Keeping Your Voice Fit and Healthy

Keeping Your Voice Fit and Healthy

June 8, 2022

Let’s face it: your voice is your calling card and your main instrument as an actor. There’s no getting around the fact that if you want your instrument to play well for you, you have to look after it. 

The best violinist in the world takes great care of their Stradivarius, and Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes was in mint condition every time he set out on the race track, and your voice is exactly the same. In order for it to serve you well, you’ve got to take care of it and keep it in the best shape possible.

Here are four simple techniques you can put into practice right away to keep your voice fighting fit and protected so you can perform at your best when you need to.

1. Breathe, breathe, breathe

Breathing is a technique that gives you great bang for your buck when it comes to protecting and keeping your voice healthy. 

Breath is fuel for your voice and is your best defence against straining, pushing, or injury. It’s important to have a good breathing technique under your belt to support your voice and give you the highest octane fuel possible for the sounds you need to make.

But not all breath is created equal. The fancy name for good, grounded, deep, belly breathing is ‘diaphragmatic breathing’. Breathe deep into your lower belly and lower back to get a higher quality of breath, not only to fuel and support your vocal sound but also to help with clear thinking, longevity, and vocal flexibility.

2. Warm up like a pro

You’d be surprised at the number of actors and singers who don’t warm up before a show and end up croaking at the end of a run. Warming up not only gets your vocal muscles and breath ready but wakes up your brain as well.  

Remember: you are a vocal athlete. Every Olympian warms up before their event and gets in the zone, and so must you. Every performer should have their own personal warm-up ritual that wakes their body and gets their voice ready for action.

Think about warming up on stage or in the performance space you are performing in. This gives you the chance to test the acoustic and feel how your voice is going to react in the space. Vocally testing out your performance space also helps you avoid ‘pushing’ your voice, which is not only physically exhausting for you but exhausting for the audience to listen to.  

Read the full article on Spotlight

Share :

Why hire a VO – by Marilena Gant

Why hire a VO – by Marilena Gant

August 9, 2021

Whenever I meet someone new and mention that I’m a voiceover artist I’m often met with the same response ‘oh right…what actually is that?’. Most people are familiar with VoiceOver for Animation or Video Game and perhaps even Documentary Narration but might not be aware of just how many industries benefit from working with voiceover artists.

From education to advertising, name an industry and you’ll probably find at least one VoiceOver artist who calls it home.
Imagine hopping on the tube in London and hearing silence, no announcements, no helpful guide warning you of the ravine that’s about to appear between the train and the platform.
Imagine calling your broadband provider and just hearing hold music, having no idea which number to press next or how long your wait time might be. Imagine turning on the TV and hearing nothing when watching the ad break. Imagine doctors and nurses or construction workers and engineers watching training videos with no explanations behind the images appearing on their screens.

A picture doesn’t speak a thousand words, not on its own. A voiceover artist does.
A voiceover artist’s job is to bring words, stories, and pictures to life. It’s our job to teach, to advise, to inform, to inspire, to encourage, to move you or to make you giggle till your sides ache.

Whether we are helping the next generation of doctors learn about a lifesaving medical treatment or simply warning you not to break your ankle when you hop of the train in a hurry. As humans we crave connection, now more than ever before.

Voiceover artists are there to humanise text and help people better connect with the videos and images they see. Take an explainer video for example, without an engaging voiceover, the human touch is all but absent.

Without the extra connection provided by a voiceover, the message of the video may be lost. This goes for commercials and corporate videos too where voiceovers are there to help leave a lasting impression on the viewer.
Voiceover artists also help us all navigate the world around us, from navigating public transport, museums and public places, to making our phones and devices more accessible. As we have seen throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Voiceover becomes an essential tool in moments of crisis too. Think about the plethora of covid related announcements you have heard of the last year on every medium, from the radio to pre-recorded messages on your
employer’s phone system. Voiceover artists were there to help important updates and safety messages reach the public as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Not only do voiceovers help us safely navigate the world around us but they help us learn about it too. Whether you are 5 or 65, chances are you’ve experiences virtual learning in some capacity, particularly over the last year when even more of our learning has moved online. With so much learning taking place at home, complete with a myriad of distracting pets, snacks, house chores and the lure of Netflix, it’s more important than ever to keep a learner focused and engaged.

A professional, friendly and human voiceover captures our attention with greater success than plain text ever could and makes sure information is absorbed.

Voiceover is pretty much everywhere and I think the world would seem a little bit colder without it. So, the question is not why hire a VO, the question is can you really afford not to hire one.

