sign up for our

Home Shop Subscribe Advertise Articles Directories Classifieds Calendar FAQs Contact Us Login

Practice Reading Voice Over Copy Cold:
Dare To Be Imperfect. Hear What Happens
December 2, 2014

By Hugh Klitzke
Casting Director and Coach

Learning to read voice over copy cold comes down to experience.

And it might seem counter intuitive, but itís good to practice reading aloud a longer form, like an audiobook, to help master the cold reading of short form like a commercial.

Practice reading two or three pages a day from a novel you have never read before into a microphone and headset. But make sure it something you've never read. (The Internet is rife with public domain books to download.) 

When you make a mistake, stop and go back to the beginning of a sentence or phrase.

This exercise is to get you get used to the feeling of reading ahead and listening to yourself and not worrying about making things perfect.


After about a week of reading a few pages aloud each day, go to commercials.

Commercial copy is everywhere. Google it and you'll find hundreds of pieces. The goal is to get comfortable with new commercial text in your eyes and in your ears. 

Put a new commercial you've never read (4 or 5 lines) in front of you and read it on mic, in headphones, and cold read three times in a row. Again, donít worry about perfection.   Then put it away and never look at it again. Even shred it. 

Do that again for two more pieces of copy. Patterns will emerge. Your phrasing will improve. You will anticipate the arrival of an idea that the copywriter felt was important.  

But the discipline of learning to go for it and be imperfect will make a big difference.
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.


Subscribe to blog:

Your Daily Resource For Voice-Over Success
Tell Us What YOU Think!
Please Note: Since we check for spam, there will be a slight delay in the actual posting of your comment.
Your Name:
Your Email Address (will not be published):
Your Comment:
Your Comment:
Security code:     
Comments (3)
Nicola Redman
12/10/2014 at 10:33 AM
Great article, practising cold reading is such great preparation for quick sessions and working with new clients when the nerves set in!
Irish voice actor and vocal coach
Mark Wangerin
12/8/2014 at 6:25 AM
Great Advice. Much like a musician (as I was professionally for 20+ years) learns to sight read. The key is to make the music/copy sound authentic as if the thoughts were your own the first time they come out of your mouth.
Thank you for sharing this valuable insight!
Mark Wangerin
Dave Courvoisier
12/2/2014 at 10:05 PM
'Been doing this for 30+ years as a TV news anchor. You learn to do it. I can read ANYONE'S copy...good or bad.

I was treated with absolute derision when I admitted I do this with audiobook narration... but it's a matter of experience, like you said.

The best musicians can take a new sheet of music and make it sing! I do that with words.

Dave Courvoisier
Back to Articles
Inspiring interviews help your VO career
With Sean Daeley and Paul Stefano - check it out!
On Michael Langsner's Voice-Over Roadmap Podcast
Email alerts to new VoiceOverXtra articles