DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG ENTRY #20: Why I’m Uneducated…no, I mean why I feel it was absurd that I was never taught voice-over in an academic setting. What did you think I meant?

Okay, not entirely accurate, but that’s how I envisioned myself when I found out that colleges don’t teach voice acting.


As a relatively recent college graduate, I can tell you that there were certain things I wish I had learned in college that I never did. Not because I didn’t pursue them, but because the opportunity just wasn’t available. I have a degree in theater, and I concentrated on acting. I was taught stage acting, mask acting, and camera acting…but never, at any point, was I taught voice acting. Whatever I know now, I had to pick up on my own (well, and with some coaches). So imagine the reaction I had when I found out that, apparently, some obscure college that no one’s ever heard of called “Yale,” does indeed have a VO class!

Here’s how I found out. In surfin’ around a few Linkedin forums, Jake Foushee, the kid who I mentioned in Entry #19, was brought up. I screwed up the pronunciation of his last name in that entry, but I can no longer permit myself to do that ’cause…Jake now has agency representation through Abrams Creative Artists! So it sounds like we’re gonna be hearing this guy a lot more! Still, he’s been quite the talk of a few VO forums, and in one of those forums, one voice-over talent expressed some concern that he’ll be competing against other VO talent who have much more experience and training than he does. Then, one of the replies said…

“…As a professor who teaches voiceovers at Yale, I can assure you that Jake will have the proper training and mentoring.”

However, that’s how the rest of the world read that sentence. Here’s how I read that sentence:

“…As a professor who teaches voiceovers at Yale–”

*sound of record scratching*


I then proceeded to rant, but it lasted for three hours, twelve minutes, and forty-six seconds so I’ll stop there. To summarize the rant, I was just cursing the fact that a college actually teaches VO!

To me, it’s something that no longer has an excuse not to be taught in an academic setting! I knew I wanted to get into voice acting when I was 12, so I remember back when I was 17 and looking at colleges, their acting curriculum was top of mind for me. Most had a good theater acting program, some even had a TV/camera acting program, but VO? Whenever I said, “Well, I really wanna do voice acting, do you guys have anything like that here?” The only response I would ever get back was, “Um…I mean, like, we have a campus radio station. Is that…is that what you meant, or…?”

Fast-forward a few years, the situation evolved to the point where I ended up teaching a one-day VO class. I don’t exactly mean that in a good way, though. Y’see, back when I was in the OSU theater department, it was mentioned by somebody that I did voice-overs. I’m not one to gossip, but many actors generally are, so the word quickly spread. For the next year, whenever I introduced myself to a fellow student at the theater department as “Dave Wallace,” their next immediate response would be, “Oh wai–I’ve heard of you, you’re the, the voice-over guy, right?” To which I would always respond, “Well I wouldn’t exactly put that as my legal name on my tax returns, but I do voice-overs, yes.” So eventually, I get hit with this bombshell from one of my acting professors–

“Would you mind making a one-day presentation to the class on voice-overs?”

Don’t get me wrong, it was nice of my professor to ask me that, but I was very reluctant to do that. I said to her…

“Well, I mean…y’know, I’ll be happy to do that, but I don’t know that I’m the best guy for the job. I’m not a newbie by any means, but I’m not exactly a veteran, either. My experience just isn’t up to the level that I would consider ‘professor-like.’ We’ve got some acting professors here who have been doing acting for decades and hell, we’re OSU–we’re THE biggest college in the U.S.! Isn’t there somebody here who’s more knowledgeable than I am?”

Their immediate reply was, “Nope.” So I, a kid who, at the time, had only been doing VO for three years, gave as best a lecture I could about VO. I tried to cover all that I could–the importance of acting ability, having a brand, knowing how to run a small business, utilizing various marketing methods, where to go to get one’s demo done…I answered any questions I could.

As glad as I was to help out, though…the academic world deserves better than me.

