A picture is worth a thousand words…
The axiom “A picture is worth a thousand words” refers to the idea that a complex thought or action can be conveyed with just a single image or photo. It also aptly characterizes one of the core goals of visualization, thus making it possible to absorb large amounts of information quickly.
Why does this adage apply to a voice actor? The voice acting industry depends on the voice actor themselves to create the image to be conveyed through their words and inflection. Think of yourself as the artist and the copy as your canvas; convey the heartbeat of the piece through proper inflection and intonation.
How does one do this successfully? I always suggest being armed with a list of moods or expressive words such as aloof, bored, dazed, snotty or even zany. The goal is to have this “go-to” sheet with these expressive options at your finger tips for any job. One never knows what will and won’t work until you get behind the mic and hear your words land on the pop screen. This may seem like an objective task and many may be fearful to pull the figurative trigger and commit to a mood. We are sure to remind any new voice actor that voice acting is much more than just having a good voice. It is a skill and with any such skill-set comes along with it, training and a clear practice regime to develop said skill-sets.
A fun way I choose to practice my expressiveness with copy is to make two big piles of flashcards. In one pile I have different copy selections pasted on them. In the next pile I have a myriad of cards with different moods much like the ones I have listed above. I chose one card from each pile and my job is to express the copy at hand with whatever crazy mood I retrieve. It is a simple exercise yet it has broadened my skill-set exponentially. I am able to navigate through different types of copy with a great deal more ease and I am much better able to change my reads with cold copy under pressure because I have them in my repertoire to pull from.
Ivan Turgenev wrote in Fathers and Sons in 1862, “A picture shows me at a glance what it takes dozens of pages of a book to expound.” A voice actor has the ability to convey in 30 seconds what it takes many to convey in 30,000 words. Wield that power wisely young voice actor-be informed on good copy choices. Be prepared with varying moods. Above all else-HAVE FUN; a smile on your face can go a long way toward broadening your expressiveness through copy-go get ‘em!!!
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