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 VO: A Game of Trust

May 10, 2023 2:40 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

When we are learning how to be a voice-over actor, we often think about who we are talking to and what we want to be sharing with them. Sometimes, we slip into self-doubt that we are conveying a message effectively. That doubt can turn to “pushing”, almost like when we are packing the car for a road trip, and even though we know that lawnmower-sized suitcase won’t fit in that crevice, we double down, cramming it in until beads of sweat form on our determined brows, “Here we come Miami..ugh!” 

Two things could be happening here: we’ve stopped trusting ourselves, or we’ve stopped trusting the listener. 

Sometimes, when we don’t trust ourselves, we work really hard to convince ourselves, even if we clearly understand the copy’s message and have made good choices. Maybe we are feeling the breath of the competition on our necks and getting a little anxious, or our voice doesn’t feel at its strongest, despite that fifth cup of throat coat tea.  

It’s okay to acknowledge that you are a good interpreter and trust that will come through in the performance! Here’s a suggestion: release the tight grip on your read before it chokes the life out of it. Check in with your body language. Are you hunched over or leaning super forward? If so, try straightening your posture and relaxing your shoulders. Take a moment; take a breath.

The other thing is not trusting the listener, that they understand what we are layin’ down through our keen interpreting skills. This can cause the voice actor to start “pushing” or “indicating” by delivering the copy as if the listener has just told them they’ve turned off their hearing aid. 

We start to exaggerate our choices almost to the point of comedy. The line “Well, that was weird,” becomes a huge shoulder shrug, massive eye roll to the point of perhaps falling over, and with a cartoon-inspired sigh, “WELL, THAT WAS WIERD!!!” It sure was friend, it sure was. 

And sure, sometimes, we don’t trust a choice because we decide it was the wrong one after all. Even that is showing trust in our abilities and are self aware enough to know when we might need to shift direction.

Everyday is different, and “life stuff” can get into the booth with us. That’s normal. There is always a moment to stop, take a breath, and reconnect. If we’ve done the work, all we can do is let go and give it our best, while trusting the listener will understand, and enjoy, our reads.  

We welcome you to join us for an introductory Voice Over class HERE

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This post was written by Simone Stevens

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