THE VOICE OVER TECHNIQUE GUIDEBOOK, WITH INDUSTRY OVERVIEW

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1 THE VOICE OVER TECHNIQUE GUIDEBOOK, WITH INDUSTRY OVERVIEW Read. Practice. Perform. In Easy Steps. For 21 types of Voice Over, including: Animation, Audiobook, Biography, Cartoon, Commercial, Corporate, Documentary, elearning, Medical, Promos, PSAs, Retail, Self-Guided Tours, Telephony, Trailers, and More! Edge Studio New York edge Connecticut edge Los Angeles edge Washington, DC edge Remote Training edge first copyright David Goldberg All Rights Reserved last copyrighted update June, 2010

2 Table of Contents Foreword... 3 Chapter 1: Misconceptions... 4 Chapter 2: Industry Overview... 7 definition... 7 styles, types, growth... 7 major changes Chapter 3: Pre-Training what s in advancement: obstacles, obtaining skills, time involved producers expectations Chapter 4: Training foundation be natural the two delivery components composure tension free basic training the four vocal components inflection and pitch flowing naturally variety diction numbers, web addresses, and more emotion, character, tone advanced training mental and physical preparation copy analysis on your own copy analysis with the creative team delivery / character development valuing words microphone essentials mouth noises and breathing techniqes diction flow / smoothness timing hitting smile variety consistency / valuing words punctuation keywords multi-person scripts auditions

3 practice tips and scripts practice tips practice scripts Chapter 5: Post-Training evaluate your potential determine your next step Chapter 6: Demo demo overview when to produce a demo how to produce a demo Chapter 7: The Business getting hired, and by whom billing, invoicing, taxes union / non-union odds and ends: volunteer work, auditions Chapter 8: Home Studio should you? how big is your head? choose a microphone design and build your space ISDN Chapter 9: Marketing marketing overview appearing professional getting out there contacts Chapter 10: Working producers expectations, unprofessional traits recording sessions recording studios industry dictionary

4 Foreword You have a face for radio. While the author is unknown, this adage points out that voice over work is open to anyone even those who are performers at heart but have stage fright, those who want fame without paparazzi, and those who enjoy making strange sounds. Voice over is for everyone. If not to narrate, then to listen to. Welcome A voice over career is a spectacular career. Vocally it requires a combination of control and creativity. Monetarily, it can be quite lucrative. A voice over career offers a lifestyle with some flexibility. It can be enjoyed part time or full time and today it is possible to work from home and design your own time. A voice over career is exciting and varied. Every script is unique. Every producer is unique. Every day is different. You can specialize in what is right for you and your voice. And it s thrilling to unexpectedly hear your voice on the radio or in other mediums. Enjoy this industry, and this guidebook. Objectives of this Guidebook By learning how to modulate and control your voice, and by gaining a solid understanding of the business and marketing aspects of the industry, this guidebook will help beginners and professionals Investigate, Evaluate, Break Into,and Advance their voice over careers. 3

5 Chapter 1: Misconceptions One person tells you, Hey great voice! You could make a fortune in voice over! The next says, Don t even bother they hire the same 3 people over and over! Since voice over is a relatively new industry, and since it s gone through major transitions in its short life, there are many schools of thought. It seems every expert has an opinion and they don t all agree which can be confusing. Understandably most people teach from their own perspectives. So if someone tells you This is the way it always is. It has probably been that way in their personal experience. The following examples may help to clarify some common industry misconceptions. One voice over book says, When reading children s stories, use high energy. Yet another book says, When reading children s stories, use low energy. Our suggestion is to read by using the appropriate amount of energy for the given intent of the read. For example, if the children s story is intended to help children fall asleep, low energy is appropriate. If the story is to keep children entertained, high energy is appropriate. If the story is intended to help children learn to read (as in a picture-book), a slower tempo is appropriate. If the story is designed to teach English to children who do not speak English as their first language, an articulate delivery may be appropriate. Many voice over schools suggest to Make a commercial demo. Great! We also suggest considering a narration demo because documentaries, training videos, website narrations, educational films, telephone systems, and corporate presentations make up 92% of the jobs available in the industry. CDs or MP3s? Headshot or no headshot? One casting director claims that everyone wants demos on CD with full color headshots. The next claims that everyone prefers MP3 files ed to them without headshots. The truth is that every casting director prefers something different. Therefore, to get the most work, never assume what a casting director wants and instead ask. Use the strong, announcer, broadcast style voice says one expert. Promos and local/broadcast style commercials still use that read but most of the time, a natural style is preferred.. It is estimated that 95% of scripts are recorded using a conversational style vocal delivery. In fact, the announcer style voice is being used less and less every year. 4

