Who Are You? Who Are You Talking To?
6 Tips For Believable Voiceover Reads
By Anne Ganguzza
Voice Actor, Coach, Demo Producer
Being believable is one of the most important skills for actors. So important that it can make or break an audition or performance.
It's essential for the audience to believe in the story you're telling, or you'll have a tough time getting them to invest in you and your character (or whatever your character is trying to sell).
Here are 6 key acting tips you can use to make your voiceover reads more believable.
1. Analyze Your Script
Before you start acting, analyze your script.
Acting is telling a story, and as an actor, it is your job to tell that story as truthfully and honestly as possible.
So, first things first - read your script. You can't tell the story without knowing the story.
Understand what the words mean in relationship to the story you are telling. What is the message you want to convey, and what's happening when you perform?
The more familiar you are with your script, the easier it will be for you to be believable since you will be able to anticipate any turn of events.
Remember: every script has a story - even a medical narration has a story!
2. Know Your Character
There's no way you can be believable if you don't know who you are and what your character is all about.
Ask yourself questions about your character, who they are, and their motivation for the scene.
Give them a specific purpose for doing what they are doing. That way, you can make believable choices for them.
Doing this will help people identify with your character because they will find something relatable that connects with their own lives - even if just for a short time.
Remember that your character has an opinion about everything that is happening in their world, even if they are not saying anything at the time.
3. Know Who You Are Talking To
It's important to understand who you are telling the story to so you can have a relevant conversation. Don't just be a bunch of words and actions. Have a relationship with your listener.
Talk to just one person so that they feel included and special. If you are not talking to them specifically, why do they need to listen at all?
Most importantly, have empathy for that person.
Use subtext to help flesh out your characters with each and every line of copy. It will help you to stay and move forward in the scene.
4. Get Physical Get Physical!
Use your body behind the microphone. Use your hands, facial expressions, posture and movement to help communicate what you're reading on the page.
If you don't know how a character feels at a particular moment, ask yourself what's going on around them at that moment.
Acting is RE-acting, so take a moment to flesh out the scene to be able to respond truthfully in character.
Your body movements will allow your speech and timing to be more natural, as they will distract your focus from simply reading the copy and sounding too methodical or robotic.
5. Stop Listening To What You Sound Like
One of the biggest issues actors have in being believable is staying in the scene.
Too often they worry about what they sound like, instead of just being in the scene and telling their story. When this happens, they forget about the scene and finish the copy performing a monologue, forgetting all about the listener.
Get out of your own way. Your brain should be focused on your listener and their actions so that you can react in an authentic and believable way.
What you sound like is not nearly as important as what you're saying.
6. Have a POV
The last layer in your performance is your unique POV.
What is that? It's YOU!
This is where you get to add the sugar and spice. Allowing this layer to blossom in the story will bring the magic to your read, and make it a one-of-a-kind.
This will make it stand out from every other audition. Use subtext to help flavor your POV with nuanced emotion so that you can connect with your listener.
But keep your emotion in tune with the story so that you are convincing and speak the truth as the author intended.
BELIEVE IN YOU
The more believable you make your reads, the more the audience will believe in your character and want to buy what you're selling.
It's also what will get your audition noticed and booked for a job. Don't just record without thinking about believability and authenticity. Bring all of YOU into your performance, and go get that gig! I believe in you!
Anne Ganguzza is a full-time voice talent and award-winning director and producer who works with students to develop their voice over and business skills - including VO demo training and production. She specializes in Conversational Commercial and Narration styles, including Corporate, E-Learning, Technology, Healthcare - Medical, Telephony, and On-Hold. Located in Orange County, CA, Anne offers private coaching and mentoring services to students in person and via Skype, ipDTL or Zoom.
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