Performance

Hi folks it has been a few months since I have blogged so I thought I would get back at it.  Something that has been on my mind of late is performance or lack of it that I have been hearing in voiceover work of late.  So let’s tackle this beast shall we.

Voiceovers is acting plain and simple if you can’t act then you can’t voice act.  Can you learn to act and therefore voice act?  Yes.  This is where I would like to begin.

How many times have you listened to a commercial and thought to yourself I could do that?  How many times have you been on hold waiting for a human to speak to you on the phone and while you waited you either listened to music or listened to on hold messages about the company you are waiting on?  Were the messages compelling or did you feel that you could do it?

Voiceovers or Voice Acting is a form of acting where you need to be convincing to be able to get the point of the script across.  There are a variety of acting methods to become familiar with in order to get your role to be top notch.   It takes practice to be able to hone your craft to the point that you can be convincing.  I am constantly learning and trying to improve my performances.  To do that I hire a coach.  I am grateful to the coaches I have had as they have pushed me out of my comfort zone.  When that happens the invisible barriers that hold us back disappear and a performance happens.

I cannot with good conscience tell you that what I hear are performances because in my mind they are not.  A performance comes when you embody the character in which you are directed to play.  This is no different in voiceovers.  You need to know who you are playing who your audience is where is the scene taking place, tempo for delivery etc.

When you have an answer to these questions the next thing for you to do is dive in.  This gets tricky for most adults as we have forgotten how to play.  Children when left to their own devices can conjure up imaginary scenes and play the characters they play with ease.  Why is that?  They have no burdens.  Nothing from their past which interferes with their play.  It is play!  Therefore, in order to perform one needs to get out of their everyday head and play.  How do you do this?

For me I take a few minutes by myself and I become very quiet.  I block out the world of electronics of music of chatter and focus on colour.  Essentially I meditate.  I find sometimes that music helps me conjure up the style of play that I will be performing.  I give myself over to something that is not every day me and I play with it.  When that happens I focus on the words of the script and the character that I am to embody.

It is so much fun that I usually do not want to change back to being everyday me.  Performance to me is being one with the character, using inflection, cadence, nuance and tempo to lift the words off of the page and breathe life into them.  Be authentic which means be you and only you in the form of the character.  This brings the character to life in a way that has not been depicted before as you are doing it for the first time.  Should you have the opportunity to play it again you have already established the character in your own way now you can give it depth.  This can be truly powerful.

Mastering performance is something that takes a while to do – Rome wasn’t built in a day and so to a voiceover career develops over time.  However, do yourself a favour and give in to the performance.  Play with the words,  play with the pitch, tone and embody what you are feeling (always allow yourself to feel the power of the words).

Get yourself a coach to improve, get out of your head and play.  Do this and those things you listen to will gradually become performance and not just noise.

 

 

Merry Christmas 2018

 

December 20, 2018

It is 5:30am on Thursday Dec 20, 2018.  Even after 18 years I still have the propensity to type 19 something before I correct to 20 something.  From my heart I wish all of you a Merry Christmas.  The time between now and January 8th is a time that the Christian World has created to have us spend time with one another.  To celebrate the birth of Jesus.  All though I grew up going to Church faithfully I am not what one would consider religious.  I have faith.  It is with in mind that I wish you a Merry Christmas and hope that you spend the time between now and January 8th with family and friends.  Take time for yourself and remember love yourself.

2018 has been a great year and I dubbed it going in as year of growth and that is certainly has been.  For the first time in what seems a long time I was able to once again love myself.  That enabled growth in all aspect of my life.  Once you spend time with yourself and work through to what really matters to you, you will then realise that you have much to offer.

It was a year of travel not extensively but more than I had been doing.  This travel to places such as Las Vegas, New Jersey and Washington offered me the chance to expand my horizons.  Each location taught me something to which I implemented and saw results.  2019 offers more travel and I am looking forward to it.

Animation, explainer videos, documentary, corporate video, IVR, app were all genres of VO that I booked this past year.  I gained many new clients and said goodbye to a few.  2019 offers more opportunities as the growth of this year has opened the on ramps to avenues that previously were blocked.

