Monday, April 27, 2009

Voice-Over Technique Tip of the Month - May 09

Voice-Over Technique Tip of the Month 

Take Care of Your Voice

As a voice-over artist, your voice is your instrument. It is important to care for your voice the way a concert violinist would care for his or her violin. For example, concert violinists wouldn't leave their violins out in the cold rain the day before a big concert. Nor would it be smart for voice-over artists to go outside without a raincoat in a downpour the day before an audition or a recording. Many factors can cause vocal problems, including but not limited to upper respiratory infections, inflammation caused by acid reflux, vocal misuse and abuse (such as screaming at a sporting event or concert) and vocal nodules or laryngeal growths. Because your voice is your tool and your source of income, it is important to know how to properly care for your voice and how to prevent problems that could keep you from recording in your best possible voice.

Here are some helpful hints from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Web site to ensure that your voice is in tip-top shape before the big day.

For more information, visit http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/takingcare.htm.

-Drink water—lots of it. Six to eight glasses a day is the recommended amount.

-Limit your intake of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages. These act as diuretics (substances that increase urination) and cause the body to lose water. This loss of fluids dries out the voice. Alcohol also irritates the mucous membranes lining the throat.

-Don't smoke, and avoid secondhand smoke. Cancer of the vocal folds is most often seen in smokers.

-Practice good breathing techniques when singing or talking. It is important to support your voice with deep breaths from the diaphragm, the muscle wall that separates your chest and abdomen. Singers and speakers are often taught exercises that improve breath control because speaking from the throat without providing supporting breath strains the voice.

-Avoid spicy foods. These can cause stomach acid to move into the throat or esophagus (reflux).

-Use a humidifier in your home. This is especially important in winter or in dry climates. The recommended humidity level is 30%.

-Try not to overuse your voice. Avoid speaking or singing when your voice is hoarse.

-Wash your hands often to prevent colds and flu.

-Include plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables in your diet. These foods contain vitamins A, E and C and help keep the mucus membranes lining the throat healthy.

-When on the phone, do not cradle the receiver between your head and shoulder for extended periods of time. This can cause muscle tension in the neck.

-Exercise regularly. Exercise increases stamina, tones muscles and improves posture and breathing, all of which are necessary for proper speaking.

-Avoid mouthwash containing alcohol or irritating chemicals, or limit your use to oral rinsing. Try a saltwater solution for gargling.

-Avoid using mouthwash to treat halitosis, or persistent bad breath. This condition may be triggered by low-grade infections in the nose, sinuses, tonsils, gums or lungs, or result from acid reflux, not treatable with mouthwash. If condition worsens, see your healthcare provider.

-Get plenty of rest. Physical fatigue negatively affects the voice, and the lower energy level of the voice will be evident when recording.

Congratulations, Anne Ganguzza! May 2009 Talent of the Month

Congratulations, Anne Ganguzza!

Such A Voice

**Talent of the Month**

May 2009

"I have developed more confidence in myself and my voices [through voice-overs] and have discovered characters within myself that I never knew about before!"          

 -Anne Ganguzza

Anne Ganguzza was repeatedly told what a great, professional-sounding voice she had after recording the messages on her company’s phone system. She decided it was time to pursue a career in voice-overs. Anne enrolled in a the Such A Voice beginner class, "You're on the Air - How to Really Make it in Voice-Overs." A 2006 graduate of the Such A Voice MasterClass, she has now recorded voice-overs for Elements exhibits, the Bergen County Technical Schools, the Bergen One Stop, the Blue Planet Summit 2008 and a live theater broadcast for the premier of IOUSA (http://www.iousathemovie.com/).

Though initially attracted by the money she could make as a voice-over artist, Anne has discovered an addiction to this newfound creative outlet. She especially enjoys the imagination she brings to voice-over work. "I love the creativity and expression involved in the read of a great piece of copy. It's such a unique challenge that I have never really experienced before. I love it!"

Since her training with Such A Voice, Anne has expanded both her skills and her network.  Last summer she developed her own Web site, www.annespeak.com, and learned the technical skills required to build and maintain it. Her Web site even includes password-protected areas where her clients can upload copy and download sound files. During a recent audition Anne discovered her talent for British and New York accents. She’s now perfecting her Boston accent.

While some would view relocating from New Jersey to California as a tough transition for a voice-over artist, Anne has seen it as a fun challenge and takes full advantage of everything her new environment has to offer. She currently studies voice acting at a local studio. “I’m having a blast learning the different voice-over disciplines: narration, character animation, dialects, audio books, teleprompter and ear prompter." Through these classes, Anne feels she is getting a lot of exposure to talent agents and producers. "I’m hoping to get picked up by a talent agent this summer who will be able to help me find work in Orange County," she says. With the help of Dave Brow at Sweetwater Sound, Anne purchased a home studio. She now markets herself in California while maintaining her East Coast contacts.

Anne advises new voice talent to bring personality to the read. "It's what makes you unique," she says. Anne has also learned that picking the right voice for a job is subjective. "Learning that small fact took a lot of pressure off of myself and kept me from getting disappointed if I didn't get picked for a job."

Anne still keeps in contact with the students she met in her MasterClass. “I’ve met many wonderful and talented people in the learning process," she says. “[The people at Such A Voice] were just so great—professional and super helpful to me…It was an amazing weekend and such an awesome and beneficial class for me."

Listen to Anne's demo on her Voice Fact page at http://www.myvodemo.com/such/index.cfm?world=2011 or on her Web site at http://www.annespeak.com/.