Doing a voice-over is not something you are born with; you have to prepare for it beforehand if you want to be convincing. Here are a few tips to apply before any recording session as well as to improve yourself.
I. Working on scenarios
The realization of a voice-over necessarily implies a script, thought out and transcribed to tell a story, to underline certain points, to make characters talk to each other… It is therefore essential to make a first work on the script, in order to be able to transmit the quality of the message.
During the recording session, the latter must of course be read aloud. Therefore, it is important to first make sure that this skill is mastered. Practice reading aloud every day, whether it’s newspaper articles or the information on the back of your milk carton! Don’t hesitate to overdo it, the more you practice, the more pronunciation, punctuation or even intonation will be child’s play for you.
Then make the script your own so that you can get the most out of all the elements of the text and learn how to interpret the writing to make it come alive. You need to be critical and improve your skills. You will therefore have to go back over your mistakes and reread the sentence where you made a mistake in order to correct it.
Finally it is very important that you understand the script you are reading. Analyze and think critically to discover the context and perspective of your character. Are you in a learning video? An advertisement or a dialogue or animation? What are the key information do you want to convey?
II. Intonation, fluctuation and elasticity
Preparing your voice is just as important as getting close to the script.
You are a voice talent, it is your main tool!
Use the information you’ve gathered from your analysis to set the tone of voice you’ll use. Intonation can vary from culture to culture, and can affect how the listener receives what the speaker is saying. As a voice actor, you need to be aware of these changes and make sure that your intonation does not affect the style and tone of the character. Punctuation can also help you determine how each sentence should sound. For example, to ask a question you will increase your vocal range.
Also be sure to pay attention to the fluctuation of your voice. It can add interest and style to a reading. Adding color to your readings by fluctuating your voice can greatly improve your performance, especially when you’re doing voice-overs for narrative projects such as audio books or animated films.
Finally, don’t neglect to warm up your voice on all scales. Developing your vocal elasticity will give you the ability to modulate and play with your voice.
The more prepared you are, the more confident and at ease you will be with the interpretation.
III. The interpretation of your speech
Interpretation is an important phase in the preparation of your voice-over. It is this step that will allow you to give life to your speech. Voice acting is the creativity you use to bring the written word to life. It allows you to bring a book character to life, to make an interesting documentary or a convincing advertisement.
You must be convincing and credible in all these examples. That’s why it’s so important to understand emotions and learn how to express them with your voice. Start by writing some emotions on a piece of paper (anger, anxiety, boredom, happiness…) and have fun playing them out while reading your text.
Identify the intent of the script and try to make it as clear as possible by interpreting each sentence of the script in that direction. For example, in the case of an e-learning course, you will have to interpret the text in a professorial way, whereas in the case of a prevention video you will have to be direct and have a heavy tone.
To conclude this article, we leave you with our last tips for interpreting a voice-over. First of all, don’t stress, have confidence in yourself! Read the script several times before the recording session to analyze it and define how you will approach it. Finally, don’t hesitate to move around and stand while you read. This will help you to breathe better, to anchor yourself better and to be more natural in the interpretation of your character. If you are an actor specializing in voice work, don’t hesitate to contact the 2002 media studios team. We would be delighted to incorporate you in the realization of our voice over and dubbing projects (e-learning, audio book, advertising…).