How did you begin your career in voice overs?

Paul Liberti

I have two people to thank. Herschel Bernardi and Skip Hinnant. I did my first professional play at McCarter Theater in Princeton when I was 13 years old! In the cast was Herschel Bernardi. He was the voice of Charlie the Tuna and the Jolly Green Giant.

We would sit backstage and do voices together and he told me then that one day I would make a living as a voice actor! Many years later after he passed away… I got to play the voice of the little Green sprout in the Green Giant commercials.

Herschel really encouraged and gave me a joy with creating voices that stays with me today. I hated the soft sound of my voice as a kid and kids made fun of me at school.

Skip Hinnant was someone I knew from watching The Electric Company on TV in the ’70s. His voice and timbre were not the booming voice you heard in many commercials but a soft and joyful sound. I remember him in the ‘love my carpet’ commercials saying, ‘that old fogy stogy..” and singing, “you’re gonna love… love my carpet!” He sounded like me! and I imitated him till I could do a ringer impression of his sound. That taught me to find my own sound and learn the truth of who I was and not to fight it (something I instill in all my students today)!

Later I freelanced with my first agency and to my astonishment , Skip was also there! They called me the ‘young version of Skip’. I was flattered. Skip and I have become friends as an adult and I only hope that I have half the heart and joy of my readings as he does!

Oh, and I used to imitate the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher on the playground for other kids. They gave me their desserts from lunch if I would do it. So Twinkies included… I have been a working voice actor since a kid!

Starting today (Friday, March 4), Paul will be teaching the five-week class, Character and Animation V/O Technique. Click here to learn more.

Reading this blog too late and have missed Paul’s class? Click on the Classes tab at the top of this page to see what other New York voice over classes are available.

Insider Acting Tips #7

By Tony Nation

It’s film festival season! Sundance just rapped and the Tribeca Film Festival will be here before you know it! So how should you promote yourself as an actor at film festivals?  There are actually two ways to approach these events as an actor.

First, as the actor in a film that is being shown. Of course it’s the position that every actor wants to be in: having hundreds, maybe thousands of people seeing your work and a lot of that being the industry at a film festival. The opportunities are rampant from film Q&A’s with directors and stars, nominations for your work, awards, being seen by directors and producers to maybe having your film picked up by distribution companies in a movie packaging deal.

Make sure that you bring business cards with a photo on it and then have a picture and resume on hand in case it is asked for as well as a film/TV demo. I recommend photo business cards first as it’s a little awkward to be giving out headshots and resumes and then expecting the industry you’re meeting to schlep around with it for the whole evening. A business card is easy to put into a pocket or purse and then they can reach out from there.