Sound And Connection: Script Delivery Based
On Your Feelings Holds The Listener's Attention
This article is reprinted with permission from the author's new book, ZEN And The Art Of Voiceover, featuring personal experiences, tips, tricks and advice on succeeding in voice acting.
By Dan FriedmanVoice Actor, Coach, Director, Sound Engineer
When you receive a script and read through it, you get to learn the story. You know how it ends.
When a listener hears it, they are receiving it for the first time. It is unfolding before their ears. They can choose to listen or they can choose to tune out.
Grabbing the listener's attention early is your goal. You don't want to give the end away in the first line by delivering that first line with the end as your goal.
The first line has its own intention and meaning. What keeps the listener's attention is anticipation, enthusiasm, desire, curiosity, or whatever the intentional goal is, and building toward that goal as the story unfolds.
Like a song or story, the script and the message follow the beats until they reach a crescendo or climax.
AN ICONIC EXAMPLE
Let's take the iconic Journey song "Don't Stop Believin'" as an example.
The song builds anticipation throughout, beginning with a tension-building piano part and ultimately ending with a sing-along chorus that you are probably hearing in your head at this moment.
The song has changes along the way, including a blazing guitar solo and an easy-to-visualize lyrical story.
However, if all the song ever did was introduce a small-town girl and a city boy and went on to introduce more people, places, and things, rather than move to the rousing DON'T STOP BELIEVIN' chorus, it would get pretty boring very quickly.
Imagine it. Just a small-town girl … Just a city boy … Just a junkyard dog … Just a three-legged cat … etc. BORING!
SEEK EMOTION INTENTION
Changes are necessary, in music, in life, and in your deliveries.
The sounds you make should match the emotion you are trying to communicate. However, because you cannot rely on sound alone to create an authentic delivery, we cannot only seek sound as voice over artists. We must seek emotional intention.
Guitar players are known for chasing tone. They are going after a certain sound. But unless they are emulating the sounds of other players, they rarely seek the sound just for the sake of making something sound a certain way.
They want the guitar to sound a certain way because it makes them feel a certain way.
In either the context of the song or on its own, the sounds they seek get an emotional reaction. Maybe it raises the hair on the listeners' arms or gives them goosebumps.
When you know your emotional intention and can verbally express it truthfully, you can read the words in the script with the same pitch, pace, tone, volume, and melody that you used to verbally express those feelings.
This will immediately bring you to a delivery that sounds like it is based more on your feelings.
Dan Friedman is a voice actor, audio engineer and voice over coach with over two decades in the voice over industry and more as a professional audio engineer. As a coach, he helps voice actors, business executives and other professionals to improve their voice and ability to communicate. Specifically for voice actors, he focuses on sounding natural and confident, booking more jobs from auditions, and increasing sales. He has produced, directed or provided his voice to thousands of audio productions. In 2010 Dan published SOUND ADVICE-Voiceover From An Audio Engineer's Perspective. A first of its kind in the industry, the book covers audio engineering and studio session etiquette as it relates directly to voice over talent. And he recently published Zen and the Art of Voiceover, featuring personal experiences, articles, tips, tricks and advice on succeeding in voice acting. Dan also continues to write a popular blog at his website, SOUND4VO.com. He was chosen to be among the top 10 "Most Influential Voice-Over Writers in 2011" in a Voice123 online survey. His ability to simplify often complex recording and audio concepts is recognized throughout the voice over industry.
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