Tag Archives: voiceover coach

VoiceOver Copy: Your High School Play, on Speed

There are a lot of surprises for aspiring voice talents who cross my path either as a student via Edge Studio, or just at, say, a party. You know, the ones with “such a nice voice” who need to read Dave Courvoisier’s book ( or any of the other amazing resources I blogged about a few months ago).

The first reality check is, of course, the need to treat this like the business it is. There has been a lot written about that, so again I refer you to those who have busted this myth in their amazing blogs and books. (Derek Chappell, our blog curator, and John Florian, Voiceover Xtra guru, are more great places to start).

The second big myth to bust – and equally as important to know – is that this not a business of “reading in a pretty voice.”  This is a business of communication – and, often (or always), a business of acting.  Maybe there is really no difference – but, whatever you call it, you’ve got to know the story you are telling!

Remember that high school play you were in? Or summer camp? College? Community or Professional Theatre? hs playThink back….whatever role you had, there was a process to follow to get the story from page to stage.  Here’s what probably happened, and what it has to do with voiceover reads.

The Theatre Process, and Voiceovers

1 – Casting. yeah, that.

2 – The cast assembled to do a full read-through of the script. This way, everyone knew the whole story, where it was going, what the overall gestalt and tone of the story was. (Voiceover equivalent: Read through the script – or at least skim the longer ones – before you press record. See what it’s about, where it’s going) Continue reading

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The Scenery’s Great Along the Extra Mile

So. I took the risk. Had to be in Las Vegas for a couple of days (mostly weekend, plus one Friday), alerted all my fast-turnover clients, and hit the road without travel recording gear. C’mon, it was a family wedding!

Well, wouldn’t you know it. One client who’d said all was well suddenly needed a revision in one paragraph.  And, even tho I love my travel mic, the sound needed to match my home studio as closely as possible. So even if I’d packed it, I’d need to get to a Neumann anyway.

Sigh. What to do?

Vegas Backyard with CourVO

Vegas Backyard with CourVO

CourVO to the rescue! Thanks to the generosity of the wonderful Dave Courvoisier,  (and the fact that my husband and I had a rental car, whew) I was able to go the extra mile for this client (well, technically for my client’s client…) and get the revised file to her in time to make us all look good.

See, when you go that extra mile…when ever you can…sure, the end destination is a bit further away. However, the arrival is that much sweeter for the extended journey – and, if you’re lucky, you will see some awesome new scenery along the way!

For us, here’s what we got as a bonus for pleasing that client: Continue reading

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The Ta-Da! Voice: Not Always Conversational

“Read it just like you’re talking to someone in conversation”?
In voiceover, it’s a nice plan- but it doesn’t always work.
How many times, in your real life, do you go up to a pal and start an exchange by saying, oh, “Introducing…!”?

Yet, in some narrations, that’s exactly what we are doing – setting up what will soon come (visually or otherwise), and subtly commenting on/closing what has come before. In these cases, we may need to use our “introducing…!” delivery, our our “ta-da!” voice.

When I voice the tracks for live announce shows, for instance, this is a clear choice. The intention is to get attention, and set up what comes next. In movies promos, radio imaging, etc. – sure. same thing – though it still must be sincere within those choices.

In narration, it may be a bit more subtle than promo voice, but your voiceover is still the connective tissue between elements before and after your sentences.

Here’s an example of a narration as connective tissue between elements, courtesy of Action Media.

If possible, it does help to know what those segments are – sometimes the client will provide a description, at least, as part of the script. If not, use your imagination to fill in the gaps. Always, if you can, check out the finished product to see how it all married. This helps next time you do a similar project.

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Investigate Voice Over: the first step

Edge Studio Team

Edge Studio Team

Tomorrow night I teach another session for Edge Studio called “Investigate Voice Over.” We call it the “IVO” – and it’s taught frequently in our New York main studio, our CT and DC studios, in Los Angeles, and also via teleclass.

If you’ve ever wondered about the true path to VoiceOver success, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Got the Voiceover dream? Get the truth! And have fun finding out if this business – and make no mistake, it most certainly is a business -is for you, and if you are ready for it.

Every dream can always live if you never pursue it, but if you want to change it from a nice dream to an attainable goal then you must take the first step to see what it takes. The first step is to find out the facts.  Continue reading

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“You have such a nice voice!”: the 5 layers needed for voice-over

Edge Studio Coaches

Edge Studio Coaches

When I teach “Investigate Voice-Over” classes for Edge Studio – either in the CT or NYC studio, on a telecall/webinar, in Continuing Education sessions or at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting – I usually begin by asking students what brought them to the class.

If I had, say, a dollar for every answer that began, “Everyone says I have such a good voice…” I would at least be able to buy that ipad I’ve got my eye on.  And, yes, I’m thrilled to see anyone who takes steps to satisfy their curiosity.  Taking that first step takes courage, because sometimes a dream (“I could make it in voice-over someday if I want to”) is easier to handle than a goal (“Let me find out the reality of voice-over and then decide if I want to do what it takes”).