The now-common nature of home studios, combined with the fact that I’m one of the closest things that a major university had to someone knowledgeable in VO, is all the evidence we need that VO has to have an academic presence. Why are there not more professors teaching VO? Why aren’t colleges setting up a cheap booth with a USB mic just to give students a feel for how their voice sounds on a microphone? Why aren’t field trips being arranged to VO recording studios? Why are colleges giving prospective students blank stares when they ask to learn about a rapidly-growing medium of acting? I can’t think of good answers to these questions, so the excuses are up as far as I’m concerned!

So congrats to that one professor I saw who’s teaching VO at Yale. He’s teaching something that, as a kid, I wanted to learn so, so, so badly!

Some great discussion took place on this topic at…

1) The “Voice-Over Professionals” Linkedin Group

2) The “Working Voice Actor” Linkedin Group

3) The “SaVoa” Linkedin Group


DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG ENTRY #17: Why I’m Reclusive…no, I mean why I take an effort to separate my private life from my professional life. What did you think I meant?

I avoid being too expressive over the internets because it often leads to…well, this.


Several years ago, I signed up for an email list that posts jobs for actors. I’m not gonna say which one specifically because…well, you’ll see why. In any event, I observed that a discussion had started over the email list about proper audition protocol, and I was a tad–okay, VERY–surprised to see one particular email. The email–sent by someone that we’ll just call “Person X”–was directed at someone who had written earlier, and it was very rude…again, in the interest of not sensationalizing other people’s problems, I’m not going to drop too many specifics, but let’s just say that the email concluded with the following sentence: “So mind your own ******* business, *****.” I wouldn’t have known this were it not for the fact that Person X thought they hit the “reply” button when in fact they hit the “reply to all” button.

Say it with me now: tchhh……oooooooohhh……..

Despite being (UNBELIEVABLY) rude, I understand that sometimes passion takes over, so I gave this person the benefit of the doubt. Except that two days later, I–and everybody else on the email list–received an email from the list’s administrator. The email said that, in reaction to learning that their remarks were public, Person X sent several emails to other people on the list that were, at best, bullying, and at worst, life-threatening. The sympathy from me ends after that. If Person X didn’t understand that everything they said after their first less-than-polite email would be heavily scrutinized then they needed–and hopefully got–a harsh reality check.

On the other hand, it got me thinking about a growing trend that I’ve been noticing for the last several years, and I’m sure many others have too: thanks to the internet, private lives are becoming increasingly public, to the point where we have become afraid of expressing ourselves.

Especially with social media. I’m of the younger generation that was supposed to catch on to social media the moment it began, but I never signed up for MySpace when I was in middle school and it was all the rage, and I didn’t first set up a Facebook profile until my freshman year of college. The reason for that was because social media was this relatively new thing, and back when I was in school, “MySpace” was synonymous with “pictures of parties and drinking that were made public for all to see.” I’ve never been a huge party-goer (you can thank the autism for that), so perhaps this was a moot point. Nevertheless, I still didn’t want to be a part of “this MySpace thing” or “that Facebook stuff” because of the connotations associated with it.

I felt vindicated, though, when I started to hear a certain story popping up again and again from my peers: “Yeah, I applied for a job, but they saw pictures of me on MySpace and didn’t wanna hire me after that.” So I felt good after that. I was out, and now I had an excuse to be out–if I joined, everything I said and did would be so public that I would be vilified out of employment! I no longer had to be the “uncool” kid who didn’t sign up for MySpace or Facebook!

…Then college rolled around. I missed my high school friends. I wanted to talk to ’em. I got a Facebook account. Quite simple, really.

I would have been left behind in the dust if I hadn’t. The evolution of a global cyber-society more or less forced my hand. Social media is no longer this thing for people to post party pics on (though many still do, regrettably). Rather, it is the avatar through which we interact with the world at large. Now people are expected to have profiles on many different social media platforms, and marketers are regularly setting up Facebook pages so people can “like” them, and Twitter pages so people can “follow” them. Not having an online presence is simply crippling nowadays–on a business and a personal level.

