No matter the business genre, verbal communication needs to flow smoothly. As a voiceover artist, clear communication is a must. Slurred words and incomprehensible sentences will not only lose auditions but severely stunt the growth of his or her voiceover business. Voice talents must be aware of articulation to make sure words are impactful and transforming. With a little practice and preparation, one’s verbal articulation can be a no-brainer.
Dictionary.com defines articulation as, “an act or the process of articulating: the articulation of a new thought. While the adjective is defined as “uttered clearly in distinct syllables, capable of speech; not speechless, using language easily and fluently… .”
Proper pronunciation starts with having a good grasp of one’s message. In “Readers Digest, How to Be More Articulate: 8 Must-Follow Secrets to Improve Your Speech,” Tatiana Ayazo writes, “Know what you’re talking about. Having a clear idea of what you want to say will allow you to organize your thoughts into a coherent structure. It’s that simple.”
Prepare your Chops
The next step is to prepare your vocal instrument. Just like a musician tunes up his or her instrument before a performance, a voice talent must warm up the voice. Warming up the voice makes it possible to perform well in one’s range and vocal tone. Voiceovers can prepare the chops with “tongue twisters.” Tongue twisters and vocal warmups are words or groupings of words designed to improve pronunciation and to gain fluency in performing voiceovers or in daily communication.
Rodney Saulsberry, a major voice-over artist, based in the United States has authored “Rodney Saulsberry’s Tongue Twisters and Vocal Warm-Ups.” His book includes a wide assortment of handy tongue twisters to help get your voiceover work day off to the right start. There are also other tongue twisters available on the Internet and can be easily found via a Web search.
Prepare your Body
Of course, voice actors rely heavily on their voice, so time for vocal and body rest are essential. Moreover, tension and stress from life often hide within the human body. Since voice acting is a full body experience, exercise and stretch can help reduce anxiety in the mouth and body and allow for needed rest. The well-rested and limber voice talent will find it easy to articulate with a more natural flow without having to overstress the mouth muscles.
Time Out at the Start
Taking a moment of awareness before voicing a project will also help with articulation. Focusing on the meaning of the script, one’s body placement, and position will help center one’s whole being on performance. The brief meditation allows the mind and mouth to prepare for speaking. Focusing the mind on what is about to be said and its overall meaning gives clarity to the mouth; articulation is almost automatic. This time out can be moments or minutes depending upon how long it will take to ponder the script and how the words will flow from the body. The short timeout is a crucial step and should not be missed.
Applying these tips will not only make for better articulation during voiceover performances, but better overall connection by the voice actor to effectively convey passion and purpose.
Break a lip.