Part 4: Voice Over - The 3 P’s (Projection, Pronunciation and Pace)
So, you’ve been recording your voice for the past few weeks and come to realize that doing a VO isn’t easy. Well, now you know there’s only a specialized group in Hollywood that performs them.
To put it into perspective, years ago I was into skiing. For years I fought the slope, almost forcing my knees to stay together; it was ugly. But then I met a former ski instructor that asked me to follow him down the mountain - and when I say follow, I mean observe him and emulate his movement. Suddenly, it all clicked. After all those mistakes for years, I finally relaxed and trusted myself. In essence, I had become more efficient.
The same holds for VO’s. You are going to make flubs (industry speak for mistakes) so keep in mind it’s part of the process. On a positive note, your projection should be coming along by the sheer fact you are reading aloud. The more you can project (breath out while you are speaking) the easier it will be to pronounce the words.
You probably found yourself getting tongue-tied on some words. The trick is to pause before the tricky word then project that word and continue on. Reading something straight through with no break or inflection will not only be boring but may run your words together.
That leads to the final point to this blog; pace. Google - Orson Wells War of the Worlds - listen to how he speaks three or four words at a time, then pauses. The pause draws you into the words, well, and his awesome voice. Then again, listen to an audiobook from Bill O’Reilly (Killing Patton, Killing Lincoln, etc. and see how his higher pitch voice grabs you because he’s reading quickly and pronouncing every word clearly.
Pace is really based on what you are trying to achieve with the copy. For practice, read a paragraph normally; then record it again speaking slowly with pauses. Finally, record it one more time speaking faster.
The next blog will cover taking chances with your voice; dialects and accents.