In recent years, the animated explainer video has become a popular way of presenting products or services in a short, entertaining format, usually in three minutes or less. Similarly, eLearning has grown into big business. With a focus on education and training, it’s estimated that eLearning will be a $50 billion industry this year.
If industry projections — and recent bookings — are any indication, it looks like I’m going to have a lot of explaining to do. Give a listen to my latest eLearning and explainer video demo!
The last time I saw my grandmother, she tap-danced for me. She was 76 years old. Not only was I astounded that she could still tap dance, I was amazed that she remembered how. Tap dancing was something she had learned as a child performer in Vaudeville.
While Grandma Robley knew a thing or two about entertaining, it was her cousin, “La Petite Elva,” who was the real headliner in the Vaudeville circuit. To hear the newspapers tell it, she won over audiences everywhere she went:
La Petite Elva, although only about twelve years young, is a real little singing comedienne with a strong voice and knows how to put over a song, also possessing quite some showmanship. She was the hit of the show by a big margin. –Variety, October 1917
Growing up, I always wanted to be a performer. I would fantasize about what an exciting life Elva must have led, traveling across the country as a young girl in the early 1900s. I still feel inspired by the show pictures that our family has kept for nearly a century — the photos of the “captivating, curly-haired, dimple-cheeked child with a beautiful, cultured voice.”
I know now that the reality of life on the circuit was not so romantic. Elva died from tuberculosis at the age of 15, likely from spending so much time on trains and in damp, dark theaters. But I’m grateful that the women in my family were strong-willed and independent, particularly for the time in which they lived. Elva’s legacy, and my grandmother, instilled in me a love of acting and directly influenced my choice of profession. If I can pass on their legacy of fierce independence and passion to my own children, I believe I’ll have done a good thing.
I recently came across a TED Talk that explains how playing video games can help you live longer. I’m happy to support the claim, as I now play three characters in the massively multiplayer role-playing game (MMORPG) DC Universe Online.
While recording for my latest character, Indigo-1, I also laid down tracks for Catwoman and Black Canary. So how do I handle multiple character voices in a single recording session? Here are my three pro tips for finding and maintaining a character’s voice:
Follow the Artist’s Lead: Character illustrations give you a lot to go on. Is the character’s chin up, is she proud? Or does she have a smirk on her face, showing she’s the haughty type? Even if you only have one or two stills for reference, the artist’s rendering can tell you a lot about your character’s personality.
Strike a Pose: Find a posture that suits your character. Black Canary is sassy, and so was my posture in the booth — loose, flirty, one hand on my hip. Indigo-1 is dignified and serious, so I kept a strong, wide stance throughout my reads. And Catwoman, well, I’ll let you imagine what that looked like.
Do Your Research: When creating characters, I do a lot of advance research to make sure I know the history of the character I’m playing, as well as the era. The latest episode to include Catwoman was a throwback to a World War II-inspired universe, so I worked in some subtle differences to convey a vintage feel.
Want to hear more? Check out my full gaming demo here:
So, how much time can playing video games add to your life? If what Jane McGonigal says in her TED Talk is correct, you can extend your life by exactly seven and a half minutes. (Watch her full TED Talk here.). If you’re looking to add to your life expectancy by becoming a gamer, you might just try playing DC Universe Online. For my part, I’ll keep acting in it.
DC Universe Online is available on PC, PS3, PS4 – and coming soon to Xbox1!
I’ll be speaking (in my normal voice) as part of the Career Advancement panel on Saturday, February 20th at the Texas Women in Games Conference. Join me for #TWIG2016 on February 20th!
Indigo-1 character pictured above created by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver.
Growing up, I didn’t have to contend with my dad scaring off would-be suitors with a rifle on our doorstep. It was much worse. My dad’s a love expert. Dr. Ted L. Huston wrote the book (and several research papers) on how and why intimate relationships change over time.
Lucky for me (and despite my teenage angst), things seem to have worked out alright. I’ve been married for six years, and I have a career I love, too. I guess Dad must have been a good influence after all.
In my own research, I’ve found that doing voiceover for products or companies I love makes the work easier. Like the recent national spot I did for World Vision, an organization that helps children have simple things we take for granted. It was easy to connect to the script because it was one of those special jobs that was close to my heart.
So what did my dad find in his 15-year longitudinal study of marriage? Of the 168 couples he studied, it wasn’t conflict that was the greatest predictor of divorce. It was the loss of love and affection. In other words, connection was the most important factor. The more love you give, the stronger your relationship is over time.
But be warned: My dad also found that our culture helps reinforce the myth of storybook romance, setting us up with unrealistic expectations around relationships. But it is Valentine’s Day after all, so I hope you enjoy this list of the 10 Cheesiest Love Songs Ever Written. Listen at your own risk.
- There’ll Be Sad Songs (to Make You Cry) – Billy Ocean
- You’re the Inspiration – Chicago
- You Light Up My Life – Debby Boone
- All Out of Love – Air Supply
- Hello – Lionel Richie
- Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler
- Close To You – The Carpenters
- More Than Words – Extreme
- Your Body Is a Wonderland – John Mayer
- I’ll Be There for You – Bon Jovi
Did your favorite sappy song not make it on the list? Please share in the comments below. I’ll add it to my playlist!
Who’s the inspiration? You, that’s who!
To my clients and agents… I ♥ you. Thank you so much for making it possible for me to do what I love every day! Happy Valentine’s Day!
I’ve been noticing a consistent pattern: I perform better when I feel better. On the days that I am just not feeling 100% in the groove, I have to make a conscious effort to shake it off, so I can be present and relaxed in my reads. Shakira sings that her “hips don’t lie.” Well, I’d venture to say that a voiceover artist’s lips don’t lie. The microphone hears every subtle detail that is going on in our lives. If you are feeling confident, relaxed and in good spirits, you bet it’s going to come out in your read. The physical environment that we work in often dictates how we feel and how effectively we are able to get things done. So, why not give ourselves an advantage, by creating a workspace that invites creativity and clarity. Where do we begin? Take a look at the list below. Then, pick one thing that inspires you or seems easy to accomplish and tackle it. Each week, or as time allows, pick another suggestion from the list and put it into action. Before you know it, you will walk into your office and be excited to start your workday!
I am proud to call Austin, Texas my home. Austin is a place where creativity and entrepreneurship reign. Amazing musicians can be heard on any given night. Being uniquely yourself is admired and encouraged. In fact, Austin’s unofficial slogan is “Keep Austin Weird.” In the midst of all of its eccentricities, Austin has also become a bit sophisticated. Tribeza seems to capture it all.
After years of flipping through its pages, I am honored to be featured in Tribeza’s December “People” Issue. Check out the article here!