Friday, January 29, 2010

Crack A Smile ... And Keep It There!

Such A Voice Producer & Coach Brendan Coyle is working on an invention. He's devising a metal device that will go in every voice-over artist's sound booth around the world. It's not sound equipment or a new and improved mic, but it's a special stand that will prop up the voice-over artist's body, extend up to their cheeks, and force the voice-over artist to maintain a constant smile during recording!
He's kidding, I think, but his point is that the most common direction he gives people in the recording studio is to do another take while smiling. Maintaining a smile while doing a voice-over changes the whole energy of your voice, and therefore the voiceover. It's one of the fundamental voice-over techniques to producing a believable voiceover that's enjoyable to listen to. For many, keeping a smile while you read a voice-over can be challenging -- it feels unnatural, you forget to keep your smile after the first couple sentences, or you feel cheesy doing it.
Follow some of Brendan's tips to cracking a smile -- and keeping it there.
1. Write "SMILE" at the top of your copy. Big. BIGGER. Now, do that every time you practice voice-over technique or working on a voice-over job.
2. If you get frustrated and say, "Ah! I can't speak and smile at the same time!" --notice that you're probably ac
tually smiling while you're saying that! Hold on to that feeling of smiling while you're talking and give it another go.
3. Practice in front of a mirror. I personally hated this one, but it worked! If your smile doesn't look like your genuine smile, your voice might not sound genuine either.
4. Record yourself while telling a friend a joke. Get a sense of how you sound when you speak, not read. When you play it back, you'll be able to hear the point at which you started smiling! Make that sound a goal to work toward.

One of the biggest problems is voice-over artists sometimes think more about what they are reading than what they are saying. The goal is to sound like the words are coming out of your brain, and not off a piece of paper. Once you hear the difference between your voice-over with smile vs. no smile, smiling in the sound booth will start to become second nature to you!

-By: Catherine Marshall

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