What do Morgan Freeman, Ellen Degeneres, and Tom Hanks have in common? They’re all amazing voice talents that have mastered voice acting techniques.
Since there are hundreds of voice over applications across many industries, you have most likely encountered at least one today. But although there are tons of job opportunities waiting for you, it would be challenging to nail auditions if you do not have a clear comprehension of the voice acting techniques, such as warm-ups. These techniques are crucial to differentiate yourself in the saturated voice over industry.
In the competitive and lucrative voice acting industry, having a great voice is not enough. You should also learn voice acting techniques to land more jobs and make your career last. To make things easier for you, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about voice acting techniques below.
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This post has been updated in October 2021.
The Role of a Voice Acting Talent
Thousands of people read words from paper and get paid for it. And although that’s the job of a voice actor, they have many duties that go beyond that basic skill. Voice over is essential for so many industries, such as film, media, and even technology. In these industries, professional voice talents perform important roles off cam.
The voice acting industry began to prosper more after the price of studio equipment decreased. Now, people in the industry can use their acting chops and home studio equipment to replicate the high-quality sound produced by expensive studios in Hollywood.
However, don’t be fooled. You can’t simply buy a microphone and hit the record button to become a voice acting talent. To score gigs, you have to accumulate years of experience and spend countless hours perfecting your abilities and submitting audition pieces. Here are some of the responsibilities of a voice acting professional.
A good voice actor needs to be equipped with critical skills to fully absorb the idea that the writer and director envisions. They work hard to understand what the character requires and needs, and how to bring out the vision of the creatives behind it.
A professional’s job is more than just reading lines. They are paid to understand every emotion that is at play in the script, as well as every relationship the character shares with others.
One important quality of a voice actor is to bring out proper characterization through voice. A voice talent must be able to change their voice to suit a character or mimic how other people sound by altering their pitch and tempo.
Work with creatives
No matter how amazing a voice acting talent is, they cannot do it alone. There is a need to collaborate with the production and the people behind the scenes to deliver quality output. This list includes the producer, writer, director, and sound engineers. Because of this, every professional needs to have patience and must be an excellent listener to implement instructions well.
You may be thinking, “Why do I need to practice when I already have a great voice?” To maintain your voice quality, you have to engage in constant training and practice to prevent voice strain, especially in tough recording sessions. By practicing tones, accents, and pitches, or studying with a coach, you can improve your versatility. When you can do a wide range of voices, you will have higher chances of getting hired, whether it’s for advertisements, audiobooks, or films.
Why Should You Try Voice Acting?
Before you find out voice acting techniques, here are the reasons why you should take the plunge into becoming a voice acting talent.
When you stick to a desk job, you probably do the same duties every day. While this may be awesome for some people, it’s not the first choice of creatives who detest living monotonous lives. Life is all about exploring new opportunities to prove yourself and your talent, so if this is something you want to achieve, trying your luck in the voice acting industry is the way to go.
Through trying out voice acting techniques, you can achieve what you thought was impossible. For example, in the Shrek films, Eddie Murphy voices a donkey. In the same film series, Cameron Diaz voices a princess who transforms into an ogre. Being a voice actor will grant you tons of ways to explore your creativity through playing characters you never thought you could do.
Whether you plan on working in the commercial voice acting niche or doing films or video games, one of the most important advantages you will gain as a voice acting professional is to go in and out of different characters. As you gain more experience, you can be more versatile since every job opportunity will teach you how you can positively adapt in various situations using your skills, especially your voice.
Get paid while having fun
Perhaps one of the primary reasons why there are thousands of people who want to enter the industry is because it is a high-paying profession. Whether you are doing a serious advertisement or an energetic performance in a film, you will have fun using voice acting techniques to give characters their unique voice. Getting a sizable paycheck for doing something you love is the icing on top.
