Are you trying to get into voice acting but finding it challenging? Or maybe you are looking for voice acting exercises? It is true that voice acting is an engaging but difficult activity. But we are here to make it easier for you! Read on for amazing life hacks that will help you master the craft of voice acting.
Breathing is going to be another pillar of your practice. You can know all about the respiratory system, have a medical degree — the works! But if you’re breathing In short, shallow bursts, you’ll tear your voice to pieces.
Learning how to breathe from the diaphragm carries many benefits. You’ll be more relaxed, focused, happier, and will do better voice work. That’s a lot of carryover from “just” a pro tip!
If you’re breathing high, it’s very likely that you’re more anxious and tensed up. These things are not good in any case, but they’re veritable voice killers. You need to be loose and relaxed to allow the air to come out and hit the resonators. You also need to be able to keep this up for a while, so breath control becomes a must!
Here, to get an idea of how you need to feel, do a self-analysis after completing this meditation. If like me, you’re finding yourself mellower and breathing without effort, you’re on the right track! If not, try to find any exercise, or combination thereof, that eases your breathing.
Susan Berkley explains that as you breathe incorrectly, you’re constantly gasping for breath, essentially gassing yourself out. This has been informally diagnosed as “reverse breathing.” This is when voice over hopefuls suck their stomachs in instead of relaxing and letting it all hang out. If you catch yourself doing this, take this advice and learn to breathe from the diaphragm!
A suggestion: lie down, meditate, and take comfortable inhales. That natural, rhythmic in-out-in pattern is what you’re looking for.
Always, always breathe through your nose. Mouth breathing is forbidden in your voice acting practice! Not only does it encourage improper breathing, but it also dries out your vocal cords big time! In other words: a first-class ticket to Hurtsville.
2. Practice sample scripts!
Find scripts that you can practice for a while. Better if you try to practice through a varied palette of script types. Try ads, documentaries, audiobooks, narrative videos, character voices; explore your whole range and you’ll be ready for a wider variety of projects!
If you’re recording for yourself, or for a company, then you’ve probably already got a script. Read through it, read it aloud. What does it call for? What are the necessary vocal qualities you need for this performance? As you read, these and more questions will pop up. Meanwhile, you’ll be subtly adjusting your performance until you have what you need, hopefully. If not, you may need to outsource, if you’re trying to handle a difficult in-house project. Thankfully, any voiceover website that has vetted pros should have your back. They should know these rules like the back of their hand.
Record your performances. It’ll serve as a guide so you can listen to yourself before the final recording. You don’t have to do huge scripts either. What you can do, though, is try to go for longer and longer parts so you can have an idea of what your endurance is. It’ll also let you know if you’re following proper mic etiquette.
Trying to know your limitations in a healthy way is part of voice acting practice. If you have information about how long it takes until you get tired, you can plan sessions ahead. You can divide recordings into segments that are comfortable for your current skill and stamina level.
3. Read Out Loud
As a voice actor, you should continuously practice the skill of reading out loud. Reading out loud helps you catch mistakes and overall makes your speech more fluid.
Also, reading out loud will eventually make your scripts a lot easier to read. Reading newspapers, books, social media posts or magazines are all great resources to enhance the fluidity of your script reading skills.
The key to voice acting practice is to physically relax when experimenting with different accents and dialects. A clenched jaw or tight throat can hurt your voice over capabilities by straining your voice.
One tip, offered by the great voice acting coach Morgan Freeman, is to yawn a lot before starting a speech. He also notes that your posture plays a large part in how your voice sounds to others. For this, be sure to have your shoulders back and chest lifted.
5. Try Paraphrasing
The best voice actor can dissect dialogue and get to the heart of the script. You are the voice of the story and with that comes the massive responsibility of focusing on the key points of the copy writer’s dialogue.
The best way to understand the message is by paraphrasing. Some questions and methods to help you paraphrase large amounts of text include:
- Determining the main objective
- Determining what the writer wants to say
- Say the script in your own words
Repeat this process until you can effectively communicate the message out loud in your own words. Paraphrasing, although sometimes frustrating to master, is a rewarding skill to have when standing out amongst other voice talents. Thank you for your reading. Good Luck!