Voice from a Director’s Perspective: Conversation with Dan Bird


Director and Acting Teacher Dan Bird, hanging out with one of his BFFs

Hey Friends,

If you’re an actor, have you ever wondered what a director is looking for from you vocally?

In this episode, Christine talks to her friend and teaching colleague at ArtsEd, Dan Bird. Dan is an acting teacher and director, and has some really useful thoughts for actors about what he’s looking for vocally from performers when he’s directing.

The big theme that emerges is the importance of vocal color and a sense of play with pitch range variety, so that the voice is responsive from moment to moment to what’s happening in the text. Here are other themes that come up:

  • The connection between differentiation of thought and the voice organically changing
  • The usefulness of Gibberish
  • The importance of listening
  • Learning your lines around the events that happen in the scene
  • The usefulness of playing around with pitch for the sake of it
  • How not useful it is to focus on how you’re feeling as the character, which sometimes creates a vocal “tone”, and some alternative issues to focus on instead
  • Voice work is not about the voice sounding beautiful, but about it being connected to the performer’s experience

If you’d like a downloadable version of this episode, you can find it on iTunes by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ or on BuzzSprout.

Let us know what you think about our conversations and/or ask questions that came up for you by commenting below or emailing us at bespoke.comcontact@gmail.com.

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

Alternatives to Throat Clearing


Hey friends,

Autumn/winter time can be a magical time, but it can also come with some annoyances, like always feeling like you have to clear your throat.  In this episode, we discuss some helpful alternatives to throat clearing, which, in this cold and flu season, can really get in the way of your presentation or performance.

Whether it be mucous or a dry throat, the need to throat-clear can create anxiety in public speaking situations. The good news is, there are some things you can do to prevent the situation and also things you can do in the moment to help ease the mucous/dryness.

Themes that come up are:

  • Drinking Water ahead of time
  • Avoiding coffee/tea/dairy right before you’re going to speak
  • Breathing and Grounding yourself to help manage any nerves that are causing your need to clear your throat
  • Shifting the focus to the outside environment (to avoid hyper-focusing on the croak)
  • Voice Warm-ups before the communication context to help you clear any phlegm

If you’d like a downloadable version of this episode, you can find it on iTunes by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ or on BuzzSprout.

We’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this question and our answers to it. You can comment here or email us at bespoke.comcontact@gmail.com.

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

Voice Work for Social Situations


We are very excited about this first podcast episode in our new format, where we discuss a question from YOU, our listeners. The question we talked about in this episode is:

It’s strange- when performing I find speech easier and more controlled but in social settings I often find myself stumbling over my words or find it difficult to make my words clear. However if I try and use the techniques I use to speak clearly on stage in social settings I find it comes across as wrong for the situation. How can I combat this without over-effort?

This is such a great question and definitely resonated with us. Communicating in social situations can be tricky– it can be hard to be ourselves sometimes!

We talk through where this issue has come up for us, and some ideas for what to do when you’re finding it hard to articulate yourself in social situations. Themes that come up are:

  • Rather than focusing your attention so much inward on how you’re talking as you’re talking, bring your attention back out into your environment. How can you get more curious about your environment and who you’re talking to? How can that shift of attention help re-ground you into the present moment?
  • The usefulness of thinking about breathing to people as you speak.
  • When you feel you’re over-efforting, ask yourself, how can I do less? As you start to do less, you may begin to see more, feel more relaxed, and breathe more easily.
  • The difference between technique and working really hard.

In addition to listening to this podcast here, you can also download it on iTunes by searching for “BeSpoke Speaks” or on BuzzSprout.

We’d be curious to hear what you think about our responses, and if you have some thoughts on your own on this question! Feel free to comment below or email us at bespoke.comcontact@gmail.com.

Please share this episode with anyone you think might be interested, and feel free to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay