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Virtually every audition that you see these days requests a "conversational" read style. But what does that mean really? How do you deconstruct conversational? Here are a few tips that you can use to help you master the conversational read.
Every one of us has a conversational "melody." Simply enough, one of the best ways to start developing your ear is to really listen to yourself while you're having a conversation. Record yourself and listen closely. I'll have my students record their coaching session with me so that they can hear the difference when we're talking conversationally versus when they're reading or performing a script. And yes, there is a very distinct difference.
A lot of the time, the difference is in pacing, in combination with the rhythm of phrasing. We all talk in phrases that contain ideas and clauses that describe the content that we are conveying. Typically, we don't breathe in the middle of our phrases, as that would make us sound very choppy, or it wouldn't make sense. Ideally, you want to keep your thoughts together, your objects together, and your clauses together - and not breathe in the middle of them. We don't usually ever hear ourselves breathe in conversations unless we are talking so fast we can't get all of our words out. Typically we are breathing either at the start of the sentence or maybe the end of a sentence or even at a convenient comma point. In the case of poorly written copy, it is not advisable to try and change the words to sound conversational, however, you can take liberties to put punctuation in your sentence to make them flow better.
Remember, It's your job to make the copy sound beautiful, even though it may not be written beautifully. A lot of that has to do with saying it conversationally. When we speak to each other, we don't always speaking in Pulitzer prize-winning sentences - although I would like to think that I do - that but that's not typically the case. So anything that you can do to make it sound more conversational, even a salesy piece of copy or a run-on sentence, the more natural you will make it sound. And the more that your listener won't likely pick up on the mistake or notice the weirdly written phrases. And the better you've done your job!
Much love and Keep on rockin' your biz!
About the Author: Anne Ganguzza is a full-time voice talent and award-winning director and producer who works with students to develop their voice over and business skills - including VO demo training and production. She specializes in Conversational Commercial and Narration styles, including Corporate, E-Learning, Technology, Healthcare - Medical, Telephony, and On-Hold. Located in Orange County, CA, Anne offers private coaching and mentoring services to students in person and via Skype, ipDTL or Zoom.