WorkoutGET CONTROL OF YOUR MOUTH–READ OUT LOUD!
To earn money as a voice actor, you’ll need to focus on mastering your vocal skills. You must become technically proficient vocally– diction, speed, sustainable character, etc. You may be asked to read paragraphs at a time fluidly and believably (sometime longer than that!). And you must also be able to deliver the vocal goods without injuring your voice. You need to achieve intuitive control of vocal expression. That’ll take work.
So– for those of you who think you are ready to head to L.A., let’s first try a little exercise. It’ll be fun. Find a book and read the entire thing out loud. This is your craft and your job. No problem.
Just starting out? Okay, try reading Dr. Seuss’ “Fox in Socks” out loud. Seriously. Read that through without a mistake and you get a gold star. It kicks my butt every time. A hilarious jungle gym for the lips.
More advanced: Choose something with some meat that’s fun for you with good characters and extensive narration to work through. Some of my faves include: “A Christmas Carol,” “The Hobbit,” “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” or anything by Mark Twain. Each is a gourmet feast for the ears and mind. Each is also a terrific circuit workout for your mouth. Pick your own favorites if you’d rather.
Begin by reading the first chapter of your book out loud– all of it, using differing voices as much as you can, and see how that feels. Didn’t flow the first time? Go back and read it again! If you’re comfortable with that, try the entire book!
Consider your performance: Do you have control over your mouth? Do you “see” the story you are telling in your mind? Do you read with ease or are you struggling and stumbling over words and punctuation? Are you able to confidently and believably act this– that is, bring all the feeling and meaning to the telling of this story– or are you fighting the words or struggling with maintaining character distinction? Are you having fun?
Finally, can you imagine someone enjoying listening through your entire performance? Can you imagine someone hiring you to do this?
The words you read at length in this exercise will reveal much about your level of readiness to compete as a professional voice actor and can serve as a fun workout for improving your control of your vocal instrument.
Many thanks to my friend, the incredible Kath Soucie, for suggesting this idea.