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Feeling Dull At The Mic? Tap Into Your
Reservoir Of Real-Life Enthusiasm
October 24, 2014

By Gary Terzza
Voice Talent and Coach (UK)

It is one of the most common issues when people start out in voice overs. Their voices sound flat and lifeless. This is one of the main reasons casting agents reject demos, too.

So, what do you need to do to help add vigor and vitality to your voice?

Take a look at my video on practical steps you can take to add life to a dull performance. You can also follow along in the transcript below ...


Hello. A lot of people say, "Oh, I can do voice overs. I can do an audiobook or children's book," something like that, because it sounds a bit easier.

"But what I can't do is a hard sell commercial. I couldn't be energetic. My voice just isn't like that!"

Well I'm about to show you how you can put energy into your performance.

(Gary drinks coffee) That was a lovely cup of coffee.

Hang on a minute, though. What if I said,

(Gary drinks coffee) "That was a lovely cup of coffee."

I think the first one is far, far more energetic isn't it? More convincing, and sounds like I'm actually selling the thought that it was a lovely cup of coffee, whereas the second one, it's a bit more downbeat and probably at the end of the day means I didn't enjoy it really, but I don't want to insult you.

Now what I've done there is just what we do in normal life anyway.

If I met a friend off the train, it'd be, "Hey! Joe! Great to see you!" Be all that sort of business, wouldn't it? It's just kind of part of life, isn't it?

When you get excited about something, you're pleased to see someone, you get excited. You start to put in that energy automatically.

Now in voice overs, it's a case of tapping into that in real life in the studio, either in your own studio or in an external one.

So if you're presented with a script that the direction says, "Be energetic," or "Add energy and enthusiasm," what you then have to do is to tap into your natural enthusiasm, your excitability, if you like, that is really there and you switch on for various occasions. You've just got to switch it on for your script.

Now if you're saying, "Well, but I can't do that," I would say, "But you can do that! Because you do it in real life anyway!"

It's not that you're learning anything new. You're just bringing something to that script and you're switching that enthusiasm and that energy on.

The other thing is, in energy, and certainly in terms of performance, is about being very physical.

Now I've got a sort of constrained box here, but if I was recording a voice over, speaking into the mic, I would be using my hands and my body language. So if I was to say, "Prices are down, down, down!" I'd be doing all that sort of business and I'd be throwing my body into it.

So you can make the energy come out of you by getting that physicality behind it, getting that body language behind it to reflect the energy and the excitement that you're trying to get across.

Now there is a third element, which is the confidence thing. You've got to have the confidence to do it. You've got to break through that self consciousness membrane, which we've all got.

You've got to kind of break through it and just say, "Right, to hell with that. For this 30 seconds, I'm enthusiastic." You may not want to be enthusiastic, but you're paid to be enthusiastic in this particular case or this particular script.

So tap into the reservoir. That's one of the main things to do - that excitement reservoir you have. Learn to switch that on on command.

That's what you've got to do. Break through that membrane and also use your body language as much as you can to get that performance across, and remember the golden rule in voice overs:

You never get back what you put in, so you can afford to push it that extra mile.
Gary Terzza is a UK voice over coach based in London. He is also a long established voice over artist with a client list that includes Channel 4, BBC, ITV, Pepsi-Cola, Symantec, BAE Systems and Hitachi.


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Comments (3)
christine stevens
10/24/2014 at 1:41 PM
Enjoyed your helpful video Gary. Do you have a site that I can access more of your videos? I am a Brit living in.Nashville and working on a VO career. I always enjoy hearing British accents. Reminds me of home.
Debby Barnes
10/24/2014 at 10:04 AM
Ahhh...the terrific tutor! LOVE his enthusiasm! Way to go, GT. What you share always has substance. We're grateful for you. :)
Jim Conlan
10/24/2014 at 9:28 AM
I suppose that's one way to look at it, Gary. I feel that, sometimes, to tap into your energy without a natural connection to what you're saying is to risk sounding phony: the "DJ" approach. I think it's possible in most cases to ask oneself how they feel about what they're saying. It's these natural feelings that produce the most natural energy. Of course, that's asking a lot when the subject is ball bearings. But, hey, I "feel" very strongly about ball bearings when I think about how excited the customer will be to hear about them... only kidding a little about that.
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