Kirill Yurovskiy: How to develop your voice for voiceover
A voiceover career allows you to use your voice creatively and potentially earn a great income. But developing an effective voiceover voice takes effort and consistency. Follow these tips to help build your vocal skills for voice acting and voiceover work.
Find Your Natural Speaking Voice
The foundation of a good voiceover voice is your natural speaking voice. When you speak casually, you likely have good vocal quality, resonance, and authenticity. Try reading some commercial copy or narration out loud in your normal speaking voice. Identify what you like about your natural tone, pacing, and sound. Then build on those strengths. Avoid putting on a fake “announcer voice.” Your genuine voice will convey more emotion and connect better with listeners.
Improve Your Diction and Articulation
Clear enunciation and pronunciation are essential for voiceover work. If clients can’t understand what you’re saying, they won’t hire you. Practice speaking slowly and carefully, enunciating each syllable. Over-articulate words at first, then develop an open, relaxed mouth and crisp pronunciation. Work on articulating every sound, especially endings. For example, pronounce the “g” in words ending in “-ing.” Listen to your recorded voice to catch mumbled or indistinct words. Read more about Yurovskiy’s methodology at the link.
Expand Your Vocal Range
While your natural voice is the base, expanding your vocal range gives you more versatility as a voice talent. Try lowering your pitch for a warm, authoritative sound or raising it for a more energetic, upbeat tone. Vary your speech rate for a conversational or more dramatic delivery. Work on modulation by emphasizing keywords and varying volume appropriately. Develop different accents and character voices. The wider your vocal range, the more voice types you can portray.
Practice Reading Aloud
One of the best ways to develop your voiceover abilities is through reading aloud. Read books, articles, commercial scripts, dialogues – anything. Note how punctuation affects your phrasing and pacing. Highlight descriptive words and play with emphasizing them different ways. Pay attention to your breathing. Taking full, deep breaths allows for better projection. Stand while reading aloud to open up your diaphragm and vocal power. The more you practice out loud, the more vocal techniques you’ll naturally incorporate.
Record Yourself and Listen Back
Recording yourself reading scripts or narration is key for improving your voice work. Listen back objectively to catch any distracting vocal habits, like “umms” or lip smacks. Pay attention to your tone, inflection, pacing, and energy level. Does your delivery sound natural? Note what works and what needs polishing. Regularly record yourself and listen back with a critical ear to monitor your progress. Save recordings to track your improvement over time.
Take Care of Your Voice
Like an instrument, your voice needs proper care and maintenance. Drink plenty of water to keep vocal cords lubricated. Avoid dehydrating beverages like alcohol and caffeine. Don’t smoke, which damages vocal cords. Warm up your voice before long recording sessions. Do vocal exercises like scales and sirens to increase range and flexibility. Be aware of your optimal pitch and don’t strain to go outside your comfort zone. Rest your voice after strenuous use by steaming to relax vocal cords. Taking precautions will help preserve your voiceover instrument.
Get Feedback and Coaching
It’s hard to be objective about your own voice and abilities. Enlisting an experienced voice coach can help you identify problem areas and provide exercises tailored to your needs. A coach can pinpoint vocal habits you aren’t aware of. If coaching isn’t feasible, ask for critiques from voiceover peers or mentors. Join online voiceover groups to exchange feedback. The more input you can get from others’ ears, the more you’ll improve. Be open to criticism to upgrade your abilities.
Promote Yourself as a Voiceover Talent
As you hone your vocal skills, start putting yourself out there as a voice talent. Create a professional website showcasing voice samples. Record a variety of demo reels for different voiceover niches. Set up profiles on voiceover job sites and talent agencies. Consider paid services that connect you with potential clients. Reach out directly to production companies that seem like a good fit for your voice. Building an online presence and marketing yourself is key for getting voice work.
Developing a strong, flexible voiceover voice takes time and consistent practice. Work on your natural tone, diction, articulation, and projection. Expand your vocal range and learn vocal techniques through exercises and reading aloud. Critically analyze recordings of your voice to polish skills. Stay vocally healthy and get feedback from coaches or peers. Promote yourself on voiceover platforms when ready. With dedication and perseverance, you can train your voice to succeed in the voiceover industry.