Creating my Animation Reel
In this blog, we're going to talk through the process of how I created my animation reel, with the wizard that is Nick Clinch from Notable voices.
Creating an animation reel had long been on my list of to-dos, and last year, after some much-needed coaching sessions with Nick at Notable Voices, (who I entrust with recording all my demos) we built a vast array of characters that showcased perfectly my animation abilities, and of course, my hopes and dreams to voice more animation characters.
First things first, Nick and I talked about the kind of characters I wanted to voice, and what we thought was within my range. Turns out I wanted to do all the typical stuff (old wizard, high-pitched witch, stupid ogre), and let's face it, that isn't helpful when there are so many talented and wonderful voice actors out there. So we began the process of finding out what characters were within me.
To do this, we started with some quick-fire scripts, to see how I responded, and what characters naturally came about. Then, we moved on to more specific character work,
between our first and second sessions Nick asked me to create a list of animals and give them each a voice. This exercise was incredibly helpful, because the physical characteristics and the animal archetypes that we have in our mind, helped to bring out those character voices.
While practicing the characters, I realised just how much physicality, as well as vocal dexterity, you sometimes need to bring them to life. Not to mention skill in finding the places in your voice where you can push it to extremes or its limits while being able to maintain it. There isn't much point in creating a voice for a character that you aren't able to sustain.
So, we've got some characters that are starting to be fleshed out, we have some ideas of where we can go, the next step...was to look at other animation characters in the same archetypes, and see how we can build on that, but also create lives for our own characters.
One thing I've learned in voiceover is that although there are many, many (many) talented individuals out there, no one is going to create the exact same character as me, not with the same history, the same posture, or the same vocal tone. So under Nick's instruction, I put together background sheets for all the characters, to give them as much depth and realness as possible.
Then we took the voices we had already workshopped and nailed them down so I knew exactly how to bring them to life, to keep them consistent and how to re-create them at a later date.
With the recording date looming, it was then time to put together some scripts. So I took each character and put them into the situations we had workshopped, and some of them into brand new ones.
After I'd put forward some script ideas, Nick fleshed out, refined, and completed the scripts, and with a little more practice on my end, we were all ready to get into the recording booth.
And then of course, something interesting happened, both Nick and I were ill on two separate occasions, when we were supposed to originally record the reel, and then again on the rebooked date. The reason this was interesting, was because it gave me time away from the characters, time for them to develop more, and then time for me to come back at them with full force.
So by the time, we got into the booth needless to say I was rearing to go! The recording process was a joy because Nick always allows room to experiment. We'd left a little bit of wiggle room for some characters, and this resulted in being able to go even further with them. There was also a character that didn't end up feeling as good as the others, so on the spot, we tried different things, and out emerged a new fully fleshed-out character in the shape of a sarcastic teenage superhero. This is a testament to a good demo producer creating an environment for you where you can really explore and experiment.
And there we have it, my animation reel created by Notable Voices.
Thanks for reading, and if you're thinking of creating an animation or gaming reel, then don't be afraid to explore all those potential character options, you never know what your voice might be able to produce.
Happy voicing folks,