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  1. Voiceover is about talking to people isn’t it? Yes but also its it so much more than that. Have you wondered about how a voice sounds and I mean more than just the actual sound you hear but the feelings and intentions behind it. To be a great voiceover how do you convey more than the feeling, impart more than a connection, leave the audience with an experience?

     

    Voiceover Microphone Live

    Simply put learn to listen. Listen to conversations and communications because then you will learn the language hidden within the words. It is easy to do as you can do this on the bus listening to people chatting. From the school children having a chat about what games they played the night before to the early morning shoppers having a gossip, the words are a base level but it is the silence, the pauses, the feelings that underlay each word and phrase that can tell you much more. So how do you listen:

     

    1. Be present: thought this was a mindfulness technique? It is but can be applied here. Breathe, open your ears and mind and listen to the words, the audio patterns, the musicality, the emotions behind the conversations.
    2. Relax: By taking a moment and relaxing, you will feel the intentions carried by words. How many times have you seen from afar a chat that looks loving and interesting only to come up close and hear a full scale argument taking place? Well what did you hear both visually and verbally. Relaxing will enable you to hear and see much more. The language behind the language. 
    3. Listen: Without judgement. You are there to listen to the tones, pitches and musicality and not about who didn’t send an email to what boss on time or not. What are they really saying behind the words? As a voiceover listening will enable you to unpick what makes things stick in peoples heads and what intentions they need to feel connected to in your words so that you can actually speak to them, reaching them. 

     

    And what can you listen to? Everything. The news, adverts, chats waiting in line for your Christmas Black Forest Coffee, the quick noisy chats on the tube or train or anywhere. How we as humans talk to each other is the language that voiceovers need to figure out so that when they voice they can appreciate where to do with the feelings and intentions that layer the words in your next copy. From the simplest collection of words to a full book to voice, the words will have been chosen with an action in mind and as the voice, your role is to deliver your interpretation of those ideas and concepts vocally. Keep listening to keep voicing.

  2. This is a topic that I can talk endlessly about which is just as well my clients provide me with a script as otherwise there would be a lot more to edit. Though the good thing is that I always ensure I take big breathes so the engineer has an easier time editing. Why is knowing what to eat important for a voice actor? I could launch into many nutritional benefits of eating a well balanced diet and eating appropriate portion sizes for your activity levels and lifestyle but that would be a script for another day so instead I will focus on the sound issues surrounding various foods. 

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    In general life is a buffet and go ahead and snack on what you like and what you feel you need. However in a run up to a voice session then be aware of how certain foods and drinks can take a toll on your voice. Here is a list of foods and drinks that have an effect on your vocalisation abilities.

    1. Tea/Coffee - any thing made form caffeine has a drying and diuretic effect which means that you will either need to rush to the toilet or just dry up vocally. Award yourself one of these beauties after a session.
    2. Milk/cream/cheese - Refrain from any dairy consumption the night before a session and on the day itself. Dairy and lactose tends to lead to an increase in phlegm and this build up can clog up those cords leading to more coughing, catching of your voice in those cords and even building it up in your nasal passages where you get that delightful nose trumpet on certain words. Trust me the engineer will remember the voice who took milk in their tea before the session and will be recording a fair few takes more than necessary to avoid that particular issue. Oh and that engineer will usually be me so just saying. 
    3. Crisps - this one is an odd one. Eating them and their yummy greasiness (gosh salt and vinegar McCoys right?!? Bliss) can in many cases cause a whole bunch of mouth noises. What are those? These noises are those icky sounds that are sticky and if in a middle of a word really stand out and are very annyoing. However I have heard in some cases that it can help against those as it gives a covering to the cords and mouth allowing them to carry on. I have heard that opera singers eat crisps for their oilyness. Maybe then it could be the salt having a dehydrating effect in the mouth. Trail and error in this case and knowing your mouth well. 
    4. Apples/Pineapple/kiwis - or anything that causes your mouth to water or simulate those glands. Again to voice mouth noises so apples often help clear that by it seems by making the mouth overflow with saliva which may be. good thing in many cases. Not with all people though so again, try this out and see what works for you. Some say bananas, others apples, others pears. Go on and choose your own fruit salad combo. 
    5. Chocolate - now goodness, chocolate is one of lifes little pleasures. I personally prefer dark chocolate and mostly with some fruit filling but hey, I still mentally live in the 80's advertising world at times and I still see sandy landscapes with random chocolate dotted about. Ahhh very much a different time indeed. So back to chocolate. Again as at times it can have a lot of diary/sugar it can be a little cloying and give you a little too much dry throat or phlegm. Again like that tea, save it for afterwards. 

    There we go, a few things to think about when you eat for a session. Enjoy things obviously but think about it when you have a session. Now, where is that Nutella filled croissant and milky coffee waiting for me? Yum. 

    After session voiceover food