For those of you who do not understand who a voice-over artist is, this is an audio recording artist who voices narrations for documentaries, Television and Radio shows and advertisements for marketing. They also voice acting for film dubbing and animation programs. If you are looking to be a voice actor or a voice-over artist, you must, first, have a great voice and be able to control its range to fit the different voice narrations you will have to do. In this article, we will look at a beginner’s guide for any individual who wants to be a good voice-over artist. This being an industry that is competitive, you will learn how to make yourself stand out by enhancing your skills.
1. Develop your talent.
Just like in any other job where you are expected to have developed skills or to develop your skills before you get a job opportunity. You must develop your talent and know-how to control your voice from one character to another and still be natural and real. So you might ask, “How do I develop my skills?” You should start by practicing to read things out loud. Have you ever wondered why it is super easy to read a paragraph silently than it is to read it out loud? Well, this is because regardless of whether or not you make a mistake when reading in silence, no one else has to know and you are content with that. When reading out loud and everyone is listening to you, you feel the need to make it perfect, and that is how you gain your confidence. A lot of practice eventually makes perfect. Reading out loud will come in handy when you have to do voice-overs where you read from a teleprompter. Spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day reading out loud. Practice enunciating words and work on your intonation. Challenge the range that your voice is comfortable with when reading out loud, be soft, be aggressive try everything you can because with voice acting you might never know which emotion they will expect you to work with. Practice using different topics. Be it entertainment, law or medical material, do your best to be all rounded.
2. Record your voice.
Another important thing you should do to improve your skills as a beginner voice artist is to make sure you record your voice every single time you read out loud. Reading out loud is good as it is, but unless you have a coach who can listen to you and make an analysis of how you are doing, then it is very important to always record yourself when you read out loud. In a day and age where everyone has a smartphone that has a voice recorder, this shouldn’t be a hassle for you because you can use it to record yourself and follow through with your progress as you grow to be better. While recording plays with your voice and try out different tonal variations, then listen to yourself and note which one works well for your voice and which one you should improve on. Many people always get surprised when their recorded voices sound different from their normal voice, which they are used to. The recorded voice sounds different compared to a normal speaking voice. I promise you this step will make you aware of a lot of things you did not understand regarding your voice. Note these different things and get used to your recorded voice so you can express yourself over a microphone.
3. Use your diaphragm.
This point will confuse you because most times these are things that people who are doing music get taught. You hear people say you should sing from your lungs and not your stomach in order for one to hold a high note. The same things happen for voice-over artists. It is very clear by now that voice actors and voice artists work only with their voices, and it is very important to voice practice from time to time and know everything that deals with it. When speaking, human beings have different voices. There are nasal mouth, chest and diaphragm voices. When doing voice over, will use your diaphragm voice. A nasal voice sounds unpleasant and whiny, a mouth voice sounds silent, a chest voice sounds pleasant, but a diaphragm voice is the most powerful and has the best sound. In order for you to master the diaphragm voice, practice breathing deeply and watching your stomach rise and fall. Make sounds that come from the diaphragm, such as laughing or yawning. The minute you master how to do the diaphragm voice, you are good to go and the only thing you must do is maintain it and know when to use and make it work for you.
4. Practice vocal exercises.
If you have not yet noticed, since everything deals with how your voice is and the range it’s at, you must do vocal exercises that will ensure that the quality of your voice keeps growing and getting better. These exercises will help you control and perfect the quality of your voice, and most of them revolve around breathing so that at least you can master your diaphragm voice. You could lie on the floor and deeply inhale and exhale, making a “shh” sound while exhaling. You might be surprised by how good your voice sounds when you sit up straight with your shoulders. You can also practice your articulation by reading tongue twisters and idiomatic expressions.
5. Imitate the voices of famous actors or fictional characters.
They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but when starting out as a voice artist, you wouldn’t want to be known as that artist who sounds like another famous artist. It is important to develop your voice and be known for exactly that, no need of sounding like another voice artist. With that being said, it doesn’t mean that you cannot practice being a good voice artist by imitating famous actors or animation characters. This gives your voice a wide range unlike when you practice by using your voice all the time. Learning to imitate a sound can help you build flexibility, recognize pitch and tone, and give you good material to include on your demo reel. You don’t have to be an impressionist to be a voice artist, but it is helpful to change the sound of your voice.
6. Improvise in character.
Improvising always works for benefit of anything that is being improvised. In voice acting, be a voice actor who can easily improvise when it comes to characters and what is expected of them in a film or a voice narration. From time to time, the directors you work with would expect you to improvise on your characters, and you must be ready when this is expected of you. This skill will allow you to truly embody a character and think as they do. After you’ve gotten into character, try coming up with a funny story on the spot as that character. If you need help, have a friend ask you questions and respond based on what you think the character would say.
7. Take acting classes or find an acting coach.
Most times, people don’t see this as something that they should do, but I’m here to tell you how important it is. To be good in any form of art, you must be able to learn, and get coached. Even if it is an inborn talent, to perfect it, you must get lessons from professionals who will help you unlock the other stage of your talent. So as a voice artist you should get acting lessons or find a coach to coach you on your acting skills. Though voice actors don’t appear on the screen, to pass a particular emotion using your voice is not as easy as it sounds and if you are not good enough, your audience can denote that. Invest in voice acting classes and you will be a step ahead of anyone who doesn’t.
8. Take voice lessons.
From time to time take voice lessons from voice coaches. This will make sure that your voice is always “up to date”. This will also act as voice practice for you. This will also help you expand your vocal range. The plan is to be as good as you can and getting a voice coach will take you to the next level.
All these steps will ensure that you become the best voice artist out there. Imagine if you put yourself out there and be consistent with wanting to improve your skills and you go audition with someone who doesn’t care to do all these different things to make their skills better, you surely will have an edge in getting that opportunity.