If you’re already a voice-over artist, you know that your actual voice isn’t all that matters. In order to create a successful career as a voice actor, you need to implement the proper techniques to stand out.
Sounding natural, all the while memorizing a script and working to portray a character or personality is no easy feat. Whether you’re recording a casual podcast, a creative audiobook, or a technical webinar, you need the skills and know-how – not just a great voice – to pull it off.
Experienced or beginner, these six tips will help you advance in your voice-over career.
1. Be Cautious of Trendy Speech Patterns
There are many new millennial speech patterns out there, and while it may seem like a good idea to try them out, be cautious of them.
Speech patterns such as uptalk (when your voice rises at the end) and shotgun speech (speaking very fast) should probably be avoided. Another hotly debated yet trendy speech pattern is vocal fry. Vocal fry is using a voice that is low and creaky – think Kim Kardashian.
You can certainly use these speaking techniques if you have an audience of millennials who won’t be put off by your speech. But for the most part, it’s better to steer clear of these as a voice-over professional.
2. Enunciate Your Words
As a voice-over artist, pronunciation is key. Your main goal is for people to understand you. You need to speak clearly and articulate well so people don’t have to struggle to make out your words.
Poor pronunciation may be judged as being incompetent or lacking in knowledge, whereas proper pronunciation will help you establish credibility and authority. When you speak clearly and concisely, you build trust with your audience because it conveys confidence, professionalism, and expertise.
3. Give Character to Your Voice
While you don’t want to be overly dramatic and expressive, you also don’t want to sound like a robot. As a voice-over professional, you want to give some character to your words.
Really consider what you’re trying to convey, or who your character is, and bring a bit of theatrical expression to help keep your listeners entertained.
4. Pace Your Words Properly
Tempo management is another important part of voice-over work. You don’t want to speak too fast and risk sounding like an infomercial, or worse, causing your listeners to struggle to understand you. At the same time, you don’t want to speak too slowly and bore them to death.
You need to find the middle ground. Your speech should be conversational and natural, at a pace that isn’t too fast or too slow.
5. Get the Right Equipment
Having the right equipment in place is imperative for your success as a voice actor. You don’t need to start out fancy or buy expensive equipment, but you definitely want to invest in the basics.
Here is some of the basic equipment you need for voice-over recording:
- Mic stand
- Recording and editing software
- Acoustic treatment for your recording space
Of course, you’ll want more over time. You may want to eventually invest in a preamp, shock mount, pop filters, and lots more. But, be sure to at least start with the basics.
Practice, Practice, Practice
As they say, practice makes perfect. When it comes to curating a skill, you need patience. It can take years for you to get to where you want to be, and there is always room for growth.
Practice voice-over as much as you can, keeping these tips in mind. Record yourself so you can listen back and look for places where you can improve and grow. Focus on one skill at a time, and once you’ve mastered that, move onto another. Eventually, it will become more natural and you’ll move your way up the voice-over ladder.