SO...You Want To Be A Voice Over Artist?
I listen to alot of stuff posted here on RD as I'm sure many others do and while we all know we have some GREAT talent here at RD we all also know we have some people who, while giving it the old College try, just aren't very good. That's ok, the only way to learn and get better is by doing. But if no one is pointing out the things you're doing wrong and giving you plus reps because you did attempt, this can lead to a false sense that you are doing things correctly and that you are getting better when in fact you are not.
My background is more of an On Air Personality, I thrive best in the Live situation on air, having worked in Radio for awhile now, however, I have done some voice over work professionally. No where near the amount as some of the talent here on this site and I am sure they will chime in with their opinions and advice, which will be more than helpful to us all.
If you decide that you want to try this as either a living or as a hobby you need to invest a little bit of money, even if it is just a hobby. Hobbies cost money, if you collect baseball cards you have to spend money to get the latest cards or sleeves to protect them. Well, VO work (or hobby) is the same you need to invest some money. Get yourself a decent microphone, the one that came packaged with your PC is not going to cut it. You don't sound clear and the hissing and popping is unbearable. When you buy your microphone (and we can have a discussion as to what is a good entry level microphone in another thread) invest in a pop filter or make one (hanger and stocking I'm told work decent), I'll assume you have a PC and sound card (we can discuss the different sound cards in another thread also) a mixer or mic pre-amp is also necessary to get the mic sound into the computer, unless you are using a USB microphone. So these are the basic tools you need to begin with, you also need some software that allows you to record and edit your voice. I use Adobe Audition (Cool Edit Pro) but there are others out there, and even some free stuff-someone I'm sure will list the free stuff in this thread.
Once you have these items now its time to record some stuff-PLEASE turn off your TV or Radio and get the house as quiet as possible. Too many times as of late I've heard people recording stuff for someone and I can hear everything that is going on in the background. We want to hear your voice not the television show you're watching. If you don't eliminate the background noise no one can use your recording anyway.
Read your script several times before attempting to record, I've heard people recording the script and it is obvious it is the first time they've read it. They have difficulty pronouncing words, they stop and stammer, are unsure of their place in the script. Read the script, practice it, so as you read it it doesn't sound like you're reading it. I read the paper everyday out loud and try my hardest to sound as if what I'm reading is coming naturally out of my mouth not something I'm being read. When I first started in Radio my first PD told me this technique and it has worked wonders for me. Practice, Practice, Practice!!!
Use voice inflections, don't sound like a robot-sound like you actually care-don't think that using a bunch of special effects is going to mask a poor reading. A poor reading is a poor reading and while swooshes, beeps, zaps and pops are great, it is difficult to mask a poor read with them. Again practice sounding as if you care, if the read is upbeat SMILE while you are recording it, you'll be surprised how much of a difference this makes in your voice.
Stand up-I know there are VOs who record sitting down, but until you are much better at it, stand up to record, it will help your breathing and diaphram and allow you to project clearer.
While I'm on the subject of breathing, learn to control it, learn, how much breath you'll need to say a sentence. Nothing worse than hearing a sentence where the reader runs out of breath at the end-IT IS OBVIOUS-or has to take a breath at an inappropriate time within the sentence. Pratice your breathing techniques, read the script out loud several times to know where the problem areas might be so you are prepared prior to reading.
Have confidence and have fun. With anything else if it isn't fun why do it unless they're paying you alot of money LOL-make it fun and have confidence that you can do it-that in and of itself will make a HUGE difference in how your read comes out.
I'm sure I left some stuff out and I know our great Voice Pros here will add some stuff and correct any things that I may have err'd on. I hope any new people here will use this thread to post examples of work and have pros critique it here in the thread.
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