Which is why I have two of each: a “business” profile and a “personal” profile.

On the one hand, we’re expected to have social media profiles, but on the other hand, we’re expected not to express our opinions too blatantly for fear of alienating the wrong…people (okay, let’s be honest, here’s where I should put “read: employers”). The best available compromise I could think of was to simply create two profiles for each platform. I have a “personal” profile for interacting with my friends and family, and a “business” profile for interacting with employers and colleagues, and since I don’t use a headshot, nobody has any way of knowing which of the Dave Wallaces out there is me. While I don’t have a radically different personality on my personal profiles, I’m a tad more open on those, and I take a little more risk with my humor.

Still, there’s only so much risk I can take before somebody will Google a joke I made that they will take out of context and find wildly inappropriate or offensive. There’s only so much risk I can take before employers screen my social media pages–and yes, they DO do that, click here to be amazed at the extent to which they do it. I’m not sure it’s right that my sense of expression has to be limited, though. Who in this world has ever lived a perfect life in which they never did anything they regretted?

Bottom line: I feel like hanging out in our global cyber-society is like hanging out at a party with the most conservative and humorless people in the world sometimes. Say one thing that’s even slightly undiplomatic, and even if it was in the interest of creative expression, you are branded as a moron. I’d rather not be branded as an unreliable VO talent for making a joke that some people didn’t like…but I can’t help but feel that social media’s atmosphere is such that creativity is often squashed in the interest of diplomacy.

DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG ENTRY #13: Why I’m A Moron…no, I mean why it wasn’t the smartest idea of me to pursue acting considering there are other options. What did you think I meant?



I’m the son of two lawyers. My dad was the son of yet another lawyer, and my mother’s grandfather was a judge. I come from a long line of lawyers, judges, and smart people. Smart, in this case, because they chose stable careers with solid paychecks. I, on the other hand, am a moron. I’m a moron because, out of nowhere in a family of people who chose stable careers, I chose one of the most unreliable, unpredictable, and financially risky occupations in the world: an actor. And yes, all voice-over jobs are acting jobs as far as I’m concerned. It’s show biz, and it’s a business that doesn’t know much in the way of job security. Rather than making this story about me, though, I offer up two other people as perfect examples of the unpredictability of show biz. If you’ll permit me, let’s start by talking about a man by the name of David Prowse.

What can be said about this guy? Well, he was an Olympic champion in weightlifting, and the guy who trained Christopher Reeve to get into “Superman” shape. He also played one of the most famous characters in the history of cinema. Under most circumstances, I’d find some way to drop subtle hints as to which character it is, but to hell with it, the picture at the top of this blog entry kinda gives it away. Yeah, he played Darth Vader. “BUT NO–“….I can…hypothetically hear some of my hypothetical readers and listeners saying. “–JAMES EARL JONES PLAYED HIM!” Jones provided the voice, certainly, but he wasn’t the guy in the suit. Prowse, who was cast largely because most people had to break their necks in order to look up and make eye contact with him, actually said all of Darth Vader’s lines on set, but every single word he uttered ended up on the cutting room floor. George Lucas never intended to use Prowse’s on-set performance, but there were many people that he did not inform about that. “Many people,” in this case, included Prowse himself. You wanna know where he was when he found out that he was overdubbed?

In a movie theater, premiere night.

…Not quite what Prowse was hoping for. But hey, maybe he was treated better in the sequel, “The Empire Strikes Back”? Not really. He was forbidden from doing any of the lightsaber fight scenes because, when they filmed the lightsaber fight in the first movie, Prowse kept accidentally breaking the wooden lightsaber props that they were using to fight. So for all the fight scenes in the sequel, he was replaced by professional swordsman, Bob Anderson. It doesn’t end there, though. You wanna know where he was when he found out about the legendary “I am your father,” line?

In a movie theater, premiere night.

