Voice Over Experts The Voice Over Training Podcast

Building Your Voiceover "House"

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

February 18, 2011

Comments (6)

Is your voice over career built strongly and with care? Marc Cashman shares insight on how to go about building your voiceover "house" to get the best results. Building a sound voiceover house is essential to being competitive, consistent, professional and sought after. Learn how to build yours now!

Download Podcast Episode 126 »

Transcription

Julia-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voice Over Experts brought to you by voices.com, the number one voiceover marketplace. Voice Over Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom, and techniques from top instructors, authors, and performers in the field of voiceover. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voiceover talent. It's never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and at your own pace. This is truly an education you won't find anywhere else.

This week, voices.com is pleased to present Marc Cashman.

Marc Cashman: A lot of people ask me, Marc, what are some of the things I need to have in order to be competitive in voiceover and I explain that they need to build a voiceover house. I'm not referring to a home studio, I'm referring to you. In order to build a sound structure, pun intended, imagine a house.

What goes down first? Plumbing, the sewer line, and some rough electrical. So you've got to lay down your metaphorical pipes with vocal warm-ups and then do some basic electrical setup by practicing some tongue twisters to strengthen the electrical synapses in your brain.

Next, you need a foundation. The foundation of all connected voice acting, should there really be any other type, is sincerity. There's a cynical Hollywood saying that goes, always be sincere even if you don't mean it. But in voiceover, you have to mean it. People can hear sincerity in your voice or a lack of it a mile away. It's what gives you believability and makes people want to listen to you.

Next comes the framework of your voiceover house. The framework comprises all the skill sets you bring to the microphone, breath control, timing, eye-brain-mouth coordination, articulation, consistency, analysis and interpretation, acting, and listening and taking direction. It's what gives your voiceover house its design and overall structure. And all of these beams have to be equally strong and straight to give the structure integrity.

Next comes the voiceover flooring. What kind do you want? Hardwood, carpeting, tile? The sound of your voice flooring is determined by a smile. You've got 360 degrees of smile to play with and the amount of degree of smile is determined by what you're describing and who you're talking to. A total lack of smile, zero degrees, would I imagine the pure evil. The opposite, a full 360 degrees would be say beatific. You'll never be able to achieve those extremes vocally so most of your smile falls within the typical Bell curve, you just have to determine how much or little is appropriate. Think of applying it in genres. Kid's copy will have a lot of smile, commercial a bit less, corporate a bit less, eLearning a bit less.

But smile permeates everything. I like to think of a smile like the background radiation scientists discovered when they explored the origin of the universe and the theory of the big bang. Smile permeates the voiceover universe in varying degrees.

Next what gives your voiceover house more solidity? The walls. What kind do you want? Brick, wood, stucco, concrete? Vocally, this is heard in your confidence. It's the attitude and energy you bring to the mic. If you're unsure of what you're doing, people will hear it. If you're unprepared, you'll stumble. If you're lazy or unfocused, it will be apparent. Confidence is the sound of strength and reassurance and you're confident when you're prepared and know what you're saying.

And what do you do with this framework and all these walls? You connect them. You bolt them to the floor and to each other and that's what you need to do with the words you're speaking. Notice I said speaking because that's what you're supposed to sound like -- like you're speaking, not reading. And so to sound like you're speaking and speaking from knowledge, speaking for experience, speaking from the heart, you need to do the same thing you did with the walls, you need to connect. You need to connect with the words and phrases you're describing and you connect by emoting, by telling a story conversationally, by understanding the sounds of words and phrases that convey feelings, attitudes, descriptions and actions. And when you connect with copy or text in this way, your structure is sound.

