I recently posted Part 1 of a “Mistakes to Avoid” blog - now it’s time for the second act. In the first part, I discussed more of the business end of things, but now I’d like to talk about the actual recordings that you’ll be doing as a voice over actor. Or rather, what NOT to do in those recordings you’ll.
1. Pitch problems. The most important thing with pitch is to keep it steady, and within the requested or established range. Don’t “up-talk” or raise pitch at the end of sentences, and be sure to use your pitch to your advantage so you don’t sound monotone. Use pitch, and not volume, to emphasize words or phrases. But be careful not to sound "sing-songy".
2. Tonal mistakes. Match the words in the script to your tone; I repeat, match the words in the script to your tone. This is easily one of the biggest mistakes actors make, so be sure that your emotion is the one that’s best for the words you’re reading. Also, think about who will be listening - is your tone the best for appealing to that audience?
3. Tempo is all wrong. Not developing the right sense of timing for readings can be a deal-breaker for many clients. If your tempo is out of whack because you’re rushing your recordings or pausing in all the wrong places, the end result will be a sub-quality product.
4. Pronunciation mishaps. Where pronunciation is concerned, it’s important that you tailor it to your audience. For instance, for readings such as tutorials or educational videos, the focus needs to be on clarity and accuracy, while more informal recordings should be read colloquially.
5. Volume issues. The biggest help in preventing volume-related mistakes is developing a benchmark for yourself that tells you exactly how loud you’ll sound behind the mic. Another factor is in maintaining consistent volume; even though it may be tempting to increase your volume to emphasize certain words, don’t do it. Instead, use pitch and tempo to add emphasis. And, of course, if you're recording yourself check your levels for peaks and make adjustments accordingly.