The question is, “What is a “compassionate” voice? How is the actor’s delivery different?” In a society where narcissism is arguably preferable over altruism, compassion seems an odd position. While sympathy is often overlooked today, people routinely respond to the daily tragic events reported by the media with outpourings of aid and well wishes. But a compassionate voice actor knows how to sincerely tap into the reservoir of his or her own heart and understand the sentiment of others. So, a sympathetic voice actor understands compassion, how to feel it, what it means, and how to convey it touchingly through voice acting.
Understanding compassion begins with understanding empathy. According to UVA Health, “Empathy is a gateway to compassion. It’s understanding how someone feels and trying to imagine how that might feel for you — it’s a mode of relating.” Impulses can be subtle, but a “compassionate” voice actor must make the mental and emotional connection to process and develop real connection.
Real compassion stimulates actions and makes heartfelt calls. It leads to changed lives for children to the elderly. Compassion cuts through sarcasm straight to the heart and soul of the matter. It can guide the heart and mind to receive instruction and consider various options as no other emotion can. Compassion champions the rights and needs of our families, culture, and communities.
This type of voice talent must be comfortable and able to feel the empathy called for in a project or script and channel that emotion into a connecting performance. In short, heartfelt passion must come from the heart.
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
Easy, right? Perhaps. I try never to overlook such an essential position. Compassion is being real. It’s what I seek to do and provide in my voiceover performances to change the lives of others for the best.