(In photo: CVAP Batch 3 testimonial video on the right, “backstage photo on the left” as I waited for my turn to speak as CVAP’s Head Trainer a year and 3 months later)
The Certified Voice Artist Program has a collection of hundreds of testimonial videos from batch 1-10, and for some reason, batch 3’s was chosen to be the opening video today as batch 11′ participants started signing in on Zoom.
Of all days, it had to be today: my first day as an official CVAP Head Trainer, my first session of actually tackling CVAP lessons other than my own talk on voice branding, CVAP culture, and hornet strategy.
I was reminded of how far the journey has taken me in just a year and a couple of months. I watched as fresh graduate Pau talked about how much the program reignited her sense of self. She spoke shyly about her key takeaways as her future self watched in awe. She wouldn’t believe that a year and 3 months later, she’d be the one teaching these lessons and (hopefully) igniting the same kind of spark CVAP had ignited for her.
My lungs weren’t at their best. For nearly 2 weeks, I struggled with the flu and its adverse effects on my asthma. Midweek this week I told my boyfriend over and over again, “how am I going to survive Saturday’s session?” Up until Wednesday, I couldn’t sustain talking for more than 2 minutes. My talk was estimated to last at least an hour.
A few stronger meds here and there gave me the chance to be present for my talk. I had to inform the participants about my shortness of breath, I had to excuse myself more than a couple of times, but everything pushed through despite and in spite of. I missed out on a few points, probably downplayed a couple of them, too, but hey… it’s a start. Batch 11’s feedback were absolutely heartwarming. It reminded me of why I keep on doing what I do. It reminded me of why I didn’t call in sick, didn’t let my shortness of breath stop me from what was intended for me.
There must be a reason why I was chosen to be the program’s Kickstarter. To be honest, up until this point, I don’t exactly know why – but whatever it is, I just want to keep on showing up in the best yet most authentic way I can. Admittedly, I don’t prep up much for my talks. I plan the flow, design the presentation, and hope that my stories and background would suffice to fuel the actual talking.
“Just be yourself,” Sir Choy would tell me. “You know the drill.”
As I spoke about my journey, I realized I kept on coming back to one main point: purpose and authenticity. While I intended to add the aspect of purpose in my talk, it was unintentional for me to keep on coming back to it even as I answered the questions during the Q&A.
And that’s when it hit me. Voice artistry is, and should be, driven by a bigger purpose and the best purpose to have is to do it for yourself, for your growth, for the use of your voice for something greater.
Let me share some questions that were asked in the session:
How do you deal with the challenges you encounter in your projects?
It was for comedic effect at first, but I answered, “I deal with it by… dealing with it.” I tried to come up with a more logical answer, but it turned out that was the most logical answer I could give. Anchoring it on my purpose (in this case, my purpose is to be better in this craft), I dealt with the challenges by giving my best and giving my all, and by also being authentic about what I think. As much as I can, I ask if things can be changed. Maybe a few tweaks in the lines or a few changes in the delivery. It didn’t matter if the clients wouldn’t agree with it. What mattered is I, at least, voiced out my concerns. I could be all “meh” about it and went with what I was told to do, but the collaborative effort can go a long way.
Which is more important: diction or modulation?
One is not more important than the other. As voice artists, what’s important is how we’re reading between the lines and being open to versatility. What kind of message are we trying to give out? It’s quite a deep thing to think about, especially for seemingly mundane voice projects, but it actually works. The more we realize what we’re trying to say or the role/s we’re trying to play, the more effective our outputs can be.
“Am I trying to get more sales out of this? Okay, I should sound more enthusiastic and inviting.”
“Am I trying to calm people down? Okay, I should try to sound more nurturing.”
That, to me, is the most important thing: what is it that the project is trying to make me say? How can I best express it?
How do you get projects?
Naturally, I answered the typical stuff here like updating portfolios, being active in auditions, etc. But it doesn’t stop there. Going back to the previous question, authenticity (at least, to the best of our abilities to vocally “portray” authenticity) goes a long way and it highly improves the output we do. The better the output, the better the portfolio, the more clients we end up having.
Tips for beginners?
Acknowledge all opportunities that come along the way, whether to learn or earn. There are some instances where opportunities are the ones knocking on our doors and not the other way around, but these come in the form of pro bono / volunteer work. Some may frown upon this but look at it this way. In this field, we earn in 2 ways: we either earn money from it or earn new experiences/growth for ourselves. Volunteer work allowed me to expand my horizons without much repercussions. Volunteer work allowed me to grow and honor voice acting as an art. Volunteer work led to my bigger projects.
I am not a pro at this. I’ll probably never fully be, and that’s okay. All I want is to continue sharing my story, my journey, and everything in between with the hopes that it can inspire at least one person out there.
As the CVAP mantra goes, “someone out there needs to hear my voice.”
If you have other questions for me, I’d love to answer them in a separate post! Comment down below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org