I look forward to teaching once again.  I have a few new students who are eager and putting them on the path to success in vo is something that I take extreme pride in.  It is an area of vo that I have been reluctant to do, but have come to realise that what I offer is unique and my transparency is something that my students covet.  So to my new and past students thank you I look forward to expanding your horizons and having you expand mine.

Quinte Skyhawks and No Limits organization. Live announcing was something I had done a while back you gave me the opportunity to revive that part of me and I look forward to growing with you in 2019. FIRST DOWN SKYHAWKS will be heard thundering over the loud speaks of Mary-Anne Sills for both Junior and Senior Varsity teams this Spring and Summer.  I can’t wait!

I want to thank my family – I love you very very much!

Merry Christmas from Peter Wood Voice Actor — That is me!

May the closing of 2018 be the opening of all that you are and all that you are is enough for you and us all.

 

Pete

Getting Real

Life decisions are tough!  When you have been in a career for more than 25 years the decision to leave is not easy.  Time to get real with my emotions and road blocks.  For 26 years I have worked for essentially one company.  There was a detour for 5 years yet the detour was essentially the same thing.

Coming to terms with me.  I am a loyal guy to a fault.  Even when things hurt me I stay, for I see that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence.  Really,  I am just scared to find out what is on the other side of the fence.  I will say one thing externally, yet internally I am scared so I don’t  move.  It is the inside that I must change.

For the past 5 years I have felt compelled to change my inner feeling from scared to it’s ok things will be fine.  Yet… that hasn’t happened.  I love doing voice acting but it too has not been enough to move me out of my fear.  So what will it take?

This question is very pertinent.  I don’t have an answer to it or maybe I do and I am not willing to believe it.  The fact is I am feeling increasingly at odds with myself.  I want to pursue but stop myself for fear.  I have a client base and make good money doing this as a professional.  My loyalty is one thing my obstinate fear of leaving a job that feeds my family keeps a roof over our heads and gives me family vacation is another.

Pros and Cons;

Pros on working for myself full time is I get to work for myself full time.  I get to create a daily work life that complements my desired family life.  I get to control things.

Cons, I get to control things.  To understand what I mean is that I do not have total faith in myself to do this.  The mistakes that I have made in the past haunt me to the point where I feel this is folly. Which is non sense because my achievements far outweigh my mistakes.  Somehow I don’t feel that inside.  My head says one thing my heart another.

What to do?  Speak out and seek help.  That is what I am doing because if I don’t I will never get to realize my dream.  The pull that I feel is a scary force and one that leaves me feeling heavy.  Most days I walk around feeling good and outwardly to the world I look fine.  If you had the ability to look past that happy exterior you would be shocked at the ripping and tearing going on inside.

It is a feeling that has movement.  There is an anchor point which is my current job.  On the other side is a runner or athlete that is sprinting hard away from the anchor.  In between is a rubber band.  The rubber band stretches and as it stretches it hurts.  Somedays the runner makes it far, other days not so far.  The expanding and contracting causes fissures in the rubber band.  Those little tears hurt! When the band contracts the heaviness returns.  This usually happens after an event where the runner feels elated and has taken new strides.  With each new stride when the heaviness returns it is heavier.

At one point one of two things will happen, the heaviness will win out and I will abandon my dream or the rubber band will snap as the fissures in the fiber will tear completely and the runner will run on.   I am hoping and working toward the latter being the case.  For all of you in this situation or similar ones you are not alone.  I have been voicing for 22 years and the rubber band is still not broken.

I as an optimist says that the band will finally break and when it does my dream for my life will not only be fulfilled but the true glory of being me will be realized.

Thanksgiving

When we hear the word thanksgiving our minds turn to the holiday with family and friends eating and communing with each other. Do we really give thanks ? I would offer that for most of us this holiday is just about eating and getting together with friends and family. It really should be about much more.

Giving thanks to my clients, business partners, my agents, my colleagues. Giving thanks to wonderful script writers and audio engineers. To studio owner’s producers and voiceover mentors. Giving thanks to me is far more than eating turking and reconnecting. It is about thanking those including yourself for what we have received over the course of a year.

