Maybe she’s born with it…

Invariably, when I tell people what I do for my job they either:

a) Ask for a demonstration, usually by reading whatever is closest at hand such as a drinks menu

b) Say ‘I wish I had a posh voice so I could do that’.

Both frustrate me because it shows how easy it is to presume that voice over work is a simple case of reading out loud. People don’t presume that a professional actor is just someone with a good memory who can talk.

Being a successful voice over artist that people know will deliver the right read, without even having read the script in advance, takes years of practise and work.

Put simply, it entails recording and listening back to your voice thousands of times, learning the rhythms of natural speech, where to take breaths, where to speed up and slow down and where to emphasise words.

Eventually, it does become second nature to know how to make a reading sound more something and less something else, depending on what your client wants – but people shouldn’t forget all the work that has gone on to arrive at that stage.

Part of being a voice over artist is having a pleasant or distinctive voice – that is something you cannot fake or learn – you are born with it. But the hard work and tenacity it takes to stick it out in the competitive world of voice overs surely deserves more acknowledgement than a cursory reading of the ingredients of a Cosmopolitan.

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