I’ve just returned from a lovely voiceover conference. It was my first real jaunt since the COVID-19 lock downs, so I was looking forward to the time away from my city. To my surprise, I learned something unexpected at the conference. Nothing new was added to my knowledge, but more of a reminder of the importance of being myself. It’s essential to keep in mind our specialness and worth. I believe you’ll agree that the real you is your best performance at whatever you do in life.
Somewhere between December 2020 and August 2021, the voiceover industry’s preferred style changed yet again. The calming voice of season individuals between the ages of 35-55 is now passé. Instead, the current (as of this writing) industry norm has changed (back) to the younger, hipper, conversational tone. The announcer tone that has been a mainstay for decades in media is again seen as unthinkable.
Change is a regular part of the voice-acting industry. Voice seekers are looking for something that stands out from the rest of the crowd, which is a great point. But, unfortunately, our industry has been so saturated with styles and deliveries, it’s becoming harder and harder to have a sound that has never been heard or felt somewhere in the audio world.
A voice talent can get pretty insecure trying to keep up with all the changes and may feel like their style is still not enough to impress the most understanding of voice seekers. Yes, it can be a daunting task, but perhaps the focus needs an adjustment.
Be You Anyway
Most people can learn to act and portray characters or types of voiceover delivery. However, if the most popular style changes with each cycle of the moon, it can be challenging to keep with “what’s in.” Perhaps the answer is trying not to fully fit in. The best advice I keep hearing from others is to “just be you.” Becoming comfortable in being oneself can be a lifelong task. However, if we master being ourselves, we may reach our own voiceover nirvana.
“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. ― William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Know the Great One – You
Becoming “you real,” starts with a review and study of how you talk and deliver words and emotions. Recording yourself in different situations like while talking to a friend, a client, or someone you care for, can help you learn your authentic sound. Once you’ve studied the true actor in you, you can shape your voiceover deliveries to reflect your sound. That original “you” voice sound is conversational and authentic. Once you’ve studied and mastered you, your sound will never go out of style. There is an audience for your realness as you use that talent to connect and deliver your scripts.
As I’ve blogged before, change in life is a constant, but no one or thing should force you to switch from being who you really are. As voice talents, let’s remember that our best performance is when we are genuinely ourselves and free to give our best performance.
Brake that lip!