Practice, Practice, Practice
We have always heard the saying "practice makes perfect". In real life that isn't always true but I do believe that practice makes better. My motto is "practice, practice, practice and when you're done practicing, practice some more."
Here's a few questions to ask yourself:
What, How, When?
What do I practice?
1. First thing you need practice or "get to know" is your hardware & software. Getting to know your interface, microphone and headphones are very important but the most important thing to practice or "get to know" is your editing software. If you don't know how to edit and save your audio then how will you get your recordings to your clients.
2. Second and above knowing your editing software is you need to practice with your voice. That's the reason why you got into the business, right? Your voice is what will get you clients but if you don't know how to utilize it and get used to hearing your voice then you won't get very many jobs.
3. Practice reading anything that is written. Examples: reading out of book, from an online article, magazine, PSA or a script. When I'm driving I read billboards that I pass on the road. My kids think it's funny but just about anything you read can be made into a voice over even if you're reading it in the car.
How do I practice?
1. Relax, don't stress and if you feel more comfortable do it in a room alone. Read outloud and don't be embarrassed to try different things with your voice. Use different inflections and be creative. Read it with a serious voice, silly voice, relaxed/conversational voice, hard selling voice (like what you would hear in a car commercial)...just have fun with it. Also if you are doing character voices, try this exercise by reading each sentence of your script in a different character voice.
2. Once you feel comfortable reading out loud start recording yourself. You need to start getting used to hearing your voice.
3. Smile when you practice or are reading a script, you will notice the difference. The audience can tell when you're not smiling, they can hear it in your voice. If you are doing a serious read like for a funeral home, serious medical condition or an organization you will want a more serious read. Know your audience - Who are they? What are their interests? Who is this commercial or promo trying to reach? What does the client want you to sound like? That can be the hardest part of the business is knowing/translating what the client wants the commercial to sound like.
When much should I practice?
1. Practice EVERYDAY, even when you don't have work to do. There are times that I will find a random script online that looks fun and I'll record it and try different ways to make it sound.
2. Through the many years I have been doing voice overs I have recorded thousands of scripts and yet I still need to practice. I'll notice that if I don't record for a few days that I feel a little off. There are a lot of people out there that do voice over and they are constantly practicing so if you want to get better and get the job before they do then PRACTICE.
Listed below are some scripts that you can download and practice.