Acting is a profession. Whether you are behind or in front of the camera, on stage or off, you have to be a performer with ambition and drive. Then there’s voice acting. Whereas acting is about taking on characters for performance, voice acting is always about the voice itself: reading words from a script and interpreting them vocally — which is to say that it can be done alone in many cases. Various things differentiate acting and voice acting.
Voice Acting and Acting
Acting and voice acting are not the same, but they are closely related. Voice acting is a form of acting- and like any other form of it- requires an actor to channel their character’s abilities. You have to imagine and improvise on the spot: think about what your character likes, wants, dislikes — what they’re thinking — and then you have to vocalize that as if you were performing a speech in front of an audience. Then you have to act with the rest of your body, acting as if it were a character in the scene. This is where acting and voice acting overlap, and where the two forms diverge is how much of your mind and body you use in the process.
What Involves Performance
There are all kinds of intangibles that go into a performance. For example, there’s the melody of the words. Being able to sing is an important skill, but it’s not enough. The tune you choose to sing must suit your character — one that they would have picked out themselves. It must be in a range comfortable to your voice and flow easily and naturally.
You also need a good grasp of words; you need to know them well enough so that you can imitate them when reading. It is usually fairly easy because words are often repeated in scripts- but unnatural sounding dialogue can still be difficult to read. The best way to learn them is to practice frequently.
What Entails Voice Acting
A lot of people question how to get into voice acting – the other aspect of a voice actor’s life is how they act off-screen and on-screen. In anime, a voice actor must do two things: language interpretation and lip-sync. Language interpretation boils down to whether or not you understand what the character is saying. It is quite a difficult task that also has to be adjusted to the context of your scene. If the character is talking in English, you still have to act as they would if they were speaking Japanese.
Acting Does Not Involve Lip Syncing While Voice Acting Does
Lip syncing, on the other hand, takes place right before the camera rolls and right after it stops. It involves trying to simulate sounds that come out of your mouth while not acting as if you’re talking. It’s a difficult task that requires you to stay in character and use your imagination to the fullest.
Your Voice Is the Main Tool in Acting Unlike Voice Acting
Since the voice is your main tool, you start to realize just how much goes into creating a character. Whether you are improvising or not- you must be in character. The best voice actors can make every moment believable for their audience; even when they’re in their living room at home with nobody else around, they can be an actor who is performing for an audience of one.
It’s hard to say how much time and effort voice actors spend on the voice itself, but it’s enough. There are so many intangibles that make up a performance, and it’s something you can never be perfect at. You must always be learning something new. Even after you learn what you can about performing, about your character — there is always more for you to discover and understand.
Conclusively, ask any voice actor, and they’ll tell you their voices are their lives. Therefore, that’s just about the most accurate way to describe it. You can say the same for actors who perform on stage or screen- but the difference here is how much you implore yourself into your performance; how much of yourself do you put into your work. Voice acting is an art form, and the voice you hear in the voice acting industry is very different from the voices we hear every day. It isn’t a job- it’s a passion, and it requires a deep understanding of yourself to bring across your emotions accurately- which is what makes actors and voice actors special.
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