- Register – there are three registers, which means the level or range of voice, the lower, the middle and the upper. Identifying the correct register is really important as characters are portrayed perfectly with the right kind of pitch. For instance, a cartoon character will be better portrayed in the upper register, slightly squeaky voice demeanour, whereas an elderly person is more likely to sound better in the lower register, with a deep touch to the voice. This makes a whole lot of difference to the audio. It makes your voice believable and the person listening to the audio is able to relate with the character well.
- Accent – the accent is integral to a character as it builds up the foundation of the role. It needs to considered for the kind of audience you are going to have, like the region where your work is going to be heard. Say, for a Japanese cartoon, you’ll have to have a Japanese accent so that the audience feels connected with the character.
- Expression – while going for an audition it is necessary to establish the base of the character that you are going to lend your voice to. The origins of the character, it’s behaviour, it’s emotional state, its entire journey should be reflected in the voice over. Expression imbibes in it the soul of the character; without it you are just offering your voice as a background, it doesn’t attach itself itself to the character unless presented with expression. Modulate your voice, contort and present change overs or alter the voice to mimic a certain character, do whatever is necessary to get the right feel, the correct tone for the provided character. Understand well the moment in the life of the character, what kind of mental state it is going to be in, is it sad, happy or excited.
Read into the character you are going to represent. The kind of pitch the client is looking for is to be understood. For an animated video you might want to use high pitched sounds, for an informative video, a friendly voice presenting the information in a pleasant manner to make it easily understandable. So, making out the character and understanding the requirements according to the client is an essential part of mastering a voice over. Investing in the process of developing an understanding about the character is necessary if you want to get the audition going perfectly well.
Along with these three key elements, there are numerous other factors that need to be taken care of while going for an audition. As you have decided to take the plunge into the voice over industry, it is mandatory to fully exhaust all the options to make your mark.
While recording an audition tape or auditioning in a studio, keep in mind the given factors,
- First impression is the last impression -humans are judgemental, so the very first word or sound you make in the audition tape is very crucial in determining the prospects of getting a job. The first 3 to 4 seconds serves as your identity. You need to make the most of it. Start with a short introduction giving out your name and the character you are going to portray. Don’t make the introductory part longer than 3 or 4 seconds. Nobody is going to listen to a minute long tape unless required for the assignment. So, show your talent, versatility, understanding of a emotions etc. and try to do it in as short a duration as possible (doesn’t mean to simply end it after the introduction). Portray your rhythm, pace, personality, attitude wisely and judiciously.
- Takes, Retakes – if you are preparing an audition tape, you have the freedom to improvise and record as many times as you want. First record yourself randomly reading out the script. Then try to improvise with accent and expression, which we have discussed earlier in the article. Ultimately listen to the recording and clear any irregularities that you come across, like the pitch or the tone etc. There might be some external disturbances which need to be eliminated, so, it is necessary to listen to your audio quite a few times to get everything right.
- Equipment – excellent quality tools and equipments are required to record your audio and genuine softwares to edit out the final tape. Even the most perfect voice is of no use without a proper equipment in place. Investing in professional grade equipments, like studio quality tools and equipments, quality microphones, will give you the required edge over others.
- Warm ups – to get an upper hand on the voice over front, stretching exercises for your throat, like humming etc. are helpful as a warm up. They prepare your throat well to help you in any voice modulations, change overs during the recording.
- Demo reel – keep a demo reel handy, it should contain your full range of expressions, containing some of your best works. It should have crisp and clear sound quality.
All of these elements, tips and tricks are sure to land you a list of decent voice over assignments. So, listen, improvise and get your name on the list of credits for a voice over.