Challenge: Learn To Read The Commercial
Voice Over As Your Best And Authentic Self
February 3, 2016
By Hugh Klitzke
Casting Director and Coach
A performance’s emotional life comes from our own; the perspective that is our essence, our core.
That is why when we speak "from the heart” our voice lives in its most natural register. It is a voice that comes from comprehension of the text and comprehension of the emotion of the moment, not from the artifice of vocal manipulation by "pitching up” or "speaking down” in the register.
Inhabiting a moment, playing the scene, understanding what your motivations are, the way you imagine the voice over working in the context of a script - all of these things (and too many more to list here) never ever go away.
And it is especially difficult to keep control of all these ideas and more when you are performing with a voice that is "not your own."
WHEN THE VOICE IS 'NOT YOUR OWN' ...
Now, there will be times when we are required to or choose to use a "character voice.”
But we will STILL have to inhabit our own emotional life AND do it through the filter of a different sound. Needless to say, this is a true challenge.
All of this to say (and in some ways challenge) the actor that the very, very first thing you need to learn is to read a commercial as your best and authentic self. Then concentrate on "doing voices.”
And if you think the work in voice over in 2016 is about "making silly sounds” check out Voicebank.net and see how many commercial reels there are versus "character” reels.
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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