So, as promised, here is Part 2 – more techniques to practice!
Then there’s the left side of the brain, where thinking is more linear. Here’s where conscious control of the elements like tempo, pitch, phrasing and volume can also help you find ways to vary your reads:
1. Pitch. Try:
- Changing the overall pitch of the piece, by finding a different placement – not a lot, just a step up or down to see what happens
- pitching up on certain words, especially ones you want to emphasize, like contrasting ideas: e.g. When it comes to getting paid for Voiceovers, it pays to practice
- pitching down on words
- changing dynamic range, i.e. how high and low your pitch goes in the phrase
- changing pitch within the word – there are various degrees of pitch change.
2. Phrasing/Pausing. Sentences are made up of ideas, usually in phrases, not just words. In natural conversation, we stop to think. We stop to absorb. Try:
· pausing in different places in the copy, which will change the phrasing
· marking copy to make sure phrases are clear.
3. Tempo. In real life, tempo is more like an accordion. We speed up, slow down, we change mid-sentence. Also, in VO, you may need to hit a particular time. Tempo change can change the energy. Try:
· tempo changes, reading the whole sentence faster, slower.
· Partial tempo changes – one phrase slow, second one fast, and vice versa
· Elongating words as another way to emphasize without using pitch.
4. Volume. Just be sure you always treat the microphone as if it’s someone’s ear!
5. Emphasis. Try:
· changing the words you choose to emphasize, and
· the way you make the emphasis – pitch? Coloring words with emotion? Pauses? Elongation? Overarticulation?
For excellent technique exercises, I recommend the Industry Guidebook from Edge Studio, Chapter 4. Just make sure to apply the exercises to other pieces of copy once you’ve used the examples in the book. You can find this at www.edgestudio.com.
And, yes, “the possibilities are endless.” There’s so much more, but that’s what coaching – and focused practice – is all about. Meanwhile, jump in and aim for variety. Try 20 in a row. See what works and what doesn’t. This business is all about play, and practice brings confidence. So – play! With emotions and well as techniques. With your intellect as well as your imagination. That’s practice. Then, when you’re on the job, these skills will be there for you without overthinking.
By approaching copy from both sides of your brain you’ll find your own ways to increase your skills and your ability to communicate with your client. Happy clients are a good thing!
I’m Randye Kaye and you can contact me at www.randyekaye.com.
Randye Kaye has over 20 years of experience as a voice talent, stage/TV/film actress, and radio personality, with a long list of major clients including Priceline.com, Dannon, Kyocera, Big Lots, Burger King, Executone, Continental Airlines, MISTO, Toshiba, Verizon, and many more. She provides a trustworthy and intelligent voice for countless websites, e-learning courses, phone systems, on-hold messages, promos, industrial narrations, audiobooks (children, adults), science/medical/technical instruction, video games, travel/real estate/museum tours, and live events. Randye is also a Voiceover coach with Edge Studio in New York and Connecticut.