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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Voice Over Actor Vocal Warm ups that Will Improve Your Recordings


As a voice actor, your voice is critical to your livelihood.  It is important to warm up and care for your voice before work.  The difference between an impromptu vocal delivery and a script read following a warmup can make a tremendous difference in the final product.

The Benefits of Vocal Warmups

Vocal warm-ups have significant benefits.  They loosen your vocal cords, which improves your readings and helps keep them in good condition over time.  Using your voice for extended periods can have damaging effects in the long run.

The more you tone your vocal cords, the more range they will have.  Just like athletes stretch their bodies, voice actors must stretch their voices.  You are protecting yourself from the chance of injury.

Another benefit is that warming up helps get rid of anxieties or nervous energy.

Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises will help relax your vocal cords.  There are several breathing exercises that are a great option to practice.

Inhale deeply and slowly through your nose and then exhale deliberately and slowly through your mouth.  Repeat a few times, this will get you centered for your exercises. And increases your lung capacity.

Stretch Your Body

Several body exercises have proven to be important in the voice actor world, especially since many times you may be standing for long periods of time recording.

Start with some gentle neck rolls, around, forward, backward, side to side.  Start in one direction and then change to the other.

Shrug your shoulder up and down and then move to arm circles, to get your shoulders and arms loose as well.  Tension builds in the neck and can move down to the shoulders.

Stretch those ribs by raising your arms and then leaning to one side and hold for a few seconds and then switching to the other side.

Finally, shake it all out.  Shake your hands, then arms, and the rest of your body to get the remaining tension out and warm it all up.

Humming and Lip Flutters

Humming not only loosens up your vocal cords but is warms up your facial muscles.  Lip flutters or trills help bring back your vocal tone quality after sleeping or long periods of silence.  These practices are a perfect part of a morning routine.

Roll your tongue on the roof of your mouth to make the double rr sound.

Descending Nasal Consonants

There are several methods to warm up your sinuses and nasal passages.  One popular option is to say the word onion and stretch the ny sound and voice in a downward pitch.  Another set of word choices is words that end in z.  Fizz, whizz, and buzz are great examples and you will linger on the z to get resonating.

Tongue Twisters

Tongue twisters sound funny and when repeated fast can be hilarious.  However, they loosen the mouth up.  It also allows for your mouth to be loose so that your pronunciation will improve during readings.  Some popular ones are “red leather yellow leather” and “she sells seashells by the seashore”.

Yawn and Yawn Sighs

Yawning can improve the sound of your voice.  It relaxes throat muscles and vocal cords.  When they are relaxed, the tone of your voice actually drops.  Morgan Freeman has been cited as telling this as one of his best voice over secrets.

A yawn sigh is when you open your mouth like you are yawning, but let your voice sigh loudly from the top of your register down to its lowest note.

And if you're yawning right now after reading this article, because maybe you already knew this information... hey, a little repetition never hurts!

Friday, January 8, 2021

Looking into 2021 Voice Over Actor Opportunities


2020 brought many changes to the world, it also changed the way the voice-over industry adapted for the year.  The new year is a great time to assess what brought you the most job opportunities and where they came from. 

When planning for your voice over acting career, it is best to look at the opportunities that will be trending in the industry.  Here is a guide to planning for a successful year.

Conversational Reads Will Still Be Wanted

Conversational reads are popular every year, and 2021 will not be the exception.  There is still a need for voice over actors who can read with this style.

Conversational can be very hard for some voice over actors as it is not always a skill that gets much training.  However, if you can be successful in this style, you will find the opportunities that will come your way.

Remote Collaborations Are Here to Stay

Remote work is not going away, which means you need to have your home studio setup.  The quality of your recordings will improve your booking rate.  If you need a guide check out my post Home Studio Equipment a Voice Over Talent Must Have.

Brands Will Continue to Seek Voice Over Actors for Messaging

Brands last year saw the need to use voice over actors to get their message out.  The voice-over industry saw an increase in jobs as brands realized they needed to ensure their messages were high quality.  While many brands cut marketing budgets last year, this year they need to be more successful, and that means getting the word out they are open.  This means more voice over jobs for professionals.

Increase in Internet Jobs

As 2020 meant more time at home, it also meant that there was more online viewing of videos.  The increase in screen time of short-form internet videos was not only in the U.S. but all over the world.  Internet videos are a varied category and include company explainer videos, social media videos, blogs, and YouTube.

Looking ahead into 2021, there is no sign that the need for these videos will be slowing down, and the digital studios are ramping up for a busy year.  Brands have found the benefits of working with a voice-over actor for their explainer videos.

eLearning Jobs

The demand for eLearning will not lessen this year and the opportunities for voice over actors in the world of eLearning will also rise.

Not only will it be more classes, but specialized training, company training decks, and more will be created and updated.  The industry is predicting demand for voice over actors that can work in this area.

AI Technology

AI has provided several job opportunities for Voice Over Actors, with social distancing and the need for industries to create non-touch sanitary options, voice technology is going to increase.  From voice assistants to recorded voice options like Alexa to other smaller applications within businesses and library creations.  The voice assistant category is on the rise.

Reflect on Last Year and Plan

A great way to start the new year is to reflect on the work you did last year.  The best way to start is to look at the type of work you did. Whether it was commercials, audio books, eLearning, corporate videos,  explainer videos, etc. look to  see what areas gave you the most opportunities.

Where did you find your job opportunities?  Did the jobs come from an agency, director, online postings, your website, acting coaches, and social media?  Understanding where you are most successful will help you create a strategic plan for this one.

Reflect on your strengths and areas that need improvement within your acting.  Listen to your demos as well as look at the demos that you are sharing.  Do they showcase your skills?  The new year is a great time to update your portfolio, take some classes, and hone in on your skill sets.

Cheers to a successful 2021!