Here are some vocal techniques you can use to make your script read feel more authentic and real. Thanks for watching! Leave some some sounds you make while reading copy to make yourself sound more "real."
Properly Ad Libbing - 4:03
Ad-libbing is one of my favorite voiceover topics, but I want to help clarify a couple things about it because it’s commonly misunderstood. When I say ad lib, I'm not talking about changing a script or adding words to it. That’s a no-no. We can't do that. The script has to be intact, and we have to honor its integrity, ok? When I talk about voiceover ad libs, I'm talking about noises. This is one of my favorite classes to teach. It’s one of my favorite techniques. I love working with students on this. Before we had language and before we had written word, we had noises. Human beings since the dawn of time have made sounds of some kind to express themselves and to help explain their emotions, same as any other animal. But those noises aren't necessarily words. However they are super universal, ok? They are so universal in fact that you can travel the globe, go to any culture, any society anywhere, and these noises are so easily and readily recognized, they transcend any kind of language barrier that you might encounter.
So what are they? Sighs, moans, groans, giggles, yawns, all of the sounds that people make in everyday, regular conversation. Anything from [yawns] to [sighs], [groans], [lip buzz], [sniff inhales], [groans], it just goes on and on and on and on. We’re noisy. We always have been. There are certain noises that you make a lot. There are certain noises that your family members make a lot, that your coworkers might make. You’re kind of surrounded by these noises all the time. I always think it’s funny that everybody has at least one male family member who, wherever he gets up from a chair, usually an older gentleman, kind of makes a owahhh sort of sound. [laughs] You know, he’s got to leave his recliner. It’s big business.
These sorts of sounds can really be incredible to use in your performances because they’re real, they’re honest, they’re unplanned. They’re usually very spontaneous when they happen, but most importantly they help the audience to understand that we’re real. Right? We have all these clients that want real people, real, everyday, natural deliveries. There's nothing more real than this, because guess what, announcers don't do this. Announcers are so perfect and so polished. This is just one technique in a series that I call muddying your read and dirtying it up basically to make it sound as genuine as you possibly can.
Now stage and screen actors, they already know about this. They use these techniques all the time. It’s long overdue that voice actors incorporate this more into their day to day practices. Here’s a list of some of these different noises that you can borrow and feel free to bring into your booth, and use at your leisure, and add to it, add your own noises, create a list of noises so that when you’re in the booth and you’re looking at a piece of copy, you’ve got kind of this noise key at your disposal so you can just sort of scan it, and pick one or two that works well for you. Now keep this technique very sparing. Ok? It’s kind of like hot sauce. You just need a couple drops. You don’t want to overload it because then it becomes too contrived and distracting, but I hope you have fun with this technique.
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