Narration sensation

Thursday evening was my first session in a four-week course on narration. It’s the beginning of what will be a busy semester for me at Voicetrax.

Although I’ve mostly taken acting and character classes to this point, and seem to have an affinity for that sort of thing, narration is more like what I thought I’d be studying when I decided to focus on VO. I realize now what a tremendous help the acting work has been. I think it will help the narration work to come along more quickly and easily.

We have a “two-headed” instructor for this course. Chuck Kourouklis, who has been my director/coach in several other classes, is working with us for the first two weeks; Bob Symon, with whom I’ve not yet had the opportunity to study, will direct weeks three and four. I always enjoy working with Chuck, who’s a likable guy but also clear and direct with his critique. He’s the voice on the audio tour at the Alamo, so I’m confident that he knows this aspect of the business.

Our opening exercise was a one-page excerpt from a documentary about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. I had a couple of advantages in approaching the material. One, I took a course in San Francisco history at SFSU back in the day, so I could easily access mental images from the earthquake. Two, I’ve recently been teaching a class at church on the Biblical book of Lamentations — it struck me immediately how closely Jeremiah’s narrative about the destruction of Jerusalem paralleled the earthquake documentary copy in emotional tone.

I felt as though I gave the piece a solid read right out of the box. Chuck thought it was pretty decent, too. He seems to think I’ll get my arms around this narration thing with relative simplicity. Yeah, we’ll see.

As is usually the case at Voicetrax, we’re a rather diverse group in this class. Two of the other students were in my first-level acting class last semester. Among our fellows are a stand-up comic, a speech therapist, an audio engineer, and a club DJ.

Another student in the class was the voice of Lucy in the Peanuts animated specials when she was young; she’s coming back into VO after pursuing other things for most of her adult life. Sometime, we’ll have to compare notes from my You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown days.

Over the weekend, I watched a few episodes of Planet Earth, which is narrated by Sigourney Weaver. (In the American version, anyway. The original BBC run is voiced by David Attenborough.) I’ll never be as good a narrator as Ms. Weaver is… but I might as well aim for the stars.

Explore posts in the same categories: Celebrity voices, Narration, Reflection, Voice acting, Voiceover, Voicetrax

One Comment on “Narration sensation”

  1. […] my challenging experience in narration class back at the beginning of this year, I’ve been grasping at every hook I can find to help me […]

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