Voiceover Success: Exercising Those Muscles

by | May 8, 2023 | Acting, Actor, General, Voice Actor

Whether you’re wanting to go into animation voices or commercial – or any form of voiceover for that matter – you will often hear that sharpening your improv skills is a helpful tool.

Here are a few improv techniques and exercises that may be helpful and fun to try to help flex that improv muscle.

  • Physicality: I know this is something I’ve mentioned before, but if the script or ad copy says that the character is swaying back and forth on a boat and about to get sea sick, do it. Sway. It can be heard and helps you make it your own. However, you need to stay on mic, so doing the action before you start talking on mic is a way to achieve both.
  • And Then This Happened: This is an improv game used by many acting classes, and it’s simply finishing a story and making it your own. Try this: “I pushed the button for the 12th floor, and no sooner did we start up when the elevator stopped between floors! And then I…” Finish it. Try it with a friend or two, each one doing a thought, and then the next. It helps tone those improv muscles that are very helpful when auditioning and embracing the idea of making it your own.
  • Favorite Pet: Choose a favorite pet or animal, or pick a photo of the kind of pet or animal you might like to have or you think is fun or funny. Create a small five-line scene and give it life, a personality. A funny accent or a mopey Eeyore donkey or anything. How would this animal or pet talk? Once you’ve found the voice, then develop a key phrase – something your character would say. A key phrase is a great way to remember a character you’ve developed and keep it consistent next time you want to draw from that character. You can also try this exercise voicing your car or any inanimate object, as well as a favorite relative, neighbor, or just a guy you observed one day who was a natural character.
  • Journal: Keep a journal and write down things you observe in the day to day. They may be funny, sad, odd, obscure. They can be beginnings of scenes, funny things you heard, or your take on a possible scenario to something you saw that could spur a great scene or character.

These exercises may seem silly at first, but trust me when I say they are tried and true methods to help you stand out in a crowd of all the others, usually dozens of other talented people, vying for a voiceover gig. Once you start flexing this creative muscle, so many more possibilities and scenarios come alive that you can bring into a scene or character. Remember, they look to the voiceover actor to bring a lot of life and creativity – to make the scene and character come alive using only the world of audio.

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