Try to recall a voice over performance that you thought was awesome, such as a commercial read, a documentary, a biography, or an audiobook. Didn’t it make you wonder what knowledge and skills made that performance so effective?
Nearly all the voice over books I’ve read (and recommend in my bibliography) do a great job of describing the business, ways to get into the mood and direction of the script, approaches that give the producer what he or she wants, marketing challenges, and other issues. They also explain how to up your own studio and get work from the Internet and other sources. However, I have never read a book about voice over, stage, or film acting that examined the ways that the structure of our written language. Language dynamics affects nearly every aspect of script analysis and delivery.
The Voice Over Actor’s Handbook delves into the nitty-gritty: elements of diction, dialect control, phrasing, content comprehension, parts of speech, inflection, vocabulary, context, pronunciation, and comparison/contrast, as well as how these tools apply to every script you will encounter. Developing a thorough understanding of these elements, as well as incremental control of pace, pitch, pause, volume, flow, timing, and emotional level, will transform you into a highly skilled voice over actor.
Over the course of twenty-five years of voice over coaching, it became apparent to me that a high percentage of my students did not fully understand sentence structure and grammar—and how these affect the way we read aloud.