“Voice-Over Acting” can draw up a few different ideas, ranging from cheesy cartoon character voices to the iconic “Next Summer In A Theatre Near You”. What people often don’t know (and sometimes even actors hoping to transition to VO Work) is that there is much more that goes into the work than initially meets the eye (or ear). Here are three little thoughts that go a long way…
#1: Use Your Whole Body!
Many people assume that successful VO Work just requires you to have the ability to make (or mimic) funny sounds or voices. Having a wide vocal range certainly can’t hurt and learning to imitate a wide range of sounds can help build your vocal flexibility, but it is absolutely far from the be-all-end-all. Being able to truthfully convey action and emotion…that is absolutely critical. If you do a simple search for any voice over tips, a recurring theme is that new talent has an inability to connect to the material. They can’t find the emotional truth. They can’t claim the material. Guess what? Voice-Over Acting is Acting! You wouldn’t stand stiff in front of a camera or on stage, so why do that in the booth? One very simple trick for actors new to VO Work is to gesture and move your body (in whatever way you need) in order to get out of your head and speak the lines with intention. You need to funnel emotion, intention and clarity into those lines – that’s a lot of work! Why wouldn’t you let your body help you?
Discussing this point may seem like beating a dead horse. Everyone knows this step can mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful audition in all forms of acting. Voice-Over Acting is certainly no exception. Unlike stage or film acting, where you have your body to help you tell a story, with Voice Over Acting, you need to carry the emotional truth and drive of a character solely in your voice. If you’ve ever watched a very talented puppeteer, you’ll see the amount of selfless concentration they are putting into a puppet. It’s all about the puppet. If you are watching the puppeteer’s face while they work, and gaining story from there, they’ve failed as a puppeteer. Think of Voice-Over Acting like that. Concentrate all your work into your voice. Because of the amount of precision that requires: warm up! There are many different techniques you can employ before recording to get yourself ready, such as gently massaging your face, making humming sounds, ‘stretching’ your tongue, and so much more. Use online resources, seek out a coach, do everything you need to feel confident – and then do even more. Warming up is also crucial to vocal health. You could be in the booth for a while, and you do not want to hurt yourself. Your voice is your tool, take care of it.
Ah yes, Young Grasshopper! Patience coupled with training is a key ingredient to becoming
a strong and successful voice-over actor. An acting class can be instrumental in helping you to find your voice and better understand the roles coming your way. Many voice acting classes have different and unique approaches towards helping you become a skilled performer. Do your research and try a few different methods. An added bonus is if they help you expand your portfolio by helping you create some clips for a demo reel or voice over profile. With the guidance of a skilled acting coach, your demo will showcase what you can offer to casting agents and clients in the industry. Because remember: at the end of the day…it’s acting.
Hopefully these tips have given you some food for thought in your pursuit of success!
If you have some great tips on becoming a stronger voiceover actor, be sure to let us know in the comments section below!
And if you want to put these principles into play, join IYA's Voiceprov workshop on June 22-23 2019!
-Charles Kouri Guest Author
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