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VOICE ACTING
Do You Jump Right Into A Voice Over
Script - Or Think Before You Speak?

By Dan Friedman
Voice Actor, Coach, Director, Sound Engineer

For over 20 years I've been directing and coaching voice actors. If asked,
"What is one thing that every voice actor can do to improve?"
I would say,
"Think before you speak."  
There is a reason certain phrases stand the test of time. When it comes to script analysis, this is one area where people tend to rush it and not put in the time to really understand what the script is meant to communicate.

They do not think before they speak.  

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Think for a moment, how often do you perform a script the instant you receive it? You see the first few words and immediately launch into a delivery.

By doing so, you are making assumptions rather than connections. This leads to deliveries that sound "wishy-washy" at best.

Furthermore, it inhibits you from looking and seeing other possibilities. You get locked into a belief about how the script should sound.  

UNDERSTAND THE EMOTION

Even the most seemingly simple scripts can often be heavy on emotional intent. To communicate effectively, voice actors must understand the script on an emotional level themselves, before they will be able to connect to the listener.

This begins with understanding:
  • your own place and perspective,
  • who your listener is
... and asking all the other questions we should be asking ourselves but often don't take the time to thoughtfully answer.  

WHAT'S THE MEANING OF THIS?

Scripts have meaning. The words themselves are a voice actor's road map to connection.

Taking the time to analyze the script and identify the highlights and hurdles, before performing it, will allow you to make better, more informed choices when it is time to perform.

This preparation allows you to feel more free during your performance. You know what you need to communicate, and you do it more naturally and conversationally.  

IT GETS EASIER

Script analysis and/or doing the thinking first, can be tedious. It's why beginners don't like doing it, and why seasoned voice actors can get complacent about it.

The good news is that it does get easier and faster with practice. Experience is the best teacher.  

I challenge everyone reading this to spend the next week putting in a little extra time toward analyzing your scripts before you perform them. Understand the intentions and feel the connections.

I hope you discover that you feel more thoughtful, connected and better about your performances and audition submissions. Good luck!
-----------------
ABOUT DAN
Dan Friedman lives in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, NC and is a husband and father of two boys. With nearly two decades in the voice over industry and 25 years as a professional audio engineer, he has produced, directed or provided his voice to thousands of audio productions. In 2010 he 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. He continues to write a popular blog at his website, SOUND4VO.com. Also, Dan 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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Comments (2)
Mike Harrison
1/12/2022 at 9:43 AM
This is excellent advice, Dan. Without studying a script to at least try to grasp the context, we literally don't know what we are talking about; we are simply dictating words from a page... which anyone can do. This is especially true in eLearning. Not understanding context can cause us to not put proper emphasis (importance) where it belongs, and put it instead where it doesn't belong.
Patricia M Smith
12/30/2021 at 4:23 PM
Good to know the advice my father offered so many years ago is relevant now and forever! Thanks, Dan.
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