Without the people who I have mentioned above our voiceover career would be nothing. I am thankful to so many this year. As this year above all others has been a turning point in my career. Thankful to myself so stepping out of my comfort zone, believing for the first time in my abilities. Thankful for new demos including one being cut this week, new friends and opportunities.

Thankful for a wonderful support wife and kids who make my life complete.

Happy Thanksgiving – Remember to actual reflect on those who you are thankful for as they a precious.

Journey

Life is a journey and voiceovers is just a part.  You see what ever you choose to do in life is part of your journey it isn’t who you are.  I am back from 2 weeks of vacation and they were great.  They were the best two weeks I have had off in quite a long time.  We spent some time at a cottage on the Burnt River near Fenelon Falls Ontario.  There was a hot tub a sauna a couple of kayaks and peace and quiet.  Some boats made their way down or up the river and the river was only approximately 100 feet wide.    Fenelon Falls is a nice town as was Bobcaygeon.  We had pie from the pie shop and did some sightseeing.  It was nice to turn off the hustle and bustle and focus completely on the family time to enjoy each others company.

Like the boats life is a journey and like the people on that boat voiceover is a part of me.  I had contemplated bringing my gear and working should work come in as it does most days.  I told myself that it wouldn’t hurt as it doesn’t take me long to narrated the scripts that come in for the most part.  Then maybe 24 hours before we left I contacted my agents and companies that I regularly work with that I would be off for 2 weeks.  It almost turned my stomach as I wasn’t sure what the reaction was going to be.  Work is work it needs to get done and there are time constraints as we all know only too well.

To my surprise all and I do mean all said to enjoy myself and the time with my family.  The work would be there when I got back.  It was and it was a lot plus a bonus.  Even though I am not allowed to legally state who I worked for I can say this.  In January I had written down in my journal that I wanted to work for this company.  I had reached out a few times over the past few years and established a connection which turned into a relationship and good banter.  No work though.  In July I had gone out to replace my journal and my first entry in the new journal was to work with this company.

I got to work with this company

It has been a life ambition of mine to work for this company.  When I got the news on the last Friday of my vacation stating that they wanted to work with me on the Monday the very last day of my vacation. I was OK I will be at home and will  open my studio that had not been open for two weeks.  I said nothing to my wife or my kids or anyone.  When the Monday came around and I voiced the project I had to say something.  I posted it to social media as I am doing here.  Not stating who I worked for but I really want to but I know the deal.  Believe when I can I will.

So as my journey continues and I cross off this company from the list of want to work for.  I have made a new entry in my journal stating that this cannot be a one time thing.  I had too much fun and by fun I mean the energy of youth like being a kid in a candy store kind of fun.  Wide eyed bushy tailed.  Ecstatic!

This journey is fun and hard and complicated and easy and frustrating and everything wrapped up in one.  Two weeks no work I stood up and stated this is my time.  The universe respected it and delivered my most coveted of roles.  All I can say is live your life on your terms.  Do what you want when you want. Respect everyone and everything.  Be good and faithful. Dream and take action.  Pursue and take in while in pursuit so that you don’t miss the important small things.  Because those small things are the most important.

Your journey is precious so is mine.  I did it so can you!

Wake-up Routine

Good Morning or if you are reading this at any other time of day or night I wish you well.  Wake-up routines I am sure you have of these over the past few years.  The health and wellness industry has been booming for the last decade or so.  With the loss of jobs in the corporate world people have been forced into finding new ways to make a living.  Rest assured this blog is not going to ask you to commit to buying anything.  I am going inform you of my routine and leave it at that.

With the loss of jobs in the corporate world people have been forced to find new ways to make a living.  This has been a great thing for people who were stuck in their jobs and either didn’t realise it or did and are now grateful.  I say this because of the rise in entrepreneurs.  The world needs entrepreneurs and I am one. What does this have to do with a wake-up routine well read on and find out.

I started to follow a routine some 4 years ago where I would wake up at 5am (no I didn’t know about the 5am club at that point).  What I would do is just sit and take in my surroundings which was one of peace and calm.  Watching the sunrise in the morning proved to me that I was gaining perspective in my life.  This calmness entered into my life in all areas.  Before this I was uptight and couldn’t relax.  Finances weren’t good and my relationships while good could have been better.  The calmness of the morning entered me and I am forever grateful for it.

