Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"Good Speaking Voice? It may not be enough."

The following is an article contribution to Voice123 by Gary Terzza, a Voice123 Coach from the United Kingdom.

"Has this ever happened to you: You are chatting to someone on the phone or in person and they suddenly comment on your voice; it might be a remark about how deep, husky, or even sexy it is? They may have gone further and suggested you could do radio or TV ads. If this sounds familiar then perhaps a career in voiceovers could be a possibility, but is having a good speaking voice enough? The answer, though, is no. To earn a living, part or full time, using your vocal cords you need something else.

Voice-overs are only partly about the way you sound; they are, also about the way you interpret a script and crucially the way you read someone else's words. The aim of the voice actor is to bring these words to life, no matter how complex, alien or even boring they may be. This is because what the client wants to hear is the idea being transmitted. The vocal talent is in being able to communicate a message clearly and with meaning.

You have to sound like you know what you are talking about, even if you do not. The golden rule of any voiceover is to possess the words; that is to say you have to own them and make them yours. Only then can you truly enrich them with meaning. This has nothing to do with the tonal quality of the voice, but everything to do with the mindset. It is all about the attitude of the reader; does she/he sound convincing? Are they hesitating, or putting in too many pauses? Is there too much drama in a technical piece, or too little energy in a hard sell commercial? Is a corporate video being delivered with frivolity rather than authority, or a charity appeal lacking gravitas? A good director will be able to mould the artist accordingly, but often the talent will be recording at home and have to rely on their own judgement. Learning to trust your own ears is essential.

Also are you able to meet deadlines? The audio track is often the very last element to be considered in a project and the decision about who will perform the piece is sometimes left to the very last minute. That's why agents, production companies and producers want people who can deliver the sound sample on time and within budget. So flexibility helps, as does the ability to record at home for a fast turnaround. Ask yourself if you would take criticism to heart. Many budding voice artists have their egos dented by clients' and agents' comments and this can throw them off course. You need to develop a thick skin. Because voice-overs are subjective, one person's opinion of the way you sound is exactly that, an opinion.

However when you have put lots of effort into a project it can be hurtful to be rejected, but keeping a dispassionate distance can help any bruised pride. Are you prepared to treat your new career as a business? The more professional you are, the more your prospects are likely to take you seriously. Keep tax receipts, issue invoices with payment terms and sell yourself like a true pro. It works wonders. So your natural timbre and pitch are simply not enough on their own to give you a career using your larynx. Always bear in mind there is much more to the mouth industry than meets the ear!"

by Gary Terzza
http://www.vomasterclass.com


Voice123 thanks Gary Terzza for his contribution to this blog, as well as, a Voice123 Coach.

3 comments:

sally hamilton said...

Gary, I agree with all that you say, but am constantly amazed at how one vital area to being a voiceover artist (other than having some vocal cords) is always ignored: that of being able to understand the process of editing and how to do it well enough to have auditions accepted in the first place! It is such a vital element and almost requires its own masterclass as simply having a good voice, being able to interpret the script and being set up with home recording gear is not enough. I have spent the last 5 months having one to one tuition, courtesy of those genius's at Apple, in just how to go about this often complex process and finally (well, I am a bit of a dunce when it comes to tech stuff) I am now able to churn out quality, edited recordings without breaths, high pitched S's or rumbles!
So, please give the humble but complex and absolutely vital art of sound editing the recognition it needs as it came as a shock to me (and I cannot be alone here) that I needed to be so familiar with it.
Sally

jtstr8hslr@live.com said...

Sally, your exactly right,having the right editing hard and software is one thing but knowing how to use it is another.I do my best with the "two cans and a string" i have at home. New to this industry and i need all the help i can get, if u have time listen to my demos tell me what you think, and in return maybe i can return a favor. Thanks, jason tolbert

Anonymous said...

I agree being able to deliber and bring to life the cracter of the script takes more thatn just having a good voice.