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Relax, Study Emotions & Characters
To Create Your Own 'Voice Print'
By Lou 'LadyLou' Hunt
Voice Talent & Coach
Word of Mouth Productions
“Why does my voice get so weak and shaky when I audition?” my student was asking me.
Well, I said, of course you’re nervous. And when we get nervous we tense up, especially around our neck and shoulders. That tightens up the vocal chords as well, and our voice demonstrates that tension.
That’s why we do vocal warm-ups, just like singers do before they perform.
Even more importantly, we need to relax the entire body!
The easiest way to do this is to focus on breathing evenly. As you calm your breathing, your body will also calm down.
Also remember how our emotions are expressed in our voices.
As an actor, you’re studying human nature - actions, reactions, attitudes and emotions. As you practice demonstrating those in class, or in everyday life, start to observe what your voice is doing.
An easy example is how our voices rise when we get excited or angry. No brainer there.
But do you adapt your voice to other emotional expressions, or do you habitually use the same voice in every situation?
I once heard Kathleen Turner in an interview commenting on how surprised she was that more actors don’t adapt their voice to the “character."
She is a dedicated student of the voice, and that’s pretty obvious since she has one of the most sensual, throaty and expressive voices in the business!
Your voice “print” is extremely personal. Technology has proven that with machines that can identify individual voices.
However, we don’t need machines to recognize a “familiar” celebrity. (Witness the products we associate with Sally Kellerman, Donald Sutherland, Martin Sheen, Selia Ward, et al).
We KNOW those voices because they’ve become familiar to us, even if we don’t see the body.
Using the voice to your best advantage will benefit you in your acting and your personal relationships! Who wants to be with someone who’s whiney or has a monotonous, boring tone? It gets old quickly.
Studying voice-over is an incredible way to become more observant of not only how you sound, but also for gathering material for “characters."
My most consistently-paying character voice came from a clerk I overheard at Thrifty Drugs in LA. I wonder if I should tell her? Nah, let her get her own voice-over work!
Lou Hunt has been a spokesperson for hundreds of commercials, narrations and educational films since 1972, and has received three Clio Awards. She is a highly respected voice-over coach, teaching since 1976, and her Masters Class has been accredited at UCLA. Now located in Phoenix, her company, Word of Mouth Productions, offers ongoing voice-over and voice image classes in Phoenix and also through her program, "Voice Over By Mail."
Contact:; 480-592-0059
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