Dee Bradley Baker's "All to Know About Going Pro in V.O."

The Good News Is: I Can’t Help You.

Take my class and call me in the morning…

You feel sick, you call a doctor, you get a pill. You are “cured.”

You want to act, you call up an acting class guru, you learn “the trick” of acting. You are an “actor.”

Here’s the expectation: You take the acting class with your guru of choice, you plunk down your Benjamins, the guru shows you a few “tricks” to doing this right, and you emerge from your three to four hour intensive (or five nights of three to four hours) ready to Do It Professionally. Quick and easy. Done.

Not really how it plays out.

The expectations of an aspiring actor taking an acting class feels like the misplaced expectations of a sick patient making a doctor’s appointment. The afflicted seeks to solve a medical issue with some new “silver bullet” pill. Take this, and you’re cured. Most are looking for a quick fix. Quick and easy. Done.

Western medicine is mostly about fixing up (but not really curing) sick people. Medicine often doesn’t make you healthy, it provides bandaids. You go to a doctor to treat symptoms, really. It’s often too late to address the actual underpinnings of most diseases, which are chronic and establish over time. The medical system isn’t designed for addressing most chronic health issues.

It’s set up for spot fixes of more acute issues, like infections or bone breaks, which can be dealt with quickly and effectively. More complex afflictions (e.g. cancer, diabetes, depression) western medicine struggles to adequately address or even identify. Fixing and preventing these chronic issues calls for a more complex and long term strategy over time.

Likewise with acting classes, workshops, Skype sessions. I’m more than a little skeptical about the efficacy of learning to act this way. As an introduction? Sure. As a way for those ready to polish and work their skills

This is frankly why I choose not to teach much- I don’t think I can help most people with what ails them. I don’t believe I can teach acting or improv in a few hours in a studio. It’s like trying to grow a geranium on cement in a few hours time with some sand and some water and a seed. The time scale is wrong, the environment is wrong and the elements are wrong. Can’t do it. I can’t help you.

Which is the good news.

If you view the project of learning to act (or voice act) as a long term process, you will have an advantage over many. It is a gradual accrual of strengthening muscles and training instincts that must come together before you are ready to do it well.

© Dee Bradley Baker 2019

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