By Stephanie Ciccarelli
November 27, 2012
Do you know the basics of voice acting? Breathing life into the written word takes both talent and a conscious effort on your part to craft a message. Kristin Price of Edge Studio shares tips for how to voice well considering factors such as Volume Control, Tempo Control, Pitch Range and Emotional Tone. If you're technically perfect but have no emotion, you've got nothing! Find out more about how four things you do naturally with your voice can create an effective read.
If you're interested in voice over, Edge Studio's Investigate Voice Over Class is an exciting and fun way to discover if it's for you! You'll learn the opportunities the industry presents and have a top-working pro assess your potential. For more information, hear Edge Studio coach Kristin Price speak about the class, or signup for the class here via Voices.com:
As a voice coach, Kristin Price loves figuring out how to make you shine, no matter what your background is. Everyone has a different style of learning. The most important thing is to enjoy what you're doing. As a voice actor, Kristin keeps busy recording commercial and narration voiceovers at her home studio and at production facilities around New York City (including Edge Studio!). The occasional on-camera commercial sneaks into the schedule as well.
Recent VO work includes narrations for Disney, Crisco, Nikon, GE, Doubletree, Swarovski Crystals, H&R Block, Office Depot, Crest Spinbrush, the U.S. Army, Yale University, and lots of corporate training and e-learning programs; the videogames "Silent Hill: Downpour," "Puzzle Chronicles" and "Enigmatis;" and commercials for Vitamin Shoppe, Ortega Tacos, Vertex, Alfred Angelo wedding gowns, Hannaford grocery stores, Paradise Bakery, Kaboom! and Peter Piper Pizza.
Welcome to Voice Over Experts, brought to you by Voices.com the number one voice over marketplace. Voice Over Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom, and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voice over. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voice over 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. Now for our special guest.
Kristin: Hi. I'm Kristin Price, a professional voice actor and coach with Edge Studio. If you're interested in voice over, our Investigate Voice Over class is an exciting and fun way to discover if it's for you. You'll learn about the opportunities the industry presents, you'll have a top working pro assess your potential and you'll gain a candid evaluation report. If you appear marketable, we'll tailor a training game plan for you and match you with coaches based on your voice, location and interests.
So, as an example of some of the techniques you'll learn, I want to briefly go over the four main components of vocal delivery. Now, these are things that you all use in your voice every single day without even thinking about it. That is volume control, tempo control, pitch placement and emotional tone. So let me briefly go over each of those and give you an example.
Volume control. So what is appropriate for one script may not be appropriate at all for another script. Imagine you're selling cars for a used car dealership, kind of shouty, right? So you're going to be using a higher volume level. But, now, imagine that you're selling makeup. You want somebody to feel gorgeous and luxurious. So that higher volume, hm, not so appropriate anymore, right? So, in other words, there's no one size fits all. You're going to naturally adjust that as you go from script to script.
So the second component is, of course, tempo control, how fast are you going. Most voice over you're going to find is a little bit slower than your natural pace of speech. We talk pretty fast and a lot of times, especially in the narration world, things have to be slowed down just a bit for clarity. This, by the way, also helps with your enunciation and it also helps prevent you from stumbling all over the place in the script.
Another little tidbit. Most stumbles, if you find that you have trouble cold reading, that's due to going too fast. Your brain is just not processing fast enough. So, aha, slow down.
Sometimes you do have to adjust the tempo. Maybe you're doing a commercial and it needs to be exactly 14.5 seconds to fit into a 15-second spot. You might have to speak a little faster in that situation than you would for a tutorial. Practice at home doing the same script at different tempos so that you can get, kind of, an internal metronome going with different tempos so that if the client asks you to speed up or slow down, no problem, you've got that covered.
Now, important, here's something to think about. Most people, when you ask them to speed up, they get louder. And when you ask them to slow down, they get softer. This actually is something we need to try to avoid because so many times a director is going to say, "Hey, can you give me that exact same read, just a little bit slower?" And they mean they want exactly the same read, not louder, not a different emphasis, that same thing just stretched out.
So how do you do that, pretend you're holding a rubber band. Hold that pretend rubber band in your hand and pull that rubber band as you speak. That should help you naturally slow down without effecting anything else, like, volume.
All right. So the third thing is pitch range. Most of the time, you're going to be using your absolute natural speaking pitch range. Everyone has a particular range of notes that their everyday speaking voice likes to live in. And that, guess what, is your money voice. If you're looking for your money voice, that's it.
But sometimes you want to make a specific decision to use more pitch range or less pitch range. For instance, if you're doing something for children and you want to convey excitement, now, you're first instinct might be to get louder but, again, remember what I said about volume, that's not always appropriate.
So how can you convey excitement without bringing volume into the mix, pitch range. For example, if I say, "Hey, did you guys know that Macy's is having a sale?" not so exciting, right? But if I say, "Hey, did you guys know Macy's is having a sale?" a lot more exciting, not a big volume change.
So pitch range can really help you get more expressiveness and more excitement in your voice for something like children's material or an up-tempo spot without increasing anything else, like, volume or tempo. And sometimes you want to actually compress that pitch range, like, for very serious documentaries. This is where you don't want to go monotone. Monotone is just hanging out on one pitch the whole time. But if you want to just compress it down so you're just using a very few notes in the voice, bring it very down and quiet, almost like you're not doing anything at all with the voice, that's compressed pitch range. And it can be very, very effective in particular circumstances. But, like I said, most of the time you're using your absolute natural voice.
The fourth one, emotional tone. This is absolutely the most important of the four because if you're technically perfect but you have no emotion, you got nothing. Imagine speaking to one person, you're just having a conversation with them. In daily life you're going to change your tone depending on your relationship with that person, right, depending on do you like them or not, how well do you know them, how do you feel about them, what do you want from them. All these things very naturally affect your tone without you even thinking about it.
So on a script, when you are thinking about it, what you need to do is imagine a very specific person and what kind of relationship you're having. Are they a friend, is it your mom, is it a co-worker that you ... you know, you're friendly with but you don't know them all that well, is it someone you're a little upset with. These are really going to change how you approach a script.
Try it at home. Take a script and do the same script to a bunch of different people and see how that changes things. And then take it a step further. Now add intention. Say a line like you are hugging them, then say a line like you are teasing them, then say a line like you're encouraging them, same line like you are berating them, same line like you are ... I don't know, whatever you want to do. That gets you emotionally connected and adds great variety.
So you put all four of those together, these things that you do totally naturally with your voice every day without even thinking about it, volume, tempo, pitch and emotional tone and you have a brilliant read.
So that's the kind of thing that we explore in the Investigate Voice Over workshop and in training here at Edge Studio. The Investigate Voice Over class is $99.00 and can be taken in one of two ways, in our New York, Connecticut, Los Angeles or Washington, DC studios or from home via webinar. Because that's the great thing about Voice Over, we just have to hear you.
If you're interested, call 212-868-3343 or, for more information, visit our website at edgestudio.com. And, don't forget, mention that you're a voices.com member and you'll get an additional ten percent off. Thanks for listening and we hope to hear you soon.
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