To be honest my routine ebbs and flows. For months I will be on it and then for a few weeks I will lapse back into the comfort of my bed.  So please don’t think I am some sort of ‘this is what I do and everyone should’, because I have my faults as does everyone.

This is my routine;

  • 5:30am rise and shine (or be grumpy your choice)
  • Drink 2 8oz glasses of water (no lemon in it)
  • Spend 10 minutes of quite time to reflect on things and just allow my mind to awaken
  • 20 minutes of exercise – here I do 100 squats a day, 3 minute plank and then a variety of different exercises.
  • 5 to 10 minutes writing in my journal of any thoughts that entered my consciousness overnight or during the few minutes that I have been awake.
  • 5 to 10 minutes writing in my planner for the day.  Here I review my goals that I have set out and write my to do list for the day ahead.
  • At no time to I get connected to any electronic device!
  • Shower and get ready for work
  • Eat breakfast or travel to work with my breakfast and eat it there.

Whether I am working my day job or preparing for my voice acting day the routine holds the same.
I do hold a day job, and have a prosperous voice acting career as well. This routine applies not only to the entrepreneur but to everyone.

Consistency in what you do will breed routine and then it will just become a part of you.

What you do and how you do it is totally up to you is up to you. I will say this.  It has been very beneficial to me.  Here are my pros and cons for my routine and you make of it what you will.

Pros:

  • Water hydrates me and I have become more alive (don’t stop drinking water in the morning drink it throughout the day and you to will benefit)
  • Calmness
  • Taking in the beauty of my part of the world in its quietest time. (It truly is beautiful).
  • Exercising – I have always been athletic and for years I just thought that was what I was until I wasn’t.  This has helped me get back on track.
  • Writing in my journal, so much of what I have thought over the years has been lost because I wasn’t writing my thoughts down.  Now that I have my life has quite frankly taken a 180 degree turn.  My thoughts put on paper have manifested themselves in to real world tangible things.  It has been an eye opening experience to be sure.
  • Planning (ha ha ha) me a planner never! I was ALWAYS was a fly by the seat of my pants type of person.  Never ever planned and it got me know where.  I plan it doesn’t take anything away from me but adds much needed direction.
  • No electronics.  We are inundated by the perceived notion that we need to be connected.  I agree that connectivity is important but do it on your time in you planned way.  Read Tim Ferris or Michael Hyatt..  Both of who I give credit to in refining what I had started 4 years ago (when I didn’t know or have heard about them).
  • Showering is important
  • Eating breakfast – The most important meal of the day.

Cons:

  • None to speak of

Well that is it for me this week.  Please let me know what you routine is or if you don’t why not?  Whatever you do I wish for you to be healthy of mind and of spirit.

 

 

 

 

Dreams

Dreams

As I sit here I am thinking about and witnessing a dream. My wife and I have two children a boy 15 and girl 13. Our son Liam is growing into a man. I am privileged to be a part of this growth. He is a boy with ADHD and always had tremendous physical ability. Five years ago I signed him up for football and his mother almost killed me. Her thoughts turned around when she saw how happy football made him after his very first practice. Liam had tried a variety of sports but football put a smile on his face and he beamed.

His first 4 years he played on offence mostly as a receiver and had a smattering of success. Before heading into grade 10 Liam said Dad I want to play defense this year. I said that he should and just to tell the coach. His coached allowed him and Liam made the transition from receiver to safety/linebacker and his smile grew larger. For he exceeded his expectations, his coaches expectations and he took off. He is 5’10” 155lbs now and growing. His ADHD for the most part is under control. His marks have always been an issue if he wanted to go to college. While they are good he could do much better as he is smart he just lacks the effort in school.

Dream = Football and Sports Management – Liam has a dream to play football for Penn State University. While this is a lofty goal and way outside most people’s reach. With dedication and hard work he just could do it. My wife and I are witnessing it develop, this is his goal/dream and we would love for him to have it manifest into reality.

Now Liam is a very talented football player. He plays high school ball for Trenton High and his Jr Varsity team the Quinte Skyhawks where he is captain of the Db’s (defensive backs). He just came back from playing in the 1st ever All Canada Bowl. He was selected to play for Team East and had an interception and few big big plays in the game. This game exposed him to schools across Canada and the US.

