Podcasts Voice Over Experts Finding Your Voice Through Zen with Dan Friedman
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Finding Your Voice Through Zen with Dan Friedman

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Geoff Bremner
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Join this month’s Voices’ coach Dan Friedman and learn how to give a “surgical breakdown” or “Dan analysis” on your script. Dan also covers how the brain processes a script and how to break down those barriers to allow your read to flow naturally. Learn all that and more on this special episode with Dan Friedman!

Learn more about Dan: https://sound4vo.com/

Hey there. Welcome to the Voice Over experts, your monthly educational podcast, helping you bring your voice acting career to the next level with insightful lessons presented by voices voiceover coaches. This is Dan Friedman. I'm your voices coach for April. I am author of the book's Sound Advice voiceover from an audio engineer's perspective, which was published in 2010. I have an upcoming book called Zen and the Art of Voiceover, which will be out in just a few weeks. In addition to being a voice coach, I am an audio engineer and have been doing audio engineering since 1995, and I've worked in the voiceover industry since the year 2000. I'm a working voice actor, and in my 18 years in counting of doing that, I've been in national commercials, hundreds of regional and local commercials. I've done corporate avs, I've done audio books. I am an imaging voice in radio.
I've also done promos and video games. It's a pleasure to be here with you all. We're gonna take a dive into my individualized intention based process, which is all laid out in my new book. My individualized intention based process involves what one of my students coined Dan analysis, which I consider a surgical script breakdown. So I've listened to thousands of auditions, and what I can tell you is that the ones that win the job are those that are fully committed to the choices that they make. They are emotionally connected and they sound confident and, and quite frankly, as though what you're saying is just simple and carefree, my process is here to help with that. So if you struggle with multiple takes that sound the same, I'm gonna help you fix that. If you find yourself in a rut, can't see it a different way, can't hear it a different way, I can help you with that.
If you just can't seem to connect with the copy on an emotional level, I'm gonna help you with that. And let me tell you why it's really important that as a voice actor, you do connect to the copy on an emotional level. The reason for that is that the way a listener's brain works is we process emotions before we process logic. So the message goes into our ears, to our brains, and that message goes through our amygdala, which is the part of our brain that is responsible for processing emotion. Now, if that part of our brain doesn't like what it's hearing, then the message never gets to our prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for processing logic. And that, of course, is where the message actually gets through to where people can take action on it or be informed by it and all those things. But if we don't get past the emotional side first through the amygdala, the words won't even matter. So if you struggle with these things, my process will help you solve that. It all begins with asking the right questions First, you need to know who you are in the script, no matter what type of script it is, you have a point of view, there's a reason
That you're there. So for instance, if it were a commercial script, are you the consumer? Are you the person who uses this product service or information? If you are, you're gonna see words in the script like I and me, and in which case, that script is going to be more about your relationship to this product servicer information. Then it is about the product servicer information itself. You're gonna want to communicate that as though you really own it, know it, whatever it might be, and that you love it, because why else would you be there to talk about it? Unless, of course, the intention is to be something other than loving it. But typically in a commercial, if we're talking about it, it's going to be something that we like. Someone else you might be is an employee, in which case you're going to see words in the script like we and our.
So when you see these things, you are representative of a collective or group. If you saw we or our in a video game, still the same thing. You're still a representative of a collective or a group, even though it's not a commercial. If you saw I or me in a video game script, while you are not a consumer of a product or service like you would be in a commercial, you are very much engaged in what is happening currently in the situation. So it's still about your relationship to what's happening within the action. If you're a spokesperson, you don't see words like I, me, we in our, you're only going to see the proper name or the formal name of something. So for instance, rather than at Toyota, we love our Camry, it's just going to be at Toyota, the Camry. The next aspect that we have to be really aware of, or the next question we would ask is, who are we talking to?
A communication happens between two people and we have to make sure that we are communicating to the appropriate person for the message. How do we begin to do that? Well, let's, let's look at demographics. First. Let's take mail and female. If a message is directed towards men, there's gonna be language in the script that is a little bit more masculine. If it were a car commercial, you might hear things like power and handling. On the other hand, if that same car is being marketed towards women, you're gonna see, probably going to see words more like safety and styling. So that's something to be aware of. Age range, we gotta look at the age range because we don't talk to 17 year olds the same way we talk to 70 year olds. So we have to be very aware that even though those people use the same product services and information, we don't communicate with them the same. So we have to be aware of that age demographic. The next question we have to ask ourselves is, where does the conversation take place? Now this is really critical because it determines things such as volume. How loud do I actually have to be to
Effectively communicate my message based on the environment that the story is taking place? If it's a TV commercial, we need to be somewhat aware of what might be happening visually because that is going to help determine how loud we have to be. For instance, if the commercial is taking place outdoors or in a busy bar, something along those lines as opposed to the bedroom. Well, in the bedroom, obviously we're gonna be kind of quiet. It's close, intimate environment. If I'm laying in bed next to that person. However, if I'm in that busy bar or outdoors, I might need to project a little bit more, and that would make perfect sense. And in fact, if you want your auditions to sound different, play around with space. Play around with the space you're in. I can read something very intimate down here like this, and I can really read the same thing projected as though I'm a little bit further away from the person or even a lot further away from the person.
So play with distance. It's a really great way to ensure that you have different sounding takes if you're sending in multiple takes. The fourth question we're gonna be asking ourselves is, what is the story about? The script is the words on the page. The story is what those words mean. So try and find the emotional connection to those words. What do they mean? What are they saying? Is it an invitation? What does an invitation feel like? When you're inviting somebody, you can probably hear in my voice, it's like, welcome to my home. Take these things into consideration As you're reading your script, go through it, ask these questions, make these connections. The more connections that you make by using the script as a roadmap and the more decisions that you make and fully commit to those decisions, your reads are gonna be more dynamic, more interesting, and you're gonna book more jobs.
And what I can tell you is that after having heard thousands, if not tens of thousands of auditions in my lifetime, people are sending in reads that sound pretty much the same as everybody else. And you wanna stand out from the crowd. You don't wanna sound vanilla, you don't wanna sound like everybody else. Make solid decisions based on emotions and fully commit to them. And your reads are gonna sound so much more interesting. They're gonna be much more dynamic, they're gonna be emotionally connected, and you're gonna book more gigs. These questions are just the first steps in the process. There is a lot more to it, and ultimately it's there to allow you to have a foundation of information that provides you with a solid base on which to build. Thank you so much for listening. I really look forward to working with all of you in helping you become
The voice actors that you can be. Your success is my success, so I really care about you as a voice actor, and I care about you succeeding and your career. So please reach out, go to my coaching page on my website sound, the number four vo.com, sound four vo.com, and you can book me right from there for a session. Or just book me for a meet and greet and determine if it's a good fit. My books are sound advice voiceover from an audio engineer's perspective and Zen and the Art of Voiceover, my email address Dan at Sound, the number four vo.com. [email protected]. Subscribe to voiceover experts for free wherever you listen to podcasts and grow your career today. Thanks for listening.

Geoff Bremner
Hi! I'm Geoff. I'm passionate about audio. Giving people the platform for their voice, music, or film to be heard is what gets me up in the morning. I love removing technical, logistical, and emotional barriers for my clients to allow their creative expression to be fully realized.
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