Best Voice Over Warm Ups And Exercises

One thing I have learned about voice over warm ups over the last few years... The sillier you look doing them, the better they are. Well, that is not exactly fact based but let me know what you think after this post.  Here is a list of some of my favorite and fast vocal warm ups to get you sounding your best on the microphone.

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Pronounciation

Put a wine bottle cork or pencil in the front of your mouth and hold with your teeth. While holding the item begin reciting tongue twisters and articulate as best as you can. Continue to do this for a minute or two, if you question the effectiveness of this exercise  read something out loud when you are finished. You will be amazed at how clear and crisp everything sounds.

Breathing

Often times if you are doing an audiobook, commercial and industrial work you will need to be able to read run on sentences without audible breath. One exercise you could do everyday to improve your durability is simply taking a deep breath and giving you longest ahhhhh that you possibly can and till every last piece of air has exited your mouth. Do this three separate times each time you do this exercise, once in your highest voice, your middle voice and your lowest voice.

Resonance

Resonance is the vibrations of your facial bones to give you that deep, rich and warm sound to your voice. I basically have none, but practicing this exercise helps me to create more resonance in my voice when needed.

Breath in a good breath and say "huuuummm" and hold the last m sound until you feel your lips buzzing and hold that for about 15 seconds. Feel it in your mouth, nose and lips.

Now make an "n" sound by touching the tip of your tongue on the back of your upper teeth and opening your mouth. The tongue should vibrate on the back of the upper teeth and you should feel vibrations on the sides of the throat, sinus area and nose bone.

Go back and forth between the "m" and the "n" sound. The "m" should vibrate the front of the face and the "n" should be the back of the face. Repeat this several times once a day or before any voice over or audition.

 

Loosen Up!

Your best work is done when you are relaxed. Sometimes I do a few head rolls or yoga moves if I am feeling tense. And if your mouth is a little dry due to nerves don't forget your lemon water!  BBQ chips and green apples are also great for ridding your mouth of that smacky noise!

 

Top 5 VO Myth's

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Hey! You want to be a voice actor? 

Lets get some of those initial myths and fears out of the way!

 

Myth # 1 " I can do celebrity impressions make funny voices therefor I will make a great voice actor".

It's great that you can do that and maybe your one of those people who is told that they have a great voice and should get into voice acting but all of that will not get you anywhere if you do not know how to act. If you want to be a voice ACTOR than you should be working on your acting skills. If you are not believable in the character than you will not book the job.  The best solution to this of course are acting classes and if you are interested in animation a killer skill to have is improv.  Taking improv classes have been crucial for me in being able to bring versatility and freshness into the audition room... or booth :)

Myth #2 "It's impossible to break in"

Okay, I'm not going to say that it is an easy road without challenges and rejection because it definitely is not. But it is also true that casting directors are always looking for fresh new voices. Now with so many new platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube Red and video game apps there is more content being made now than ever. Which means more opportunities for you!

Yes there is lots of competition but there is only one you.

Myth #3 " I need a fancy home studio set up before I can get started"

Don't put the carriage before the horse. When you are first starting out you want to focus on developing your skills. What is the point of spending money on all the best equipment if you don't have what it takes to book.

Stay in your acting and voice over classes.  My first home studio cost a whopping 200 dollars and I was able to book small jobs off of it and still use it to audition in Hollywood. I bought a USB condensor mic, a small preamp, Audacity for my software and I set up in a closet where it is sound proof.

Myth #4 " I just need an agent and then I'm set"

Hold up there! Yes, getting an agent is incredibly exciting and a huge stepping stone in your career. I trained and worked small jobs for a few years before moving to Los Angeles and auditioning here. Los Angeles is the Olympics of acting, the better the opportunities the tougher the competition. 

Agents love to know that you are constantly working on your craft and remember they only get 10 % which means you should be doing 90% of the work.

Myth #5 " You just go in and read".

Don't fall into this trap! I cannot tell you how many times in acting classes I have heard someone brand new to acting read a few lines in a script and then heard a seasoned actor read the same few lines... HUGE DIFFERENCE.

It takes skill and talent to be able to give a bookable full fledged, dynamic and entertaining read. With the amount of competition and the volume of submissions on each casting your read need to POP in order to get you noticed.

 

How You Can Up Your Voice Acting Game With A Clown Class

Pro Tip: Innocence When Voicing A Child

One of the unique challenges I face when voicing a child is to capture the innocence. Okay, let me explain, and if you have seen any animation lately you can attest to this; the script are hilarious and cleverly written. Even shows targeted to children have sophisticated humor in them but if you are voicing a child you have to get into the mentality of the age of your character is.

You might get the voice right but you also have to approach the dialogue with the age with the innocence that matches. It definitely helps if you have children around you, observe how they interact with others and how they approach the world around them. Even if the jokes are written in the script the character usually doesn't know they are telling a joke, they are just innocently reacting to the world around them.

Go through your script discovering everything for the first time with the innocence and wonderment appropriate for the age of the character. Lead with your inner child!

So a few months ago I went to clown school. Yes, you read that correctly, I went to CLOWN SCHOOL. It was a six week program out in the suburbs somewhere in LA. 

Here is my proof!

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I thought in the beginning that my biggest take away from clown school would be a few new physical comedy gags up my sleeve but I left with something much cooler.

When you are in clown mode you are your inner child, you are totally in a present state, you are discovering everything for the first time, it's all brand new. You are curious and playful, you lead with innocence and always have the best intentions. Clowns have no regret, thought of the past of fear of the future. Clowns are always the part of themselves that never grew up. they make mistakes and get right back up, and always have persistant and unwavering hope despite the obstacles.

Clowns have no fear or regard for what others think, they are to busy being curious much like our characters who are children.