We are starting to witness scouts follow Liam. While this is great and needed for Liam to pursue his dream a realization needs to happen. For the dream to become reality Liam needs to address his marks and come to terms with his lack of discipline when it comes to putting effort into his schooling. The scouts and schools will see the talent but when they see his marks will turn away.

I / we are looking for ways that can help him as there is nothing more infuriating as self-sabotage. You have the talent and the smarts but because school is not as interesting as football the effort to work is not there. My thoughts are if the desire to play football in the states is so great that it forces him to do the work at school then great. That of coarse is no guarantee. Sometimes the desire is great but the lethargy is greater.

He has approximately 15 – 18 months to address his school shortcomings. The dream is alive and we believe in him. Will he do what is necessary? Only time will tell but it is great to think about and witness his dream. We will do what we can to help foster the dream but ultimately it is he who controls it. If he can see it, visualize it, feel it. It will happen. I am a big believer in dreams. The bigger the better and this one is big.

Make it a reality son, I know in my heart you can.

Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will land among the stars.

Love Dad.

The Motivation Myth

This is something that has been bothering me for a little bit now. Have you heard of the ‘Motivation Myth’ where the thought process is that no matter your motivation the real issue about succeeding in anything is to start, just begin or do.

While this is true to actually achieve anything you must start whatever it is you desire to do to achieve your goal. What bothers me is the bashing of motivation. No one can tell me or you that your motivation isn’t strong enough to prompt you to start. They do not walk in your shoes. Sure they may have a degree in psychology or behavioral science but the fact remains they are not you and as such cannot weigh with any precision whether or not your motivation was a factor in getting you started to achieve your goal. To be dismissive of this to me is short sighted and downright closed minded.

If my goal was to play for Penn State in Football. One coach tells me to connect with the recruiter of team and continue to be in his or her ear (basically be front of mind). Another says that won’t happen you need a dose of reality. First I respect both opinions. Second I will listen to the first coach as it is direction. Third I can use the second coach’s opinion as motivation to succeed because he or she doesn’t believe in my dream. That can be used as fuel (I’ll show you) in my pursuit.

Should I heaven forbid be mugged. I had always wanted to be more secure in my surroundings before being mugged. Thankfully I came through relatively unhurt. Using the event as motivation to become more secure leads me to take self-defense courses and ultimately to be a black belt in ju-jitsu.

Motivation – the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. To begin your path to success is a personal choice. Motivation can be a part of it. Only you can start and I hope that you do. Do not let someone tell you that motivation is a myth it is not! It can be used in a variety of ways because it is unique to you.

Who is Peter Wood Part deux

More on that to come he says who is this guy? Really! I need two parts? Ahh suspense!

In 2005, I got laid off one month before my daughters birth. In one sense this was bad but in another amazing. I got to spend time with her and her mom. Brooke my daughter was born with plagiocephaly and torticollis. Look them up it is your homework. For the plagiocephaly and torticollis, she was seen by the Shriner Hospital in Montreal. My dad is a Shriner and I am grateful for that. Brooke was fitted for a helmet and was seen by a physiotherapist for her torticollis. Being off gave me the chance to be with her during this time.

When I got got laid off one thing was ringing in my head Radio… Something my grandmother had told me I should consider. I was too young to take what she told me to heart.

Now was the time. I enrolled in the Montreal Radio and Television School and embarked on a career in Radio. Hold on! wait what? Yes I hold a degree in broadcast journalism and was on the Radio in Montreal. I loved it! However I could not make ends meet. My love for being heard was being crushed by the need to make enough to support my young family.

I became a technical writer and a consultant. I held two jobs for awhile. This path took my family to Ottawa but me commuting. I was miserable. I adore my family and needed to be with them while they grew and I was not there. To this day I beat myself up for the choice I made. In 2010 I was face with an ultimatum. Go back to the company that laid me off and I also consulted for or lose the consulting gig and have no job again. The technical writing position had ended shortly after moving the family to Ottawa in 2007.

Now I had a permanent job again but in Montreal and my family in Ottawa. I found a position with the company in Trenton Ontario. So in 2011 I moved the family to Trenton.