6 You may have heard a struggling voice over artist say, Don t bother I ve been trying this for a year and haven t gotten any work yet! If you treat this like a business and train and market correctly, you greatly increase your chance of obtaining work. Unsuccessful, aspiring voice over artists are often inadvertently making mistakes that are keeping them from working, including marketing only a commercial demo, using an announcer style delivery, marketing to the wrong people or submitting poor cover letters or low quality demos. Also, many aspiring voice-talent are anxious to hit the street. If you rush through the training process there is a strong likelihood that you ll receive less work. We suggest using a training facility that will candidly evaluate your talent, help you determine your marketable voice over genres, offer time to study those genres, and help you establish a marketing plan specifically for those genres. Boy, there is a lot of money in this business! $2,000 to record one radio commercial is fantastic. And many voice over schools tempt you into training with them by reminding you of such numbers. However few newcomers receive enough high-paying jobs to equal their annual income. Therefore we suggest to be realistic begin parttime and quit your day-job when you have sufficient clientele. Or choose to keep voice over as a supplement to your day-job s income. Here s a confusing one. One voice over school charges $100 to produce a demo when another charges $800. Digital recording studios are inexpensive these days, anyone can do it even those who do not know the voice over industry and/or do not have trained ears. When shopping for a demoproducer, ask to review demos they have produced, learn if they take time with you, and ask if they will train you. If they are only going to make the demo, look for complete training elsewhere or otherwise, instead of saving money, you ll waste it. Some people believe that acting lessons are invaluable when training for voice over. It really depends upon the style of voice over you are training for and the type of acting lessons you consider. Most voice over delivery requires a natural style, and therefore film acting lessons may be helpful as they generally teach a natural style. If you desire character and animation work, consider improv and comedic classes as they generally teach you how to open up, be creative, and be loose. If you are considering acting lessons, ask the instructor if they are familiar with the type of voice over you are interested in, and if they believe their class would be beneficial. Be sure that they understand today s voice over style. Contrary to popular belief, commercial and narration scripts are read the same way. The assumption that commercials are fast and narrations are slow is incorrect. Some commercials 5

7 are fast (car dealerships) and some are slow (financial industries, jewelry ads). Some narrations need more acting ability and some less. some commercials need range and some don t. Some narrations are fast (travelogues, children stories) and some are slow (training films, telephone automation systems). Also, some commercials sell (retail sales) while others inform (public service announcements, etc). Some narrations sell (infomercial, trade-show exhibits, etc) while others inform (how-to-videos, self-help, and etc). It is necessary, however, for a voice over artist to have stamina to be able to narrate a narration, as the recordings are typically longer. What microphone should I get? Experts often recommend microphones. Grrrrrrr that one frustrates us. THERE ARE DIFFERENT MODELS, TYPES, SIZES, and PRICES FOR A REASON so the answer is the mic that is right for you, your home studio and for the kind of voice over you want to do. Some things to consider before choosing a mic a) What kind of voice over do you record? Telephony jobs require a mic that produces a clean, clear, bright output. Promos need a big, full, sometimes fat sound. Do it all? Get a mic that works across the board. b) How are the acoustics of your recording booth? A reverberant room needs a directional mic. -A dry room may sound better with an "open" mic. c) How sound-proofed is your recording booth? It s not? Consider a directional mic maybe even a super or hyper cardiod.y sound best. d) What about you? Have a big, full voice? Get a mic that captures that low-end. Maybe a tube. Have a thin voice? Don t get a tube. e) Lastly, the question you can NOT answer until you experiment: How does the mic react to your voice? Every mic reacts differently to different voices so try a few. And listen carefully. Not sure what to listen for? Ask someone who engineers the kind of voice over that you narrate. IN CONCLUSION: Do NOT choose a microphone because it s a good price, because someone suggests it, or because it looks cool. Want to make more money at voice over? Then get a mic that makes you sound the best! We re glad to help you determine which mic it is. It is? An open mic may sound best. 6