If you do take that first step -finding out the facts – I applaud you! Maybe you’ll


a moment of focus!

decide it’s a lot harder than you thought, and it’s not really for you. Or maybe you’ll love it so much that you can’t wait to start investing your time and – let’s face it – money into starting a voice-over business. Either way, you’re ahead whenever you learn something.

So – what does it take? Five layers!

1- A voice. Um, yeah. So –  maybe it’s pleasant, or unique, or makes people smile. Your “voice adjectives” will provide the first ideas as to where you might fit in this business. But voice is also about control of accents/speech defects/regionalisms. It’s about vocal care, and knowing how to breathe properly. This may take work – singing lessons, speech therapy, learning about the care of your instrument.

2- Reading Skills – You must be able to read fluently, fluidly, and with comprehension.  So many of my newbie students simply don’t know how to read well. Part of your brain has to think ahead, part must stay in the moment. It’s called lateral reading. And – if you don’t understand what you’re reading, and the purpose for every phrase, the listener definitely won’t either.

3-Acting skills – who are you? who are you talking to? why are you saying these words? Actors call it “motivation.” You’d better know how to communicatethe words to your listener. It’s not called “Voice Reading” –  it’s called “Voice Acting.” What can help? Acting and/or improvisation classes.

improv class

improv class

4- Technique – Acting uses a lot of the “right brain” – where imagination and the “big picture” reign. But it’s also about technique, and the compartmentalized skills (“left brain”) that mean you can control tempo, pitch, volume, articulation, microphone placement, etc.  Clients will expect this professionalism. The answer? Training, then focused practice until technique is so second-nature you don’t have to overthink it anymore – think driving range in golf.

5 – Business savvy and willingness – This is a business, people. If you don’t want to run one, read to your kids instead.  You can get a lot of joy out bringing words to life off the page – you just won’t get paid for it without treating voice-over like the business it is.

Want to know more? edgestudio.com career center, socialmediavo.com, youtube, google – there’s a ton of info out there! Set up a couple of sessions with a voice-0ver coach, or take a class. At the very least, you’ll have a good time, learn a little, and take home some skills that help in any kind of communication.

Good luck!



Filed under VO coaching, voice acting, voice talent, voiceover, Voiceover, Voice Talent, Voice Acting

Voiceover and Social Media – Why Not?

Trying Thumbtack today, thanks to my pal CourVO – will keep you posted! Always good to have your services listed.

Voiceover jobs come from all sorts of leads, in person, on the phone, online. Keep your skills sharp, your marketing constant, your desire to help others create a “sound first impression” in front.

By the way – want to chat about voiceover? Penny Abshire and James Alburger host free telecalls interviewing pros – my turn to spill voiceover secrets is this Monday 4/11 – register here and see you there!

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Radio Imaging: A VO Coach is Coached

Big thanks to Dave DeAndrea, fabulous voice talent and demo producer as well.  We met at faffcon last year, and I called on him to help me with my latest demo for voiceover work: radio imaging.  After 15 years as a radio personality in Connecticut, leaving to concentrate on voiceovers full-time, it seemed a perfect fit to work in radio imaging – but I didn’t know where to begin.

Dave helped me through the process, coached me help determine my best formats, and was a delight to work with.

Here’s the result:


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The Flexible Life (sometimes!)

One of the things I really love about the Voice Over business is that no day is exactly like the next.  One day, travel to the city to record a medical narration; the next, walk up a flight of stairs to my studio to voice a phone system for plumbers.

Some days, hours of recording. Other days,  zip. Yeah, especially when Thanksgiving is so near.  Let’s face it, it’s true! But those are the days when you do your marketing: research potential clients, work on your website changes, refresh the demo.

And, sometimes, life demands that Voiceover go on the back burner for awhile – and that can also be OK.  Continue reading

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Proof-listening – take the extra time!

Just finished a corporate/technical narration – at home, so that means editing as well as voicing.  Final product almost 15 minutes.  After the first listen, I corrected a few obvious things (self-direction has its flaws, so then it’s time to take off the narrator hat and put on the director/engineer persona – adding even more confusion to my multiple personalities, but that’s the actor’s story, right?)


The point is: finished. Right? Breaths reduced, everything in its place, all alts clearly slated, etc. Almost tempted to send it as is, as at that point I felt I knew the copy by heart – but gave it one final listen.  Yes, 15 minutes of my time.  Tomorrow I’m gonna put a set of hand weights by the mixer so I can at least work on my triceps while my eyes and ears are occupied.


And: not finished. I caught two mistakes: “first step” instead of “first stop” and “sanitation” instead of “sanitization.” Amazing what the brain thinks it sees. Sure, the client could have caught it and I’d have done the re-dos for no charge. But how would it have made me look? 


Take the extra time when you can. And work on the triceps too!

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Voiceover Variety Part 2 – Practice now equals confidence later!

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:

Practice exercises:

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.

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