Whether you’re thinking about a podcast, joining #AuthorTube, or just wanting to wow the audience when you read an excerpt from your own writing aloud to an audience, being a dynamic voice actor has a lot of benefits — for writers and creators of other forms of media.
In the titular panel, August “Gus” Grappin, Starla Huchton, Tee Morris, and Veronica Giguere, with Erin Kazmark moderating, shared tips to help you rock the voice acting world.
How IS Voice Acting Different Than Just Acting?
Of course, voice acting is a form of acting. But, when most people think of “actors”, they think of people on stage, television, or film. Without others to interact with, voice acting is a whole other ballgame.
- Without an audience, there is no feedback
- Those who feed off the audience find this a detriment
- Those who the audience makes anxious, find themselves better able to relax and get into character
- Theater is a team sport, unlike most voice acting
- In theater, a good actor can bring you up, a bad one can kill the scene
- In voice acting, you’re typically recording in a room by yourself and you have to trust the others to bring their A-game
- It’s hard to match the energy, when you’re not all recording together
- For audiobooks – it can be challenging to get feedback or direction from the author.
- You have to use a microphone!
4 Tips To Keep The Narrative Itself Dynamic
Characters lend themselves to different voices, based on age, gender, and energy level. Narrators can be trickier. Third person narrators are almost an eye-in-the-sky, while differentiating a first-person narration from the character’s dialogue offers a few challenges.
- Find a ‘character’ for the narrator. With good writing, the setting itself is a character and lends itself to a certain tone.
- “Make a meal of your words,” says Phil Rossi. Linger on the words, with the exploration of the world coming through with your tone.
- Think of the ‘narrator’ as ‘the storyteller’. Not someone reciting the words but someone telling the story to a fascinated audience.
- In that vein — try to imagine that you’re talking to an actual person. A friend that you don’t want to bore (or roll their eyes).
7 Ways To Make Characters POP
When you are trying to differentiate in your voice between different characters, it can be easy to fall into cliches — be it a shrill woman, a thick-accented foreigner, or a slow, low male voice. And wild characters can be hard to understand.
Luckily, there are some tricks that can help.
- Moving or changing posture between characters.
- Giving a character a physical tic — twirling hair, glaring, talking out of the side of their mouth
- Being careful not to mumble or speed up during action scenes
- Pay attention to your use of breath and pauses. They can be dynamic but, don’t “Shatner” or you’ll “Shat all over your audience.” (thank you, Tee)
- Pay attention to the character’s attitude — don’t make the focus of your delivery be on their gender
- If your voice is naturally feminine, hardening your delivery, even without lowering your voice can help
- As the narrator, hold the tension. Let them relive the experience as you bring the listener along for the ride.
- I have a horrible habit of rushing jokes because I can’t wait to share the punch line. You don’t want to drag it out, but you want the audience to get there at a natural pace, not rush them, nor drag it out.
Reading aloud, be it for a animated show, podcast, or live audience can be nerve-wracking. But, if you’re dynamic, your audience should enjoy themselves.
Were there any tips you know that the panelists didn’t get a chance to mention? Are there things you enjoy in your audio dramas that you’d love to see more of? Or things you keep seeing that you HATE?
Let me know!
Thanks for reading! I’ll be back again next week with even more panel notes from #Balticon53. Because I’ve got a book of notes here.