Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Finding the “Voice” in Your Copy

Learning to find the Voice of Your Copy requires you to listen and record…a lot. You need to hear yourself reading copy and develop an ear for what sounds good for you. You’ll learn what your natural range is, your local inflection and what kind of recording work your voice is suited for. Terms like “funny, sexy, deep and soulful, man on the street, housewife, news reporter, loving mom, childlike, hip, rock and roll, or even the voice of God, will train your ear to listen for that character in your vocal range.

One way to help you develop your “character” ear is to read copy aloud daily. What you read isn’t important. Your focus is finding the voice of the character. Record yourself doing this exercise so you can play it back and listen. The more variety of copy you read, the easier it will be to find the characters behind those different voices.

This exercise can pay off in a big way when called in for a VO session.
For example: You’ve been called in to do a read for a cat food commercial. Now if you have a cat, you will probably be all smiles when you perform the copy. Performing this character is no problem because you can easily put on your “cat lover” voice and sound convincing. But, what if you don’t have a cat? What if you have an allergy to cats? You may really have to reach down deep to pull up a voice that will convince the producer you really do love cats and that particular brand of cat food. You need to become the kind of person who would actually say those words so the listener will want to buy the product.

If at all possible get the copy before the session. Read over it as many times as it takes to get a feel for who the person is they are looking for. You don’t have to do a physical performance to become a convincing vocal character. The main focus is getting in touch with that “character on the page” and becoming the convincing, believable voice the producer is looking for.

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