Voiceover: Dialogue & Recording From Home

July 26, 2022 by Kathy Grable

The standard for auditioning, whether it be in a major market, on-line, or a regional market, is to record from your home studio.  So, let’s say you get a dialogue between two people or a group read and you’re all by yourself. How should you approach it? 

Do you listen to the cue lines or even the entire dialogue portion as if someone is saying it in real time and then respond? Do you ignore it and just read your lines as if it’s a single piece of copy and you’re not reading with someone? Here are a couple of options to try when auditioning or recording a dialogue or group read at home.

Auditioning: When you are sent a dialogue script and you are asked to read for ‘Mom’ or ‘Kid’ or ‘Joe,’ or even V/O or AVO (Announcer Voiceover), but there are other characters in there, here are a few ways to approach the script as well as some voiceover terms.  

Reading for a dialogue or group read as an individual person is referred to as reading it “wild.”  So, if the direction says, “We want you to read this wild,” or “record this wild,” you know that’s not a direction to sound crazy, but a term for recording it on your own without the other actors.

Do you ignore the others’ lines? I would never ignore the others’ lines. Always read the script and get all the info that you need to give you the best read that you can.  

There are two ways to approach this.  

First, if you are a character in a scene:

a) React to the lines you have in the scene with another character.  I wouldn’t say it’s in real time – shorten the space a bit, but you can react and even ad lib a bit to help the scene make sense. Don’t just phone it in.

b) Treat it as if it’s a monologue. You are still interacting with the other character, but you are filling in the spaces with dialogue and reaction, ad libbing a bit more. This doesn’t always work in a scene, but it can be affective if the scene lends itself to that.  

Second, if you are an announcer or AVO, read the scene first. When you do your lines wild you usually won’t be reacting to the characters in the dialogue, but you can use that scene not only for information, but also an attitude choice. For example:

  1. What if you are a fly on the wall observer, and it’s humorous? You might approach it with a wry smile.  
  2. What if it’s happened to you? You can relate. Let that affect you.  
  3. What if you are narrating to picture and you see the scene happening on film? Put the faces to people you know in your life or community.

These are some tips that can help you bring life and color to a dialogue or group scene when auditioning wild, alone in your home studio, and make you stand out with your own unique read that only you can bring to the piece.

Kathy Grable

Kathy Grable is an L.A. voice-over prototype with a warmth and sincerity that reminds listeners of a close friend. You’ve heard her in animated shows like Tom & Jerry, Rocket Power, and Futurama and commercials for Pepsi, Disney, Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King, and as the Baskin-Robbins “Talking Spoon.” Kathy was also the voice double for Nicole Kidman in the hit film Batman Forever. On-camera, she’s been seen in Mike & Molly, Harry’s Law, Last Man Standing, and The Wedding Band on TBS. She’s a sought-after V/O coach, director, and demo producer. When not performing, Kathy co-owns and operates a company that distributes e-books, comics, audio dramas, and her own podcast, In My Voice, with guests from all aspects of the voiceover world. Find it on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify, or go to https://anchor.fm/kathy-grable0 for all the episodes.

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