Written by Marilena Gant

Share :

Creating Leads (Pt.2) – By Rich O’Donoghue

Creating Leads (Pt.2) – By Rich O’Donoghue

May 4, 2020

What you don’t want to do at this point is bombard them
with information and I would suggest no showreel at this
point as well. It’s just a general welcome, letting them know
where you had their email address from “Hi John, my name’s
Rich, Jane suggested I contact you regarding voice work” etc.
A great way to get a response is to ask a question, and what
better question to end your short and snappy email with
than “I wandered if I may send you my showreel for your
reference?” this is the engaging part, if you were to just send
the email with no question then you would potentially get no response.

It gives the potential client the option to engage in
business with you and strike up a working relationship. If you
get that response then great, this is where you show them
your shop window and let them know the door is open
(alright Rich calm down on the metaphors!!) so what’s next?
The response email arrives “Hi there, thanks for getting in
touch, great to hear from you and yes, sure, please do send
me your showreel”. Again, you don’t want to respond leaving your life story so, short, snappy, and get straight to the point.

Include details like, you are based at
your own studio with ISDN, source connect etc and you can
turn around MP3s same day or include your availability.
Include some sort of offer like, you can provide a few
auditions for their clients to choose from and try to
accommodate some of their needs from the off, after all you
may end up working with these people for years to come.

Negotiating rates at this point is subjective, you don’t want to
pigeon hole yourself and so perhaps say your rates apply on a
job by job basis but you work to equity rates for radio work
etc. As long as this email contains just the right amount of
information to get across what you can offer, along with your
showreel, then you’re ready to go.

If you don’t get a response from the second email I would
just take it as they have all your details on file now and they
will contact, you when something suitable arises. In regard to
making contact with them a second time, perhaps leave it a
month or two and make contact to let them know you’re
around or if you have a new showreel etc. I wouldn’t add
them to a weekly availability email at this point, maybe once you have worked together and they have said it’s ok. The
above is not from the bible and some people may have
alternative ways but it’s something I have crafted since my
first email as a freelancer when I sent the same email out to
300 contacts with absolutely no effort or thought into what I
was doing.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t,
sometimes the work just isn’t there! so don’t get
downhearted if it doesn’t work. The above method has
proved to work for me on a lot of occasions and I have
managed to form working relationships through just a few

Share :

Visualisation (Pt.2) – By Rich O’Donoghue

Visualisation (Pt.2) – By Rich O’Donoghue

August 29, 2018

The knowledge I gained from this study help me with my work as a commercial producer as I use visualisation techniques to bring scripts to life. As a voice director, I describe these visuals to help bring the voice over into the character and setting of the script. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of my work as it really opens the creative experience of radio as a medium and is a lot of fun expressing my interpretation of a script, especially when the voice over provides their own input. I have found this technique to be useful not only in a professional setting but also teaching new voice artists whom have never experienced direction before.

The study for my dissertation has played a great part in my work as a guest lecturer at Huddersfield University. The lecture I deliver covers commercial radio production but has a separate workshop in which I play this soundscape and have the students discuss their experiences in an open forum. The workshop has ignited some interesting discussions and the difference between each listeners experience varies, massively, in some cases. The lecture was also adapted as part of a training module for both sales and creative staff at UTV Media, which helped to evolve my study to be relevant within a commercial setting. How we can create more effective radio campaigns using visualisation techniques to bring commercials to life.

I have often wandered where ‘sound creating visualisations’ has stemmed from in evolution, and I have a theory (hold onto your hats!!):

A caveman sits outside of his cave overlooking the forest and every now and again he hears a loud sound but has no clue what it is. One day he ventures into the forest, into an opening where he sees a beast, which lets out the same loud sound. The caveman now has a visual representation of the sound he hears and disappears back to his cave. The next day he hears the same sound and his mind presents him with the image of the beast, so he returns to the forest. The man is presented with an image of the beast attacking an animal of prey, but how does he know the beast is a threat to him!? His mind uses a memory of what ‘caveman’ looks like and replaces the pray with the image of him (Imagination = memory manipulation) ultimately providing him with an image of what it would be liked to be attacked by the beast (survival instinct) The caveman disappears quickly never to return, at least never when that sound is heard, and lives to carry forth man’s evolution.

How does the caveman know what he looks like if there are no mirrors in the forest I hear you ask? They say never trust a thought that arises at 3 in the morning, so take what you will from my theory! As the great Andrew Sachs said when playing Manuel in Faulty Towers, “I know nothing”.

Share :