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Put Your Emotions In A Bag
& Pull 'Em Out To Practice
By David Radtke
Voice Actor
Voice over acting is just that - acting. Which means that you must have the ability to express a myriad of emotions through only the sound of your voice.
And it must be done in a completely believable way.
How can you do this? How can you gain the almighty “Voice of Believability”?
Through practice, of course! (Sorry, no “instant-voice-actor” magic pill.)
The trick is to insert your emotions into the copy.
So to help you organize your practice sessions and make them even more effective, here's a list of acting emotions to try:
  • anger
  • anxiety
  • embarrassment
  • boredom
  • confidence
  • contentment
  • depression
  • disgust
  • ecstasy
  • exhaustion
  • fear
  • guilt
  • happiness
  • hope
  • hysteria
  • loneliness
  • love
  • passion
  • romance
  • shock
  • shyness
  • suspicion
One way I like to practice is to take a plain-old sentence, like “How would you like to go to the mall today?” and run it through the list of acting emotions.
If you have the time, write each one on their own small piece of paper and put them in a bag. Then pick one at random and do the read.
For more variety, prepare a second bag of practice sentences. Choose one sentence and one emotion at random, and act them out.
By the way - if there are any more emotions you’d like to add to the list, feel free to post them to the comment section below.
David Radtke has been an active performer for over 20 years. His experiences include storybook reader for young children, radio DJ and announcer, part-time TV actor, and English language speech therapist. He currently broadcasts at his local FM station, where he does imaging and promos, commercial spots and various other creative jobs. He also writes a highly informative blog, Voice Actor's Notebook.


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