8 Chapter 2: Industry Overview In this chapter: definition styles, types, growth major changes DEFINITION Originally from the phrase voice-over-picture, a voice over is a spoken-word recording, also known as a narration. The voice over artist is the person whose voice is heard. A voice over artist is also known as a voice artist, voice over actor, voice actor, voice over performer, voice performer, voice over talent, voice talent, voice over narrator, voice narrator, narrator, announcer, and simply a V.O. STYLES, TYPES, GROWTH Styles unaffected (natural): The natural delivery is today s most popular style. It is generally used for most sectors of voice over, except for promos & trailers, broadcast & announcer reads, and character & animation scripts. * IMPORTANT * Many people mistakenly interpret natural to mean nonchalant. That is incorrect. Natural simply means unaffected, which means ANY voice used in real life, such as nonchalant, energetic, funny, sad, compassionate, happy, sarcastic, and so on. affected (unnatural): An affected delivery is generally used only for promos & trailers, broadcast & announcer reads, and character & animation scripts. This was not the case prior to the 1990s, when many sectors of voice over used affected style delivery. Types voice over commercial market: 8% of voice over work is estimated to be commercial work. While the smaller portion of voice over, few jobs pay as well as a national television commercial. However most professional talent earn the majority of their income from narration work, as there is simply much more of it. 7

9 o o o o o radio: commercial television: commercial PSA: public service announcement promo: promotional advertisement for television show trailer: promotional advertisement for movie voice over narration market: 92% of voice over work is estimated to be narration work. Many voice over artists (as well as voice over recording studios) specialize in one or more types of narration voice over. For marketing purposes, their demos demonstrate their specialty, e.g.: an audiobook demo. And likewise, they market themselves to audiobook recording studios, audiobook casting professionals, and audiobook producers. As you read through the technique portions of this guidebook, begin thinking about the sectors of voice over that are the most marketable for you. announcement: airports, stadiums, train stations, etc. audiobook: adult, children, self-help, best seller, classic, etc. Audiobooks are approximately a $1 billion per year industry, which is approximately 13% of the publishing industry. Amazingly, audiobooks reported a 5% growth in the industry last year, with similar growth projected for this year. Most bookstores now sell audiobooks, and most libraries rent them. Today there are even narrated weekly magazines and narrated daily newspapers. Self-help, teen, and non-fiction are some of the faster growing styles. Other popular styles include fiction, science fiction, romance, contemporary classic, children, and mystery. biography: celebrity, politician, etc. When most people think of biographies, they think only of the biography channel on cable television. However biograpahy voice over narrations are also popular for non-fiction audiobooks, educational films, and self guided museum tours. character & animation: talking toys, cartoons, children s books, multimedia educational videos, video games, etc. * IMPORTANT * Many people mistakenly confuse the terms Character and Animation. A Character voice is representative of someone else s voice in other words, the voice talent mimics another voice, such as an accent, dialect, impersonation, and cliché voice (such as a 8

