Tara Platt is an American actress, producer and screenwriter who specialises in cartoons, games and animation. Her prominent roles include Temari in Naruto and Reina in Rave Master. Tara shares her experiences behind the mic, and answers five of the most popular questions amongst our voice actors in 2020.
1. What’s the best way for new voice actors to kickstart their careers?
Ooh, that is a hard question cause what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. And honestly the industry has changed a lot since I started almost two decades ago. I would say the crucial components in creating a lasting career are:
Persevere and Have a Good Attitude
There will be many ups and downs and being able to roll with the punches and take it in stride will help you navigate the waters.
Always Be Willing To Learn
It is also important to be willing to make mistakes and to learn. Don’t assume you know everything, instead take classes, work with lots of people on small indie projects (the best form of networking I know of since as you grow so do they).
Life is too short to want to work with jerks so be a nice person (and do your job well) and you are more likely to get hired again. People will remember you if you are talented and kind and they are likely to bring you in when they get an opportunity to do so.
2. Where should voice actors look for opportunities to grow their careers?
Resources for Voice Actors
I don’t know of any specific online opportunities but places like Dee Bradley Baker’s site IWantToBeAVoiceActor.com is invaluable as is the VoiceOverResourceGuide.com.
Classes and Workshops
There are wonderful classes and workshops that can help with honing skills and networking which is a huge element in the business in terms of building a long career. Networking with classmates (staying in touch even after a class or workshop is completed) and being a friendly and hardworking actor on set will lead to more opportunities.
I must admit, this is a skill that I lack. I am not always great at networking and keeping in contact with connections, but if you can build a web of people you have worked with that can remember your skill and talents when they have a new project on the horizon it can be a great way to get a chance to audition and participate. Staying it touch is a huge skill set and can be done via email, or social media presence.
3. How should voice actors build their resume?
Reach Out to Industry Professionals and Content Creators
Submitting reels to studios, producers and directors who are open to it is a wonderful way to get your foot in the door. Always take the auditions if they reach out. Work on indie projects and low-budget things while you are building your resume.
It can be a little tricky to reach out to project creators, but however you hear about it is usually a good lead to follow. Did I friend tell you about something? See if they have a contact. Did you see a posting online? Follow up with it. Email is usually a great means to reach out, but social media can sometimes be a good point of contact too.
Create your Opportunities
Also create your own opportunities rather than waiting for them to come to you. Make your own projects, and look for others doing the same will help you create a community of like-minded folks.
4. What are casting directors looking for in a voice actor’s demo reel?
They want to hear what you can bring to their project:
These are the things they want to know when they listen so they know what to do with you or how they can utilize your talents.
How Do Voice Actors Develop These Skills?
Do a deep dive into really breaking down what your voice naturally sounds like. Ask friends and strangers what they hear when you speak. Chart if you have an upbeat, stoic, cool, relaxed or any other number of qualities. Make a list of the adjectives or adverbs that your voice aligns with. Then listen, listen, listen. What is on the radio, what qualities do you hear working on animation, doing commercials, in your favorite video games? This will hone your ear to what you have and where you can find that in work. That will help you in marketing and packaging yourself while you work to expand your range. Then you can work with a voice-coach to push yourself. Take singing lessons. Do breathing exercises. Work your instrument. Don’t be afraid of classes and don’t be afraid of positive criticism. Be willing to learn and to push yourself.
5. How did you overcome the Challenges you faced during COVID-19?
Recording from a Home Studio
For us, it was mostly having to just stay home and work from our home studio, which we were lucky to already have.
We upgraded a few items so that we would be more compatible with the various studios we were working with so our recording quality and sound would match what they have in-studio, but we were fortunate to already have a broadcast quality booth.
Adjusting to Changes in the Flow of Work
We definitely saw a dip in work opportunities at the beginning when everyone was trying to figure out what was going on and how work would be impacted, but now things are basically back to a flow.
We get a fairly regular flow of emailed auditions from our agent and other contacts we have in the business which we record from home and when we book we simply record the sessions from home until it is safe for people to head back to studios in person.
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