Voice actors read – A LOT
Let’s clarify that a little: voice actors read a lot, out loud. We have to read out loud when we warm up every day. We have to read out loud when we practice every day. We have to read out loud when we do multiple auditionsevery day just to land a paying gig. (It kinda gives the “work at home and at your own pace” phrase a whole new meaning: Yes, you’ll be working at home, just as much as a full-time position at a company. And yes, it will be at your own pace — as long as that pace is unwavering. Not too much time to enjoy daytime TV folks.)
Voice actors enjoy reading – A LOT
To say that we enjoy reading doesn’t do it justice. We enjoy the interpretation of the copy. We love the challenge of reaching into ourselves to find that spark of creativity which brings the words to life. We love to find the different ways to read the same sentence to subtly alter its meaning. And a host more.
Voice acting is acting. It’s using the whole of your creativity to bring life to someone else’s words. And if you don’t like doing that, then striving to become a voice actor might not be what’s best for you.
But how do you know if you’d like it or not if you’ve never tried? Good question. So…
Your homework: start recording – A LOT
Just to let you know, when I became interested in voice acting I had never read out loud for any length of time since my elementary school days when my teacher, Mr. Stevens, forced us to stand up and read sections from “Dick and Jane” (I admit it. I grew up on Dick and Jane books. “See Dick run. Run, Dick! Run!”) But if you want to break into the voice over business, you first have to become an expert at reading out loud. Every book on voice acting, every blog, every podcast, and every coach proclaims this. And now, I do too.
First, choose a good novel (one with lots of unique characters with unique personalities is best.) Start by reading a page out loud. Don’t worry if you make mistakes — just plow through until the end of the page. This exercise will help with your cold-reading skills (some voice-over pros can read dozens and dozens of pages without making a single mistake. Can you?) Make sure to read clearly, read at an even pace, and not slur your words together.
Next, go back and read the same page again. But this time if you make a mistake, go back to the beginning of the sentence where the mistake occurred, pause for a second (just like if you were in a booth recording it), and then continue.