10 New York cab driver). An Animation voice is one that is created to represent a being that does not naturally speak, such as a cartoon character, an animated movie, a talking toy, and so on. corporate (industrial): sales video, trade show exhibit, promotional material, new hire video, training tutorial, compliance video, etc. documentary: wildlife, country and people, natural disaster, children s, etc. education & training: learning program, training film, CD-ROMs, children s films, etc. In a society that promotes learning, self-help programs, on-line tutorials, Internet college classes, narrated textbooks, children s education films, and adult continuing education, training programs are increasingly popular. film dubbing, ADR, looping: television, movie, international corporate training material, etc. Internet: website presentation, museum self-guided tour, banner ad, interactive tour, on-line tutorial, etc. Internet voice over appears to be the largest and fastest growing sector of voice over. In fact, many voice over artists and production companies estimate that Internet audio totals onequarter to one-half of their business. Types range from narrated banner ads, on-line tutorials, flash presentations, Welcome To Our Company presentations, interactive self-guided tours of college campuses, museums, and parks, etc. inspiration & exercise: self help, exercise video, meditation, etc. medical: training, procedural film, pharmaceutical, trade-show, display, etc. telephony: menu prompt, IVR, information on hold, auto attendant, etc. Telephony is any type of recorded voice over used for telephones. It is great because companies often re-hire the same voice over artist to update their system on a regular basis. The most popular styles or telephony are: Menu Prompt systems prompt the user through a menu of choices, such as, Please press 1 for sales, 2 for repair, 3 to IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems allow the user to speak with the pre-recorded voice. For example, an IVR recording may say, Please say operator, sales associate, or customer service. or, Please speak the last four digits of your social security number. or, Hmmmm I m sorry, I didn t understand. Please say IVR systems are replacing many menu-prompt 9

11 systems, and is quickly gaining widespread popularity. Voice Mail systems (also known as Auto Attendant systems) are used in most businesses to act as an assistant for the employee when they do not take the call, want a message recorded, or want a call transferred. Information On Hold is the ubiquitous type of telephony where the user hears information while they wait for the party to answer their call. For example, Thanks for your patience. While you re on hold, we d like to tell you about exciting offers. Be sure to ask your representative for more details. Thanks again for holding, we ll be right with you. Growth The voice over industry is growing quickly. Very quickly. Commercial voice over work grows as quickly as new television and radio stations are developed. Narration work continues to grow as businesses continue finding new ways for voice over to strengthen their brand, enhance their image, promote their products, and increase revenue, such as automated services, self-guided tours, recorded manuals, talking toys, self-help educational guides, audiobooks, online training films, narrated banner ads, talking birthday cards, and many, many more. In fact, just about every sector of the industry is growing rapidly. Following are four of the fastest growing sectors of voice over: audiobook Internet audio IVR (Interactive Voice Response) educational MAJOR CHANGES While its roots go back to the early days of radio (early 1900s), voice over has only been a mainstream profession since the 1980s, and it s only been a common household name since approximately the year

12 During its short life, there have been many transitions. And not everyone who speaks about voice over is up-to-date. Therefore many people speak about the voice over industry the way it was as opposed to the way it really is. Which makes it important to verify that any coach/voice over school that helps you is up-to-date. If they are not, any coaching, advice, and resources they offer, such as marketing questions and voice delivery technique, may not be beneficial. If trained by them, you may obtain less work and eventually require seeking additional guidance and training from someone who is up-to-date. As with anything, feel comfortable with whom you look to for advice. Confirm they are immersed in the industry; understand current trends, styles, and resources; and can offer useful guidance. During its short life, there have been many transitions. Here are some major changes: vocal style: has gone from dominantly announcer style to natural style details: In the early days of voice over, microphones were not as sophisticated as they are today, and did not pick up high frequencies, such as low volumes and female voices. Therefore male voices especially deep, strong ones were preferred. This strong announcer style delivery was also appropriate because groups of people would gather around a single radio to listen to a radio program together. Therefore, from the voice over artist s perspective, a stronger tone was appropriate since he was projecting to a large group of people. Then between the 1960s and 1980s, three things changed that caused the voice over producer to typically request a conversational vocal delivery. First, as technology advanced, microphones were developed that could pick up natural voices. Second, more people listened to radio and television programs by themselves, making a natural, more intimate delivery preferred. In other words, the public generally prefers to be spoken to, as opposed to announced at. Third, narration work became more and more popular, and since this was not selling, a natural style vocal delivery was used. type of work: has gone from dominantly commercial work to narration work details: Originally, radio commercials were the brunt of the work. Then came along television commercials. Then came along a new type of voice over: narration. This style included educational and informational narrations. While the number of voice over commercials continue to increase every year, narrations now total approximately 92% of the industry. recording medium: has gone from analog recording to digital recording details: Practically every engineering function has changed with the advent of digital technology. Productions are now completed significantly faster while simultaneously 11