And what do we want on the walls? Pain, wallpaper, paneling? You're going to treat these walls with color, with texture, with shading, and depth. That's what you need to do to words and phrases with your voice. Depending on the words and depending on who we're talking to, our word colors can be vibrant and glowing or they can be pastel like or they can be more like watercolors or they can be like oils or other materials and textured.
[0:05:20]
Finally, what goes over everything to keep it protected from the elements? The roof. And what covers everything you say? Authority. You always have to sound like you know what you're talking about even if you don't. This is what gives you credibility. But the tone is never and-I-know-this-stuff-and-you-don't attitude. Your authoritativeness has to be leavened with a welcoming, inviting, reassuring, tone. So what comes out is and I'll-explain-it-so-that-it-makes sense tone. This is the way for listeners to trust you and it's also a reason for a client to keep coming back to you. Building a sound voiceover house is essential to being competitive, consistent, professional, and sought after. It's the hallmark of a voice actor who's dedicated to his or her craft and it gives value to every job you do behind the mic.

This is Marc Cashman. Thanks for listening.

Julia-Ann Dean: Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com podcast, visit the Voice Over Experts show notes at podcast.voices.com/voiceoverexperts. Remember to stay subscribed. If you're a first time listener, you can subscribe for free to this podcast in the Apple iTunes podcast directory or by visiting podcasts.voices.com. To start your voiceover career online, go to voices.com and register for a voice talent membership today.

Links from today's show:

Cashman Commercials
The Cashman Cache of Voice-Acting Techniques
Ask The Voice Cat Blog
Marc Cashman Voices.com Website

Your Instructor this week:

Voice Over Expert Marc Cashman

Marc Cashman Voice Over CoachMARC CASHMAN creates and produces copy and music advertising for radio and television. Winner of over 150 advertising awards, he also instructs voice acting of all levels through his classes, The Cashman Cache of Voice-Acting Techniques in Los Angeles, CA. Enjoying the distinction of being one of the few voice-acting instructors in the U.S. who is on "both sides of the glass"-- he creates, casts and produces copy and music advertising for radio and television clients such as Kroger, Charles Schwab, Quizno's, Pella Windows and Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer among many, many others.

In addition to his production schedule, he's been an instructor at USC Graduate School and does pro bono work for numerous charitable and public service organizations. He instructs voice-acting of all levels through his online and tele-coaching programs, his V-O classes, The Cashman Cache of Voice-Acting Techniques in state-of-the-art studios in Los Angeles, CA, and produces voice demos. He also has a monthly online column, Ask the VoiceCat, plus blogs and podcasts through Voices.com, VoiceOverXtra.com and NowCasting.com.

Cashman Commercials © 2010


Transcription of Building Your Voiceover "House."

A lot of people ask me, "Marc, what are some of the things I need to have in order to be competitive in voiceover?" And I explain that they need to build a "voiceover house." And I'm not referring to a home studio. I'm referring to you. In order to build a sound structure (pun intended), imagine a house.

What goes down first? Plumbing--a sewer line, and some rough electrical. So you've got to lay down your metaphorical "pipes" with vocal warm-ups,
and then do some basic electrical setup by practicing some tongue twisters to strengthen the electrical synapses in your brain.

Next--you need a foundation. The foundation of all connected voice acting (should there really be any other type?) is sincerity. There's a cynical Hollywood saying that goes, "Always be sincere, even if you don't mean it. But in voiceover, you have to mean it. People can hear sincerity in your voice--or a lack of it--a mile away. It's what gives you believability and makes people want to listen to you.

Next comes the framework of your voiceover house. The framework comprises all the skill-sets you bring to the microphone: breath control, timing, eye-brain-mouth coordination, articulation, consistency, analysis and interpretation, acting and listening and taking direction. It's what gives your voiceover house its design and overall structure. And all of these beams have to be equally strong and straight to give the structure integrity.

Next comes the voiceover flooring. What kind do you want? Hardwood? Carpeting? Tile? The sound of your voice flooring is determined by smile. You've got 360 degrees of smile to play with, and the amount, or degree, of smile is determined by what you're describing and who you're talking to. A total lack of smile--zero degrees, would, I imagine, be pure evil. The opposite--a full 360 degrees, would be beatific. You'll never be able to achieve those extremes vocally, so most of your smile falls within the typical bell curve. You just have to determine how much or little is appropriate. Think of applying it in genres: kid's copy will have a lot of smile, commercial a bit less, corporate a bit less, e-Learning a bit less. But smile permeates everything. I like to think of smile like the background radiation scientists discovered when they explored the origin of the universe and the theory of the Big Bang. Smile permeates the voiceover universe in varying degrees.

