Voice-Over Voice Actor

A Peek Into The Secret World Of The Voice Actor

Interested in pursuing a career in VO? Curious what goes on behind the scenes in a business where people talk funny for money? This book offers a fun and comprehensive look at what it takes, what goes on and what it’s like behind the mic from two working pros who started from scratch.

Filtering by Tag: breath

Take Action #18: Snake Hiss

1. Inhale deeply and then, holding your palm an inch in front of your mouth so you can feel the air, let out a hiss. 2. Hiss for as long as you are comfortable and then take a deep breath. 3. Repeat this 5 times alternating between an “s” hiss and a “z” hiss (which we guess might be called a ‘hizz’).

4. Begin to gradually increase the length of your hiss (or hizz) as you are comfortable. Hissing can strengthen your abdominal muscles and your diaphragm because they are working to maintain one strong continuous flow of air. Another exercise that’ll work your abs is to pant, rapidly, like a dog when it is hot. This exercise will force your diaphragm to rapidly push and pull, which will strengthen it over time, but might tire you out pretty quickly. The benefits are many, though, not the least of which being to help protect your voice when you have to do any shouting or yelling.

Take Action #16: Your Breath

1. Begin by lying flat on the ground and placing your hand on your abdomen just below your ribs.2. Feel the natural rise and fall as you breathe. 3. Notice the natural ‘pause’ between inhale and exhale.

This is how your body breathes without you trying to do anything to control it. As you breathe, there should be four sections to each breath: 1. an inhale, 2. a pause, 3. an exhale, 4. a pause. We usually don’t feel the pauses because they’re short and they happen naturally, but they’re there, all right. This next exercise focuses on lengthening, or expanding, your breath. Begin by inhaling for a three-count, holding for a three-count, exhaling for a three-count and holding for a three-count. Do this until it’s comfortable and then start to increase your count, four-count, five-count, etc. If you start to feel light-headed or dizzy, stop immediately and take a break. See if you can comfortably work up to 5, 6, 7 or even 8, 9, 10.

(Tara once had a voice teacher who could breathe in and out on a thirty-count, which comes with a lot of practice. Being able to hold your breath and control your breathing allows you to play with your voice more, giving you more range and stamina, which could come in handy for things such as recording long passages for audiobooks or characters who really ramble on.)

Take Action #3: Breathing is Crucial in Voice-Over

Sure, breathing is important to staying alive, but because we do it all the time, we kind of take it for granted and we sometimes get lazy with it. Breathing is crucial in voice-over. You can't speak without breathing, and you can create powerful (and safer) vocal effects with proper breath control. To increase your breath control try this simple exercise. Start standing. Simply notice your breath. Now, exhale all the air in your lungs and hop/jump up into the air as you inhale as much air as you can. Then as you land begin counting aloud, "one-two-three-four..." up as high as you can on that breath. When you've emptied your lungs of air once more, jump up as you inhale as much as you can, and then land and begin counting out loud again. See if you can't get a few numbers higher than the first time, speaking as you exhale, or "on your breath."

Do this several times. Try to see if you can best your initial count by 10. Do this every day and you should begin to notice that you have better breath control and increased lung capacity. This will help sustain and protect your voice as you speak "on your breath."

** If at any point during this exercise you begin to feel dizzy, or otherwise uncomfortable, stop immediately. As with any other exercise, consult a physician before engaging in a new or unfamiliar activity.