There are certain requirements that any professional voice-over actor will be expected to meet. Getting work as a voice-over artist is challenging to begin with, but getting repeat work is easier when a performer delivers on the basic expectations.
We choose our voice-over artists carefully so they add just what is needed to every project.
Clarity of Speech
First and foremost, and probably fairly intuitively, control of voice and mouth are paramount to succeeding as a voice-over artist. When we work with a voice-over artist, clarity of speech is of utmost importance. If speech is mumbled or garbled, or words are mispronounced, this will be the kiss of death for any aspiring voice-actor!
Articulation is key, but the other side of that coin is that over-doing it can come off as pompous or snooty. Over-articulation is the evil twin of good solid enunciation. It’s a fine line to walk between laziness and going over-the-top, either of which can be detrimental to a voice-over performance.
Voice control is the extension of articulation. Not only is it critical to pronounce words clearly, but microphone technique and maintaining control of one’s volume and pitch are necessary basic skills. Musicality in one’s voice is key to a convincing performance, but it must sound natural, and unforced.
Breath control is what allows for this to work effectively to the benefit of the performance without making the audience aware of the effort. An actor can’t disappear into the character without controlling the breath to create just the right melodic tone for the occasion.
Ability to maintain consistent volume, pace, intensity (which is not to be confused with its belligerent cousin, volume), and level of articulation is perhaps the most-valued quality in a voice-over artist. Consistency equals predictability, and thereby reduced post-production costs for videographers like us!
The final piece of the speech clarity equation is mouth noise. Some people are blessed with saliva of a certain viscosity that seems to stay relatively quiet. Others … not so much.
Lip smacking and saliva noises are natural, but they require a lot of editing to remove from audio recordings. Doing whatever you can to minimize them will help mitigate the editing requirements of your performance, and make you more attractive to producers and directors as someone they might want to call back for future projects.
Gum, lozenges, sprays, green apple, and herbal teas can all help to keep the mouth lubricated and operating smoothly and quietly. Hydration is possibly the most important variable here.
Giving a Convincing Performance
Any actor must be able to disappear into the character. When a viewer or listener hears the voice of an actor, and not the character being portrayed, this destroys the illusion that is typically the goal of a video performance.
Voice-over is no exception. Speaking in an aptly conversational manner, with appropriately dialed up energy, intensity, and authority will help maintain the illusion and coherence of the performance. A conversational delivery sounds impromptu, regardless of how many rehearsal runs are made.
To deliver a convincing performance, an actor must maintain a connection to the content of the text, in order to be believable. We make sure, therefore, that we have great scripts and that our actors sound interested in what they’re saying. If they are not interested, we can’t expect an audience to be.
Using physical gestures while speaking lines obviously won’t be visible on a voice-over where the actor is out of shot, but the conversational nuances that they foster do. This helps characterization a great deal by conveying emotion, authenticity, and interpretation of the role, which helps to create a compelling story.
A successful voice-over artist must be skilled at cold-reading. It’s essentially a prerequisite. Cold-reading ability means scanning ahead and preparing for the next lines. It’s a skill that anyone can practice by reading aloud to kids, spouses, parents, pets, or anyone else who’ll listen. Actors that can deliver a solid reading on the fly help us to work efficiently.
Everything described above really boils down to Eye-Brain-Mouth (EBM) coordination. We’ve seen that practicing cold-reading is the best way to develop this brain capacity. It allows voice-over performers to be quick, packing a lot of words into a short time without compromising clarity. It also makes one flexible and versatile.
We work with great voice-over artists who know instinctively when to turn up the intensity, personality, or emotion. This gives them wide-ranging opportunities with us.
These are the fundamentals of quality voice-over performance that we look for. Our voice-over professionals also have a solid work ethic, enthusiasm, and focus, which are great bonuses for everyone involved with our videography.
We have the professionals to handle every aspect of a professional video shoot and post-production too. Get in touch at 949-233-0613 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.