And a few more...was: Re: A few voice-over tips

Subject: And a few more...was: Re: A few voice-over tips
From: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: David Castro <thejavaguy -at- gmail -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2010 17:43:48 +0200

On Sun, Jan 17, 2010 at 14:53, David Castro <thejavaguy -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
> I'm
> considering buying one of those voice modulators so that I can stand to
> listen to my own voice (unless you have any tips on how to listen to your
> own voice and not cringe? :-)

David et al.,

If it's any comfort, I have never liked my own voice on
recordings--but I have received compliments about it all my life! What
we hear when we are speaking includes all the subsonics in our body,
especially in the sinus cavities of the head and from the chest. Thus,
it is a far richer-sounding experience when we are listing from

(Gawd, I wonder what James Earl Jones sounds like to himself when he
is speaking? !!)

If you are nervous when you speak, too, the voice tends to go higher
from the muscle tension of the throat. This is usually not a
particularly pleasant thing, either; as a general rule, lower voices
tend to be more pleasing. I have known a few people who take a single
shot of booze a half hour or so before speaking--not enough to slur
anything, but to "take the edge off" the nervousness. Frankly, I never
thought that was particularly effective from the results I
observed--but it is often a psychological boost, I suppose.

My own pre-speaking nervousness has never been much of an issue--I am
a true ham at heart when to comes to speaking in front of live
audiences, and speaking to a microphone is even simpler. I simply
regard a mic as if it were a close personal friend I am speaking to.
Any nervousness simply fires me up to do a better job.

Keeping all the range of dynamics is also a help--altering the
inflections, volume, maintaining proper emphasis--they all go into a
polished presentation. How to communicate that to neophytes, though?
That is why I left it out of my original post.

Remember, finally, that things sound "fresh" the first time--and about
the hundredth. Practice, practice, practice--it pays off.

When I was in charge of recording commercials at a radio station for
several years and had my own schedule so full that most of the
everyday commercials were done very, very quickly--out of necessity--I
got sufficient practice to sound fairly convincing with any sort of
copy and with very little advance preparation. Often, I had time only
to read through the copy once while I was digging for appropriate
music to put in the background before starting the music and hitting
"record." I commonly had twelve to twenty commercials to record in an
hour of studio time. Compared to that, your project will be fairly
simple, as presumably you will have ample time to prepare.

Oh, yes--remember that when you are nervous, your breath control will
suffer. Thus, make the sentences and stops (commas, semicolons, and
colons as well as periods) relatively close together. That way, you'll
have natural places to breathe. That is why it helps to record it
ahead of time as you are in the writing stage, not simply reading
aloud. When writing, you will be more relaxed with normal breath
control, but I can practically guarantee when the recording starts you
won't--especially if anyone is watching!--and you will also tend to
speak much faster.

If you can establish and maintain a positive attitude about all this,
you may even emerge with a project you can be proud of and look
forward to repeating. It'll also look great on a resume!


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