By Susan Berkley
There are a lot of moving parts to voice over success. Training, demos, performance, auditions, home studios, finding voice buyers who will appreciate your talent and the skills you bring to the table.
When we work with emerging talent our primary goal is to help them gain clarity so they can make the best choices about everything from which type of home studio gear is right for them to how best to position themselves in a crowded marketplace.
Sometimes making these decisions can seem complicated and even overwhelming, especially when we’re dealing with such a rapidly changing media landscape.
But no matter how much things change, there are 5 key things about voice acting that will always remain the same. I call them The 5 Laws Of Voice Over Success. Let’s take a look at them now:
- SINCERITY: Winning spots are believable.
If the voice buyer senses any hint of fake announcer sound in your voice, you’ll never book the spot. To sound believable, you must actually feel the emotions the copywriter is trying to convey. These feelings are then transferred to the listener who conjures positive images and pictures in his mind related to the product. Here’s a tip: as you practice the copy, create a vivid movie in your mind with scenes and a cast of characters from your day to day life. The more vivid, specific and clear this movie in your mind, the more the spot will hit home with your listener.
- RELAXATION: In winning spots, the voice talent (you!) is completely relaxed.
Tension is easily detected in your voice. It can override everything else you are trying to do. There are many techniques, such as yoga breathing, self-hypnosis and meditation that will help. Learn them. They’ll come in handy during voice-over auditions and recording sessions.
- TIMING: If there’s one rule about voice over that can’t be broken, it’s timing.
When they say a commercial is :30 or :60 seconds long, they mean it. :32 or :61 won’t cut it. Today’s recording studios have time compression tools that can speed up or slow down your voice, but you still need to know how to add or shave seconds off your reads, just as we still need to know how to add and subtract even though there are calculators that can do the job.
- PRONUNCIATION, READING: There’s some wiggle room here because you can always re-read a mispronounced word or edit out pauses in choppy speech, but you should still strive to develop your skills in this area.
Everyone stumbles and misses words, but if you break down a lot you’ll make more work for the audio engineer (or yourself) and waste valuable studio time.
- FOCUS: Sometimes an actor’s mental self-talk is so “loud” I can almost hear it.
I can always tell when talent is having crippling, self-critical thoughts instead of allowing themselves to enjoy the performance. To become a world-class voice over artist, you must train yourself to be so focused on the message in the copy and on your “mental movie” that all distractions, internal and external, are blocked out.
By the way, if you’re noticing distracting mental chatter or “head trash”, you’ll want to grab a spot for the Free LIVE Tele-Training I’m doing this Thursday called:
“The Proven Mindset Formula For Voice Over Success”
5 Hidden Success Secrets Every VO Beginner And Pro Needs To Know
Thursday March 15, 8 pm ET (7 pm CT, 6 pm MT, 5 pm PT) (call will run approx 70 mins.)
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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 2012, The Great Voice Company. All Rights Reserved. The 5 Laws of Voice Over Success.