Hearing children’s voice overs sometimes makes me wonder if they are being fed direction through a line read.
Is the tone of voice and artistic interpretation we hear emanating from the mouths of babes actually of their own inspiration, or is it the guidance of a voice over coach or director in the booth?
After catching on camera shows on television the likes of “This is Daniel Cook” and “Teletubbies”, one starts to analyze the voice overs and pick them apart mentally, even if they are performed by an adorable child with a pleasing voice. It may go without saying, but many of the kids you see perform on television are gifted performers and have a knack for taking direction, which includes line reads.
A line read is when a director demonstrates the delivery of a scripted line the way they envision the actor to read it on stage or in the booth. Achieving the desired affect of a line read is accomplished by shaping the actor’s voice with the intended artistic direction.
Line reads are doled out to adult actors and child actors alike both on camera and off, perhaps even more so for child voice actors who work on a cartoon series such as The BackYardigans or Arthur. The question at hand is just how much more direction through line reads do child voice actors receive than their adult counterparts? As I’ve never sat in on a voice over recording session at a television studio, I can neither confirm or deny that young on camera actors are coached with line reads, whether on camera or as voice actor, but I know that several of you can shed some light on this topic.
Maybe as a parent of a child voice actor who works from a home recording studio, you yourself are coaching through line reads. If you have experience in this area or can share any feedback, add a comment!