Recording Your Voice

Just as athletes need to warm up their muscles, before you step up to the microphone and record your voice, you should get into the habit of warming up your voice. If you're stressed out, tense or nervous that will come through in your voice.

PerformanceVocal Warm Ups

Simple vocal exercises will help relax your lips, tongue, your vocal folds - and you! So take five or ten minutes before hitting record to prepare your voice. First, start with breathing exercises. Breathing well is something we all did instinctively as infants, but as we get older we tend to cut our breath short. Deep breaths are important. They bring oxygen to the brain, pump it through our blood, expand our lung capacity, improve our immune systems, and relax the mind and muscles. Breathing exercises should be done in a room with no other distractions present. Find a quiet space where you won't be disrupted by family, pets, phones, television, music or your computer.

Breathing Exercise:

  1. In a comfortable standing position, place your hand on your stomach
  2. Inhale deeply through your nose, feel your belly and rib cage expand, hold for 5 seconds
  3. Exhale slowly through slightly parted lips, empty your lungs completely, hold for 5 seconds
  4. Repeat for 3-5 minutes

Tongue Twisters

For your next vocal warm up, say a variety of tongue twisters out loud. Tongue twisters wake up your mind and improve articulation and enunciation. Start off reading them carefully, say each phrase 3 times, slowly picking up the speed each time you say it. In order to avoid trailing off, emphasize the first and last words. Here are some to try that will help you with those troublesome consonants.

Letter B:

Betty bought a bit of butter, but she found the butter bitter, so Betty bought a bit of better butter to make the bitter butter better.

Letter D:

Did Doug dig David's garden or did David dig Doug's garden?

Do drop in at the Dewdrop Inn.

Letter F:

Four furious friends fought for the phone.

Five flippant Frenchmen fly from France for fashions.

Letter H:

How was Harry hastened so hurriedly from the hunt?

In Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire hurricanes hardly ever happen.

Letter J:

James just jostled Jean gently.

Jack the jailbird jacked a jeep.

Letter K:

Kiss her quick, kiss her quicker, kiss her quickest.

My cutlery cuts keenly and cleanly.

Letter L:

Larry sent the latter a letter later.

Lucy lingered, looking longingly for her lost lap-dog.

Letter N:

You know New York,
You need New York,
You know you need unique New York.

Letter P:

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,

Where's the peck of pickled peppers that Peter Piper picked?

Letter Q:

Quick kiss. Quicker kiss. Quickest kiss.

Quickly, quickly, quickly, quickly, quickly...

Letter R:

Round the rugged rocks the ragged rascal ran.

Reading and writing are richly rewarding.

Letter S:

Theophilus Thistler, the thistle sifter, in sifting a sieve of unsifted thistles, thrust three thousand thistles through the thick of his thumb.

Letter T:

Ten tame tadpoles tucked tightly in a thin tall tin.

Two toads, totally tired, trying to trot to Tewkesbury.

Letter V:

Vincent vowed vengeance very vehemently.

Vera valued the valley violets.

Applying These Not-So-Secret Vocal Tips

  • yawn while smiling to stretch your throat
  • sing the chromatic vocal scale
  • avoid the dehydrating effects of alcohol and caffeine
  • drink plenty of room temperature water to decrease mucus
  • eat an apple (preferably a Granny Smith apple) if you are phlegmy
  • and most of all, get lots of sleep.

Finding Scripts to Read

If you'd like to exercise your writing skills, try making up your own scripts for your demos. Your writing style should be conversational with friendly language, selecting a variety of topics in order to accommodate your listeners. If you are compiling a themed demo such as commercials, you'll want to make sure that there is a variety of commercials targeted to a diverse audience. Research your chosen niche in order to deliver the most relevant material to your audience.

If writing isn't the name of your game, you'll need to use royalty-free scripts instead. "Royalty-free" or scripts in the "Public Domain" mean that you can use the author's material without having to obtain special permissions, and they usually come at little or no cost. You can find these types of scripts online or at your local library. also sells two Voice-Over Script Collections that you can use for your demos (free with membership purchase). Each of the collections offers a description of the character, artistic direction, suggested background music, and sound effects.

The Voice-Over Script Collections can be found in the ebooks section:

Are You Ready to Record?

