Microphone Technique for Voice Actors

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    Join Voice Over Expert Melody Jones in her debut lecture “Microphone Technique for Voice Actors” from her series “Voiceovers are NOT about your Voice, but about your ACTING!”  Melody goes through a variety of scenarios regarding poor posture and microphone technique, providing solutions for how to get a freer, more flexible read and a more comfortable performance.

    Download Podcast Episode 84 »

    Tags:

    Melody Jones, Voice Overs, Microphone Technique, Support, Breathing, Posture, Stance, Performance, Reads, Voice Acting

    Transcript of Microphone Technique for Voice Actors

    [Opening Music]
    Julie-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voiceover Experts brought to you by Voices.com, the number one voiceover marketplace. Voiceover Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voiceover. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voiceover talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else.
    Now, for our special guest.
    Melody Jones: Hello everybody. I’m Melody Jones and welcome to part one of “Voiceovers are NOT about your Voice, but about your ACTING!” Today, we’re going to be talking a little bit about microphone technique in this session. Many of my students walk into a class and I don’t have any idea on how to really work the microphone and I’m going to try to give you some technique, clues, hints of how we can really work the microphone that works to our advantage.
    The very first thing that I want to talk about is how you stand in front of that microphone. I have many, many voiceover talents that walk in and lock their body down immediately. They’re nervous, they’re trying to do the read correctly, they’re trying to get the gig and their body is stiff, tight, holding breath, and they have no freedom. They not only not have freedom in the sound but they don’t have freedom in the read. The very first thing that you want to do is when you stand in front of the microphone, you want to be a loosey goosey. Okay.
    Most people stand with the weight on their heels, knees locked, hands in front of them, tight, oh they’re holding onto their tummy as if okay or their arms are crossed. I sometimes have a talent with arms crossed. What is that? Don’t do that. Or their hands are completely down to their side, dead. It’s like they’re trying to squeeze through a corridor that’s too skinny and they’re trying to get through it.
    Okay, what I want you to do is I want you to have an approach at the microphone that has got freedom written all over it. The weight is on the balls of your feet as if you’re getting ready to run a race and you’re getting ready to take off. You want the legs to be spread just a little bit so that you can have movement from either side. You want the hands to be free and easy. The whole arms need to be out from the body. They’re not going to be pinned to your side, can you hear that I’ve got them pinned to my side or I’m holding myself in front. Can you hear how it changes my air? My air doesn’t flow through properly. I sound – I sound a little constipated, right there. Okay? It sounds like I got a little pain going on.
    We want the hands and the bodies to be able to dance, move so that you can have some personality in the read. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your straight read or a total personality-driven read. Don’t clamp your body down. It stops the flow of energy everywhere. Your hands are got to be up in front of you up over that copy, talking. If you have your stance sitting in front of you, put your hands to where they’re gyrating above it and that’ll give you more freedom. That also helps keep the elbows away from the sides of your body which allows your ribcage to open up to take in a fuller deeper breath because I guarantee you, folks, you’re going to have some lines that you say to or you have to talking, talking, talking. They’ll get you to take a breath and it seems like it’s going on forever and ever and ever, amen. Okay, I got through it.
    The other thing that I want you to do is with the mic technique, if you stand and you pop in front of the microphone, can you hear all of the popping that I’m doing? I’m facing dead onto the mic. If I slant just a little, I can say everything that I want to say without the big pops. That’s a little trick that’ll help you because pops can really kill in audition for you. So you have your copy, you can either set it to the left or to the right, you want to find the sweet spot of the microphone and you can hear it.
    Okay, I’m not talking into – I’m talking into a Neumann U87. So I’m talking into a very expensive microphone but now I’m standing away from it. Okay, can you hear that it sounds kind of off mic? I’m not really on mic. You want to be able to find that sweet spot and speak right into the microphone to where it’ll pick up all the information that you’re trying to deliver on that piece of copy.
    The last thing that I want to address is when you’re standing in front of the microphone and your body is ready, when you take your breath in to begin to speak, you want to take it through the mouth and the nose. Many people are frightened. So they take it through their nose and then begin to speak. When you take air in through your nose, you don’t open up the mouth, the palate properly. You want the hard palate and the soft palate to be raised and opened when you take it in. This is a vocal technique. This is probably teaching you voice on how to sing, that would be the first thing that we would ever do is we would learn how to breathe. You’ve got to take air all the way down. Not a shallow breath but a very full breath. Many people take shallow breaths and are holding everything.
    You want to have your breathing the words very open. So take the air in through your mouth and your nose and that will help you stop when you begin to speak because if your mouth is closed, when you begin to speak, you go, Melody Jones. Melody Jones. Can you hear that? I’m taking it in through my nose and my mouth is closed. Melody Jones. We don’t want that. Hi! I’m Melody Jones. We want that.
    Thanks for joining me. If you have anymore questions, I hope you take time to visit my website, www.MelodyJones.com. Feel free to call me, e-mail me with any questions that you have and I look forward to seeing you either in my class or at a booking session. It’ll be fun for us to work together. Thanks so much. And remember, voiceovers are not about your voice but about your acting.
    Julie-Ann Dean: Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com podcast, visit the Voiceover Experts show notes at Podcasts.Voices.com/VoiceoverExperts. Remember to stay subscribed.
    If you’re a first time listener, you can subscribe for free to this podcast in the Apple iTunes Podcast Directory or by visiting Podcasts.Voices.com. To start your voiceover career online, go to Voices.com and register for a voice talent membership today.
    [Closing Music]

    Links from today’s show:

    Melody Jones
    Online Voice Casting

    Your Instructor this week:

    Voice Over Expert Melody Jones

    Melody JonesWith over 25 years of experience as a Professional Voice Talent, Melody Jones is shares her knowledge and experience with aspiring and career voice talent. Melody designs her classes as a private, comfortable environment to learn microphone technique and vocal technique, analyze copy, and explore creative acting choices. Voiceover classes are designed to assess a student’s current ability, target their strengths and build upon them.

    This podcast is part of Melody Jones’ series “Voiceovers are NOT about your Voice, but about your ACTING!”

    Did you enjoy Melody’s episode? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

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    Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com. Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.

    12 COMMENTS

    1. Where is the mic’s “sweet spot” and how do I face the mic properly. If I am looking at the mic where should my face be pointing? Right? Left? 30 degrees 45%?
      I like what you said about breathing through your month and nose to avoid smacking.
      please pos cast more great tips.
      Do you offer any home instruction courses?

    2. Hello Stevo,
      The sweet spot is in the center of the mic. If you face the mic dead on, turn your face slightly to the left or the right of the mic about 10-15 degrees, then the sound will pass through the sweet spot of the mic without adding all the plosives into the copy. Yes, I offer private and group instruction.
      Please visit my website to view my work of feel free to contact me at my studio. I look forward to working with you soon.
      Melody Jones
      http://www.MelodyJones.com

    3. Thank you Melody. I’ve spent 25 years singing into an SM58 directional mike, not talking into a condenser mike. Different animal. I now know what to listen for.

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