November 2017 
Number 151

Insider View of the Industry

with Michael O'Brien


Michael O’Brien is an actor, writer, voice over performer and teaching artist. He has voiced thousands of projects including award-winning campaigns for Clorox, SF Giants, Round Table Pizza, Sparkhawk Beer and more.


You’re known among other things for being “real, conversational, believable.” How you do you do that? 

My advice is don’t try to sound like you’re having a conversation – simply have a conversation. Have a conversation with the other actor, the director, someone else in the room, or even have it with yourself, but really converse, don’t just approximate what you think a conversation sounds like.


Conversational usually means a more casual read, something that is not written, that is off the cuff, but so much of the time it comes across as sounding phony, unbelievable scripted and stiff. So, I really listen to what the other actor is saying and react.


What if you’re directed to “stick to the script.” 

(Laughing) Yes, I’ve heard that before. Words are only a part of what you have to work with. There’s more to improv than coming up with lines, a lot more.


Talk about improv… 

I use improvisation a great deal in my work, my teaching, and my life. Improv is all about being in the moment, being connected to what he or she really feels and connected to the other people in the scene. When you’re open, when you’re not blocking yourself and not in your head – wonderful, surprising things can happen. You surprise yourself. When you’re surprised, the audience is surprised and when the audience is surprised they’re leaning forward and paying attention.


I believe in making your work personal. In my opinion the most engaging part of your voice is your point of view. It’s not your timbre or your golden tones or how precisely you… pronounce…every…single word. Your point of view, how you see the world, is what makes you unique and sets you apart from everyone else.


Michael teaches Crack That Copy with Jenny Debevec on Thursday, 9 Nov from 6:30-9:30pm. To register, click here.


Drop-In Monthly Improv



Improv games and scenes for the actor and voice actor


​​$15 cash at the door


To receive weekly improv updates, click here.


Final 2018 Classes


In The Studio 11/3-4
INTRO: Starting Out  11/5
Positioning & Branding  11/8-15

Crack That Copy  11/9

Character Intensive  11/10-18

Small Group Workout  11/14

Nailing The Audition  11/16

Stepping Out  11/19

Creating Characters  11/19

Home Recording: Audacity - 11/20

Spontaneity  12/2-3

Home Recording: Studio 12/6

Small Group Workout  12/7

INTRO: Starting Out  12/7

Long Form Narration 12/9-10

Styles  12/16-17


Complete 2017 Calendar

Finding Your Melody App

Our latest app, Finding Your Melody, provides information and resources on the following:

* Voice Over Training
* Business Presentation Coaching
* Audio Production
* Finding Melody in your Voice
* Voice & Diction Strengthening  
* There’s Money Where Your Is Mouth Is text book
* Preparing to Record Your Voice course


Casting Database

One-time setup of $50 plus $10/month for first year. Just $60/year thereafter.

Producers are listening