Voice Over

How to Perfect Your Voice as a Voice Over Artist

Whit Walker
August 29, 2016
voice actor tips

The voice can be a many-faceted organism. This is especially so when one records the voice for the purposes of commercial endorsement, or education. Voices can’t be recorded on their own, obviously. If you have additional skills, know a different language, and have the proper technical equipment, you might have one powerful Voice over in the works. If voice is your instrument, you want to know how exactly to use it, and with what modifications. Here is how you perfect your voice as a Voice Over artist, and better yet become a Fiverr Voice Over artist.

Learn a foreign language

One key way to expand your potential business as a Voice Over artist is to expand your knowledge of languages. Each language has its own culture and distinct market. Your ability to move beyond your native language will allow you to unlock an entire field defined by that new language. If you’re looking to make a longer-term investment in language acquisition, learning programs such as Rosetta Stone can be an intuitive way to build basics, while also focusing on pronunciation in addition to writing. Even if you don’t complete the entire program or regimen, having a basic familiarity with foreign pronunciations will let you read copy with a convincing degree of authenticity. If you want a less expensive option, try getting a second-hand language book, and double-checking common phrases and language particles with a friend or acquaintance who is fluent in that language.

When learning an accent, pay attention to vowels

When you learn variations on foreign accents, consonants usually stay consistent, while vowels vary widely. Break down each individual word and compare the vowel sound alone. Then, you can more finely parse what the difference between each accent is for each vowel. Try to break the words apart as if it was a piece of music with background sound, choruses, verses, and bridges.

When learning an accent, pay attention to physical mouth movements

When learning an accent, pay attention to physical mouth movements.Spoken language isn’t just an internal, cognitive process—it involves the physical mechanics that produces sound, such as lips, teeth, and the mouth. If you aren’t taking acting classes, watch YouTube clips or practice with a very understanding friend. There are often tutorials available online for this very purpose: to demonstrate the individual movements requirements to produce an accurately accented sound or phrase.

Boost your knowledge of your native language fundamentals

Before delving into foreign pronunciation of English or your native language words, you want a foundational understanding of how your language operates. A more pleasant way of doing this, rather than reading a grammar book might be auditing a literature class. You can learn how a stylized and artistic sentence or paragraph is put together, and in a more subconscious way learn the elements of the language. However, it can be helpful to ask specific questions to friends who are perhaps teachers or writers/editors. Anyone familiar with unusually words like “subtle” or “receipt,” will recall their initial embarrassment in pronouncing them too phonetically.

For low overhead, use the equipment you have

Most of us carry our own Voice Over equipment with us on a daily basis without knowing; our iPhones or smartphones. The iPhone comes with relatively complex microphone function, at times even allowing you to modify settings on the phone itself, allowing you to get started before even making a major investment in voice-over acting. On a slightly larger scale, you can use your laptop as an audio-recording device then modify using a simple program like GarageBand to edit, cut out any awkward pauses, or splice together different takes. Keeping a low overhead means you’ll be able to funnel more profits directly to your account rather than deducting the cost of equipment and intermediary devices. If you want to take your Voice Over to the next level, however, a sensible investment would be a microphone, as essentially the entire quality of your product is going to be dictated by how the sound is captured in your chosen device.

If using an iPhone or laptop, use caution

Using your own equipment in the form of a phone or laptop means you want to amplify the quality. This will be best accomplished by recording in a quiet space, maybe while working at home, which will allow you to perform less scrubbing of unnecessary sound or noise. Keep the phone at a moderate distance from your mouth, so that there isn’t a dissonance caused by proximity, yet close enough so that you don’t sound faint, again requiring you to move it after you have begun recording.

Learn the full range of your voice

As a Voice Over artist, your voice is now your instrument. You wouldn’t just start blowing into a trumpet without knowing how the individual keys worked, or how the angle of the mouthpiece dictated certain noises. The same is true for your voice. You want to know the full flexibility and dimension of your voice, which may have qualities you don’t use in everyday life and wouldn’t employ without first testing different ranges and sounds. Perhaps you can do an excellent “announcer” voice you never knew you had. You might have a great “average guy” that was waiting for the right trial and error process to reveal it. Testing out your voice before starting the Voice Over task at hand can help you know what abilities you have at your disposal.Let us know if you begin practicing with these tools. What other tools do you find helpful when perfecting your voice?

Whit Walker
Category Manager at Fiverr. For work, I am focused on improving the Marketing & Tech Categories for both buyers and sellers. On my own, I love using the marketplace to pursue creative and side business pursuits.
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