Along with the incredible progress you're making inside the booth, we are sharing a four-part series on ways to advance and sustain your voice over career outside the booth. The last post focused on the necessity of business acumen. This week we're highlighting the vital subject of voice development contributed by vocal coach, Rebecca Castelli.
As a voice over artist, your voice is obviously one of the most vital components to your success. It is the calling card that gets you in the door (or booth!), and it needs to be healthy, clear, and flexible.
One of your top priorities working in this industry should be the health of your voice. Unfortunately, the reality is that vocal health is often ignored …. until there’s a problem: that tight feeling and hoarseness in the throat you experience when you log three straight hours in the booth; the scratchy quality that creeps into your voice after playing that high-pitched video-game character; or the oh so dreaded loss of voice. All too often, these stressful situations are the moment when vocal health becomes a pressing issue. However, it’s far better to create healthy vocal habits as you’re starting out, so that you can avoid any serious problems later on down the road. First of all, it is paramount that you have a solid understanding of your vocal apparatus. This important knowledge will enable you to grasp the many tips and exercises that can protect your voice and keep it in tip-top-shape. After all, you want to be able to work in the voiceover business without any major interruptions needed for vocal rest or rehabilitation.
The other pitfall that you may run into with your voice is clarity. Being a clear communicator is essential as a voice-over artist. If your articulation is muddy, the message of the text may be obscured and all of your hard work on tone, pace and consistency will be fruitless. The elimination of articulation issues requires an awareness of the vocal instrument, including the lips, tongue, jaw, and breath support. As you train your voice, you will begin to understand your own individual tension patterns that could be hampering the clarity of your speech. Once you become aware of these patterns, you can begin to target those areas and learn to unwind years of habitual tension. Your voiceover work will be clearer, and it’ll feel easier, too!
Ultimately, a voice that is healthy and free of tension patterns is a more flexible instrument. Want to do more extreme character voices for video games? Want to be able to take on multiple accents? Or maybe you just want to have more vocal variety and options in the booth? Voiceover artists who understand their instruments are able to wield them like master painters, using pitch, rhythm, resonance, and dynamics to evoke a powerful and compelling picture in their listeners’ minds.
Remember, vocal health leads to vocal clarity leads to more vocal possibilities …. and we all want more possibilities in that booth!
Coming up: our final article in the series on the value of industry knowledge.
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