Ha Ha! How Jokes Can Help Your Voice Over Delivery...

"A voice actor and casting director walk into a bar...."

Jokes are invaluable in our industry. Not to tell anyone else. But rather to tell ourselves. Here's why:

When narrating a voice over script, voice actors sound best when they are physically loose, vocally-free, and natural sounding. But many voice actors have tension in their body when they read; and tension causes a rigid physical stance and vocal tightening which results in a strained, contrived, and less-creative delivery.

Not good.

The fix: Think about a joke! As funny as it sounds, just thinking about a funny joke helps voice actors loosen-up and free-up any tension!

How to do it: Before reading your script, tell a joke and continue from the punch-line right directly into your script. But be careful:

     1) If you're in your home studio without a client on phone-patch, tell the joke aloud. If you're with a client, tell it to yourself. You see, jokes should NOT typically be told at voice over recording sessions when clients, directors, or agents are present unless they tell a joke first, there is a natural break for you to tell a joke, your joke is very short, funny, appropriate, and you tell it well. Otherwise, best to not tell it!

     2) Unless your script requires the same emotional character as the joke's punchline, you'll need to quickly change your emotion after the punchline and before reading the script.

Time to put this to the test:

First, record these 3 taglines without telling a joke first.

  • (sexy) "Ten smooth shades of irresistible colors that makes lips sizzle"

  • (hard sell) "Hundreds of cars and trucks at rock bottom prices!"

  • (goofy) "Hey kids, watch Mr. Clown magically make his suitcase disappear!"

Now, record them again, this time saying a joke first before each one. After recording, edit out the joke. Notice how "tight" your voice sounds. Notice how unnatural you sound. Notice how unprofessional you sound.

Finally, edit out the joke from your second recording, and then compare the first and second takes back-to-back. You'll likely hear that your second take (the take that had been prefaced with a joke) is looser and more natural. Voila, you sound great!

So anyway- back to the original riddle:

A voice actor and casting director walk into a bar. The casting director points to a word in the script and tells the voice actor to emphasize that word, "Give me a punch!" The bartender overhears and punches the casting director. Stunned and hurt, the casting director repeats, "Really hit it!" The WHACK from the bartender is even harder this time. Now black-n-blue and disfigured, the casting director asks the bartender, "Look at me!...what do you have to say for yourself?" The bartender replies, "You have a face for radio!"

July 21, 2009
Meta Description: 
The best voice over is delivered without tension in your voice, and jokes (listening or telling) help us do so.
Meta Keywords: 
Edge Studio, voice over, natural delivery, jokes, conversational, flow, tension, strain, script, casting director, copy, recording session.

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