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    Keep calm and carry on doing voiceovers!

    Getting nervous before a session or an audition is perfectly natural. Nobody can really tell you how to control your nerves. They’re your nerves, they belong to you and nobody else experiences them quite in the same way you do. The butterflies in your belly will always be there if you are in front of people or doing a live presentation before an audience or a camera with many lights on you. That’s quite normal and it’s not necessarily bad, because you can’t just relax. I have spoken with highly experienced news anchors and they tell me that there is always a dose of uneasiness, but also excitement. Adrenaline is good until it paralyzes you. Having said that, there are things that you can do to keep them in check. Establishing your routine is one of these ways. 

    Yes, there is something about establishing a routine that keeps us calm. If we make what we do on a regular basis a part of our routine then it becomes second nature and we are less inclined to get worked up about it. That’s how you should approach an audition or voice over session. Here are a few tips about establishing your routine:

    1. Mark your script. Makca sure you understand your script and its different nuances. Mark the areas where you need to pause and take a breath. Highlight areas where you might need to change speed or emphasis. Get comfortable with the words on the page and how you are going to interpret them. But whatever you do, don’t over-rehearse. You will kill any spontaneity if you do this.
    2. Don’t eat any dairy, drink alcohol or have any caffeine before the session. You don’t want to coat your voice in any way.
    3. Take a glass of still water with you.
    4. Get there on time. If you are recording in a studio that is not your home studio then plan your journey and make sure you are there at least 20 minutes before the session starts. Use these 20 minutes to practice breathing exercises and orientate yourself with the surroundings.
    5. Keep things simple, be yourself and have fun. You are not about to perform life-saving surgery so gain perspective! Keep things simple, be yourself and have fun. Your performance will be so much better if you can lose your inhibitions a little bit.
    6. Have a quick chat with you sound engineer or whoever is close to you, tell a joke, comment whatever makes break the ice.
    7. Rehearse a bit of your text and read it out loud.

    It’s very hard to second guess what a client will want from your reading. You may have received some vague direction prior to the session but don’t get hung up on this. The client will know what they want when they hear it so don’t go in with any pre-conceived ideas about your delivery. Be prepared to play around with the copy and live in the moment.

    If you can approach each audition in a similar way so it becomes standard practice it will definitely help with calming your nerves. It won’t stop them completely but it will certainly keep them from spiralling out of control!

    Do you get nervous before an audition? How do you control your nerves? Please share your experiences here.

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    One Comment

    1. Jo
      December 1, 2015

      I do voiceovers at a radio station, where the producer is a real jerk; he enjoys critisizing and humiliating me in front of others there. When I started the work (volunteer basis) I was already nervous, and he has not made it easier. But when I go in for a session, after one of his awful comments, instead of reacting, I count to ten silently, take a deep breath, and try to detach myself from him. I make sure he allows me to do a second take if I think the first one was not as good as it could have been. I am just trying to strive for perfection, which is my perfect right. He is not only rude, but also a poor judge of what sounds good. I had a friend in there observing and he told me not to use the first one because I sounded nervous. The engineer was going to use it. I made sure he didn’t. I won’t allow him to rush me. He has no sense of humor, so I cannot joke with him or make light conversation, as he is a major contrarian. I know I am appreciated because the two top people at the station have given me accolades.

      Reply

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