The Voice -- yours, not the show

More and more I believe that the area that most actors neglect in their preparation for film and TV careers is their voice.  Musical theater actors get it but of course their vocal work usually is around singing and frequently they’ve got really weak speaking skills.

Having a great voice is a gift and some folks can easily be heard and their voice is “easy on the ear."  I have a good friend who’s voice is fine for her private life but not very flexible for her acting because she has a strong regionalism.

If you want to work more, perhaps the thing that you need to work with a voice coach to develop a voice that is easy to listen to, easy to imagine in any number of roles and can be heard effortlessly.

Your voice also connects the text to your inner life and if you do proper vocal training you should find that your voice does not prohibit you from doing anything in your acting but actually encourages all experiences to come through to your audience.

Find a good Linklater class and stay with it long enough for the changes you need to take place.  They won’t happen in weekend workshops; they may not happen for quite a long time.  Our vocal patterns and constrictions begin when we are very young and so we’ve used them or been used by them a very long time.  It’s hard to break those habits.  You also can’t break them alone.  So stay away from CDs that suggest that you can do proper vocal work on your own.  You can’t.  Not until you have worked in person with a great teacher. Then, once you have progressed to an advanced stage, sure, you can use tapes to stay in shape. 

If you’re in New York, there’s no one better than Joanne Pattavina.  Look her up.  I went through a lot of voice coaches at my studio waiting for Joanne to be able to teach for us.  She is the real thing.