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Before You Begin Recording A Voice Over,
See What A Difference This Will Make ...

By Kathleen Puls Andrade
Voice Actor, Actor, Improvsier & VO Coach

I have a mentor who gave me my very first voice over job back when I was a waitress at a Jewish deli in Chicago.

After he became a regular, I asked him what he did and he told me that he was a freelance radio copywriter. To this day, his dialogues are still the best I’ve ever read on mic.

Anyway, I said to him, “If you help me, I’ll give you a chocolate phosphate every time you come in here.” He loved my phosphates. The secret was adding a couple of creams.

He gave me my very first VO job, which had one line: "Shattercane ruined my marriage."

I was a hit!

From there, he got me my very first agent, and more and more jobs came along with it. He helped me hone my skills over the years and, eventually, the mentee outgrew the mentor. He’s
still my good friend and the most gifted writer I know.


The one thing he pounded into my actor brain was “smile.”

I think as VO people we all know the power of the smile and how it can change a read.

But the other thing he pounded into my head was to lift my hands and get ready to use them. Using your hands and physicality imbues the
read with energy and point of view.

Now, I tell my Second City students - before they even begin reading - to lift their hands,  and to set their smile and POV. For the point of view:

  • Why are they saying what they’re saying?
  • What is their point of view about what they’re saying?
  • What is their point of view about the product?
  • Are they keeping their smile throughout the read?
  • Are they imbuing the read with energy by using not just their hands, but also their shoulders, facial expressions, shifting their weight, etc?


Movement, smile, and POV makes all the difference when reading a script.

This isn’t to say that we’ll always be grinning wildly, but the physical smile helps to bring positivity to what we’re saying.

There is something to be said, of course, for the flat, neutral faced read. But for the most part, a physical smile is necessary.

After all, my mentor told me from the beginning that advertising is good news, so a smile goes a long way toward brightening up your read.

So, before you launch into your read, set your hands, your smile, your POV and
then … begin.
Kathleen Puls Andrade is a voice actor, actor, improviser and voice over coach with numerous voice over and on-camera credits. Kathleen created and currently teaches the Beginning Voiceover for Improvisers and Advanced Voiceover programs at the Second City Training Center, Chicago. The Beginner class prepares her students to perform, and the Advanced class prepares them for their careers. Kathleen has also taught voice over and more at Bosco Productions, Baylor University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, In Forte, Discover Card, along with individual clients. She has been heard on Allstate, Quaker, Fisher, Morton and more.



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Comments (1)
4/17/2024 at 4:28 PM
Absolutely excellent advice, Kathleen! Thank you for sharing your wisdom`(and send thanks to your mentor too!)

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