The voice is the primary tool of the trade for a voice-over artist. Just like footballers frequently sharpen their shots, as a voice actor, you must embrace regular voice training to enhance your potential and chances of earning more from the craft. A polished voice will also open more opportunities for your voice career. However, voice over training is far more than just getting on a mic and talking. A successful career in the voice business requires you to get down and dirty. Take every possible step to ensure that the essential elements of the trade are in tip-top shape: especially your voice.
Remember that cliche: “it’s not what you say, but how you say it?” That maxim extends to the world of voice acting. Take the time to improve both your voice and your ability to convince an audience using the same voice. Voice-over training also involves renewing your commitment to the script and how best to deliver it. Such consistent efforts and initiatives will double your potential as a voice actor.
The challenge for most voice over artists is training. In an institution, voice over training could cost thousands of dollars. Such resources are usually scarce in the financial pockets of artists. Moreover, some of the voice courses might also not deliver the practical skills you need to succeed in this dynamic and fast-changing industry.
However, do not despair. Take your speaking abilities to a new level with nine of the best tips learned from our award-winning voice experts. These tips can ensure a cost-free path to more business, mind-blowing testimonials, and a list of endless happy clients.
Without further ado, let’s get down to it, shall we?
Voice over training tip 1: Speak Clearly
It is one of the cardinal rules of voice acting. When it comes to any voice-over project, clarity is mandatory; it is regardless of how fast you are required to read. Remember, the listener must hear every word you utter. Thus, any muddled phrase might destroy the effectiveness of a project.
Practice speaking with correct pronunciation and enunciation. It might feel a little over the top at first, but on the recording, it’ll sound just right. Learn pronunciation using apps and online platforms that assist language learners in pronouncing even the most difficult words.
Furthermore, read scripts loudly to hear your pronunciation of each term. You may also learn with a friend who corrects your articulation of different words.
It helps to record yourself before hitting the studio using local devices like the phone while listening to each word you pronounce. If it does not impress your ears, other people will fail to appreciate the work. Luckily, consistent practice will help you deliver the clearest voice-over project and raise your potential as an artist.
Listen to your recorded audio, ensuring one can enjoy the clarity, despite the background noise.
Below is an example of such a tip being implemented.
Voice over training tip 2: Speak with Confidence
Have you ever come across such conversations that do not seem to get anywhere?
Um… hi there… my name is, uh, Bob…
Unfortunately, most people won’t listen to any other word beyond the stammer. Therefore, the message is lost in the process. Ultimately, it becomes an uphill task to recover the attention of your audience in the end while convincing them that you have a point to pass.
The example I have given may be corny, but it tends to illustrate the point effectively. When you lack confidence, your listeners can tell it from the delivery of the voice-over. Hence, non-confidence becomes the beginning of a flop that will be difficult to recover from in the end.
Fortunately, this lack is quite solvable. Speak like you own the product you are promoting. Gather all the confidence you can get in the world such that the listener will feel like you are a part of the project. This process is like taking a karate chop through a cinderblock. From experience, any bit of doubt will break your hand, not the block. The same goes for odd voice-overs. If you have to make a weird sound or voice to sound the part, give it all your energy and enthusiasm.
Voice-over projects are such that you have to impersonate the brand. Whether you use the product or endorse an event, you must act like the No.1 fan. The target audience will believe or fail to consider a product based on the enactment of the voice-over artist.
Eventually, it all boils down to the confidence felt in your voice. Listen to this voice and understand the difference that a little confidence can make to a project.
Voice over training tip 3: Mean What You Say
Tip No.2 above talks about speaking with confidence. The tip I am about to share addresses building a connection with the project or event you are voicing over. Speak like you believe what you’re talking about, whether you believe it or not, is the key to success.
Ensure that the target markets believe in a product by feeling the enthusiasm in your voice. The excitement should come out clearly in your voice, making the presentation different from a robot. Nevertheless, people will hear the difference and respond based on your enthusiasm.
Become a part of the product you are promoting through the voice over. First, understand what the creator of the brand desires to bring out. Then, build a mental personality based on the script and how your voice usually transforms to suit a project.
In the process, you will realize that some scripts require energetic reenactment while others want a subtle voice. Hence, every word you voice must come from the heart to make it compelling.
Hear how this artist delivers his voice-over and how natural it feels. You would think it is the CEO talking.
Voice over training tip 4: Kill Your Ego
Mike Tyson, the most outstanding wrestler of his generation, once said,
“You have to be humble in life, and if you are not humble, life will make you humble.”
Who do you look up to in the voice industry? Take your time to learn, and soon you will be a force to reckon with in the voice-over category. However, in the meantime, remain a humble voice-over artist. Work under the shadows of excellent artists in the industry. They’ll provide insights and tips that will help you to get to the next level.
