This is the first of a 10-part series that discusses things to consider BEFORE you invest any money and time to launching a voice over career. This is based on my own experience because I want to help you to avoid wasting time, energy and money. So, let’s go!
Are you one of these people to whom others regularly say that you have a great voice? Maybe you’ve done a terrific job reading stories to your children and keeping them hanging on every word as you breathe life into the characters. You might be the person people turn to at work to record the automated telephone system prompts. Perhaps you’re a trainer whose career has been spent talking and now you’re ready to expand into another field. BUT, do you like the sound of your own voice?
Why the Difference?
What you hear when you speak isn’t what others hear. That’s why you’re so surprised when you hear your recorded voice. You listen to the recording and think “Is this what I sound like?” It all has to do with the way the sound goes through the air and your head (what you hear) vs the sound going through the air (what others hear and what the recordings pick up).
Very often, when you hear your recorded voice, it doesn’t match what you think you sound like. That’s usually when you decide that you hate the sound of your own voice. Here’s my advice to you. Stop that RIGHT NOW!
Love Your Voice
For voice over work, you’ll need to love, or at least tolerate, the sound of your own voice because you’ll be listening to yourself in a very intimate way – through earphones – for potentially hours at a time. If you had images you standing in a sound booth, headphones on, microphone in front of you with a sound engineer in the next room, I’m going to stop you right there. That’s a very rare thing. It’s also very expensive. These days, voice over artists are their own sound engineers. That’s why you need to love the sound of your own voice.
Variety in Voice Over
To help you get started on the road to loving your voice, here are a few things to do:
- Grab your smartphone or other recording device and read text in your normal voice.
- Now, voice the text going completely over the top with it. Start by speaking as low as you can then go as high as you can.
- Do the same text like a radio announcer.
- Try it with an accent, or several if you’re good at them.
- Do it as an impersonation – if you can (I’m terrible at this one).
- Smile while you narrate the text.
Did you have fun doing these voices? Which one(s) did you find was the easiest to do? Which one(s) did you have the most fun with? Do you have a favourite?
The Scary Part
Now have other people listen to your recordings. That’s right. Put yourself out there and have family, friends, acquaintances, work colleagues, the letter carrier…well, maybe not the letter carrier, listen to your recordings. Why should you do this?
First, you’re either your own worst critic or greatest cheerleader. Either way, you won’t be objective. Having others listen to your recordings gives you a clearer idea on whether or not to pursue this as a career.
Second, you have to be ready for others to hear you – that’s the whole point to voice over.
Third, the voice over industry is vast and there’s room for range and variety. Your voice may be precisely what someone is looking for. Think Yeardly Smith who’s the voice of Lisa on the Simpsons. Her voice in unique and notable. Yours may be too.
Be prepared for negative feedback. You won’t get every job you audition for.
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In the meantime, leave a comment and by all means, feel free to get in touch with me with any questions you may have by clicking here.
P.S. If you want a better explanation about how you hear yourself and how others hear you, check out the article that you can access here.