Hi folks it has been a few months since I have blogged so I thought I would get back at it. Something that has been on my mind of late is performance or lack of it that I have been hearing in voiceover work of late. So let’s tackle this beast shall we.
Voiceovers is acting plain and simple if you can’t act then you can’t voice act. Can you learn to act and therefore voice act? Yes. This is where I would like to begin.
How many times have you listened to a commercial and thought to yourself I could do that? How many times have you been on hold waiting for a human to speak to you on the phone and while you waited you either listened to music or listened to on hold messages about the company you are waiting on? Were the messages compelling or did you feel that you could do it?
Voiceovers or Voice Acting is a form of acting where you need to be convincing to be able to get the point of the script across. There are a variety of acting methods to become familiar with in order to get your role to be top notch. It takes practice to be able to hone your craft to the point that you can be convincing. I am constantly learning and trying to improve my performances. To do that I hire a coach. I am grateful to the coaches I have had as they have pushed me out of my comfort zone. When that happens the invisible barriers that hold us back disappear and a performance happens.
I cannot with good conscience tell you that what I hear are performances because in my mind they are not. A performance comes when you embody the character in which you are directed to play. This is no different in voiceovers. You need to know who you are playing who your audience is where is the scene taking place, tempo for delivery etc.
When you have an answer to these questions the next thing for you to do is dive in. This gets tricky for most adults as we have forgotten how to play. Children when left to their own devices can conjure up imaginary scenes and play the characters they play with ease. Why is that? They have no burdens. Nothing from their past which interferes with their play. It is play! Therefore, in order to perform one needs to get out of their everyday head and play. How do you do this?
For me I take a few minutes by myself and I become very quiet. I block out the world of electronics of music of chatter and focus on colour. Essentially I meditate. I find sometimes that music helps me conjure up the style of play that I will be performing. I give myself over to something that is not every day me and I play with it. When that happens I focus on the words of the script and the character that I am to embody.
It is so much fun that I usually do not want to change back to being everyday me. Performance to me is being one with the character, using inflection, cadence, nuance and tempo to lift the words off of the page and breathe life into them. Be authentic which means be you and only you in the form of the character. This brings the character to life in a way that has not been depicted before as you are doing it for the first time. Should you have the opportunity to play it again you have already established the character in your own way now you can give it depth. This can be truly powerful.
Mastering performance is something that takes a while to do – Rome wasn’t built in a day and so to a voiceover career develops over time. However, do yourself a favour and give in to the performance. Play with the words, play with the pitch, tone and embody what you are feeling (always allow yourself to feel the power of the words).
Get yourself a coach to improve, get out of your head and play. Do this and those things you listen to will gradually become performance and not just noise.