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  1. November is more than just magical fireworks and gunpowder. It is all about plotting. With Christmas right around the corner, the New Year beckons and it is time for some magical planning for the voice over year ahead. This year I have been given an extra boost to my plan for 2018 by the wonderful team behind That’s Voiceover, Joan and Rudy Gaskins. They worked some incredible magic for a New York Style high octane spectacular for voiceovers. Thank you for making my female voiceover dreams come true! 

    Nancy Cartwright and Lorraine Ansell female voice talent together in NYC 2017

    Their show was incredible with a line up of audio drama played out with live sound effects to having animation heroine, Nancy Cartwright being honoured - yes, the voice of Bart Simpson! There are many great voicing moments throughout the weekend. A star studded gala event with the good and great gods and goddesses of global voiceovers. These talented voices gathering to celebrate the beauty of the voice. I was lucky to be a finalist and honoured to be one of the amazing nominees at this event. Having your name up huge with other amazing talent is a huge motivator.

    Outstanding e-learning best female voiceover

    What was clear is that planning and having a strong vision was key to the success of these talented people. Bob Bergen told a story, his plan to meet his hero Mel Blanc. A plan that involved phone books, a tall tale or two and dedication and ambition that led him to see his hero. That is just one of many examples of how to reach your dreams, you have to commit and act to make them happen. The main theme of the weekend was a comment stating that this is all there is. This is all there is. Yes, when you love voiceovers, when you have such a passion for this amazing industry, then yes, this is all there is. A lot of luck, a lot of talent and most of all, a lot of planned action. 

    Which brings me back to planning. Planning for the year ahead is important. To reach your dreams and live in them, set goals and work out how to reach them.  How best to do that? This is where the coloured pens and sheets of paper come in. I love to get creative, get messy and get thinking. I fill my sheets with ideas, information, wants, needs and anything else that pops into my head. Then I break those all down and work out what I need to do monthly to do that. The key for me is to explore ever more creative avenues. I have a good think about what big dream voiceover work I want to get involved with and start mapping it all out. 

    Here is my top 5 list of how to plan and get ahead:

    1. Make time: carve out a whole day if needs be, find some mental and environmental solitude, commit fully and explore. Turn off the phone, social media, emails and sit down to actually think, free of noise and drama. 
    2. Get ready: What medium do you prefer to brainstorm ideas with? I love my pot of coloured pens and pencils, sheets of paper and some dance music to set the mood. I have plenty of water with me, good food and the intention that something magical will appear.
    3. Get steady: breathe and take a moment and then….
    4. Go: Write all the ideas down. Avoid censoring yourself, just get it all down on paper and then like a great artist, step back and have a real look at what you have come up with.
    5. ACTION; As Nancy Cartwright said, yes luck but you need to put a whole lot of action in. 

    So now, after bubbling with excitement and a new found motivation for next year, what will be on my voiceover plate for 2018? I have so many voiceover ideas already, what shall it be next year? Commercial spots? Great games? Audacious audio dramas? Big dreams? Yes to all those and more please! 

    Plan, prepare, play.

     

    Dare to Dream

  2. Speaking and telling stories in voice over form is great and I love it. I love everything about this artistic voiceover industry; from the creativeness seeds planted at the beginning to the unleasing of the spoken word. The joy I experience when I encounter a vast white plain with black ants hurriedly arranged about the landscape that I have to vocalise is truly wonderful. However to conjure up that magic, there is one crucial ingredient that makes the difference between a good read and THE read. A sprinkling of this or a huge dollop can bring words and characters to life in ways that give them their own life and identity. I was lucky to be reminded of this at a voiceover conference in September. I was given the amazing opportunity to read in front of not one but two Disney Casting Directors! 

    Disney voiceover Lorraine Ansell animation

    What an opportunity! I was in the “Finding Nemo" Group and never have I felt such honour and thrill yet absolute fear. Not only to read in front of these Casting Directors who have seen it all and heard it all but to read animation sides in front of colleagues and friends with decades of experience. However and yes as this is Disney, magic happened. Cue the Fantasia theme because did we all go on one amazing Magical Castle of a journey. On day one with our group we were a little shell shocked (getting up early on a weekend and heading into London will do that to you). We read animation sides cold in front of Sarah Sherman who then commented with feedback and direction and we read again. I went first! I read for a character that I should have felt at ease with as I do this type of character a lot. A pre-teen who love magic and can fly! Whether it was the nerves, the room, the ambience but I felt my read was ok. Just ok. Despite me understanding all the guidance and feedback I hadn’t felt this character. I hadn't explored her needs. Fair enough it was a cold read for us all but I know what Sarah meant when she told me to go big. Something to work on. Fast forward that evening and with copious silliness during karaoke (I am always ready and always rumbling) our group gelled like only schools of fish can. 

    Day Two arrived and after an emotional and humanity inspiring talk by Damian Mark Smyth I felt a shift and we had this. As he says, ‘You are one thought away from a new experience." We knew what it was about. We all read animation sides for Arron Drown and maybe it was the space, the change of character or this magic ingredient but the whole room aced it. Disney Style. I read an animation side for a 6 year old fish stuck in her very own fish bowl. With seven different emotional states I took this fish for the ride of her life - which being in a fish bowl is quite something. When you make a whole room laugh not once but twice with your reads, you know you got this. Why? Because I let loose that magic ingredient. Simply, it was vulnerability. This state of being exposed of being judged emotionally is the magic dust for making the good great. Once you allow yourself that luxury and awareness, then, that is then the real magic happens. 

    To be vulnerable is to see yourself, know yourself and shower yourself with love and respect. Opening that door on vulnerability is the trick to unlocking that magical potential inside.  

    Top tips to encourage vulnerability;

    1. Be courageous - there is no right and wrong, just commit to that moment and be.
    2. KISS - Keep it short and simple. perfect moments that flow are made of instant actions and being that have no long drawn out thought processes behind it.
    3. Imagination - Open up to the vulnerability of the moment to let in imagination and exude real magic
    4. Breathe - Always breathe - it is a grand thing
    5. Simply Be - take all of the above and search for that magic and let it be. 

    Disney’s Frozen was right, letting go is the ultimate feeling of freedom. That moment when you feel and are a 6 year old fish in a fish bowl saving the world….the feeling of complete vulnerability, is the moment you fly. Thank you to "Finding Nemo" and everyone else that weekend who opened up and showed their own vulnerabilities. We became richer voices because of it. 

    You are one thought away