Being able to read copy may sound like a pretty straightforward thing. But for a voice-actor, it needs to be done in a specific way. There’s a degree of psychology involved here; a voice-actor needs to fully understand the context of the script and be able to follow the brief from the client. Especially when you’re working alone inside your home studio, you need to be able to direct yourself. So, you must:
- Know how to act so you can read copy correctly and efficiently, day after day after day. Stage and screen acting may be different from voice-acting, but there are important similarities to keep in mind. Allow us to recommend you take some acting classes to gain a measure of comprehension for the correct reading of scripts.
- Understand that conversational voiceovers are becoming more and more popular because the listeners feel like they are being spoken to directly. Old-school and traditional hard-sell announcer-type voiceovers address an audience, they don’t have a one-on-one conversation and no longer appeal to listeners because of it.
- Practice, practice, practice, and then practice some more. Do this offline by taking improvisational classes, acting classes, and coaching classes. Like we’ve already said: website auditioning is not the time to practice. That’s the time to represent yourself as a business. If you’re going to put your name out there, you want to make sure you’re fully prepared. If not, you’ll not only risk losing the gig, you’ll risk getting negative feedback – and nothing destroys a voiceover career as quickly as bad word of mouth; it spreads like a zombie virus!
- Remember to take care of your instrument. You can’t replace vocal cords, so treat them well. Never abuse your larynx. Don’t smoke. Don’t yell if you can help it. If a cold or the flu climbs into your throat, keep talking to a minimum. Warm up before a session. There are many ways to do this, but the most popular way is humming softly to yourself – it loosens up the vocal cords, draws the voice into the mask of the face and helps develop resonance. Keep hydrated by taking regular sips of water. Drink less coffee; it can cause hoarseness. Avoid alcohol; it not only impacts your voice, but also your concentration. Dairy products can impact your voice as well, causing phlegm. Eating a large meal shortly before a session is never a good idea because it can negatively affect the tonal quality or timbre of your voice.
There will always be different styles of reading, and some voice-actors are better at one style than the other. You can, however, improve your skills at any style of reading. Some may take longer, but if you’re dedicated, you’ll get there. Versatility opens you up to more job prospects and potential clients.
It is worth keeping in mind that quality never goes out of style. The way we record and conduct our business may be changing rapidly, but great copy reading and great audio quality never will. That great voice talent behind the mic will always be in demand. Make your copy reading the best it can be. Call it part of the psychology of sale, if you will. Copy reading is about engaging the listener. If you connect with that listener while you speak into the mic, the listener will think: “Hey – that person is talking to me!”
It’s a winning strategy.