Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Let's Get Physical!"

Some of us remember the old Olivia Newton John song, "Physical," from way back when. It was a song full of sexual tension and play. Here's the chorus line.

"Let's get physical, physical, I wanna get physical, let's get into physical. Let me hear your body talk, your body talk, let me hear your body talk" 


Why am I posting this on a voice over blog? Folks are often surprised to see all the physical movements that voice over artists use in the booth. Established Hollywood actors often find voice over quite challenging. That makes sense. Think about it. If you're on camera, you have both sound (your voice) and visual (body movement) coming into play. With voice over, visual is not a factor. So, there's that additional requirement of needing to convey the emotion through words alone. Not always an easy task.


Beginning voice over artists are often told by their coaches to go ahead and get physical. (Not the kind Olivia sang about but you get the idea.) Move those hands! Make those facial expressions as you voice! In other words, don't just stand at the microphone!  It all comes through in the recording. So it should come as no surprise to see expert voice over talents gesturing a lot in the recording booth. 


Here's an experiment. Grab some copy for an auto dealership ( or write a paragraph or two) where the direction is "High energy-over the top" with the delivery. You've no doubt heard these hard sell spots on your TV. (Yep, the loud, annoying ones). Now, put both your hands in your pocket and try voicing with that high energy direction in mind. I'm sure you'll find that the hands in your pocket will clamp you down considerably. It's much more productive to get those hands moving as you read. It's the same reason why many VO artists record standing up. Sitting down can cramp your style. Studies have shown there is a direct correlation between your vocal chords and body movement.

When I was in high school, I used to get teased for talking with my hands. When I entered the voice over world, I realized that talking with your hands can make you money. Not a bad trade.


So, go ahead, get physical when you voice that copy! 

2 comments:

K said...

Hi!

I'm Kelsie, the actress in the Strings Attached video you did a voice over for! Just wanted to say..great job :)

Kelsie

John Miles said...

Hi Kelsie,

Thanks so much for your kind words. I was delighted when the producer sent me the link so I could see the end result.
It was a very cool job to voice.