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When You're Stumbling Over A Word
Or Name, Here's How To Say It Right
November 2, 2015

By Hugh Klitzke
Casting Director and Coach

Most failures in execution are failures of comprehension.

Sometimes actors find a moment where they just can't get over a phrase and it becomes a stumbling block. 
  • Every time it arrives on the paper, they will flub it.
  • Or swallow it. 
  • Or say it without conviction or veracity.
They are saying the word or phrase correctly, but it just doesn't sound natural. This is where vocal technique fails and comprehension (analysis) can succeed.


First, understand those two or three words are an incredibly small portion of the overall copy. 3%? Even less? 

Then put those words into your own words. Paraphrase that moment and the other words before and after it.  

Example: Perhaps an awkward drug brand name becomes: 
"The diabetes control drug called (NAME) being marketed toward seniors in this campaign ..."  
Or a difficult proper noun becomes:
"The Greek Ambassador just before the Kennedy Administration whose first name was (X) and last name was (Y)..."
You get the idea. Mastering the pronunciation becomes simpler because you have made the context your own. 

Now the sound of the challenging moment - when you have trouble with the right pronunciation - has a space to live in that you understand, and can become more like something you say every single day.
Hugh P. Klitzke is studio manager and voice casting director for a leading bi-coastal talent agency, who has directed more than 85,000 auditions for all voice over genres. Based in New York City, he is also a coach specializing in teaching voice over for actors, and writes VO4TA, a twice-weekly blog with helpful voice acting tips.


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Comments (1)
Elizabeth Holmes
11/2/2015 at 12:22 PM
Super helpful advice Hugh! Thank you.
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