With the family unit back together and a financial foundation in place. I vowed to never be out of work again.

I need to be happy. My family being together filled a major part of that but my day to day gig would need to be altered or be added to. Enter voiceovers, I had been voicing all along but never for myself as a freelance artist. I had done voice work on radio in 2005 – 2010 . I had done voice recordings for the company I was laid off by and rehired.

I had a passion for being behind the mic and storytelling. Plus being the voice of animated characters was and will always be part of who I am. I hung up my single as a freelancer and makerted myself. I have had bumps in the road as any freelancer and voice actor has. But little by little I started to find my way.

Voice acting when you start is 80 – 90% marketing 5 – 10 % learning and 5 – 10% acting. Now it is about 60% marketing, 25% acting, 10 education and 5% miscellaneous. I have had a wonderful time do this. This is my passion and I will always do this. To me this is not work it is straight out fun. The people in this industry are without a doubt amazing.

For now, I still work for the flight simulation company but the day will come and it will come soon where I will be the voice actor who represents the aviation industry. I have been cleared for takeoff my throttle has been push forward I awaiting V1 and then V2. From there the clear blue sky!

Who is Peter Wood

Born Decemeber 25th 1968 yes Christmas Day…. but please wish me a happy birthday then a merry christmas. I am a creative you know and a human, so I have sensitivities. Born and raised in Montreal or at least on the island of Montreal in a city now a borrow or an amalgamation called Pierrefonds (aka Rock Bottom).

I have an older sister and brother I am the youngest and yes most temperamental. I had a rabbit named Grace and a dog named Blacky. My porn name would be Blacky Regent because I grew up on Regent street which was renamed while I lived there to Sauriol. I suppose I would be known as Blacky Regent-Sauriol as many people who live in Quebec have hyphenated last names.

Growing up was fun, I remember fondly playing pitch and catch with my brother. Showing my frustrations by exploding with a violent tantrum (thankful I have grown out of them) and enjoying camping and just a part of a really loving family. One thing I really loved growing up was our community outdoor pool. Yes I live in Canada it is not cold all year round. We did not have icebergs in the pool.

Scouting and baseball were the things I did growing up. Scouting gave me leadership skills. Baseball was fun and I was extremely good at it. Traveling to Syracuse New York with my baseball friends to play the US. Going to Cooperstown NY to see the Hall of Fame. Live was good and still is.

Scouting also introduced me to Toastmasters International. My parents signed me up for youth leadership at Toastmasters. This was the beginning of my ability to use my voice in public.

Donald Duck – Now although my last statement was ‘This was the beginning of my ability to use my voice in public.’ True but for my classmates they would say that beginning in kindergarten I was using my voice to mimic Donald. Donald was and is a huge part of me since he like me was kind loving and extremely temperamental.

Schooling for me was not fun. I enjoyed the other kids for sure and many are my friends today. Learning the way we did just did not resonate with me. You see I am a doer not a sitter. Reading which ironically is my career of choice was not a strong point with me.

Sports, Geography and History were the subjects that I excelled in and still do.

Girls oh how I love them. My wife is amazing she is passionate, loving, frustrating and my best friend. I have had girlfriends and an ex wife who is an amazing woman in her own right we just weren’t right for each other.

I have two children a 15 year old boy who I love with all I have. He is smart, empathetic, athletic and quirky as all hell. He will go very far in this world as he is not bound but normal trapings. My daughter is pure joy… she looks at life through the same lense as I do. She is creative enjoys the great outdoors (she is on a canoe course this weekend) and temperamental. My kids are the best of me.

Now careers…. I graduated from high school, cegep and university. I have a university degree BA Specialization in Physical Geography and a minor in Computer Science. This lead me to a career in Visual Database Design for a Flight Simulation Company in Montreal. I still work for them today. What is Visual Database Design? I create airports of the world and their surroundings so that they are rendered on a visual system used in a flight simulator. It is the world that pilots are immersed in when they use the simulators to learn to fly.

From 1992 to 1996 that is what I did and again from 2010 to the present. Between 1996 and 2010 I taught and was a consultant. I also became a voice over talent/actor.

More on that to come…