Have you ever heard an ad on the radio or television with a great voice over, and thought, “I could do that!” Madeleine Wild, voice over coach extraordinaire, believes you can, too.
Wild grew up in Roslyn, a suburb of New York City on the North Shore of Long Island. She later moved to Greenwich Village in the city and went to Queens College, where she earned her BA in Education and Theatre Arts, and worked in theater and voice over.
She eventually made her way to California and was living in Marin, when she and husband Roy Blumenfeld, a musician, decided to explore a new place to live. They ended up in Sonoma and have been here for the last 26 years. Along the way, Wild received a Masters degree in Reading and Language Arts from Sonoma State University and wrote her thesis on Voice Over.
Wild owns Radio Magic, a voice over production, training and recording studio. She and her husband also collaborate to produce professional radio/TV commercials, narrations, web audio, and more, for companies and businesses.
Sonoma Patch: What’s the most important thing you learned during your time in theater and voice over in NYC?
Madeleine: I learned “method acting” in my acting classes — how to create authentic characters from the inside/out. Acting is believing! I use this method in my Radio Magic voice over classes.
SP: When did you first get interested in theatrics?
Madeleine: Since I was maybe 3 years old. I always liked to entertain, perform for family, friends and in school, where they called me the drama queen, “Sarah Bernhardt.”
SP: You’re one of the lucky ones who discovered a passion early!
Madeleine: Yes, from early on, I loved to be dramatic, silly and make people laugh. I’d mimic teachers, personalities and even recite commercials…
SP: What is it about Sonoma that attracted you?
Madeleine: I liked the Sonoma Square and especially the ducks, because they were a sentimental reminder of the beloved duck pond in the town where I grew up.
SP: What has kept you here?
Madeleine: I’ve been able to maintain Radio Magic, my voice over business, for the past 21 years! Sonoma is a beautiful destination and people will travel here to work in our studio. Sonoma’s small and friendly, yet cultured and stylish.
SP: How do you approach teaching?
Madeleine: I teach individuals, privately and in small groups, the tools for voice acting, narration, developing characters, storytelling, radio/TV ads, web audio— and help them define and develop their style. Voice over is an experience in self-discovery!
SP: Can anyone learn to do voice over?
Madeleine: I think some people have an innate talent but others are really motivated to learn how to do it. Through practice and training, the art and skill of voice over can be developed and mastered. Some people want to learn how to become a professional voice over artist; others just want to have FUN, and fun it is.
SP: What do you look for in a voice over talent?
Madeleine: Believe it or not, it’s not just the sound of your voice, but how you make sense of the copy and are able to create natural, believable characters with style.
SP: What’s the first thing you tell someone who’s interested in venturing into voice over?
Madeleine: If you’re interested in exploring voice over, you’ve come to the right place. (smile)
SP: Do you still do voice over yourself?
Madeleine: Occasionally, and I’d like to do more. I’ve done commercials, including a TV spot for the . And I’ve done many character voices, such as princesses, trolls, space bugs and “Thing One” in “The Cat in the Hat.”
SP: What’s the most challenging voice over you ever did?
Madeleine: A medical/health project for a university. The topic: colonoscopy.
SP: The most fun?
Madeleine: I was the Casting and Voice Director at Living Books in San Francisco. We produced “The Cat in the Hat” – a CD-Rom. Loved it!
SP: Are you involved in local theater?
Madeleine: No. Although, I like to work with theatre actors. Voice over in the recording studio is different from stage acting. You don’t speak to a live audience, but it’s actually more personal and conversational.
SP: What do you do when you’re not working?
Madeleine: We have three dogs —two Bichons and one poodle mix rescue (named, saved in the NICK of time). We love to walk around the Square and go to our monthly “Bichon bash” at the Sonoma Dog Park. Our Bichon group is also involved with animal rescue. We’ve helped rescue several dogs in the past year and placed them into loving families. It’s so rewarding!