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Finding Your Voice and Understanding Its Range

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Ever listen to yourself on a voice recording and think, ‘That can’t be me’?  Often, when you’re playing back an audio taping it seems foreign or distorted.  You mean think you sound squeaky or your voice is deeper than you thought.  And this is precisely why it is important to get to know your voice with all of its strengths and limitations if you hoping to make it big in voiceover. 

Once you truly get to know your own voice, you can determine what types of roles best fit.  For example, if you think it’s somewhat high-pitched or you sound younger than you are, you might try out for more youthful voiceover roles.  If you think you sound a bit hoarse, come up with a few options for this tone. 

You can also work on adjusting how you project once you have a solid understanding of the baseline.  You can speak with a higher or lower pitch, more slowly or quickly.  You can introduce some range so you can ultimately land more roles. 

Many actors go most their lives without ever considering what they actually sound like until they happen to hear themselves after the fact.  Then they might wish they would have slowed their speech a bit, added a few more pauses, or annunciated words that are tough to understand in the playback.

There’s also, of course, an art form to voice work.  There are techniques you can try to adjust your voice for the medium for which it is being recorded and to achieve the client’s purpose.  It just takes practice. 

If you don’t feel comfortable going on this journey alone, work with a vocal coach who can help you tremendously in identifying your baseline voice, range, and the roles for which you might be best-suited.  Coaches are trained in specialized tricks that you might not otherwise get a chance to learn.  Working with a professional will expand your understanding of voiceover methods and broaden your abilities overall.

When you’re trying to identify which roles your voice fits best, record yourself and make a list of adjectives you feel describe what you hear.  Then, make a list of characters that possess these traits.  For example, you might write ‘soft’ and ‘soothing,’ then, ‘therapeutic settings’.  Look for radio ad gigs for health spas and see what you come up with – the perfect opportunity might be right around the corner!

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