Friday, February 22, 2008

Voice Talent Advice #2 - Breathing for Voice Over

Before we discuss how to read copy or a script, you need to learn how to get your voice and articulators warmed up. First, breathe! Practice breathing from your diaphragm - that spot between your chest and abdomen just above your waist. To check yourself, you can lie on your back on the floor, and place the palm of your hand on your middle. Take a deep breath in through your nose. Your chest should not raise, nor should your shoulders tense, but your midsection should expand pushing your hand up. If you have a voice over buddy, you can stand and have her or him stand facing you and place their hands around your sides just above your waist. When you breathe in, expanding your diaphragm, their hands will be pushed apart– your shoulders should not move and your chest shouldn’t move much either. When you blow the air out, their hands will come closer together. Now, you’ve got the idea.

When you’re working as voice talent – all your breath should come from here. The diaphragm is what supports you. In my old cheer leading days, I could cheer all night and not have any problems with my voice the next day because I was not yelling from the throat, but pushing the air from the diaphragm. Now, as a mom in the stands, I have to be careful because I get too caught up in the action and just scream! If you don't support from the diaphragm, you’re going to pinch and squeeze your vocal chords and you will sound pinched and squeezed – and you’ll run out of air and be gasping through the spot.

Practice taking in deep breaths and then releasing them slowly while voicing “Ah” until you run out of air. When you’re actually voicing a script you will need to take short, but deep breaths to keep the copy moving while keeping the sound supported. Warm up by doing this deep breathing exercise, and as a bonus, it's a great relaxation exercise, too!

Next time, I'll talk about articulation exercises.

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