Monthly Archives: September 2010

Donating Your Voice Talent

It’s hard when canvassers come to the door asking for donations. We wish we could give to every great cause. But there is something we can all donate to even when money is tight – all you have to do is use our voices. Most major cities in Canada have an office of Accessible Media.  It’s Canada’s broadcast reading service for the visually impaired. It’s a great way to give back and get more experience in a recording booth.  First you audition.  They’ll give you 30 minutes to study a word list as well as one published article.  Then you record with a producer.  You’ll get graded on voice quality, pronunciation, speed, and reading for meaning. If you pass your audition, they’ll set up a schedule for you to come in and read.  They ask for one-two hour session per month but would like you to voice more if you can.

For more info check out: www.ami.ca.  If you’re located outside Canada, drop them an e-mail and ask for suggestions for a similar studio near you!

So You Wanna Be a Voice Actor?

We love teaching at SOUNDSWRITE. It’s such a rush to watch students make the move from “announcers” to “voice actors”.  What’s the difference? Script interpretation. Letting go and becoming the character. So many people come into our classes saying “my friends keep telling me what a great voice I have so I thought I’d do voicing.”  But a great set of pipes isn’t going to make a great performer.  And that’s what every single 30 second spot is…a chance to give a great performance, to find the essence of the piece, to figure out who you’re talking to and make it real.  It has to sound like a conversation and that’s so much harder than it sounds.  The key is to figure out your character’s objective for the spot…just like you’d do on stage or in film when creating a character. What does your character want? Then, think about who that person is talking to. Who is your audience of one, because you are only speaking to one person.  For intimate spots one little trick is to speak from my heart, literally. Imagine that your voice is in your chest and that the sound is actually coming out of your heart. It sounds corny but it works!  It helps the audience to feel a genuine connection.  For lively hard sell spots, think of think speaking through your eyes.  Sounds weird, right?  But try it.  You’ll find that your eyes sparkle and you’ll grin like a cheshire cat.  Smiling is something that comes right through the mic and right through the radio, so always remember to smile with the sponsor’s name and any product.

There we go again… trying to teach two days worth of classes in one blog post. OK…Next Intro to Voiceover class at SOUNDSWRITE runs October 23rd and 24th.  Come on down! We always have a blast…and lunch and give away demos and give away tons of practice copy and so much more. For more details visit: www.soundswrite.ca. Hope to see you, I mean hear you there!

Cures for Popping and Dropping

We’ve had hundreds of voice talent through our SOUNDSWRITE studio and there are a couple of things that constantly pop up. I use the word “pop” because popping is one of the most common issues that voice talent has. The other issue is dropping. 

Popping:
Even if you have never voiced in a booth, you may have given a speech over a microphone at work, a conference or even at a wedding. Plosives like “b” and ”p” cause air to hit the mic with a bang.  Even with a pop filter on your mic those sneaky buggers can get through.  The quick fix? Scan your script for plosives ahead of time. Underline or highlight them so you know they’re coming, and then smile when you get to them. The moment you smile when you say a word like “ball” or “pickle” it takes the bang out it by softening your lips.  You’re not pushing air through them.

Dropping:
Not reading through to the end of the line is common for new voice talent.  Words that end in “b”, “d”, “g”, “t” and “ing” are often the culprits.  The main problem is that nerves make you voice a line too quickly.
The quick fix is to take a few moments off mic, alone in the hall before your performance and read the piece slowly, forcing yourself to annunciate each word fully.  Then when you speed up, your brain will remember to read to the end of each word.  Trust yourself and trust that your audience WANTS to hear everything you have to say. 

Until next time…