Also, attend workshops, seminars, and enroll for classes to learn from experienced voice-over artists. Forward your projects to these icons and take their feedback positively.
The voice-over training process is usually ruthless. However, it prepares you for take-off. It is a sure path to scaling the heights of voice-over.
Failure to learn can come with short-lived careers plus frustrations. You might end up making mistakes that you would have avoided if you had a mentor.
Voice over training tip 5: Treat Your Voice with Kindness
Have you ever watched a violinist or Saxophonist handling or cleaning his instrument? They tend to handle every part like a delicate baby. These artists also know that their lives and passion depend on their tools. It would be best if you had the same mentality when handing your voice and body in general. If it is broken or not functioning optimally, your craft will come to an end. Therefore, be obsessive when caring for that voice and body.
Do you realize that the voice and your ability to control it will depend on the status of your whole being? If you are depressed and low in spirit, it will be impossible to produce a bubbly voice. If your voice gets hoarse because you have been shouting all day, it will be impossible to manipulate it to create the character needed at a voice-over project.
Remember to take care of your voice like you would a child. It is your most valuable tool and will determine how far you go as a voice artist.
These tips will aid you in caring for the voice:
- Create a culture of good breathing patterns- draw air from your diaphragm instead of the chest. It prevents unnecessary strain on your vocal cords, helping you to produce the best voice.
- Hydrate the Body Throughout the Day- Make water a part of every meal and carry a liter bottle to sip periodically. It might seem like too much water, but it is an asset to your vocal cords.
- Keep away from places where you have to shout over the noise to have conversations.
- Sleep seven hours or more a night. A tired body or mind is terrible for your voice.
- Do not whisper. It may sound soft, but it damages your voice by straining the vocal cords.
Voice over training tip 6: Warm up!
Have you watched the Olympics and such other world-record holders a few moments before their performances? They usually spend this time warming up all muscles on their body. Similarly, until every muscle on your vocal cords is ready, your recital will be wanting.
Warming up is similar to the jogging that sprinters do before a big race. Failure to warm up in the field results in hamstring injuries, and muscle pulls. For you, it will be a voice that refuses to corporate.
Create a routine and go through the progressions each day. Start each day with your warm-ups. Stretch your facial muscles because they’ll contribute to the quality of your voice. Roll your lips and hum for a few minutes. Then twist and turn the neck to relax the muscles. Kindly do not forget your breathing exercises.
However, it does not mean taking all the day: just 5 minutes in the morning will make a huge difference.
Doing this voice-over training will enable your voice to begin responding to your command(s). Furthermore, you’ll extend your vocal range and capacity to do more incredible things without it straining. It also allows you to use the voice longer without damage.
Does this sound like too much to ask? Listen to this icon of her generation. Despite being in music for decades, selling millions of albums, and breaking all records possible, Celine Dion still starts her day with the basics. Here is that conversation that will change your perspective forever.
Voice over training tip 7: Start “Sight Reading”
Instrumentalists mention ‘sight-reading’ to refer to that ability to play a piece of music you have never seen once it is placed on your hands. No rehearsal, no notice, just pap! and you can still execute it flawlessly. Start your journey towards this direction, and your career will change forever.
Significant projects that take hours or days, like voicing an audio-book or an educational video, could become needlessly time-consuming to read, reread, and reread the script before hitting the studio for the voice-over.
Learn the tricks of practicing the best articulation and delivery during the first read-through. Sight-reading is a skill that takes a while to master as the eyes, mouth, and brain learn how to work in sync. However, once you master that, you are ready for a new chapter in your voice career.
Voice over training tip 8: Practice, Practice, and Practice
“We talkin’ about practice?”
You are going nowhere without practice. World-class voice-over artists can read through thousands of words without making a single mistake. This is a skill that helps you to optimize your time and win the confidence of clients to earn more jobs. However, it will take years to nurture this skill. Such years are suitable for training.
Furthermore, training helps you to develop a rhythm where you can read flawlessly in a way that breathing does not interfere with your execution. Clients can also trust you with large projects that do not require rehearsal because they trust your skills.
Since you are spending less time in the studio, you can take more projects, translating into more money. That is what a voice-over career is all about, right?
Voice over training tip 9: Relax
This last tip sounds obvious but is crucial. For amateur voice-over artists, every audition or gig feels like your last. The 20 seconds you read through a script come with unexplainable tension. Unfortunately, many end up losing it in the process because of the pressure.
Thus, smile and take a deep breath from your belly. Exhale all the air and relax any part of the body that feels tense. Some breathe so hard that you can hear it through the mic. Trust your voice training, experience, and remain confident of your abilities to execute the project accurately. Give it your entire body and mind, knowing that you have done your best.
Executing a voice-over script while relaxed makes it feel natural while embodying everything a client would want from a voice-over.