When you listen back to your files, what are you focusing on? Now, it should be obvious that you want to edit out mistakes, remove any obvious mouth clicks and take out any sharp breathes if necessary. That should be second nature to you. Oh, and don’t forget farts and belly rumbles!
Do you believe it? It can be extremely hard to have a critical ear, especially when we listen to ourselves. We are so used to our voices and it can be difficult to step back and ask that question. Do I believe what I was saying? After all, it was you who said it so of course you believe what you just said!
Critical listening is a learned skill. When I first started in voiceover, I had absolutely no idea what I was listening for. It was only after spending the last 5 years, critically listening to commercials, other talents demos, and taking coaching from people who know what they are doing, that I really started to understand what to listen for.
Immerse yourself in the industry! When you hear a spot or a read from someone in a group that makes you think – WOW – that was amazing, take the time to analyze it in your mind. What was it that made it stand out? More than likely, it was because the script was well written and that you believed very word of what the voice over said.
I don’t believe there is one trick to being believable. And trying to force it isn’t going to help. It just takes practice and patience. Reading other people’s words as if they are your own is harder than most people think. The key is finding what relates to you in the script. Then try and imagine yourself in a situation in real life that is similar. That is what we all bring to the table that is unique. We have all had different experiences and bring different things to the table. The truth in a read is completely accepting that and being honest in the moment. When you listen back, you should hear that honesty.
Accept who you are. Embrace who you are. The people who are most successful in this business walk into the booth with a confidence in their ability. They know who they are and give themselves up to that. They bring a truth to the words that can’t be denied. They expose themselves to the script and the listener in a way that makes you feel something. And that’s what it’s all about. Connecting with the person that you are imagining you are talking to. And editing out the farts!