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Tahoe hosts TV and radio talent workshop

Two dozen voice actors will showcase their talents ” from cartoon characters to radio commercials ” in a Voice Over Whirlwind Weekend Saturday and Sunday on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore.

Organized by Julie Williams, a Sacramento-based voice-over actor and teacher, the workshop is the first to take place at Tahoe, one of her favorite getaways.

“Anybody who wants to do voice-overs can learn how and just do it out of their home these days,” Williams said. “What people don’t know ” it’s not about the voice, it’s what you can do with [the voice].”



Williams, together with renowned voice-over performer Pat Fraley, will host two days of interactive seminars for students ranging in experience from beginners to 30-year veterans.

“Bringing in Pat Fraley rounds out the curriculum. … Pat teaches cartoon voices. He’s done like 4,000 different cartoons,” Williams said. “He can pick up in what I don’t teach.”



Williams is celebrating her 30th year in voice-over performing.

She has worked on thousands of commercials, done narration and other voice-overs, and her voice has been heard on HGTV and WE. Her clients include Coca-Cola, Pampers and the U.S. Army.

Fraley has created voices for more than 4,000 characters, placing him among the top-10 performers of all time in animation.

He has taught character voice for 34 years and supplied voices for the movies “Chicken Little” and “Garfield Gets Real,” among others.

“If you’re good at it, it can be very lucrative,” said Williams.

Williams estimates that performing in a one-minute radio commercial takes anywhere from five minutes to one hour of work, with pay ranging from $100 to $300.

“It’s becoming more commonplace. Starting way back with the movie ‘Mrs. Doubtfire,’ where [Robin Williams] did voice-overs,” Williams said. “The big thing that’s making it more common is that people are able to work out of their homes from anywhere.

“They’re able to get a studio together so inexpensively. You don’t even have to get an agent to work these days.”

Tahoe-Truckee has produced its own voice-over success ” April Stewart.

A 1987 graduate of Truckee High School, Stewart now lives in Los Angeles and has been a voice-over actress since 2000.

Stewart is best known for performing nearly all the female characters on the Comedy Central show, “South Park.” She does Mrs. Cartman, Wendy, The Mayor and Principal Victoria, among others. She also does several roles on various other cartoons, including Nickelodeon’s “El Tigre” and Fox’s “American Dad.”

“I was always interested in acting. I was part of the Truckee’s Actors Guild. I went to a two-year actors’ training program,” Stewart said. “A friend got involved in voice-overs and said I should try it.”

Though Stewart says voice acting is enjoyable and lucrative, her first love is singing and musical theater.

“Voice-over affords me the opportunity to do live theater whenever I want,” she said.

Trained actors are the most successful voice-over talents, Stewart said.

“The cool part about voice-over is that you’re anonymous,” she added.

The Voice-over Whirlwind Weekend in Tahoe will take place in Tahoe City on Saturday and Sunday June 23 and 24. The weekend workshop, put on my http://www.voice-overs.com, will feature renowned Pat Fraley on cartoon voices Saturday and Julie Williams on the business of voice-over acting Sunday. As of Wednesday afternoon, only one spot remained open for each day. E-mail Williams at julie@voice-overs.com for more information.


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