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How The Heck Do You Practice Voice Over?

If you are just starting out as a voice actor, there are probably many questions about how to practice, to get better. Maybe you started looking at classes and realize, "WHOA, these are so expensive." How do you know which classes will give you the most bang for your buck?

I can't recommend enough, working with a voice coach one on one; someone already in the industry giving back their time to work with you and help you get better and stronger. But classes can run anywhere from $500-$1200 for a 6 week course and a personal coach could run you $100-$200 per session. If dropping that kind of cash just isn't feasible for you right now, OR you'd like to do extra practice (you go-getting over achiever, you!), there is something you can do to sharpen your skills.

Read. Out loud. Everyday. AT LEAST for five minutes everyday. When you read out loud, what you are doing is sharpening your "sight reading" skills. This is typically a term used for musicians who can look at a piece of music they've never seen before and play through the first time making the music sound....lovely. We apply the same idea to voice over work. All you want to do is take the written word, and make it sound conversational. Words that are written down are typically not meant to sound like we are speaking, so as a voice over actor, it's your job to interpret and perform!

Vary up your sources when you read out loud: your Twitter feed, a news article, a chapter out of a trashy fiction novel, your shampoo bottle or any of the sample commercials scripts you can find online. There are so many styles of writing!! The more you practice, the easier of a time you will have learning about phrasing (where to take a breath), making someone else's words sound like your own, and how to get through a laundry list (it's a long list of something, for example; "I went to the store today and bought chicken, cheese, soup, apples, dish soap, paper towels and a pint of ice cream.") Plus, you get the added bonus of strengthening your vocal chords!

Here's a bonus: record yourself on your phone as you read out loud. Listen back to it later in the day and see if you can hear where a different inflection in your voice would have sounded better, or if you took a breath earlier or later in the sentence. Listening later gives you a chance to forget and listen with fresh ears with the added bonus of practicing self-direction.

The best part is, it's all free. So there is no reason to not start practicing right now. You've got this!

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