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Interview with BRAVA Talent, Tabitha Owens

We recently invited Master VO Character coach, Elaine Clark, from San Francisco, California, to host our ‘Step Into Video Games’ here in Bristol, U.K. We chat to Tabitha about her experience of the day.

BRAVA Talent, Tabitha Owens with Adam Hopton & James Reckhouse
BRAVA Talent, Tabitha Owens (centre) with Adam Hopton (left) & James Reckhouse (right) Photo: Chris Bailey

Why did you join the Step Into Video Games in-person course with BRAVA?

I have always been a fan of video games, and it has been a dream of mine to someday voice a character myself, but a mystery as to how it all works. When I first found out about the course, I leapt at the chance to abate my curiosity about what is involved, how the creative magic is produced and if I enjoy, or have potential for, the reality of this type of work.

What were your expectations? Did you have any hesitations or concerns?

I was nervous when I arrived as I really didn’t know what to expect, having only just started exploring the world of VO. Elaine and Melissa soon made me feel very at ease and I couldn’t believe how the day flew by – and left me wanting more!

How did you find the overall experience?

The session content itself exceeded my expectations. Elaine had so many incredible insights into VO work in gaming – from how you receive the scripts to her awe-inspiring directing! It was fascinating to watch everyone grow during the session and I felt I learned so much just by osmosis from watching Elaine work with everyone in the group.

How did you find the management of the day’s learning by BRAVA?

The structure of the day - from cold reading the script, to specific character work, to the final recording - really allowed my confidence to build, so I didn’t feel so intimidated when it came to my turn to step into the booth.

Elaine’s very specific, quick-fire direction was a privilege to watch, and be on the receiving end of, as she drew out some great performances from each of us. It was such a fun, relaxed, safe atmosphere, with no judgement about choices people made, or any such thing as a silly question – just an amazing feeling of people willing each other to take risks. Elaine engendered a confidence in me to take risks in my own performance I would have never thought I would take when I arrived that morning! There were enough breaks in the day and time for lunch - and having Melissa’s constant support throughout (as always) was fantastic.

What were the key learning points for you? What did you come away with?

I learned so many new things that it is hard to summarise, but a massive takeaway for me was to not over think things, make bold choices based on what little information you have and the importance of physicality. With a background mainly in theatre, the way that Elaine utilised physicality really resonated with me and helped me understand how to adjust my existing skillset to better suit using a microphone.

How did you find the group experience?

The chance to see people explore the physical side of characters with their whole bodies and chat through their choices is something I’m not sure would transfer so easily into an online class. Not to mention how interesting it was to get a chance to see Andy, the sound engineer, work with Elaine’s direction, which gave another level of understanding of the process as a whole. Also having the added bonus of the photographer throughout the day was a real treat – his calming presence in the tight confines of the booth and lovely comments really helped to put me at ease!

Did the course have an impact on your work as a VO? If so, how?

I came away invigorated and inspired to continue to pursue my dream of working as a VO in gaming, as well as a new network of people I feel I can call upon. Hearing the final edited recording a few weeks after the course made me so proud and I was blown away by how professional we all sound! This, combined with seeing the photos from the day serve as amazing reminders of a magical experience and inspired me to continue my journey. I have booked onto BRAVA’s Character Foundation course and can’t wait to get started!

Any final thoughts?

I LOVED that the workshop was in person and in such a great venue! I would thoroughly recommend this course to everyone, no matter what your experience. Thank you, Melissa, Elaine and all at BRAVA for a life changing day!

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