13 significantly more precise. With digital editing, voice talent can simply re-record a sentence, phrase, or even single word when they make a mistake, and the engineer can digitally edit it into the recording in place of the mistake. (This eliminates the necessity to re-record an entire passage.) Clients can request that engineers give them options, as engineers can easily offer multiple versions of a production, each with different music, sound effects, and/or mix. Recording studios are now inexpensive, portable, and higher in quality. Yet by far, most engineers will confirm that the greatest benefit of digital technology is the undo button. gender: has gone from dominantly male work to half female/half male work. details: As mentioned above, since early microphones did not pick up high frequencies, female voices were not used much. Plus since the feminist movement had not yet occurred in the early days of voice over, female voices were not used much. As microphone technology advanced, and as women began doing more professions that were considered male work, women began narrating more voice over work. Today, women narrate about half of the voice over jobs. Female voices are considered to be more believable than male voices. Male voices are considered more authoritative than female voices. 12

14 Chapter 3: Pre-Training In this chapter: what s in advancement: obstacles, obtaining producers expectations skills, time involved WHAT S IN 1. natural is in As stated earlier, today s voice over producers generally prefer voice talent to use a natural and conversational vocal delivery. Therefore when a producer directs you to be natural and conversational, they want you to be you. Keep in mind, however, that we each have many natural deliveries. We can be sad, happy, funny, sarcastic, and so on, in natural conversation. Usually, it is one of your natural voices that the producer desires. * IMPORTANT * If the producer does not tell you which tone of voice to use, ask them. They will not be surprised that you ask, and may likely say, Oh sorry, I forgot to tell you what tone of voice we want. 2. what if you can create unnatural sounds? Can you do accents? Dialects? Sound like the other guy? In most cases, these will not get you work. This is because producers generally prefer to hire voice-talent who naturally has the voice type they require, as artificial dialects and accents rarely sound real. For example, if a producer needs to hire an elderly, British, female voice, they will hire an elderly, British, female woman. If the elderly, British, female voice over artist is not available, sometimes the script will be ed to England where she is available, and the recording will be completed via phone-patch/isdn. * IMPORTANT * Unless you are extraordinary at dialects, accents, and non-natural voices, we suggest to showcase only your natural voice(s) on your demo. 3. why is natural in? Producers desire natural deliveries because they are credible, and therefore the public responds better to them than they do affected ones. 13

15 This is why we estimate that 95% of voice overs use a natural delivery. Just 20 years ago, this was not the case. This is because the ubiquitous announcer style, which saw its demise in the late 1980s, was an affected, pushed, and projected style delivery. 4. if natural is 95% of the industry, why don t people notice it? Since natural voice overs are natural, they blend in and go by unnoticed. For example, most people never notice the voice over on a documentary (even though they hear the words). Nor do most people notice the voice over on national television commercials, training films at work, educational videos at school, and so forth. 5. why do people think of voice over as hard-sell style? Most people only notice the 5% of voice overs which are affected, as these stand out. Therefore when people think of voice over, they only recall hearing the affected hard-sell style and they assume that is what voice over is. 6. why do people think of voice over as commercial even though an estimated 92% is narration? Most affected voice overs occur in the commercial sector. And since people generally only notice the affected style deliveries, commercial is what they think of when they think of voice over. Conversely, people rarely notice the naturally delivered voice overs which occur in commercial AND narration sectors of voice over. To confirm this, ask someone to mimic a voice over. Chances are that they ll do a hard-sell style radio commercial even though this style is one of the least popular styles. 7. why is affected still heard? The affected, unnatural style delivery is still heard, albeit not too often, for a number of reasons. This style works well for promos, hard-sell commercials, and character/animation work. Sometimes affected voices are also heard because untrained voice-talent are used, such as the owner of a company narrating a commercial, a secretary narrating a company s telephone system, a local actor narrating a friend s documentary, and so on. ADVANCEMENT: OBSTACLES, OBTAINING SKILLS, TIME INVOLVED 1. can anyone do voice over? 14

