dream. The most important thing I learned from Heaven was not to limit myself by what I can or can’t do. I never would have thought I could naturally bring my voice lower, but she showed me how to get there by being aware of my body when performing.”
There are many occasions, especially for Dodge students, where familiarity with voice-over is beneficial, even if you don’t see it as a future career. One student came to learn how to utilize voice-over for their company’s Instagram content, while another came to learn about the ADR process for an upcoming project.
Madison Meadows, a BFA Screen Acting Minor and a CCI Junior told us about how she felt after the workshop. “As a screen actress, I find voice-overs to be quite compelling. There are so many different characters that you can play in terms of variety and vocal range. I think if you’re shy and have an interest in acting, voice-over workshops would be a great place to start! It doesn’t matter how old you are, what you look like, or where you come from. It’s about what you can bring to the character from the experiences that you’ve gathered through your life journey.”
If you enjoyed reading what students thought about our voice-over workshop, keep an eye out for future Dodge Career Center workshops in Spring 2022!