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Does reading out loud really mean that you should take acting lessons? Can it really help? Find out what benefits you get from really understanding what acting is all about.
As a performer, we need to be believable and authentic...
So do you need acting lessons to be good at voiceover? Well, the short answer is they can certainly help you a lot. And one of the reasons being is that voiceover -- again, I'm not sure why they call it voiceover, because maybe it was the voice that was over a video, um, or over some sort of a visual that basically gave the term voiceover. But in reality, we need to be performers. And as a performer, we need to be believable and authentic. And so a lot of times we really do need to employ acting principles to do that.
Now, the acting in voiceover is a little bit different than acting on stage or acting in front of a camera, because typically when you are acting on a stage, you get to memorize those lines. You also get to typically play off of another actor and also have a physical audience present. And so that doesn't happen when we're behind the microphone. Because we are not necessarily playing off of another physical person, we are simply in our studio behind the mic, the acting really needs to take precedence in order for us to sound authentic, in order for us to sound believable. So acting lessons can certainly help you to give you the principle.
I think you also need to absolutely have some tips and techniques for being able to do the same behind the mic. You really have to be able to imagine a scene. You need to be able to focus on a scene and react to a scene in order to sound believable. And you need to always maintain that scene or an evolution of a scene or movement in the scene as you continue to voice that script. For the most part, we're going to be asked to be believable, and in order to sound believable, we need to actually make someone feel as if we are immersed, we're connected to the copy. If we are simply reciting the copy, or even kind of reciting the copy in a melody that sounds like it should be, uh, like a normal conversation or something that's authentic, I think what happens is we spend too much time listening to what it sounds like and not enough time immersed in a scene so that we can bring people in, we can engage our listeners into the scene with us. When we're simply reading a melody with words attached to it, that doesn't really bring a lot of credibility or believability to your performance.
So yeah, acting is so very important in voiceover. And yes, acting lessons can absolutely help you, but I also think you need to have the practice at being able to take that scene behind the mic and be able to truly imagine what that scene is like, who you are talking to, typically the listener, and how that scene is playing out throughout the script. And that's gonna take a little bit of time for you to read over that script, get familiar with it, understand what the story is that you're telling, understand the placement of the story. Where are you physically in this -- I mean, physically you're in the booth, but where are you in the scene? Are you at a company? Are you on the beach? Are you, you know, in, in any specific place? And as you are in that place, how are you moving through that scene? And that is what's really going to allow other people who listen to us to engage with us. We invite them in with our voice, sounding very connected and very immersed in the words that we are saying. And that helps us to bring them along with us into the journey. If we're simply reciting words from left to right in a particular melody, and we're not necessarily connected to them, or having some sort of a, of an emotion or a point of view that is attached to those words so that we can tell that story, um, be in that scene, it doesn't really help the listener go along the journey with us.
So yes, acting is very important, and acting in voiceover, yes, it is voice acting.
Thanks for reading!
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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.