Voiceover narration technique is not something I talk about often. Since the thrust of my contribution to the voiceover industry is business and marketing know-how, that’s my focus when I blog or contribute on social media. With that in mind…
About a year ago I added another service to the VO Strategist business: demo coaching. It’s been a wonderful, fascinating journey and I’ve learned a lot about teaching, coaching, listening, and providing effective feedback.
I’ve noticed that so far most (if not all) of my students have had similar challenges when it comes to narration technique; specifically breath, speed, flow, and inflection.
Breath: when to breathe, how much breath to take in, and how loud it is
Speed: determining how fast or slow to narrate based on the genre & mood of the piece
Flow: how much sentences are parsed
Inflection: when to inflect up, down, “middle of the road”, or circumflex aka that wobbly, sing-songy inflection
AND reconciling all of the above with your personal habits. Most people don’t realize when & how they breathe when talking, how fast they talk, how much they chop up sentences, and their natural inflection tendencies.
What’s also interesting is the stark change in narration technique that takes place once they walk in the booth. A lot of people go from warm & engaging human to plodding & parsing robot once they get in front of the mic.
TIP OF THE WEEK
How do we overcome these narration technique challenges?
Record yourself and listen. Play back what you read aloud and ask yourself why you read the copy the way you did. Where did you run out of breath? Where did you go too fast or too slow? Did you chop up every sentence? Compare it to other voice talents’ demos and what you hear & on radio and TV. Self-awareness is critical!!
Get a good voiceover performance coach. FYI I am NOT a performance coach, I’m a genre coach (eLearning and Explainers). There are people that specialize in basic performance technique. Do your research and feel free to ask my opinion about anyone you’re vetting.
Study the genre itself. Different genres lend to different styles of narration. Some require faster or slower reads, some require more flow, etc. The more you are versed in specific genre narration technique, the better your chances of crafting a competitive demo and landing regular clients.
NEWS AND NOTES
Thursday, May 30th 9am-3pm EST: “The VO Tech Deep Dive and eLearning Extravaganza!” is only a few weeks away and there are some seats left! Tickets are on sale here!
September 13th-15: “VOcation NYC” Click here to register!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Tom Dheere is a 20+year veteran of the voice over industry who has narrated thousands of projects for hundreds of clients in over a dozen countries. He is also a voiceover business & marketing consultant known as the VO Strategist and produces the comic book “Agent 1.22”.