Has it been your heart’s desire to make money with your voice? If so, buckle up and hold on tight – you’re about to experience our new series of mini articles that will help you to make your transition into the world of professional voice-overs!
Over the next few days, I’ll be writing a series of blog posts to help you get started in voice-overs. But first… let’s identify the biggest misconception about voice-overs…
At one point in your career, you’ve probably said something like, “I have a great voice, and that means that I can do voice-overs, no problem!” Needless to say, a great voice is not the only factor that breeds a solid career in voice acting. A voice talent is not just a great voice, but a person with endless ambition, polished talent, and good business sense. Even our pal over here – let’s call him Clyde – even if Clyde is confident that he has what it takes to be a prize winning show horse, the honors might go to another horse with more passion, conditioning, and experience.
The first requirement, although it may seem obvious, is that you should be able to read well out loud. Even the most enthusiastic bookworms have trouble articulating a well-phrased passage when asked to do so out loud. Imagine if you were at an audition (in person), and asked to read a script that you have never seen before, and the stakes are high – a potential job or role is hanging in the balance, and landing that role is solely dependent on your ability to read on demand… In music, this is called sight-reading, in voice-over, this is called a cold read. Poor Clyde, should he miscalculate a jump (or in your case, misread something in the script), could end up knocking a few rails down and lose the competition!
If you have the grace of time, consider the following when starting out with a script.
You will need to have a feel for the text, study it, know its internal rhythm, and make note of appropriate places to breathe. You’ll also need to know how to change the mood of your voice (tone), and how to consistently carry a theme or interpretation for the vocal marathon ahead. This is particularly true with regard to narration and documentary voice-overs. Rehearsing should be a part of your regiment as a serious voice actor. On a more personal level, your audience, or more specifically, an individual listener needs to trust you, be comfortable with your voice, and most of all, learn something, be moved by your voice, or even profit from your skills as a professional voice talent.
For example, think about someone who is listening to a training CD. In this case, you would be their instructor, and therefore, an enormous responsibility rests with you to ensure that your student receives a comprehensive tutorial, the direct result of an effective voiceover. Your ability to enunciate properly and project your voice makes all the difference (a really good recording studio setup and some engineering know-how is the finishing touch!). Now that we’ve got our engines running, here’s a royalty-free sample script for you to analyze and try out.
This one is from the Voice-Over Script Collection by yours truly:
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P.S. Royalty-free means that you can use our scripts and record them without legal consequence – all of the company names are fictitious (do not exist/are not real), and you can change them at your leisure to create a customized script all your own.