Lucas hardly told anyone about that line because he was determined to make sure that secret didn’t leak before the movie was released. Instead, Prowse was handed a fake script in which that iconic line was replaced with the line, “Obi-Wan killed your father.” A rather ingenious change considering that the rest of the script still works even with that change, but Prowse wasn’t as amused. So much so that, come “Return of the Jedi,” having been reduced to nothing but a guy who dressed up in a heavy suit and stood in front of a camera for hours on end, his heart (understandably) just wasn’t in it anymore. Rumor has it that he didn’t even say Darth Vader’s actual lines, and just kept making lewd jokes during his scenes, knowing that he would be overdubbed. That would be enough pain for one actor, but…you wanna know where he was when he found out that there was a scene where Darth Vader was unmasked?

In a movie theater, premiere night.

That’s not him when Darth Vader is unmasked at the end of the movie. That was actor Sebastian Shaw. Prowse has said that he regards “Return of the Jedi” as the worst filming experience he has ever had.

Jones, for his part, was not credited as the voice of Darth Vader until the third movie, when George Lucas insisted. Jones didn’t want to be credited, because he didn’t think he had done anything worth being credited for. Ya know, aside from the whole “providing the voice of one of the most memorable villains in cinematic history” thing, his efforts really were pretty negligible. At least that’s how he viewed it. He felt he was “special effects,” not a performance, because that’s the stance he took in a separate incident years prior. On that note, let’s talk about Mercedes McCambridge.

You know what she did, even if you don’t know it. You know that creepy voice that the little girl had in the movie, “The Exorcist,” when she was possessed by the demon? That was McCambridge, who overdubbed child actress Linda Blair. She swallowed raw eggs, smoked cigarettes non-stop, and drank excessive amounts of booze every day in order to capture the demonic voice and unpredictably savage nature of her character. A fake bed was also set up for her, and she was tied in restraints, so that she would feel like Linda Blair’s character, who was strapped to a bed for most of the movie. For her efforts–and utterly chilling performance–she was rewarded by being told after the fact that she was only “special effects.” She was not credited, and Linda Blair was nominated for an Oscar. Oh and by the way, you wanna know where McCambridge was when she found out she wasn’t credited?

Yup. In a movie theater. Premiere night.

SAG quickly came to her rescue and demanded that she be credited, and she was…but not as the voice of the demon. Not even to this day. Her name just appears on the credits.

This tremendously unreliable business is the business that anybody who wants to become a voice actor is voluntarily entering. It’s a tough one. One that doesn’t care if you invest tons of money. One that doesn’t care if you spend hours trying to find a way to improve your career. One that, to a degree, doesn’t really care if you’re talented or not. Even if you are immensely talented, you will probably find yourself struggling financially. If you are voluntarily deciding to go down this path, then…yeah, you’re a moron.

A moron like me.

I can’t not be an actor. I don’t find passion in anything else. I do my best to make a career out of acting, but it ain’t easy, and it never will be. I act because I love it, and don’t mind the (MANY) obstacles in the way of making money out of it.

For that matter, I don’t mean to sound depressing, or be a downer in writing this. VO, and acting, is a very fun thing! It’s just that the fun parts of this career are well-documented and well-known. The less exciting parts are kept on the down-low. Just know that this is what you’re getting into if you decide to pursue it. Only pursue it if you can stand the many challenges and don’t care. My response to all my challenges has been, and always will be, “Hmm…well, I guess I’ll have to step up my game a bit, now won’t I?” Hopefully, that’s you too. I’m proud to be a moron in that regard–this career may not be the smartest career to pursue, but it’s one that I have an unmitigated passion for. So, it is with a very sincere smile on my face that I say, from one moron to all the other morons out there, know that I’m rooting for your success, and congratulate you for following your passion! 😀

PS: For those interested, here are two short videos, both of which act as “before and after” videos of sorts to show how Darth Vader and the demon sounded before and after the dubbing process. For the sake of coherence, the first one is about Vader, and the second is about the demon.