We all have our happy places when it comes to acting. Some of us revel in playing the hero or heroine, while others feel perfectly at home twirling our mustaches as the villain. Either way, it’s good to know where your comfort zone is and where you enjoy playing. It pays to know your strengths so you can take advantage of them and carve out a niche for yourself in the area you may be best suited to. But it’s also good to be aware of your strengths so that you can take time to work on the areas you aren’t as skilled in. In this way, you expand your repertoire and make yourself a more versatile, interesting, and employable actor.
It’s certainly not our intent to detract from the idea of doing one specific thing very well. That’s extremely important. It’s just that, if that one thing goes out of style, you want to have something to fall back on. And just because you’re good at one thing doesn’t mean you can’t learn to do other things equally well. For example, our good friend, the otherworldly talented actor Dee Bradley Baker, is known far and wide for his creature voices, monster babble, and alien squawking, and that’s what people tend to hire him for. But when called upon to do so, he also turns in a very moving, believable, human performance.
The best actors push their personal boundaries and continue to grow throughout the life of their entire careers; filling them up with memorable, interesting, and bold characters. If you feel you’re having a hard time pushing your boundaries on your own, get into a class where it will be someone else’s job to give you a friendly shove in the right direction. Classes can hold you accountable for your work in a way you often can’t do on your own.
Use your auditions as a place where you always push your boundaries and expand your comfort zone a little. Open yourself up to all possibilities. Widen the circle you play in.
Check out our VoiceOverVoiceActor website for more tips and exercises. We post daily VO tips on Facebook and Twitter, and our book, Voice Over Voice Actor: What it’s like behind the mic includes a wealth of exercises to build your voice and keep it ready for a successful voice over career!