16 No. As previously mentioned, voice over is about speaking naturally. And even though we use our natural voices all day, there is much more to voice over work than just talking. Some obstacles follow. 2. obstacles, remedies When one reads, several factors can make it difficult to sound natural. For example: Since we grew up noticing affected deliveries (and not noticing natural deliveries), we gravitate towards using it. To prevent this from happening, begin by listening carefully to natural voice overs, such as most national commercials, documentaries, telephone systems, training videos, and so on. Take note of how natural the voice is. In natural conversation, we produce complete thoughts before speaking them, and therefore our words flow together naturally. However when reading scripts, we tend to read words one at a time, and that lends itself to sounding stilted, choppy, and unnatural. To fix this, look ahead when reading in other words, always know what s coming up next. This way you are prepared for it. When we re in the spotlight (in front of the microphone), it is instinctive to be over dramatic and theatrical. This is simple to remedy: pretend you are talking to one person. Since the voice over artist knows that millions of people may hear the recording, there is a tendency to project. To sound natural, remember that you are talking to one person as if they are right near you. (Remember that listening to voice over is generally a solitary activity - i.e.: you listen to radio commercials, documentaries, audiobooks, etc. by yourself.) The fear of the microphone not picking up our voice makes us speak louder. Yet like when you make a telephone call across the world, there is no reason to yell. Let the electronics do their job. The unnatural environment of wearing headphones in a soundproof room promotes the use of a projected voice. This simply takes time to get used to. Scripts are typically written differently than we speak. They are written in someone else s words and in the third person. Yet in natural conversation, we speak in our own words in the first person. Becoming a better reader compensates for this. A recording session can create nervousness, which creates an unnatural sound. Practice and confidence will correct this. 3. required skills Being a capable reader and having the good voice is just the beginning. To succeed, the following 15

17 skills are necessary: One needs a marketable voice. A marketable voice is one that is suitable for voice over work it does not necessarily mean that the voice is beautiful, sexy, or powerful. Today, most voices are marketable. Interestingly, the more mainstream the voice is, the more work there is available. Being adaptable and directable allows you to follow the producer s directions accurately. Having good hearing allows efficient and effective communication with the producer, allows the voice talent to have input, and allows the talent to work from home studios (where they may need to be the producer as well as the voice talent). Being creative helps the production come to life, and impresses producers and casting agents. Non-inhibition is necessary it allows for vocal freedom which creates a credible character. An ability to remain calm during recording sessions, even when numerous confused producers give contradictory commands, is essential for getting the job done. Appearing professional signals experience and confidence. Appearing experienced (knowing microphone technique, etc.) puts confidence in the ears of the production team. Patience and dedication is a must, as your voice is not right for every part and it takes a while to build a large clientele. Success does not usually happen overnight. A non-attitude performance: to realize that it is not all about you, but rather you are just part of the bigger picture. A production will only be successful if every voice talent, the musicians, the sound-effect crew, the writers, the animators, the producers, the director, etc., work together as a team. And finally, being diligent and professional is key from marketing to work. 4. obtaining the skills Professional skills are generally best acquired with professional tools, including: professional guidebooks and workshops: it s practically impossible to train yourself private coaching sessions: the best way to harness your personal strengths listening to and learning from professionals: both good or bad 16

