Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

July 15, 2012

Memorize? Who Me? I’m a Voiceover Talent…

Filed under: Musings, Techniques — Tags: , , , , , — connieterwilliger @ 12:50 pm

One of the things that separates a voiceover actor from a theater or film actor is memorization. In VO, we don’t have to memorize. While both are “acting,” the techniques are different. And one of the reasons why not all good stage or film actors can make the transition to VO. And vice versa.

I love the fact that I don’t have to memorize. It goes in my eyeballs, rolls around in my brain for a little while, out my mouth and then it is gone. Sometimes I can’t even tell you what I did yesterday!

When I was doing on-camera work as a spokesperson, I used teleprompter or ear-prompter, so I wasn’t memorizing either.

But a dozen or so years ago, I auditioned for a live “radio show” that was going to be done on stage. After the run, I had been bitten by the “acting” bug. It was wonderful to actually feel the the audience. As a voice talent, I do so much of my work alone in my studio with no one listening. You don’t hear people laugh, clap, hoot, or cough – or hearing aides squeal. The closest you come in VO is being in a studio or ISDN session. There at least you get response and interaction.

So, after the run of the “radio play,” I auditioned for a show that consisted of several short plays. I was cast in two of them and suddenly had to memorize!

And so I did. And that play led to another and another and another. Right now I am in the last two weeks of rehearsal before “Vanished” opens here in San Diego.

My techniques for memorizing have advanced over the years as I incorporated some of my voiceover tools to help. I record my scenes reading all the parts. Then I silence all my parts and save the scenes as separate files. I save all of the files on a CD or in my phone and listen and talk back as I go about my daily tasks. As I learn the lines, I test myself by listening only to the tracks without my lines. If I hesitate, then I can go back to the tracks with my lines and remind myself of what the playwright actually wrote.

So, as we go into the last two weeks of rehearsal, I only have a couple of little spots where the right words are not flowing, but I know where they are.

And the ability to memorize can be incorporated into my voiceover business. There are times when just a little bit of memorizing can help you get off the page and bring a little bit more you to the project.


June 9, 2010


Filed under: Auditioning, Techniques — Tags: , , , — connieterwilliger @ 5:15 pm

I would like to share the g-rated moments that I gleaned from Nancy Wolfson’s VOICE 2010 session on Friday, June 4. Her session was definitely pushing my comfort zone at first, but, hey, if Bob Souer can do it, then by gosh, I can try it too!

First of all some basic f*!#g tips.

  • Active hush – I may need someone to post a response explaning what this actually means, but I think it relates to the next bullet…
  • Avoid Volume and Cheerfulness – instead to add energy use vocal tension
  • Watch the smile (the Joanie Gerber “psychotic” smile may be old-school?)
  • Keep the copy higher than your eyes
  • Keep your body loose – ready to pounce

The x-rated portion of the session was all about using your natural instincts and doing three takes.

  • The Admit take – this is the gut take – no extra words
  • Then “throw down the “f” word” before the key words in the copy. Don’t worry, you’ll find them.
  • Now take out the “f” word and underline the vowels in the word that followed the “f” word.

Try it – it seems to work.

November 1, 2009

What’s in your wheelhouse?

Filed under: Musings — Tags: , , — connieterwilliger @ 2:18 pm

I’ve had a couple of auditions recently for realistic young adult voices and have been feeling very much not in that vein. Character reads – cartoonish sound – yes – but a “real” high school senior – early college co-ed – eh, not really. The producer/director in me has not been comfortable with the recordings.

As much as the challenge to create a believeable young character is hard to pass up, the real challenge can be turning down the opportunity to make a fool of one’s self. Just another example of the need for critical self-evaluation skills.

I may spend some time really listening to young women and see if I can get into that groove, but there are so many other auditions and projects coming in that are just right for me that adding this particular sound to my quiver is probably not necessary.


July 23, 2009

Working on another role play for eLearning

Filed under: Musings — Tags: , , , , , , , — connieterwilliger @ 3:46 pm

It is interesting to see how work evolves and how people hear you. When I started in the business, I did primarily corporate narration and straight commercials with a lot of “sell.” Now, in the past few years, a large percentage of my work has turned to more role playing than straight narration.

eLearning characters make up a big part of that – being cast in multiple roles within programs – ranging from some nebulous African accent, to redneck homophobe, to tough Boss Lady. I have had more than one casting as Tough Boss Lady – working on one right now which sort of prompted this post. But I have also been cast as “soft young Asian woman learning to speak her mind at work.” So I while I do a good tough boss lady, please don’t pigeon-hole me there.

A lot of my radio and TV spot work has also been as a real person, rather than an announcer. With several dialogue radio spots for regional clients such as Meijer and SouthernLINC. And more as the concerned mother (young and old).

Probably the most fun has been the multitude of little old ladies, moms, teachers, secretaries, little boys, animals and inanimate objects for Ring Tales collection of animated cartoon strips (New Yorker, Dilbert and Cul De Sac).

The delightful irony of this transition is that it bleeds back over into my annoucing and narration work, allowing me to bring more me to the session.

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