Karen’s narration of this entry
My extended absence from my blog is due in part to an amazing 2-week cruise from Miami to Los Angeles through the Panama Canal. As faithful readers of this blog know, I always observe lessons applicable to voiceover when I travel, and this latest trip was no exception.
Every cruise ship director hires a variety of performers who must amuse and entertain the passengers. The nightly shows during our sailing on the glorious Norwegian Pearl were particularly enjoyable. We heard pianist Nadia Zaitsev perform some incredibly complex arrangements of Bach, Beatles, Gershwin, and Chopin before tackling a truly thrilling rendition of Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag. Another night, we watched a guy known as Los Gauchos twirl rope with balls at each end with such terrific speed so that it looked like swirling laser beams encircling him. Okay, it sounds like a lame act, but trust me, this guy was mesmerizing. We watched Professor Watson move effortlessly between solos on fiddle, mandolin, and trumpet in successive songs.
With each performer, I first admired their talent. My second thought was about the enormous number of hours that each must have spent in practice of his or her art in order to perform flawlessly before the audience. As voice talent, we also have the responsibility of practicing before we’re in front of an audience, whether that audience is face-to-face, as in a studio session, or virtual in an on-line audition.
During our trip, fellow voiceover artist Terry Daniel wrote an article on his blog about the merits of practice. Terry wisely points out that voice talent have a perpetual need to voice copy out-loud in order to find the best technique and interpretation.
When I’m on vacation, I usually do practice voiceover almost every day. I’ll read aloud the ingredients of shampoo bottles (great practice for medical narrations), the ship’s daily newsletter (practice for travel narrations), and books (practice for audiobook narration and characterizations). However, I admit that I have been lax sometimes about practicing voiceover while at home.
While many people think that voiceover work is simply talking or reading aloud, the ability to read smoothly out-loud is just the starting point in this career. I always encourage newcomers to read everything out-loud in order to bring some reality to their dream.
As a voice talent gets some paid jobs and starts growing a business, it’s easy to forego practice for the sake of practice. We may think we get all the voiceover practice that we need in doing auditions. If you view an audition as part of the job of being a voice talent, though, you can see dedicated practice is necessary before undertaking any auditions.
In addition to Terry’s article, I read a couple of other things recently that re-affirm to me the necessity of constant voiceover practice. An editorial in the New York Times reminds me that reading aloud is a very different physical experience than reading silently. Also, comprehension can be measured by a person’s skill in reading out loud because “…it reveals far more than whether the reader understands the words. It reveals how far into the words — and the pattern of the words — the reader really sees.”
Even more interesting to me is the assertion made by voice talent Anthony Mendez in his insightful and fascinating e-book titled Meditation for Voice-Over: The Voice Actor’s Guide to Not Worrying and Reducing Stress. I liked this ebook immensely because Anthony applies some Law of Attraction and mind power principles to increasing one’s voiceover business. He lists 3 Ms as the benefits of voiceover practice in front of the mic:
1) Your muscles become strong.
2) Your muses conspire to help you realize your intentions.
3) Your mind is focused on a single point, which causes manifestation to occur more quickly.
(Hmmm…maybe that should be 4 Ms!)
Anthony further states that by doing, you will BE.
I can think of no better reason to practice voiceover every day. Toward that end, it’s my intention to record this and future blog posts as part of my practice sessions.
Do you practice voice-over? I’d love to get your thoughts on this topic, so please leave a comment on the blog.
Brenda Barsumian says
I just recently moved to Atlanta from Los Angeles and am wondering if there is a lot of voice-over work here in Atlanta. I am an actress and model but have done voice-over work as well and just thought I’d ask someone who knows more about the industry here. I would appreciate SO much any advice you could give me! I just came back from a 2 week cruise as well! And I always always enjoy the performers and appreciate them so much because I know how much of their heart and soul is put into it 🙂
Hi, Brenda. Welcome to Atlanta! Voice-over is built on making your own opportunities and building relationships with clients. I don’t limit my marketing of my voice talent to the Atlanta area. While some of my clients are here, most are located elsewhere. Once you figure out where your voice fits in the market and a target market based on your interests and style, you’ll be better able to determine where you might find work.
I hope this info helps. Best wishes for your success!
Dee Celestin says
This post sparked a “D-oh! Of course!” reaction. Thank you. Why didn’t I think about that before? Now I’ll be reading something aloud every day (likely driving the husband crazy, ha!) for practice. BTW, I enjoyed listening to your narration. I even started reading aloud along with you to check how you phrased the text versus myself.
No, I’m not a voice artist (yet). But I’m reading the tips and following your links on how to get started. You have great resources and advice on this blog for folks who want to break into VO. I live northeast of ATL in Buford so this is all wonderful info. Peace!
Sonia L. Adams says
Hello Karen! I found your blog very informative and very insightful. I am very new to the fascinating world of voice-over careers. I have always had an undieing interest in voice over work. I am truly ready to get moving in the general direction to train and eventually work in this field. Which avenues might you reccomend to help get me going? I most graciously accept any advice you may have to offer. Thank you again! Sonia A.
Hi, Dee! I’m glad you’re taking the first steps on your dream! I appreciate that you listened to my narration, but I wouldn’t advise you to try to match my — or anyone else’s — phrasing when practicing reading aloud. In this case, I wrote the article, and I have my own way of presenting it. When I’m voicing copy from someone else, I bring my technique to the mic and adopt their viewpoint. Being true to the author’s point of view and intent will guide you to make choices in the narration.
I hope these thoughts help. Since we’re neighbors, I hope I see you in a studio someday! 🙂
Sonia, thanks for the comment. I’m having deja vu — I recently answered your question about getting started in an answer to another comment. 🙂 Look for the long answer that I addressed to Monica in the comments of this blog entry:
Ladies, keep moving toward living the life of your dreams!
I have a little update on this post. While I still practice narration skills every day, I’ve been finding it difficult in recent months to make time to write, much less record, my blog posts. In fact, recording them causes me to delay the posts even more.
I’ll continue to record them as time permits, but I’m now giving myself permission to relax my own requirement to record them. Look for a post with an insight about relaxation as it relates to voiceover by the end of January.
update on 2/3/10 — The end of January has come and gone, yet that promised post on relaxation is still forthcoming. I’m sure nobody cares about this missed date except me. Since I strive to match my words and deeds, though, it felt important to give you this update.
Xe Sands says
Finally making it through your fabulous archives! I am truly grateful that you choose to share your experience this way. And I love the idea of this book. I’m a positive visualization geek…bring it on! More posts on ancient blog posts of yours are likely coming as I keep trucking through this gold mine you’ve provided for our collective benefit.
Many blessings to you and yours!
Lizzie Augenstein says
I just came across your blog and I’ve been having fun reading it since I’m a voice actress as well! I’ve never heard of Anthony’s book before though. I’m quite a big fan of his so I really would like to look into that! It sounds like he has some pretty cool insight.