Next, what gives your voiceover house more solidity? The walls. What kind do you want? Brick? Wood? Stucco? Concrete? Vocally, this is heard in your confidence. It's the attitude and energy you bring to the mic. If you're unsure of what you're doing, people will hear it. If you're unprepared, you'll stumble. If you're lazy or unfocused, it'll be apparent. Confidence is the sound of strength and reassurance. And you're confident when you're prepared and know what you're doing.

And what do you do with this framework and all these walls? You connect them. You bolt them to the floor and to each other. And that's what you need to do with the words you're speaking. Notice I said speaking, because that's what you're supposed to sound like--like you're speaking, not reading. And so to sound like you're speaking, and speaking from knowledge, speaking from experience, speaking from the heart, you need to do the same thing you did with the walls. You need to connect. You need to connect with the words and phrases you're describing, and you connect by emoting, by telling a story conversationally, by understanding the sounds of words and phrases that convey feelings, attitudes, descriptions and actions. And when you connect with copy or text in this way, your structure is sound.

And what do we want on the walls? Paint? Wallpaper? Paneling? You're going to treat these walls with color, with texture, with shading and depth. That's what you need to do to words and phrases with your voice. Depending on the words (and depending on who we're talking to) our word-colors can be vibrant and glowing, or they can be pastel-like, or they can be more like watercolors, or they can be like oils, or other materials, and textured.

Finally, what goes over everything to keep it protected from the elements? The roof. And what covers everything you say? Authority. You always have to sound like you know what you're talking about--even if you don't. This is what gives you credibility. But the tone is never an "I know this stuff and you don't" attitude. Your authoritativeness has to be leavened with a welcoming, inviting, reassuring tone, so it comes out as an "I'll explain this so that it makes sense" tone. This is the way for listeners to trust you, and it's also a reason for a client to keep coming back to you.

Building a sound "voiceover house" is essential to being competitive, consistent, professional and sought-after. It's the hallmark of a voice actor who's dedicated to his or her craft, and it gives value to every job you do behind the mic.

Marc Cashman © 2011

MARC CASHMAN creates, casts and produces copy and music advertising for radio and television. Winner of over 150 advertising awards, plus AudioFile Magazine's "Best Voice of the Year," he also instructs voice acting of all levels through his classes, The Cashman Cache of Voice-Acting Techniques in Los Angeles, CA; heads the Voiceover Program at California Institute of the Arts, and works one-on-one with actors across the country via tele-coaching. He can be contacted at cashcomm@earthlink.net or his website, www.cashmancommercials.com.

Related Topics: acting, Marc Cashman, podcast, teaching, voiceovers

Comments


    excellent podcast, marc! good imagery with the "house". i always learn so much from you. thanks!

    Posted by:

      Thank you for such a wonderful visualization!

      Posted by:

        Mark,
        Thank you for this wonderful analogy! Something even beginners can relate too! Looking forward to your next podcast here on Voices.com.

        Posted by:

          Really enjoyed your Pod Cast. You filled in some gaps i had been thinking about in trying to emprove my work and it is amazing how the smaile affects my own work.
          Thank you so much.

          Posted by:

            I'm still learning from you, but I'm trying to achieve my goals. I definitely enjoy reading all that is written on your blog.Keep the information coming. I loved it

            Posted by:

              I am enjoying listening to FDR by Jean Edward Smith on Books on Tape, borrowed from my public library. However one slight but glaring problem exists with the reading by Marc Cashman. Robert LaFollette, famous senator from Wisconsin during the FDR era and Progressive leader in the senate pronounced his name with emphasis on the second syllable unlike Mr Cashmans strange rendition of his name emphasizing the first and third syllables. I have never heard that pronunciation before and believe it to be in error. I say this as a partial Wisconsinite, having graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1968 with a major in history.
              John Virgint

              Posted by:
              • Anonymous
              • March 7, 2012 1:11 PM

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