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A breath in the wrong spot can kill your read.

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We all breathe, but when is the right time to breathe when you're reading a script? Anne tackles this question and shows you just where and how you should take a breath for VO.


Breathing is important for survival and voicing copy.

So breathing is important. Yes, it's very important, obviously, for our survival, but it's really also very important when you are voicing copy. And so a lot of times, we don't anticipate where we need to breathe in order to make that copy sound natural, believable, uh, as if we are just speaking it. It's important for you to understand the places where we typically breathe when we talk.

Now, as I'm talking to you right now, you don't really hear me breathing in the middle of my phrases because I'm -- notice, I just went (breathes). I'm breathing between my sentences. So before I start a sentence, as I finish the sentence, I'm breathing and also I'm breathing at my pauses or at my proverbial commas. When you get a piece of copy, it's always great, a great place to breathe before you begin and after you end the sentence, if you need it. Here, I'm gonna always tell people, don't worry about your breathing if it's loud. I tend to be a loud breather. You, you heard that one. So a lot of times when I'm in my studio, I'll just, you know, I'll take that breath as I need it. Because here's the thing, guys, every time we are in post, we're taking out our breaths for the most part anyways or we're reducing them. Either way, we are hitting that breath with something. Uh, even if it's a, even if it's a filter, um, or a stack that we're applying to it, and it's reducing the breaths, sometimes we have to just take out those noises of the breath.

So, because we're going to actually be in post and and clicking on that breath or being somewhere around that breath anyway, for me, it doesn't matter how loud I breathe because I've got to do something with it anyway. I think if you want to have less time in post, breathe where you would naturally breathe when you talk normally, and that is between the sentences and at the commas. Now, sometimes it's really hard to anticipate the commas. Sometimes your copy doesn't have commas. Sometimes your copy has too many commas. So what I want you to do is make sure that you're breathing at -- if there's a list, if there's a comma after maybe the first item or maybe the first few items, you can certainly breathe there. Usually before an and if you're comparing this and then that. So you can do a little bit of a pause. So I'm gonna talk to you about this, and then I'm gonna talk to you about that, and I breathe at the and or at the comma. And sometimes if there are no commas, you need to put them in.

When you're breathing, think about not interrupting your thoughts with a breath. If I were just reading along, I might sound something like, here I am reading along at this particular time, and now I'm breathing, but oh, I ran outta breath. And so what happens is our breathing sounds unnatural. It doesn't, it's not at the right place. So I want you to think about breathing after you create a thought or speak a thought. In a very long, drawn out sentence, which a lot of times if you're doing narration, e-learning, anything that's long format, sometimes people will write long sentences. Yeah, it's true, it happens. So try to divide up that sentence where you feel the logical thoughts are. And then if there are no commas, put a comma there, but don't put your comma in the wrong place.

So typical places, again, are before the and, within a list, and in between separate thoughts, where, if you feel that you could make a sentence out of that copy, right, and pause, that's a good point for a breath. And these things need to be thought out in advance. If you're just gonna run into your studio and start reading, that doesn't help you figure out where to breathe. So always do a good script analysis. I like to run through the script and say it out loud really quickly. When I do that, it's -- lets me know where the sentences are long and where I might be able to breathe. And then just mark those. And if you don't end up marking your copy -- a lot of times I don't mark my copy, but I already know enough ahead of what the context is, what the storyline is, and I've already figured out where my pauses are going to be. So prepare yourself for those breaths and don't let them sneak up and surprise you, because when that happens, you're just gonna have to go and edit in post, and you're gonna be spending a lot of time in post.

Thanks for reading!

Keep on rocking your business like a #VOBOSS

About Anne Ganguzza

Recipient of multiple Voice Arts Awards for Outstanding Narration Demo - Anne Ganguzza is California-based Voice Over Coach and award-winning Director & Producer specializing in target-marketed voiceover Demo Production. Anne's production team creates SOVAS-nominated demos across several genres, including Commercial, Corporate Narration, and eLearning, and her VO BOSS podcast is the winner of SOVAS Outstanding Podcast in 2022.



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