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What Do You Notice About Voices?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

February 11, 2014

Comments (5)

Two female friends waving on a bridgeWhen you first meet another voice actor, what is the first thing you notice about their voice?

I asked a number of professional voice talent their thoughts on the matter and some of their observations are really quite intriguing!

What sort of things are you listening for?

How might your peers be hearing you?

Join the conversation in today's VOX Daily!

I Hear You!

Being in the business of sound, it's interesting to note how other people speak, particularly other voice professionals. This afternoon, I put a call out to friends on my Facebook page to see what their first observations were upon hearing the voice of a colleague for the first time.

Maybe you can relate!

Take a minute or two to read through the following and then add your thoughts as a comment.

"I notice that their voice is very different than what is normally heard in a production."
-Morgan Barnhart

"I almost always notice their projection. In other wards, loud talking leads me to believe that Voiceover is just announcing or screaming like Gilbert Gottfried to them. But for those who pace themselves and speak at a normal range, I feel like they can really interpret copy."
-Michael Hayne

"I often notice how there is NOTHING unique about their voice! Much like mine..."
-Mercedes Rose

"If their everyday voice sounds like their recorded voice."
-Laura McFadyen Brown

"I tend to notice whether they're someone who feels the need to "talk in character" as though they're reading copy (i.e. inflection, pace, pronunciation, etc) while just shooting the breeze or if they talk without sounding like a VO artist. Here in LA, I meet a lot of both when networking - I hear someone talking casually but when I meet him/her for the first time or I'm introduced to them and we speak for the first time, they suddenly turn into Shadoe Stevens..."
-John Beeman

"The richness, smoothness and uniqueness."
-Amie Breedlove

"The voice I use in personal interaction is a little different than the one I use when narrating audiobooks, which is different than what I sound like when narrating military ceremonies. I've noticed that when I meet someone who's a veteran broadcaster, they tend to be 'on,' sort of like what John just said. Like they've been doing it so long that it's impossible to turn it off."
-Brian McGovern

"I really think each case is individual. I usually don't look for any qualities. It's more fun to speak with fellow voice veterans about their unique experiences in this ever changing business. But, for the most part... professional voice actors seem to know how to carry themselves in a conversation. There's a confidence and air about them - it takes all kinds and all kinds of voices to be successful in the industry!"
-Kristi Stewart

"If it's a voice I would enjoy listening to, which could be in audiobooks, airport terminals, on-hold messaging, etc."
-Kurt Feldner

"Upon reflection, I realize now how much I enjoy listening to my fellow voice actors. Sitting around at a booking or an audition, just how lovely and appealing everyone's voices are. I get so spoiled by these rich voices that it can be quite jarring hitting the streets outside and hearing all the shrill, unsupported voices out in the real world! LOL!"
-Jane Casserly

"I listen for any accents that I might later use."
-Greg Phelps

"If they have a regional dialect or not. I am from the south, and when most people first meet me they have no idea I am from Texas because I worked hard for twenty years to be non specific."
-Markham Anderson

"Whether they are forced or genuine. Centered, unaware and ready to tell the story. It is SO much more than the voice."
-Randy Morrison

"Texture of the voice, most definitely."
-Shawn Maroney

"Sincerity. No matter the voice, this is what draws me in, or adversely if not present, what pushes me away. Drama, comedy, animation, corporate narration, eLearning, or even a voicemail; if there's real feeling supporting the voice, I'm hooked."
-Beau Stephenson

"Honestly, some are born with 'pipes.' But, for me, there needs to be a 'real human' giving life to those words. Ours is a relationship business, and if you can't relate to or trust that voice, it doesn't work."
-Dan Deslaurier

What About You?

Let us know what you first notice when you hear a fellow voice talent's voice!

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Stephanie

ŠiStockphoto.com/Nikada


Comments


    Lots of really great observations & thoughts here, some of which actually popped into my mind initially when I read your question. Great question that generated some really interesting stuff!

    Posted by:

      I notice the texture, tone, and richness in someone's voice. It could be a voice that I can listen to all day and one that can be abrupt and jarring. Everybody has a unique voice that only they can have. That is the Beauty of our voices! God has created us to be different and specific!

      Posted by:
      • Carol Knizek
      • February 12, 2014 8:35 AM

        Warmth and natural melody, not usually stagey or self conscious - then a fascinating gear shift if they happen to read something. Anything. Side of a cereal box.

        Posted by:

          When I hear voices, I focus on deliverance. I notice their tone, tempo and pitch. The message is also important.

          Posted by:
          • Emma Smiley
          • February 14, 2014 12:11 PM

            Interestingly, there is a younger voice over artist that is voicing a number of name brand TV commercials. I have often reflected to my husband that her voice is a bit high in pitch, and her delivery "different." While the voice doesn't appeal to me at all, I am aware that it's clearly appealing to several major brands, so I might listen and learn. The last time I heard one of her commercials, I began my usual conversation. I noticed my husband smiling at me, and I asked what he was smiling at. He responded that possibly "annoying" voices are in now, and I might be wise to develop one! Hmmmmm.....

            Posted by:

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