Have you ever caught yourself listening to an ad over the radio and you realize you were listening intently to a laundry detergent commercial without even meaning to? Since you have no interest in laundry detergents whatsoever you ask yourself what caught your attention. It’d be a long time before you even consider that you got drawn to the ad because of the voice over describing everything to do with that laundry detergent.
That is the uncanny skill of great voice artists: being able to engage listeners with nothing more than their voices. You see voice artists need to put a lot of effort in order to sound convincing and engaging to their listeners. Partly because voice artists don’t have the convenience of nonverbal cues, gestures and facial expressions to help them convey what they want listeners to perceive.
Voice artists have ways to get around these handicaps and here is just a few of how to sound convincing and engaging their audience.
If you have the talent, practice it !
It is a common misconception that just because someone can do voices then they would automatically be great as voice artists. They have the potential but just like any skill a lot of effort and practice are needed to polish that skill to a level that will be both engaging and convincing.
Joe Alaskey, the man who took up the mantle of legendary voice actor Mel Blanc for the voices of such beloved characters like Bugs Bunny and Tweety, saturated himself with Warner Bros. cartoons and practiced everyday to get better at it and get it right. And as he would add further, “Is still at it today.”
A good way to practice your voice is to record yourself and listen to the playback of the recording. If you did not sound convincing to your ears then you probably won’t sound convincing to others either. Have people that you respect listen to your recording and listen in turn to their criticisms along with praises. Practice with it further until you get it right. And then practice some more.
Voice artists rely on their voices, but they have more tricks up their sleeve.
Doing the actions along with the recording will go a long way in convincing your listeners. Listeners may not see your actions but it will help you create the appropriate voice. Just take a look at the inside of a recording studio and you will see that it is as about as lively as the set of a movie.
You hardly see voice actors standing still in front of a microphone during recordings. What you see inside the booth are voice actors moving as animatedly as the characters they’re lending their voices to. From simple expressions like a raised eyebrow or a curl of the lip to the flailing of the arms, voice actors give life and authenticity to their characters by completely immersing themselves into it and not just their voices.
Imagine yourself convincing someone close to you.
When you imagine yourself convincing someone close to you when you do the recording, how do you think will you sound to the ears of the would-be listener?
Exactly what you are thinking: the listeners will feel like you are talking to them directly. The intimacy your voice will carry because you recorded it in such an warm manner is certain to engage listeners.
Voice recordings are often done in the solitude of a sound booth. Inside, your only company is the microphone and the script and in this environment, it is quite difficult to sound engaging since you have nobody around to engage with. As a voice artist, along with your voice and your imagination are your most powerful tools that give life to characters and connects with listeners and in turn engage and convince them.
Don’t hesitate to use some tricks to enhance your voice deliver, some people move their hands and arms, but that makes unwanted noise, others resort to pens, yes. Holding a pen in your hand as this video suggests might give you the unconscious mental support you need to sound natural.
What do you think? Will it work for you. Personally I will get entangled with the pen and distracted. Anyway I’m sure you have different ways to look at this peculiar voicing art.
I’m convinced that you treasure some recipes on how you should sound convincing and engaging. Would you care to share some with us? Please do in the feedback form below.