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.
NOW TO COMMERCIALS
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.
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