The best voice over techniques all cover the same ground – whether it be using your pitch over your volume, choosing a “down” inflection more often than an “up”, or most importantly…understanding the voice over script and thus the writers’ intentions on what should be done with it. There is one technique so simple however, that it almost seems arbitrary. It’s paying attention to your body. Yes, your entire body. We don’t talk with just our mouths in ordinary conversation, in speech-giving, in theater or film for that matter…..so why should we change all that when doing a voiceover? Using your body in an authentic way to convey your message can and should be as natural as breathing.
When was the last time you saw someone convey a message that was full of energy, positivity, and conviction sitting on the couch with his hands in his pockets? That would certainly trap all that energy in and keep it from shining bright. What about a really heavy and sensitive topic being delivered while the person had a huge smile on her face and was flailing her arms about? Disconnect, that’s right. It IS all connected, so once we honor that and bring our intentions, our voices, and our bodies together in alignment with that one purpose, the “stars will align.” Here’s how:
Start noticing how others talk and use their bodies (subconsciously, and therefore naturally) in everyday conversation. Notice how the whole body, especially the face, is used in theater and film. Theater actors will have a more exaggerated version of this to reach those in the nosebleed seats, whereas a film actor knows that the camera will capture everything up front and there’s no need to make it “over the top.” Try memorizing a short voice over script and practicing in front of a mirror. Notice how different expressions and postures convey very different sounds. Because most voice overs will call for a friendly sound, which is different than announcer, I really like this article on “How to Develop a Friendly Tone of Voice.” Make sure to keep up with Voiceover Gurus Technique Video of the Week to watch the actors’ facial expressions. These are pros that instinctively use all they have to express themselves. Like many other voice over techniques, it often comes back to making the read just like “real life.” Stay grounded in reality and let your body do some of the work. Your voice will thank you for it.