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Robin Williams' Legacy For Voice Actors:
Push Vocal Limits Of Emotion; Some Tips ...
September 15, 2014

By Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D.
Voice Specialist
Author, Broadcaster's Survival Guide

What legacy did Robin Williams leave for voice over artists and broadcasters?

He showed us how to push the limits of what voice can do in terms of portraying emotion - and not just in raucous comedy.

Listen to him talking in the clip below. Try not to listen to how hilarious he is, but listen only to how heís using his voice. Youíll hear him pushing the envelope of what the voice can do.

Robin Williams had a huge range in his vocal repertoire. He could create any type of voice he needed by changing his pitch, rate, volume, and resonance.

Imagine how your voís could improve if you could do the gymnastics with your voice like he did with his.


Let me suggest some tips to help you broaden your vocal range.

1. Read Childrens's Book

First, try reading a good childrenís book out loud. Pick Cinderella, Snow White, The Three Pigs or any story with lots of characters and emotion.

Read to a child if you can, and make the emotions as big as possible. Stretch your voice in terms of pitch, volume, and rate.

A child will quickly let you know if youíre doing a good enough job. If you donít make the evil witch sound evil, youíll hear about it!

2. Exaggerate Copy's Emotions

Next, take a page of copy and do the same thing. Exaggerate the emotions.

If itís a sad story, sound really, really sad like youíre about to cry. If itís about a happy event, overdo the happiness in your voice.

This technique can work even in the booth if you feel youíre not bringing a script to life or if you think your energy is low.

Read your script a couple of times overdone and then pull back your delivery for the actual taping.

Iíve used this practice technique with clients in my office for years, and youíd be surprised how well it works. A couple of exaggerated readings before you tape can do wonders when the mic is live.
Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D., is a voice specialist with more than 40 years experience and has helped hundreds of people make the most of their voices, working with broadcasters, voice over artists and podcasters around the world. An author of eight books and over 50 articles on voice, her Broadcaster's Survival Guide e-book offers more tips on dealing with holiday stress, plus advice on how to improve your voice over performance by making simple lifestyle changes.

Click for: Broadcaster's Survival Guide

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Comments (2)
Ann Utterback
11/5/2014 at 1:19 PM
Elizabeth, I'm so happy this article was helpful for you. Thanks for letting me know!
Elizabeth Holmes
9/15/2014 at 12:05 PM
Thank you, Ann! This is REALLY helpful.
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