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Voice Acting: Committing to Choices

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

December 15, 2009

Comments (3)

Man thinkingAre your reads believable?

What does it take to set the stage for an inspired performance?

Find out in this article that shows you how to prepare an informed read, even if there is little to no artistic direction, here on VOX Daily.

Are Your Reads Believable?

Each script that you read, whether for an audition or a booked gig, demands that you make distinct and motivated choices in order to do proper service to the words.

The legendary late, great Don LaFontaine once said that your voice is merely a vehicle for the written word... the words take center stage and it is your responsibility to convey them in a respectful and meaningful manner. In fact, Don had even been quoted as saying that you should specifically "devote yourself to the service of the words."

This means interpreting the written word to make informed choices.

To do this, not only will you need to be sensitive to the copy but you'll also need to create a character... each job that you do as a voice over professional requires you to take on the persona of the character in the advertisement, narration, or cartoon to deliver a message as someone other than yourself.

Break the copy down by asking yourself simple questions. The answers to these questions will provide you with context for your read.

Who?

Who are you? Who are you speaking to? Who are you in relation to those people?

What?

What are you doing? What's going on in the scene? What do people expect to hear from you?

Where?

Where are you? Where are the people you are speaking to?

Why?

Why are you relaying this information specifically? Why communicate to these people? Why do they need to hear from you? Why should what you're saying matter to them?

When?

When is this scene taking place? Is there a specific date you can commit to or a time period?

How?

How many people are you speaking to? How do they want you to approach them? How do you expect your audience to respond?

Committing to Your Choices

When you've made a choice, whether it's a verbal choice heard by the audience or one that fleshes out the backstory to aid your interpretation, be sure to commit to it otherwise it won't come across with authenticity.

For people to believe you, you'll need to first believe in yourself and the choices you've made for your character.

Physically play the character in your voice and act on those choices with conviction.

Consider This Statement:

"A trained actor makes choices, an untrained actor makes guesses."
- Bob Bergen

Any Comments?

If this article resonates with you, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Comment here on the blog or reply via email to join the conversation.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/Robert Simon

Related Topics: acting, actors, cartoons, how to, interpretation, SAG, voice acting, voice talent, voiceovers, Voices.com


Comments


    This article hits home for me in a unique way. The questions a voice actor must answer are the same questions a police officer must answer when working a crime.

    It hits home especially for me, because I worked undercover weapons and narcotics for several years and 'adopted' several different 'characters' while doing so and I used the same approach to 'get into character' with each assignment. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How .... it didn't just land me the part, it kept me alive on more than one occasion.

    In fact, it worked so well that I sold my 'characters' to the bad guys ... and they were probably the most hostile crowd an actor could work.

    Ran Alan Ricard
    Voice Artist
    www.voices.com/people/ranalanricard
    417-299-5923
    'Don't Just Get Voice Over ... Get Ran Over!'
    soli una stamos

    Posted by:

      This is such good advice, and -- for new talents like myself -- advice worth repeating. As a new voice talent, you're constantly trying to remember so many things (i.e. - Am I hydrated? Am I on the mic's sweet spot? Do I have a pencil to mark up my copy? etc.), but the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How is, I suspect, the breath that gives life to a good read.

      Thanks so much for consistently valuable postings!

      Posted by:

        Kind Stephanie;

        This latest coaching effort hits right where I'm trying to be. Its good - it helps, and it make me want to be part of your team.

        Henry Poor - Yours

        Posted by:
        • Henry Poor
        • December 18, 2009 12:42 PM

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