Getting started in voice over: Tips for voice over duets

Some of the most interesting and fun voice over recordings are when voice talents record together.

It’s especially common for voice talents to play the parts of husbands and wives. In the old days, you’d go to an agents or casting directors office and audition for these parts in person. Now it’s all done remotely from your home studio. Here are my tips auditioning and recording successful voice over duets.

1. Carefully read the entire script, not just your lines
When auditioning for a duet you’ll often be invited to read one or more of the parts. The tendency is to only prepare your lines. But make sure you read the entire script so you understand how the characters interact

2. Slate your character

A slate is how you identify yourself at the beginning of every voice over audition.

Before you read the script, state your name, the part you are playing, and if appropriate the name of your agent or casting service.

3. Read the other voices off mic
When auditioning a dialogue spot, I always read my lines in character into the mic and the other character’s lines off mic in a soft, half voice. This allows me to stay in character rather than submitting a few disjointed lines to the voice buyer.

4. Adlib wherever possible
Duets often have places where you adlib a few non words or verbal nods (such as um, ah and mmm) to indicate you are listening and reacting to the other character. Seize these opportunities whenever you can to make the dialogue sound real.

5. When recording duets jump on the other actor’s lines
To keep the spot moving, you want to jump on, without stepping on, the other actor’s lines. This takes a little practice. I find it helpful to start speaking some adlibs to myself while the other actor is talking so I am up to speed the minute he finishes his last word. You almost want to overlap.

By the way, I don’t think it is a good idea to include duets on your main voice over demos.

Why promote another actor? But as your career progresses you may want to produce a separate duet demo with actors of the opposite sex to showcase your acting abilities. Keep in mind that this is a supplemental demo and make sure that none of the actors are the same sex as you. The voice buyer might prefer them, instead!


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Susan Berkley is a top voice over artist and founder of The Great Voice Company, a company devoted to teaching great voices around the world how to become successful voice over actors. The Great Voice Company is an international leader in voice over training and in providing top quality voice over recordings in all languages to discerning businesses and marketers. For additional information visit www.greatvoice.com.

Copyright 2011, The Great Voice Company. All Rights Reserved. Getting started in voice over: Tips for voice over duets.

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