Here’s some performance advice for doing voice overs when you’re just not in the mood. Maybe you just had an argument with someone or you’re tired or extra busy and your mind is a million miles away.
Happens to us all and when it does, here are some things you can do.
I teach a “key word” technique that can sound pretty silly to the uninitiated. It involves chanting a word while in the voice booth to change your tone of voice. It’s a powerful technique. But if you feel at all shy about trying it out, think again. Producers and recording engineers are used to actors doing weird stuff to get themselves “in the mood.”
In fact, many actors have their own unique process for getting the job done. Ed Grover, the voice of Visa cards (…”and they don’t take American Express”) holds his hands over his head when he reads. He says it brings his pitch up and gives him his famous signature sound. Another actor leans against a wall. And I even heard of one guy who thought he sounded best lying down so he actually had the engineer move the microphone so he could read the script while lying on the floor of the voice booth.
Most of us use a lot of hand gestures when we work. (No, not THAT hand gesture). Keeping your hands active and above your waist tends to put more life and energy into your voice. This is a great technique. You should be using it.
In teleclasses and Bootcamps, I also teach how to create a “back story,” where you invent the action in the commercial before you open your mouth to speak. For many people this involves a dialogue with an imaginary other person. To get into character, many actors actually talk out loud to that imaginary “other” before they read the first line of the script. This is another great technique you should swipe.
Bottom line: we are paid big bucks for the work we do. Feel free to do whatever it takes to get yourself into the right mental state to give an optimal performance. Its all part of the process and producers and engineers will recognize and respect this.
I always say that if you look too good while doing a voice over, you’re probably doing it wrong. So leave your inhibitions aside when you step into the voice booth. Enjoy yourself and don’t worry about looking like a fool. No one can see you anyway. Except in their mind’s eye, of course.
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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. How to Get In The Mood for a Voice Over Audition or Booking.