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SAGAFTRA Strike: Keep up your voice over and acting skills

black and white picture of little boy yelling into a microphone
Practice makes prepared

Day 100 and what? This strike has been going on for so incredibly long! There are some days when the sun is in the sky and the birds are chirping and I think, 'yup! today is the day! SAG and the AMPTP will reach a resolution! This will happen! And alas...back to their corners. Plus the looming 'will they, won't they' of an impending recession crushing advertising budgets and indefinite holds on long term projects.

"What does this have to do with me?" you ask? You're a voice actor, after all. This doesn't apply to you! Well...yes, yes it does. Ya see, when the famous among us can't work showing their faces on the big screen, do you think they spend their days walking picket lines and waiting to work again? Think again. Notice you're putting in twice as many auditions for fewer and fewer bookings? It's not ONLY because of the proliferation of AI, it's also all of these other actors who have been out of work since basically April when the writers went on strike. Voice over is still available for bookings, so the more famous among us are taking up the spots we used to take...and yes...even on pay to plays. This is the way.

However, the day they get back to being on screen instead of a booth is upon us. Are you ready? It's unbelievably important to keep your skills sharp, even when you're not working...or not working as much.

After a long strike, it can be tough to get back into the swing of things. But there are a few things you can do to keep up your voice over acting skills during the strike:

1. Start small

Don't try to do too much too soon. Start by practicing some basic voice acting exercises, such as vocal warmups, tongue twisters, and breathing exercises.

You can find many different vocal exercises online and in voice acting books. Some simple exercises include:

  • Lip trills

  • Tongue trills

  • Humming

  • Scales

  • Arpeggios

2. Focus on your strengths

What are you good at as a voice actor? What kind of roles do you enjoy? Focus on developing your strengths and honing your skills in those areas.

For example, if you're good at doing character voices, you can spend some time practicing different voices and accents. Putting on your favorite cartoon, putting it on mute, and practicing your lip syncing and vocal agility is always a fun way to spend the evening.

3. Get feedback

Ask a trusted friend, family member, or colleague to listen to your recordings and give you feedback. This can help you to identify areas where you need to improve.

You can also ask for feedback from other voice actors or voice acting coaches.

4. Network

Attend industry events and connect with other voice actors. This is a great way to learn about new opportunities and get support from other professionals. Don't know of any? Create your own! Jump on meetup and make a group and watch how many people who spend their days in a solitary coffin-like booth want and need to get out and talk shop to someone other than the stuffed animal they keep in their booth for comfort.

5. Volunteer your voice

There are many organizations that are looking for voice actors to volunteer their time. Volunteering is a great way to practice your skills and help others at the same time.

Some organizations that you may want to consider volunteering for include:

  • Audiobooks for the blind

  • Community radio stations

  • Local theaters

  • Nonprofit organizations

6. Take voice acting classes or workshops

If you're serious about improving your voice acting skills, consider taking voice acting classes or workshops (raises hand! I can help!). There are many different types of classes available, so you can find one that's right for your level of experience and interests.

Voice acting classes can teach you new techniques, help you develop your craft, and give you the opportunity to network with other voice actors.

7. Be patient and persistent

It takes time to get back into the swing of things. Be patient and persistent, and you'll be back on top of your game in no time.

Remember, your skills are valuable. Don't be afraid to reach out to potential clients and agents. And keep practicing! The more you practice, the better you'll become.

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