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Blog: Kate Hart

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    Posted: February 04, 2010 9:04 AM

    Sometimes it’s not so much what you say, but how you say it

    Macomb Community College offers voice over training for actors, professionals


    Hey Michigan, Hollywood may have come calling and maybe you’re ready for your close-up, but what will happen when you open your mouth? Will you fall as flat as some of Hollywood’s starlets did when silent films went the way of the dodo? 


    Yes, we’re talking about your voice. Is it up to the challenge? Not sure?  Better sign up for Voice Over Workshop Intensive and Demo (Course Code: 75669) the newest course in Macomb Community College Center for Continuing Education’s expanding “Hollywood Comes To Macomb” Film Industry curriculum. The course is taught by seasoned voiceover artist and actress, Emily Rose Merrell and Grammy-nominated vocal coach, Kate Hart. Merrell and Hart also run the Michigan Voice Over Network, which is Michigan’s only website dedicated to voice over talent –


    “It’s not enough to look good on camera,” said Hart. “You have to be able to sound the part too. So much is conveyed through cadence, tone, modulation, inflection, even accent. The moment we open our mouths and speak, the people listening decide something about us. This course is intended to help our students control the message they send to casting agents, directors – any film industry professional.”


    Sound Right!

    Students of Hart and Merrell’s Voice Over Workshop will gain expert guidance on diction, vowel work, breathing, voice strengthening, studio etiquette and microphone technique. They will also receive assistance with character, script and resume development.  Industry contacts, studio etiquette, microphone technique are also part of the course offerings. At the end of the course, students will record a professional demo in one of the best post-houses in Metro Detroit.


    As the course title conveys, the workshop also is geared for voice over talent, those who provide the voices and characters for animated films, radio and television commercials, training videos, video games and talking books.


    Voice over work is plentiful if you have the right technique, training, resume and connections,” Hart said. “Just because people tell you all the time that you have a great voice, doesn’t make you a shoe-in for a voice over job. How you present yourself for a part matters. We teach our students how to use their voice as an instrument, changing it to fit the role.”

    Hart and Merrell help students become comfortable in a recording studio and help them record a demo which is a valuable tool in the quest for work.


    On The Radio

    Yolanda Spearman is one success story. She took Hart and Merrell’s Intensive Voice Over Workshop at a studio in Royal Oak last summer.


    By day, Spearman is a regional sales manager for Harley Davidson. In her other life, she is the voice you hear coming at you from your car speakers as you drive down the road.


    For years friends and acquaintances had told Spearman she had the perfect voice for radio. She liked the idea and even recorded a demo track while living in Chicago. But that was as far as things ever went – until she signed up for Hart and Merrell’s voiceover workshop. Only a couple months after taking the workshop, Spearman has already done professional voice over work for radio commercials, a public service announcement and a website training video.


    Spearman loved the course so much, she gave lessons to a friend as a gift.


    Professionally Speaking

    Lawyers, teachers and other professionals who use their voices a vital part of their occupation, also have found Hart and Merrell’s Voice Over workshop invaluable. Using their voices properly makes them more effective in their work.

    “A commanding presence is vital to a litigator in a courtroom, a commanding voice that captivates without shouting can be as powerful as the legal argument it’s touting,” Hart said. “All sorts of professionals have found our lessons useful in their careers, not just actors.”


    For instance, teachers benefit, Hart said. Too often teachers strain to be heard, which takes its toll on their voices. We help them learn to breath correctly and strengthen their voices.


    Hart says that anyone who uses their voice for a living should consider taking this workshop.


    Voice Over Workshop Intensive and Demo at Macomb Community College South Campus begins MARCH 7. Sign up now, COURSE NUMBER 75669, SOUC129 on Sundays from 3/07/10 until 5/2/10. Course cost: $975, max 20 students.  Contact Macomb Community College Center for Continuing Education for more information, (586) 498.4000.


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