If you have eyes you have probably guessed the newest fun secret to getting a more relaxed voiceover performance. Yup! It’s lying down. Oh and don’t get me started on how long i spent reading about the grammar rules around lie versus lay. Oh my god. Anyhoo, let’s talk about this one so you have understanding and motivation to use this super-cool technique in your own way. I mean, doesn’t lying down to succeed already sound like a winning proposition? Next I’m going to have to try and come up with a strategy for how eating lots of ice cream helps you gets more voice acting auditions. Ok ok, someone reign me in! This business is just too much fun right? And that’s another strategy RIGHT THERE. A bonus for ya – if you’re not having fun, if you’re feeling the need to be perfect, if you’re “tight”, your voice over auditions will suffer.
Have fun, lots of it, and read on about lying down, the best new cool idea to hit the voice acting stratosphere.
The concept can directly be traced to the same concept in all the relaxation methods out there. Really, it’s the outside-in concept. This means that usually we want to think about something a certain way to achieve certain results, like be happier, or feel confident. But that’s not really how it works. We usually need some outside trigger to help us out and complete the circle. Peter Sellers made this easy to understand in his very own acting technique: He says, “I start with the wig, and i go from there.” Now we know that Daniel Day Lewis and Christian Bale would be shivering in their boots over this, but too bad method men, there’s a new way in town! Peter is essentially saying that changing something on the outside, which is pretty uncomplicated, immediately creates a response for him on the inside. Essentially now his mind easily believes that he IS this character. He saved himself the trouble of digging around in his psyche for an hour trying to find emotional motivation the harder way. He looks in the mirror at this man in this wig and he starts believing something new about himself.
Oh yes, back to the breathing. When we do deep breathing we are essentially slowing down our nervous system and it instantly makes our mind believe we are relaxed. But imagine telling yourself to “calm down.” Never worked when someone else told you to do it either right? You might have even wanted to punch them in the face (no? just me, ok.) But if your body tells you that you ARE calm with actual proof, your brain will follow.
So lying down, yes, will convince your brain, no – trigger your brain into remembering how it feels every single day when this happens. What does it feel? It feels relaxed, like there’s no need to accomplish anything, be anything, no pressure, no perfection. Now is there a better mental state to speak from? I think we can all agree we feel pretty good when we are lying down. It usually means we are about to decompress, or…other stuff. Either way – good things! This means good things coming out of your mouth, good relaxed easygoing vibes. And who wouldn’t want to listen to a person emoting from that state of being? Ok, one caveat here would be if they want a read that’s super energized or assertive. But otherwise this is a great method to try on. Especially for those of you looking to do away with some of that polish in your performance. The students of mine that are the most “perfect” sounding are the ones i assign this exercise to the most. I always have them do homework recording themselves with a before and after read (well, a standing up and lying down read) and the proof is there.
If you want to do a deeper dive into more ways to achieve that CONVERSATIONAL IN VOICEOVER sound, click here.
And otherwise, go lie down you amazing voiceover person with such incredible potential. Just don’t fall asleep, you’ve got work to do 😉