This line of work seems weird but it is fetching a good living and peace of mind for a young lady who has been doing it for long.
Ashley Peldon is a professional scream artist from the US. She spends hours in front of the microphone screaming and getting paid for that.
“It’s just so natural, it comes right out. This ability to scream was a huge part in getting my first acting jobs,” Ashley told The Guardian.
Ashley, who grew up in New York in the 1980s, got a major role in the film Child of Rage, which meant doing long scenes of shouting and screaming. For the audition, she had to “perform outbursts, yelling to show the agony experienced by the character.”
This talented artist revealed that the film changed her entire career and personal journey.
Her career kept growing and by the time she was 20, she had done more than 40 films and TV shows. That’s really huge.
“In search of a quieter life, in the late 2000s, I made a shift from being an on-camera performer to a voiceover actor. I was lucky to get parts where I was able to really use and play with my voice a lot, and screaming became something that I was known for,” she said.
Ashley has screamed in Free Guy, Paranormal Activity and Scream.
This line of work comes in at the post-production stage when all the filming has been done. Ashley records the additional screams and voice acting for on-screen actors when they are not able to achieve the sound the director seeks.
Don’t even think this work is easy at all. Ashley says there are many different screams – of fear, anger, rage, joy, success, “that raw, embodied scream of female empowerment”, wailing of grief and pain, screams of effort and fighting.
She explained, “As a scream artist you have to know the subtle differences between screams and determine whether they should peak at certain points, or remain steady for a very long time. I have to think: ‘OK, the character is scared here, but are they scared because their life is in danger or are they just startled?’ Those screams will sound very different. Ghost stories, for example, will often use a shrill, harsh scream because we need the audience to also experience fear.”
Ashley said that scream artists are like stunt people, “doing the hard stuff that could be damaging to an actor’s voice or is out of their range.”
For Ashley, the most difficult screams are of grief. “I’m an empathic person – and also hold a PhD in psychology – so I find getting connected with emotion easy, but it also carries a weight with it,” she said.
The scream artist added that there’s a difference between what we do in reality and what we expect to see on screen. People would just not make any noise when they are frightened in real life. She added that this was not how it worked on screen. A lot more skill and concentration is required to excel in this line of work.
Ashley finds that “there’s something really relaxing about it.” She added, “After a big day of screaming I feel lighter and brighter. When I’m not working, I take care of my voice with the typical things like drinking tea.”