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.  

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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

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Make Working from Home, Work for You – by Marilena Gant

Make Working from Home, Work for You – by Marilena Gant

May 14, 2021

When I was studying for my University exams I found every excuse under the sun to procrastinate. I would clean, cook, re-watch Friends for the 85th time and facetime every distant relative I could think of, to avoid opening my books. This desire to procrastinate has never left and I’m sure I’m not the only one. However, now that I run my own freelance voiceover business, procrastination isn’t really an option. With many of us now working from home in the voiceover community and beyond, productivity and procrastination are the buzz words of 2021. 

Over the years I’ve come up with a couple of tricks and tips to fight the urge to clean my windowsills to avoid doing my expenses. Here are 6 ways to boost your productivity and make working from home, work for you.

Ready, set, go…
 I came across this tip on social media and it has changed the way I work. If there’s a task you’ve been dreading, grab a cup of tea and set a timer. See how many emails you can send or how many invoices you can get done before the timer runs out. By treating it as a challenge or game, you’ll be amazed at how much more you can accomplish and how much easier it is to stay on task.

Disconnect to reconnect…
No one can concentrate for an entire working day without taking a break. When working from home, it’s easy to work through lunch or skip breaks altogether. Now more than ever, it’s so important to give your brain some much needed rest during the day. Try to move away from your workspace or studio for at least fifteen minutes and get some fresh air, eat some lunch or grab a coffee. Disconnect from your work for a little while and you’ll feel refreshed and focused afterwards. 

Your schedule is your new best friend…
As voiceover artists, we don’t always know what our workday will look like ahead of time. For a long time, I avoided creating a schedule for this reason, however I found myself feeling a bit aimless during the quiet moments of the day. When I finally decided to create a flexible schedule, ready to be adapted at the drop of a hat, I noticed I was ten times more productive! Thanks to the internet, there are hundreds of tools and apps that can help you create a flexible schedule that works for you. 

Lists aren’t just for shopping…                                                                               

Who would have thought that in 2021 there would be entire websites, blogs and products dedicated to the art of list making! If you think a more traditional schedule is not for you, why not try making a list every evening of the tasks you need to complete the next day instead. Decide how urgent each task is and how much time each will take to complete. You’ll be able to mentally prepare for the day ahead and keep track of what needs to be done. 

A biscuit or two…
A little self-bribery goes a long way. I love chocolate biscuits. A lot. So once I’ve completed a task I’ve really been avoiding, I like to reward myself with a little bit of the sweet stuff. It keeps me motivated and on task, knowing that a biscuit or two is waiting for me at the other side. Whatever your vice, allow yourself a little reward after completing something you’ve been avoiding like the plague. 

Chunk it up…
Trying to tackle a big project in one go can feel hopeless. Instead break your work down into bite sized chunks. You’ll feel like you are making progress when you are able to tick off each chunk you’ve completed. 

Above all, be kind to yourself. Some days might be more productive than others and that’s totally okay. Social media seems to be awash with productive people who are unaffected by procrastination or self-doubt. In reality, no one can be productive 100% of the time. Remember also that every individual is different, what might work for one person, might not work for another. Hopefully some of these tips will give you some ideas on how to make working from home, work for you. 






Written by Marilena Gant








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