Wealth of opportunities
Voice acting work is all around you. Whether it’s listening to the radio on your morning commute, watching an ad on YouTube, attending an event with a friend, or going out on a movie date. This fact means that there will be thousands of job opportunities knocking on your door. If you find the perfect match for your voice acting prowess, you can apply for the jobs that are better suited for you. In time, you might even hear yourself on TV or on the radio.
Another great advantage of joining the voice acting industry is you will become a part of an amazing and supportive community. Whether it’s a celebrity, producer, writer, or director, this job will let you work with talented and dedicated people that will inspire you to get better at what you do.
Voice Acting Techniques You Should Know
Now that you know the role of a voice actor and the advantages you will gain from it, it’s time to find out the different voice acting techniques you should learn to improve your craft.
The ability to deliver a script perfectly on your feet is becoming a make or break necessity for voice actors in any niche. Sight-reading will come in handy because you won’t always have the luxury of time to review a script before the audition.
The practice of sight-reading, also referred to as cold reading, is when voice actors read the material when there is little or no time given to them to prepare. The secret of successful cold reading lies in reading the words that are next to the ones you are speaking in advance. By learning how to sight-read, you can communicate the feelings in the script in a more convincing manner, without spending hours reviewing it.
One of the most critical voice acting techniques you need to practice is inflection. This term refers to the modulation in the pitch of your voice. A voice acting professional must be able to change the tone of their voice from high to low and vice versa, depending on the script. Inflection is important to convey emotion and incite certain feelings such as excitement, sadness, or friendliness.
When you listen to animated movies, can you hear voice actors breathing? Breathing is an integral part of voice acting techniques you should practice since it will change the way you communicate. Improper use of breathing will get in the way of your performance.
When professionals are nervous, they usually take in a small amount of air that won’t fill their lungs. But in this profession, you should get used to filling your lungs with air so you can deliver the script seamlessly. Deciding on the type of breathing you will do to interpret the script well is also important. Whether you are happy, sad, or excited, your breathing will reflect your current state. For example, when you are feeling blue, you tend you increase your sighs or do a slow exhale.
Voice acting talents know the importance of warming up to help them deliver an amazing performance. When you wake up, your voice has not reached its full potential yet. This fact is why it’s important to do a warm-up to loosen up the vocal cords and improve your performance. By warming up, you will be activating the various parts of your voice and decreasing the occurrence of voice cracks and mouth noises.
A typical day of a voice acting professional involves warming up in the morning before they get their workload done. By incorporating voice warm-ups in your routine, you can create a habit to keep your voice in its best condition. It is also a good idea to warm up your voice before your recording or live sessions to have a better chance of impressing your client. Some of the most effective warm-up voice acting techniques are lip rolls, doing the “m,” “z,” “l,” and “n” sound. and tongue trills.
As a voice actor, it is your job to emphasize and underscore points in the script to keep your viewers engaged. By doing this, your performance won’t come off as flat, and you would be able to say every line with intent. This ability can only be achieved by understanding what you are reading and finding a connection with it. Remember that each sentence you read has a purpose in the story.
Knowing the audience
To be able to figure out what style you need to follow when delivering your lines, you have to know who you are talking to. Find out who your target audience is and visualize that you are speaking to them.
If you want to take the extra mile, try to imagine the setting of the scene. Are you simply walking in the park, sharing a cup of coffee, or dining at a restaurant? Get the feel of the script and use it to determine your judgment. This way, you can place your performance on the same level of reality as your audience.
Your understanding of the role you are going to undertake will also dictate how you read your script. Ask yourself important questions like what traits you will have, or what the character’s outlook in life is. You are not always given a description of the character you play. So you must be able to figure it out yourself.
Ready to Master These Techniques?
Becoming a voice acting professional is rewarding and fun. But it will take time to learn voice acting techniques before you can sound right. If you want to become successful, be prepared to do a lot of hard work. After all, standing out in this saturated industry is not an easy feat. Soon, your efforts will all be rewarded, and job opportunities will come your way.
Find the right voice for you today with Bunny Studio!