Thursday, October 7, 2010

Talk With Your Body

Have you ever witnessed a speech that nearly or actually did put you to sleep? Think about it. What did the speaker do or not do that put you down for the count?

The worst speakers in the world are the ones who read their speech. If the speaker just delivers the words without thinking about the words, the message is lost. Zzz... I suppose it would have been better for the speaker to just submit his speech in a blog.

Hey, wake up.

The same goes tenfold for those of us in the voice acting business. If all a voice actor does is read the script aloud, the client might as well use a text-to-speech service.

When I first started learning to act with my voice, I was just 16-years old. My coach said something that seemed silly at the time. He said, "If you want to show emotion when you act with your voice, you need to overact."

Overact?? What?

Yep. Overact. Think about it. Can the listener see your facial expressions? Can the listener see your hand movements? What? You don't use your hands when you speak?

Okay, let's try an exercise. Say this aloud without facial expression: "What are you talking about?"

Now say it with a scowl on your face. Lower your eyebrows, throw both your hands up in the air, and imagine your ticked off. "What are you talking about!?"

Notice the difference? Do it again. This time, really go overboard. Remember, nobody can see your facial expression.

If you're a sports fan, you might understand the phrase "Be the ball." Okay. Be the script. Forget that it's written words. Make it your words!

Read these words without speaking: "I am a super hero."

Now stand up, put yourself in that traditional Superman position with both hands on your waist, and say it with pride.

I bet you noticed a difference that time.

Some of the best voice acting is done with the hands. Next time you are in front of a microphone, let your hands do the talking.


  1. Although I do not have a microphone, I always tell myself that I am Batman.

  2. This appears to be a popular topic lately Scooter. Here are links to what I am talkin' about:
    Using Your Hands To Free Your Voice

    Technique Tip of the Month: Get Your Hands Out of Your Pockets!

    You mentioned: "If you're a sports fan, you might understand the phrase "Be the ball.""
    My blog post today featured video of Randy Moss talking with his hands - catching touchdown passes:)

    Isn't it nice to know we are better voiceover artists than Randy Moss?

    Have a great weekend!

    ~ Ralph Hass

  3. Ralph, great minds think alike, huh? This blog actually came about after I directed a friend in a demo session.

    I have witnessed voice talents who seemed to have their hands glued to their pockets, and sometimes I see the old arms crossed stance - that one tends to make a person sound like he/she is tense. I actually use that stance when I'm supposed to sound angry.

    So it's not all about having a great voice! Oh, wait, that's another blog.

    Thanks for the links, Ralph!