Saturday, February 16, 2008

Voice Talent Advice #1 For the Beginner

This is a voice talent "how to" for those of you out there who are interested in becoming a professional voice over performer. I frequently get emails or calls from prospective professional voice over performers. Some of them have had a little training or experience and others are only thinking about it. Occasionally, even someone who is working and has representation will contact me about certain areas of the business.

Since there is so much to cover and there are so many different aspects of this business of voice over, I'll just try covering one or two things in each post under this heading.

Today, I'm addressing the beginner. I've tried to gather my thoughts in order to address some of the basics of the voice over business, and to at least help point people in the right direction. I haven't written a book (yet), and I haven't had much time to teach classes or workshops although I have taught a few. I've just been a working professional voice over performer and actress for the past 25 years. Although I've read a few books and taken a few classes, most of my advice comes from years of recording in the studios and working and talking with many audio engineers, producers, directors and other voice over talent. This is an organic process.

What has brought you to the voice over business? Some of you have been told you have a nice voice or you sound great on the phone. Wonderful! That, in addition to years of acting experience, is part of what got me moving into the voice over arena, and it's turned out to be my bread and butter. However, having a nice voice (or these days a quirky or interesting voice) is definitely not all there is to becoming a successful professional voice over talent. The number one thing in voice over is the way you interpret the copy or in other words, your acting ability.

Your understanding of what is important in the script, what needs to be emphasized, finessed, or romanced and your ability to bring that to life will propel you toward your goal. So read every piece of advertising you can get your hands on whether it's actual commercial or narration copy or advertising out of a magazine or newspaper. Read it out loud, make it interesting, give it meaning. Read it with different attitudes: excited, happy, seductively, or even flat and bored - but not boring! Listen to commercials on TV (don't fast forward through them!) and radio. Hear what other people are doing out there. Pick and choose what you think works best and might work for you, too.

Next time, I'll discuss your instrument - your voice and how to work with it properly.

Until then - read on!


cj in pacifica said...

Thank you for being so open and helpful to those of us who have heard for years, "Oh you ought to be in radio" or "Your voice, I love to hear it" or "You should be an actor". What I need to hear is what you have said in this short advice article.

Thank you once again for being so open.

cj in pacifica ca

Anonymous said...

Well said for sure. You are a great talent yourself and thank you for sharing.
Bryan Cox

Voice Over Studio said...

Thanks for the kind words cj and Bryan! I hope that what I have to say can help someone along the way. I appreciate your feedback!

Melanie said...

Bingo Melanie!

Looking forward to reading your next article :)