My voice is amazing, why don’t I book more? It’s a question I hear from many people who get into voice over. Let’s frame that a little differently. I think we would all agree that James Earl Jones has an amazing voice. His performance as Mufasa in the Lion King was amazing. Yet, he doesn’t just book every job on the TV and hold a monopoly on voice over work. His voice is suited to a certain sound. He’s not going to book a young vibrant spot for Nike. And you know what – I think he’s OK with that!
Booking work is way less about the sound of your voice than you think. How you say things is much more important than how you sound. I have listened to so many demos from new talent where you can hear they have a really nice voice. But the demo sucks! They have fallen in love with the sound of their own voice and think it is what will sell. Sorry to break it you, but that is just so far from the truth.
You have to make people believe what you say. The sensitivity of how humans hear is amazing. Subconsciously, we can tell the difference between someone who can convey a message that is truthful and honest compared to someone who is just reading words. This is amplified when someone is reading the words in a way that they think makes them sound cool. We get turned off. Our brains have a way of discerning that information and when it decides it is not the truth, it stops listening.
How can you fix it? Oooh, now that’s a tough one. It’s easy for me to say – “STOP loving your own voice!”. But that won’t work. You have to put a lot of hard work and dedication into this. Listen to the spots on the TV and radio that you thought were good. Did you believe what they were saying? The answer will probably be yes. Were you drawn in by the way the script was read? Did it make you feel something? Notice that at no point did you think about the voice. You were captured in the moment by what was said and how it was said. You need to really listen until you understand this.
Some of the greatest orators in history didn’t have amazing voices. They just had an innate ability to weave a story that enthralls their audience who hang on every word. Personally, I don’t like the sound of Winston Churchill’s voice (sorry Winston!). But his speeches – Wow! They hold your attention and take you on a journey with him. You believe what he is saying. So much so, that an entire nation regained its confidence and resolve after his “fight on the beaches” speech.
If you think you struggle with this, you are not alone. It is something that a lot of people have to deal with. The best way to fix it is to work with a reputable coach. Someone who knows how to stop you thinking about how you sound and concentrate on how you say things. You will be amazed by what a difference this will make. You will change the original question of this blog into; “my READS are amazing, it helped me book more!”.