How to Avoid Running Out of Breath

1. Keep your volume to a minimum.  The louder you talk, the quicker you will run out of air.  Remember, too, that voiceover delivery is an intimate medium.

2. Mark the places where you can catch a breath:  ends of phrases, ends of clauses, end of sentences.  Commas generally are good places to take a breath, especially in front of prepositional phrases, or in front of a conjunction (and, or, if, but, when, as, etc.).

3. You can take a big breath (and a big pause) at the end of a paragraph that leads into a transition – a change in time and/or place or a change in subject material.

To increase your own breathing and endurance capacity, take a deep, quick breath.  Then close your mouth tightly, pursing your lips to form a very small opening.  Let the air out slowly, and keep pushing it out until you are absolutely out of air.  Then breathe normally.

Wait 3 or 4 minutes, then repeat this.  This time, when your last breath is expelled, let the breathing in that follows be the intake for the first line of a script you’re working on.  Then read into the script without a breath or a pause, and see how far you can go on that one breath.  Do this every day with a different script. Count the number of words you made it through, and try to go a word or two further each time you do this.  You will be amazed at how your endurance will improve over time.

To summarize:

• Keep your volume at a close-up conversational level.
• Mark your scripts for breathing opportunities.
• Look for transitions for deeper breaths.
• Work on your endurance and capacity. Remember that breath and energy are handmaidens in this business.