18 experience * TIP * Every recording studio has a microphone and therefore has the potential to teach voice over and produce voice over demos. But unless they have a producer who truly understands the voice over industry, it s unlikely that they can train you to sound like your professional competitors. 5. time required to reach your goals Face it: A voice over career doesn t happen overnight. (If it were that easy, everyone would do it.) Instead, one must practice, market, and be patient. Remember that the professionals, who make it sound simple, do exactly this. Learn from them. Numerous variables will dictate the time involved in reaching your goals: experience: Unnatural voice experience, such as radio broadcasting, stage acting, and some public speaking, etc., may require one to need additional time training. This is because skills will need to be unlearned before learning voice over. Conversely, some experience may make it easier to break in, such as reading for the blind, reading for children, counseling, singing, and on-camera acting. inhibition: One needs to be loose and carefree in front of the microphone. Inhibitions can be detrimental, as they can produce a stiff and unnatural sound. natural aptitude: Some people are naturals, some are not. diligence: Practicing is a key to breaking in. Therefore, the more you practice, the sooner you can enter the field. goals: Choosing to specialize in one genre of the voice over industry usually will require less schooling, as there are fewer styles to learn. PRODUCER S EXPECTATIONS Overall, producers expect three main qualities in a voice over artist: professional business practices (promptness, courtesy, organized, etc.) proficient (vocal technique, aural awareness, creativity, etc.) an ability to sound as good as their demo (if you can not duplicate the quality of your demo, you are misrepresenting yourself when marketing your demo) Various sections of this guidebook will focus on these items. 17

19 Chapter 4: Training In this chapter: foundation: These short guidelines are the foundation to voice over delivery. basic training: This establishes proficient vocal technique and aural awareness, allowing for basic work in the industry.you will 1) gain technique to ensure control of your voice, allowing producers direction to be followed precisely, 2) learn how to employ technique reflexively, allowing your delivery to sound natural and confident, and simultaneously be executed quickly, and 3) be able to incorporate emotion, variety, creativity, and character into the otherwise technically perfect delivery. advanced training: This elevates and enhances vocal dynamics, and possibilities, expanding your range and marketability. practice tips and scripts: A must for practice to be beneficial. * IMPORTANT * All techniques presented are guidelines, not rules set in stone. As with any language, there are always exceptions. * IMPORTANT * Technique is taught in an important sequential order. We suggest only moving onto new sections once you have learned previous sections. FOUNDATION In this section: be natural the two delivery components composure tension free Be natural Delivering voice over is generally about sounding natural. (There are exceptions.) It is therefore essential to understand what natural is. Natural is the appropriate voice for the given circumstance. Specifically, in every natural conversation, we reflexively adjust our speaking style to match our listener, our environment, and our intent. In a voice over recording session, the producer s job is to determine what the natural voice is. It is then your job to use it. 18

20 The two delivery components There are two components used in voice over delivery: emotion and technique. These components must work in unison, helping each other, and forming one fantastic vocal-delivery. Emotion is the character you instill in your words, the feel, the acting portion of your delivery. * IMPORTANT * If you have wonderful emotion but no technique, producers will not hire you. This is because you may sound great doing it your way, but in this industry, you need to sound great doing it their way. Technique is the control you have of your delivery, your ability to follow producer s direction. * IMPORTANT * If you have wonderful technique but no emotion, producers will not hire you. This is because you will sound robotic, unnatural, and stiff. Composure We estimate that having the right composure is 50% of sounding, and appearing, professional. Composure is made up of many traits, and they work for anyone looking to advance their voice over career. They include being: confident: Go for it. Do not be hesitant or reserved with your delivery. competent: Know your stuff. Be professional. Remember your training. comfortable: Be comfortable in front of the microphone, with producers, and with your own vocal delivery. Like you ve done this a million times. The right composure makes all the difference. As you continue through this technique chapter, relax and have fun. You ll sound much better. Tension free Performing without tension is the other 50% of sounding professional (having the right composure (above) is the first 50%). In fact, reading without tension is, perhaps, the greatest technique voice-talent use. Tension, in the voice over industry, refers to vocal tension. Reading without tension means letting your mouth, throat, and voice box be loose. Let them work freely. Do not constrict them. This works well even when performing high-energy scripts. loose: Let your voice flow, use body language. Do not be stiff. 19

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