Below are some voice over tips to nail your next voice over audition.
Voice over auditions are completely different from regular acting auditions. You still need to know how to act, of course, but you also need to know how to modulate your sound, give the voice over casting director lots of choices and take direction.
Knowing how to take direction and perform different versions of the same voice over is very important, because the decision maker is often not in the room. All they will have to go with is your recorded voice. For that reason, a good command of microphone techniques is a big plus.
Below is a list of the most important things an actor need to nail voice over auditions.
Voice Over Tip 1 – Working With the Mic
Microphones used at voice over auditions are very sensitive, so you may be surprised at what comes out of your mouth. It can be both good (for example, if you learn how to find the “sweet spot” where your sound is the best) or bad (if you make clacking noises, for example).
The only way to work on microphone technique is to practice with a good microphone, preferrably in a voice over class where you will get tips on how to improve the quality of your sound.
To get started, watch this short video where Yuri Lowenthal, an experienced voice actor and co-author of the book Voice Over Voice Actor, talks about the distance a voice actor should be from the mic and shares other tips about working in a recording booth.
Voice Over Tip 2 – Give Them Choices
Voice over casting directors know exactly what the client wants, so simply listening and following their directions will increase your chances of getting a callback. Often, you will have a chance to record a few different takes, especially if you are recording the audition yourself.
Give the casting director a lot of choices. There are many things you can change about your performance. The acting, of course, can be different. You can change your objective or do a different character entirely. But showing range doesn’t need to be to drastic. Just changing one aspect of your voice can make for a different audition. For example, you could go louder or softer, have a faster delivery, try a higher pitch or use an accent. You can also show variety in the places where you don’t speak, by pausing in different places.
Voice Over Tip 3 – Finding the Reason for the Line
A lot of voice over auditions are for commercials, which means your lines are meant to sell a product and create a reaction in the consumer who hears – or sees – the ad. If you are able to find out in the commercial copy what the intent of the client is, you will be able to say the line just the way they want to hear it.
That means you need to break down the commercial script and find the “key words” in the script. You also need to ask yourself what kind of audience this is for so you know if you should do a hard-sell or be more subtle in your voice.
How do you do that?
Practice. Start asking these questions of any commercial you see or hear. If you go to acting schools, ask them for a stack of commercial copy and practice daily.
In the short video below, Yuri shares tips on what you can do to be ahead of the game at voice-over auditions, whether it’s for commercials or animation.
Voice Over Tip 4 – Take Care of Your Voice
The best thing you can do for your voice is breathe. If you get nervous, your voice will be the first thing to be affected, so learn to relax your throat, tongue and facial muscles. If you can, try to warm up your voice with a few exercises before a voice over session, especially if you have a lot of copy to read.
What you eat and drink can have a big impact on the quality of your voice. To maintain a healthy voice, drink plenty of water (not too cold) and avoid coffee, alcoholic drinks, milk. Every little sound gets picked up in a voice over booth, so avoid any foods that can give you indigestion but make sure you eat. Some voice over professionals say that eating apples really helps with dry mouth and voice quality.
Voice Over Tip 5 – Voice Over is Voice Acting
You don’t need to be an actor to be a voice actor, but you do need to know how to act. Animated characters require just as much research and characterization work as a live character. Commercials are short, but you still need to be able to break down a script and look for objectives. Many jobs require the voice over artists to portray emotion in their voice, which requires acting skills.
How to Get Voice Over Auditions
Although a good agent has access to a lot of voice over casting calls, there’s other ways to find voice over jobs, so don’t wait to get an agent to have a voiceover career.
The best way to get started is to sign up for an online voice over service – a website where you can browse through voice over jobs and apply to postings directly. More and more companies hire voice-over talent this way nowadays because they are not limited by space and time, so promoting yourself on the internet is very important.
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