I’ve written before about working to get out of the traditional ‘announcer’ mode and into something that sounds more like a real person.
Maybe you’ve smelled the coffee brewing and you’ve realized that the voice-over business is moving away from announcers. And the pace of that movement is growing with each month. And before long, you’re not going to get any decent paying work anymore. So, you want to start on this journey too.
Here are a few concrete suggestions, some of which I’ve done. Some of which I wish I had the time and/or money to do. But, all of which, I’m convinced, will help you. They are in no specific order.
1. Listen to people. Real people. When you’re in an airport, a bus depot, the grocery story, a restaurant. Listen. How do people really say things to one another. (We’re the weird ones, you know. The ones who actually pay attention to the commercials on the radio and TV. And if you mostly listen to commercials, especially radio commercials, all you’re going to do is make it harder for yourself.) Listen, especially, to situations where someone is telling a story. Maybe it’s about the ball game, or the dance, or getting plastered. The point isn’t the content of the story, it’s the way people speak when they’re telling stories. Especially telling stories to their friends.
2. After you’ve trained your ears for the way real people talk. They way they slur through certain words or sounds, but not others, that kind of thing. Then listen to yourself. Listen. Do you notice how ‘good’ you sound? Only, in this case, good isn’t really good. It’s fake. Phony. And it’s hurting your career. Identify what separates you from real people.
3. Take some acting or even better some improv classes. This is a site with some intruction on learning improv. Even better would be to take a class from someone who really knows his or her stuff. Like Pat Fraley. Or Susan Berkley.
No doubt there’s a lot more. I’ll add as I think of them.