10 Tips for Recording Quality Voice-Overs
10 Tips for Recording Quality Voice-Overs
I've been a professional voice actor in Los Angeles since 2009 and I've voiced more than 60 characters for more than 25 projects from indie to major feature films. I've made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot from them and now I'd like to offer my advice to you to help you become the best of what you can become in the voice-over world! If I'd only known about all this when I had moved here years ago when the internet was still taking hold and informative blogs were scarce... it would have saved me countless hours and dollars in investment. I'm no Steve Blum, but I sure have gone through the process enough times to know what works and what doesn't (for me anyway). Below are some characters I voiced.
Voice-Acting Credits Include: Fist of the North Star, Gaiking, Danguard Ace, Digimon, Kitaro's Graveyard Gang, etc...
Here are the topics I'd like to explain to you about how to become a more efficient voice-actor:
1) Vocal Warm ups
2) Don't Drink Alcohol the day before and make sure to keep hydrated
3) Don't over-exert your voice within days of your performance
4) Know your copy & break it down
5) Use a cork to separate your syllables to be more fluent in pronouncing your copy.
6) Know the style of read the copy will be.
7) Munch on green apples to help eliminate the "TSK" and "SSSS" when you speak.
8) If you mess up, keep on going. Don't say sorry, just keep going till you get it right or an adjustment is given. Stay in momentum.
9) Make sure your body posture allows for your oxygen to be available.
10) Bring a beverage or candy that will keep your throat moist so it won't strain and dry up. Once you lose your voice, continuity for the character has and will be eliminated.
1) Vocal Warm ups consist hitting different ranges in your voice so that when you finally are ready to record, your lungs and throat are accustomed to your ranges and you have control of which tones you need to hit.
2) Alcohol will dehydrate you and your body will be using it's extra energy to recover. When you are dehydrated, for instance, you body will have less blood flow and you will tire more quickly as well as your throat drying up causing distortions in your voice tone.
3) Self explanatory but if you're yelling, etc... it will tear your throat up and you will not be able to hit the notes you need during recording.
4) The better off you know your copy you'll be reading, the easier it will be for you to perform your dialogue during recording. When you are efficient, you'll be more likely to be booked in the future with the same Production/Director, which is imperative within the entertainment business.
5) By putting a cork in your teeth and separating each syllable with your tongue on the back of the cork, you'll be able to read your dialogue more efficiently with less "tongue twisters" or mispronunciations. If you don't have a cork, you can also hold your tongue and do the same thing (separate the syllables). It looks weird, but it's extremely effective.
6) When reading your dialogue/copy, you should know that each project has it's own style of delivery. Obviously a commercial would be completely different than a creature in a fantasy film. But there are also many types of commercial deliveries as well as creature styles in a fantasy film. It's up to you to know your voice range and know which types of characters/copy you'll be recording by researching similar styles online or on Youtube, Google, etc...
7) If you slice green apples and suck on them before reading your copy, it will help eliminate the "Tsk" and "P's" when you speak. Try speaking some dialogue without it and recording it and then munch on some green apples and read the same copy and record it and compare the difference. You might be surprised!
8) Most Directors of Voice-Over understand that many people reach certain dialogue or points in your reads that will just not work or you perhaps "mess up". But they keep recording so do yourselves both a favor, just keep going. Don't stop the flow, don't stop your character, just keep going. Don't say "sorry", don't explain yourself, just keep going. You will reach your destination faster and save recording time in the booth. If you're truly sorry, apologize after you wrap your session.
9) Always make sure you have proper body posture so you can access the most air in your lungs. If you're hunched over or sitting down, you won't have full access to the oxygen and air paths needed for your reads. By standing tall and firm and focusing on your breathing, it will inevitably help with your delivery as well as extra breath to take less "breaking points" for oxygen recover within your reading.
10) Drinking sugary liquids or hard sugar candies or even a hot tea with honey will keep your throat moist and offer less strain on your vocal chords while you are delivering your lines. The more you talk, the more your throat will eventually dry up, so having these at your session will help you be able to consistently hit your range for a longer period of time.
If I can think of anything else that will benefit you for your next production, I'll definitely let you know by updating this blog. If you have any other questions pertaining to voice-over, feel free to post them in the comments bar below.