You can combine many elements of interpretation and performance to create the presence you’re aiming to achieve in order to make a killer demo. In this section, we give you several tips to prepare yourself for recording.
Asking yourself the right questions

Before you start to record a demo, you need to be prepared and understand what to expect during the process. Ask yourself these questions to help you gain a better appreciation about the process:

Have you invested in regular vocal training with a professional voice coach?

No amount of producing or background music will cover a voice actor’s inability to effectively deliver a variety of scripts. Get proper training and coaching before you cut your demo. Chapter 3 discusses the benefits of voice training and the options available to you in great detail.

How much have you practiced?

Your personal comfort level using your voice as an instrument and performing reads determines whether or not you’re ready technically to record a voice-over demo. Wait until it feels just right. Jump over to our free scripts for radio and televisions and practice these scripts.

Do you feel confident in your abilities?

A major part of this battle has to do with how you perceive your abilities and whether you think you’re ready to move ahead with a demo. Remember that recording a demo is an investment. Whatever you have recorded will be the crown jewel in your marketing efforts. Make sure you feel confident in your abilities before stepping into this process.

Have you set achievable goals?

Terry Daniel, professional voice actor and voice coach, says that every spot on your demo should be unique with the goal of highlighting your range and vocal abilities. Additionally, each spot should sound real as if it were a paid gig. Pay attention to detail in your takes because the client most certainly will. You want to make them want you.

Do you have realistic expectations of yourself?

When you receive training, you have the opportunity to explore not only your voice but also whether your expectations are realistic. Your voice coach can help you to set achievable goals to help build your skills and confidence in preparation to record a demo.

Have you listened to demos of established voice actors?

You can find many demos online. Try or

Are you taking advantage of free resources?

With so many wonderful helps on the web today, there are no shortages of ways you can find out more about voice acting and specifically what goes into a great voice-over demo. Do everything you can to take advantage of credible resources online to help you develop your voice acting abilities as a career voice actor. Chapter 1 details some great resources and ideas for studying on your own.


More Tips for Recording Your Voice

Before hitting the record button, make sure you are in a good posture to project your voice clearly. A standing position is preferred. Use a music stand to hold up your script or place your computer screen directly in front of your mic at eye level. Adjust the mic so that you are either speaking into the side or just above it to lessen the pops, esses, and other mouth noises. In front of your mic, practice reading the script aloud a few times to get the right emphasis, speed and flow. Now you're ready to record.

When you're finished, listen to the playback with your headphones on. This will help you detect any errors, heavy breaths, or mouth noises that are present in the recording. Don't be surprised if you have to record the script several times to get it just right. Even pros can require a few takes. When listening to the playback, focus on the performance and audio quality (does it sound too close, too far, tinny, etc) and not on the sound of your voice which will likely sound a little strange to your own ear.

Try to use different vocal tones or ranges to break up the content, pace, and tone of your demos. Try using musical backgrounds, known as music beds, or other non-music interludes to transition between topics or spots on the recording. These breaks are typically described as bumpers or sweepers (as we learned in the last chapter) and give your listeners the time they might need to digest the content you just presented. Do not use music or effects on narrative pieces such as audiobooks, or in most cases, documentaries. The types of voice-over that are enhanced by music or effects are animation, commercials, jingles, promos, station imaging, trailers, and video games.

Checking Your Work

Regardless of your producing skill and abilities, make sure you run your demo by a few seasoned sets of ears before sharing it with the world. Getting feedback to check your work in these ways is helpful:

  • Ask your peers for their opinion. This option may be good if your peers have experience in the field. This option is free.
  • Receive a demo review from a voice coach. This option is probably better, especially if the voice coach has a strong casting or agency background. These people have their fingers on the pulse of the industry and know what sounds good and what doesn’t, and how you can make your demo offering even better. You don’t want to send out demos that fail to meet contemporary standards or present a diluted version of you and your abilities.
  • Join a voice-over forum or networking group. This option is free, and you may find a thread set aside specifically for demo reviews. In such cases, members are invited to share their demos to gain feedback through peer reviews. One caveat is that not everyone sharing his or her opinion is listening with the ears of a casting director or someone who genuinely wants to help you.