I’m a voice artist

A week ago, I received an unexpected job offer to provide my voice for a commercial.

The job happened on Friday. It was so cool that I won’t mind solely doing this for a living.

Sheylara

Of course, like acting, you’re still subject to uncertainty and long waiting times between jobs, so it’s not a sure carerer.

But in voice work, at least, the audition processs is more or less eliminated so it’s less hassle. All you need to do is submit your voice samples via e-mail and wait for good news.

I can’t tell you the details yet, but the job was for an Internet commercial.

Sheylara as voice artist
Me with the creative team from Ogilvy & Mather.

The recording was done at The Gunnery, which does audio for all kinds of productions.

Two months back, I had gone for a voice performance workshop at The Gunnery to learn about doing voiceovers for TV and radio commercials.

The Gunnery

It was just one of those things I do because I like to learn new stuff. I never really thought I’d have the chance to be a professional voice artist, especially since I hate the sound of my own voice.

I’m not entirely new to voice work, of course, having provided many voiceovers for my own acting performances and commercials, but those were kind of like tag-on assignments, so they’re not really counted.

I did voice over one beauty salon TV commercial many years ago but it was more a favour for someone than anything else.

But I guess attending the workshop paid off because it got me this job.

In the workshop, we learnt how to tweak our voices in dozens of subtle ways to achieve effects desired by clients. We learnt tricks on how to sound a certain way by doing certain physical actions.

We also recorded several samples of us reading actual commercial scripts.

Sheylara and Evan
Me with Evan Roberts, creative director of The Gunnery.

Evan was our coach at the workshop. He also directed my performance on Friday and did the sound engineering. He’s amazingly talented as well as patient and awesome. I can’t wait to work with him again!

Well, as much as I hate my voice, this is something I don’t mind pursuing. I mean, if there are people who like my voice, I’m using it.

The work is challenging, fun and immensely satisfying when you get it right. Sometimes, your voice just refuses to come out the way you want it and then it’s all wrong, and you have to do it over and over.

Sheylara

I wonder if I’ll get more jobs after this?

Making kissing sounds alone

I have officially gone into Hysterics Mode because I feel totally unprepared for my performance on Friday and I have 1,360 words to memorise by then.

So, here’s a quick and dirty post before I go back and bury myself into my script (which has been totally rewritten by my mentor-director, which raises the performance difficulty bar of the piece by 3,000%).

Anyway, I went to NYU Tisch Asia yesterday to do ADR. (That’s short for Automated Dialogue Replacement, which is the process of dubbing over voices or re-recording lines for film and TV.)

That’s the ADR studio. It’s also used to record sound effects, so you can see samples of different terrain in the ground as well as random props to create everyday sounds.

It’s dark because I had them turn the lights off so I could get into the mood easier. I was there to do mood sounds — breathing, panting, screaming, kissing — for my two short films.

It’s really weird simulating kissing sounds alone, without the help of a partner. But I enjoyed the challenge of making it sound convincing. I used my right hand. It was a challenge alright because hands don’t kiss back.


Standing in front of the microphone and watching myself on screen so I can synch my sounds to my screen actions.


The lights were turned on for a bit so I could have my photo taken.


Can you see me doing the victory sign through the glass panel?


My directors overseeing the recording.


Previewing my films in the theatrette.

Can’t wait for the official screening on the 19th when I’ll get to watch the final product with the newly-recorded sounds!

Now nursing a strained throat from all the screaming.

Pregnant teacher coming to your screen

I am kind of dreading seeing myself on the big screen. I think I look weird and I think I’m not a very convincing pregnant teacher. But I can’t deny being somewhat excited because it’s going to be the first time I get to watch myself in the cinema.

I’m talking about I Not Stupid Too, the new Jack Neo movie that’s supposed to hit the screens this month.

Some weeks ago, I was called back to do a voiceover for a scene that had already been shot. Jack was there to supervise the recording and the first thing he said to me when he saw me was: “哇!原来你这么年青的啊!” (Loosely translated: “Didn’t know you were so young”.)

Haha. That was hilarious. I guess it was the dressing.

Before and after

Because he was so used to seeing me bespectacled and pregnant like in picture 1, I think he was surprised when I turned up at the recording studio looking like picture 2.

The recording session was fun. Not only did I have to dub over my own voice for a couple of my scenes, I also helped to voice a nurse and a phone recording.

There’s this scene where an actor is trying to call someone and he gets this message: “We are not getting a response from the subscriber’s mobile phone. Please try again later.”

That’s MY VOICE.

Hahaha. Listen out for it when you watch the movie.

I love Jack Neo movies. I’ve seen every single one of them and it’s a great honour being in one of them. So, now that he knows how “young” I am, I hope he casts me in a younger and… er… not so pregnant role next time! =)