7 Tips That’ll Actually Make You a Better Voiceover Artist

Microphone and head set in eclectic room

If you search for voiceover tips, you’ll find a lot of big promises.

The truth?

There are no magical voiceover tricks capable of turning a bad voiceover actor into a good one.

But if you want to learn how to perform better, if you’re looking to up your voiceover skills a level or two, a few good tips and tricks (combined with hard work) can help make it happen.

Here are 7 of my Favorites:

 

1. Find Your Unique Voice

Serious question:

If we all listen to the same casting director and we all follow the same voice direction advice, how is it possible for anyone to stand out from the crowd?

The trap many aspiring voiceover artists (especially the ones that are new) fall into is they believe if they can impersonate a famous celebrity, they’ll be popular too.

Impersonation is a nice additional skill to have. And even if you succeed, you’ll be indistinguishable from all the other parrots out there.

There’s only one you. You have unique DNA. Your hopes, thoughts, and dreams are unique. Even the sound you make when you accidentally walk into a spider web is unique.

Want to stand out?

Develop your own expression. When you read a script, tap into what makes you… well, you.

 

2. Make Your Words Burst to Life in Listener’s Minds

If you aren’t giving power words a slight flair in your reads, you’re missing out.

Smart voiceover actors accentuate slightly on words that need an extra punch, personality, and pizzazz.

And great voice-over artists envision sensory words as they speak to evoke the sense of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell to bring to life an experience or scene in the minds of their listeners.

 

3. Add Irresistible Nuances in Your Read

Most listeners stick around for fewer than 30 seconds.

Heck, most will stop the audio and move on in less than 10 seconds.

Why? Because industry experts have an ear. They’ll click to play your audition, listen to the first few seconds – and within that short timeframe —can decide whether if your audition is a keeper or tosser.

Because if your first few seconds sucks, no one is going to give your audition a chance.

In short:

Capture your audience right away, as the key is to convince the listener to stick. Practice so you get really, really freakin’ good at catching people’s attention.

So analyze the script, and unless they specifically specify to keep to the script, see if you can add a slight nuance in anyway (preferably towards the beginning of a script) while keeping to the directional tone they’ve outlined.

Whether it’s popping a little ad lib, or sprinkling a bit of humor, pausing in unexpected places that makes sense, add your interpretation to the script.

This will help catch their attention, create curiosity, and hook them to keep listening long enough to realize your audition was worth listening to.

For your two takes. Do one that is expected of you. And another that’s not and have fun with it.

 

4. Do Not Just Read What’s On the Page

Too many voiceover artists dilute their performance with simply just reading what’s on the script. This makes the performance lackluster and weak. When you just read, it sounds like empty words that bring nothing to the table.

Worse?

They silently erode your listener’s attention — one flabby phrase at a time.

Read with Unpredictable Rhythm

When reading a sentence and paragraph with the same tonality and rhythm will bore your readers.  Unless you’ve been requested specifically to take on a character who has its quirks, is monotone in nature, or need to respect the cues on screen for dubbing

Mix things up.

Let yourself play with the different types of punctuation marks you see, so long as expressing what’s written still come across as clear and coherent to the listener.

5. Master Identifying Transitional Words and Phrases

Often, by doing a switch up where you change your pace or tone, it helps to switch up the rhythm keeping your listeners engaged to what you’re saying.

Experienced voiceover actors are meticulous about making each sentence flow seamlessly into the next, and they use switch-ups to help make it happen.

If you want people to stay listening with interest, from beginning to end, you need to do the same.

 

6. Sleep With Your Character

What is your character’s motive? Who are they speaking to? What keeps your character awake at night? That has them tossing and turning at 2 o’clock in the morning?

Answer this question and then get into the embodiment of it.

Follow this one tip and you could (almost) ignore the rest.

7. Challenge Yourself to Experience New Things

Having a routine is important. However, carving out time to try and explore new things and places from time to time can spark creativity and feed your life.

These moments of experience are terrific tools to help you connect with others.

Observe them and how you relate and make you more aware of who you are, which can help you interpret and envelop the intentions of a role using your own life experiences to bring the script to life.

Give it a try.

 

Now It’s Time to Put These Tips Into Practice

Most who read this post will smile, nod their head in agreement, and apply precisely zero of these tips.

But NOT you.

You’ve already picked out one or two of your favorites and can’t wait to start implementing them.

Bit by bit, it can help you hone your voice acting skills.

So, are you ready to be a better voiceover artist? Ready to turn it up a notch.

Let’s do this!

Photo by: Paulette Wooten 

microphone on stage

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