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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Advice from a Seasoned Voice Actor: Don't Make these Newbie Mistakes

Like any profession, there’s a learning curve involved with voice over. People new to the industry don’t just magically know all the ins and outs of VO within a few months. It takes time, patience and dedication to learn about recording, effective networking, and proper etiquette, among other things. There are tips and tricks you’ll learn along the way, and for most of us, it takes trial and error or even just dumb luck to successfully navigate the complex waters of VO. Some of the biggest newbie mistakes can be avoided, though, if you follow these 5 tips.

1.    Prepare for your audition. Sure, sometimes you’ll do a great job just winging it, but most of the time, you need to prepare. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the script, mark it up with notes, and get a feel for it and how you want to read it. The better prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be, and this will show in your audition.
2.    Don’t cold call agents and casting directors. Nobody likes a surprise cold call - do this to agents and directors, and you run the risk of seriously annoying them. There’s nothing wrong with networking or making contact, but don’t waste people’s time. Avoid chit chat, and be direct and to the point about the purpose of your call.
3.    Read the script in its entirety. Skipping over parts that you aren’t auditioning for or even sound effects can be detrimental to your reading. Take the time to read the entire script, as this will help you get a better idea of how you should read YOUR lines.
4.    Use your acting chops while reading. I’ve said it hundred times, and I’ll say it again: voice over isn’t just reading. It is acting, and if you aren’t using your acting talent during your readings, you are doing yourself a disservice. Acting, whether it’s gestures or facial expressions, WILL carry over into the reading and enhance it.
5.    Remember that the mic picks up EVERYTHING. Pages being turned, a sniffle, a throat clearing, the rustle of clothing - whatever it is, it’s going to be amplified in the sound booth. Do not make any sounds other than what you’re expected to. If you’re turning pages, do it between sentences, as this pause can be edited out more easily later. 

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