The Science of Speaking Like a Pro Voice Talent

James Andrews

Improve your skills as a voice talent – by embracing your inner nerd and learning the science of speaking like a pro!

~ How a linguistic approach and a basic knowledge of phonetics  (the study and classification of speech sounds) can improve your reads and make you sound more like a pro.

You have no doubt heard it said that there are no shortcuts to becoming a better voice actor. This is certainly, definitely, always true.

EXCEPT when it isn’t…

Students often ask “What is the difference between formal and informal reads?”, “How can I sound more polished?”, “Why do I always stumble over certain words?” and my favorite, “Why do the pros I hear on TV just SOUND BETTER?”

Well, let me tell you why:

Throughout my career I have been asked to vary reads in a myriad of different ways, from basic conversational to formal and sophisticated – with all stops in between. As a former speech-language pathologist, I have found my background in anatomy, physiology, phonetics, and linguistics in general extremely helpful in enabling me to do this successfully.

Successful voice actors can make most of these adjustments instinctively, relying on a well-trained ear to guide them. But whenever I speak to these people (many of whom have years of experience and who do this job full-time) about the actual linguistic parameters they are manipulating, they are always hungry to learn more about the science of speaking like a pro.

A knowledge of phonetics will help you achieve expert control of articulation, as well as give you a better understanding of the component sounds of the language and how to use them. You can learn how to elevate your reads to a pro level with just a little practice.

For example, there are four basic inflections in English that you can use to your advantage in auditions. Having just a working knowledge of these alone can help you stand out in those auditions, because you’ll be able to make observations that other voice actors will miss.

I know this may sound complicated, but as a former teacher, I have found that I can actually explain this stuff clearly and concisely. I can show you some basics that can up your voice over game, stand out in auditions, make informed decisions regarding articulation, and elevate your reads to a pro level with just a little practice.

Nobody ever taught me this stuff. I had to incorporate my communication sciences background and training into my work as a voice actor myself. So to be perfectly honest, you won’t find this taught anywhere else. (I just don’t think there are that many S-LPs-turned-voice actors out there. In fact, I may be a unicorn 😉

Book a Private Coaching Session with me or join my class, The Science of Speaking Like a Pro, to learn how to up your game, and in doing so, distance yourself from all the other aspiring voice actors out there!

Here’s what we will cover in a session or in class:

o   Basic knowledge of phonetics

o   Identifying, controlling and eliminating glottal stops (and when to leave them in!)

o   Common errors & articulation traps

o   Mixing up inflections

o   Understanding the differences between formal and informal articulation

o   Breath control

o   Control of pace

o   Interpreting punctuation