Believability is one of the most important skills for actors. So important that it can make or break an audition or performance. It's essential for the audience to believe in the story you're telling or you'll have a tough time getting them to invest in you and your character (or whatever your character is trying to sell). Here are 6 key acting tips you can use to make your VoiceOver reads more believable.
1. Analyze Your Script
Before you start acting you will need to analyze your script. Do you know the story you are telling? What is the purpose of the copy? Is there a CTA (Call To Action)? If so, what is it? Acting is telling a story, and as an actor, it is your job to tell that story as truthfully and honestly as possible. First things first - read your script. You can't tell the story without knowing the story. Understand what the words mean in relationship to the story you are telling. What is the message you want to convey and what's happening when you perform? The more familiar you are with your script, the easier it will be for you to be believable as you will be able to anticipate any turn of events. Remember - every script has a story - even a medical narration has a story!
"Analyze the script. You can't effectively tell the story if you don't know the story" - Anne Ganguzza
2. Know your Character
There's no way you can be believable if you don't know who you are and what your character is all about. Ask yourself questions about your character, who they are, and what is their motivation for the scene. Give them a specific purpose for doing what they are doing. That way you can make believable choices for them.
Doing this will help people identify with your character because they will find something relatable that connects with their own lives - even if just for a short time. Remember that your character has an opinion about everything that is happening in their world, even if they are not saying anything at the time.
3. Know Who You Are Talking to
It's important to understand who you are telling the story to so you can have a relevant conversation. Don't just be a bunch of words and actions - Have a relationship with your listener. Make sure you are talking to just one person so that they feel included and special. If you are not talking to them specifically, why do they need to listen at all? Most importantly - have empathy for them. Do they feel comfortable in their space? What are their joys and frustrations? How can you help them? Use subtext to help flesh out your characters with each and every line of copy - It will help you to stay and move forward in the scene.
4. Get Physical
Get physical! Use your body behind the microphone. Use your hands, facial expressions, posture, and movement to help communicate what you're reading on the page. If you don't know how a character feels at a particular moment, ask yourself what's going on around them at that moment. How does your listener feel about your character? Are they commenting or asking a question? Acting is RE-acting, so take a moment to flesh out the scene so that you can respond truthfully in character. Your body movements will allow your speech and timing to be more natural, as they will distract your focus from simply reading the copy and sounding too methodical or robotic.
May we always be as expressive and authentic as these people in the video below (One of my very favorites!):
5. Stop Listening to What You Sound Like!
One of the biggest issues that actors have when it comes to being believable is staying in the scene. A lot of times, they are too busy worrying about what they sound like, instead of just being in the scene and telling their story. Typically as the copy moves on, they forget about the scene and finish the copy performing a monologue, forgetting all about their listener. Get out of your own way. Your brain should be focused on your listener and their actions so that you can react in an authentic and believable way.
"What you sound like is not nearly as important as what you're saying." - Anne Ganguzza
6. Have a POV
The last layer in the equation is your unique POV. What is that? It’s YOU! This is where you get to add the sugar and spice. Allowing this layer to blossom in the story will bring the magic to your read, and make it a one-of-a-kind. This will make it stand out from every other audition. Use subtext to help flavor your POV with nuanced emotion so that you can connect with your listener. Make sure your emotion is in tune with the story so that you are convincing, speaking the truth as the author intended.
Happily Ever After...
The more believable you make your reads, the more the audience will believe in your character and want to buy what you're selling. It's also what will get your audition noticed, or get you booked for a job. Don't just record without thinking about believability and authenticity - bring all of YOU into your performance, and go get that gig! I believe in you!
Thanks for reading!
Keep on rocking your business like a #VOBOSS
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Anne Ganguzza is a professional voice actor and award-winning director and producer who works with students to develop their voiceover and business skills - including voice over Coaching and Genre-based Demo Production. She specializes in conversational Commercial & Narration styles, including Corporate, eLearning, Technology, and On-Hold Messaging. Located in Orange County, California, Anne offers private coaching and mentoring services to students via ipDTL and Zoom.