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Day at the Museum

A dream becomes a reality when a hero becomes your coach

Six years ago, I attended a series of presentations at The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco on voice acting. As someone who was fairly new to the voice acting community at the time, I had only interacted with others in the voice acting community through online meetings, classes and coaching sessions, and this was well before the pandemic. I was thrilled to have multiple opportunities through the presentations to meet fellow voice actors and others in related roles, and most especially, to learn from very successful veterans in this field that I was so excited and passionate about.

I heard stories and was inspired by a string of talented, seasoned, successful and similarly passionate folks, about how a mouse, a duck, multiple dogs and a fairy, among many other famous and not so famous characters, changed their lives. Their drive, dedication and amazing talent continue to inspire me in my voice acting journey to this day. And I even got to meet them after their presentations to get an autograph and let them know how much their sharing of their stories and experiences had meant to me.

Two people standing in front of a museum

Characters in my career

Even though I have been coaching in voice acting for many years, it wasn't until recently that I decided to check out the world of 'characters'. While each time a voice actor steps behind the mic, unless they are playing themselves, they will always be taking on a role and becoming a 'character', what I'm referring to here is what most people think of when they hear the word 'character' as it relates to voice acting. In other words, giving a voice to a drawn 'character' on a screen. So this would usually be thought of as in video games and/or animated projects.

I didn't really come up with this idea on my own. It had been strongly suggested to me by a couple of my coaches as a way to add to and round out the training that I usually pursued; namely commercial and narration. Wasn't quite sure how acting like an alien or giving voice to a fantastical pony was going to help me in medical narration, but I decided to give it a try.

Learning from the best in the business

Turns out the coach that had been suggested was none other than Brian Sommer, who was one of the voice actors that I had listened to from the audience all those years ago at the museum. Back then, I had been so inspired by those seasoned and successful veterans who were part of a world that I had wanted to 'live in' for so many years. I certainly had never dreamed that I would actually be working with and learning directly from any of those big names in the voice acting world.

It hit me as I got ready for my first session of the character class taught by Brian, that dreams really can and do come true. That every interaction or tidbit of information that I am exposed to that directly relates to voice acting becomes a small piece of the bigger whole that is being formed into my voice acting career.

Who knew??

Debra Elaine is a California-based Voice Actor and Medical Narrator delivering professional voice over from her home studio via ipDTL & Source Connect. Learn more >>


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