Spreading the Message of Light: Princess Voice Over
To make spreading the message of light one’s sole passion is no easy task; yet voice over artist Rebekka Swan accomplishes this with each project she works on.
Swan specializes in animation, commercial, and video game voice overs. She was trained in L.A. and San Francisco at Voicetrax and Voice One where she learned the ins and outs of voice over work. “After 6 months of training, I opened my own home business, and was quickly doing animation work, commercials, and children’s audiobooks,” she says. Her resume spans Zappos shoes and hotel commercials, video games, YouTube videos, and characters like a townsperson, cat, witch, giraffe, and pirate. “The big moments in my career were getting very close to being cast by Disney, twice.” One of her favorite parts about the job is seeing how flexible the voice can be.
How she prepares for a project depends on what the project is. “For character projects,” she says, “I play with the character a bit, and find the most clear, expressive, and correct application of the voice. I find the feeling first, then the pitch-like music. Every character sings a certain song. Then I let the character fly, reading the words like reading music.”
Among the wide spanning genre and content she works with, her favorite are children’s books because there are usually several different characters. “I also love choosing the music and sound effects that tie the story together. It’s usually so cheerful and fun!” Finding great reward and fun in children books aren’t that far off from Swan’s biggest inspirations: Disney, Blue Sky, and Dreamworks.
“These companies capture such magic in their stories and leave the viewer uplifted!” she says. “A lot of people focus on the outdated social modules Disney presented, but I love their message of the Power of Belief, and the ensuing miracles. They express the psychological truth of the self-fulfilling prophecy perfectly through the metaphors expressed in their stories.”
She uses Cinderella as the quintessential example of Disney’s expert use of power of belief: “You look at the castle through the window of your dusty hovel, yet deep down you know it’s yours. You’re covered in ashes of broken dreams, but your spirit is clean, and you believe in the best future. You somehow know it’s yours, even though it seems completely improbable in every way according to your current life circumstance. Then one day, out of the blue, your Fairy Godmother arrives and takes you on a magical journey to your wildest dreams come true. A pumpkin becomes a carriage––the impossible becomes reality and surrounds you like a warm blanket. People ought to believe in Disney magic. Through colorfully painted metaphors, Disney unapologetically expresses the truth of the Power of Belief. It’s why I got into animation: to spread the message of light, cheesy as it sounds.”
Perhaps believing in Disney’s truth of power of belief is the perfect recipe to having a successful career in voice over acting. However, the profession isn’t simply talking in different voices and expressions. Swan’s biggest struggle is marketing herself in a highly competitive business. “The key is to find what makes you different and unique as an artist and market that,” she explains. “I found my way with the clear branding “Princess Voice Over.” Even though I do lots of other voices besides the Princess, the name embodies the general sense of magic and sparkle in my work.”
She also has an edutainment YouTube channel called Essential Oil Theatre. “On that channel, I make videos giving the different essential oils voices and personalities, and have the oils themselves explain their benefits. It’s a way to showcase my character range, while also educating people about the medicinal properties of essential oils, and that’s very rewarding.”
For anyone interested in pursuing voice over work, Swan urges those people to make sure they’re doing it. She also warns that it’s not an easy job and that it takes skill, talent, and practice.
To learn more about Swan’s work or if interested in working with her, visit princessvoiceover.com.