Speak the Truth : Harnessing Energy in Voiceover

by | performance skills, Voice Acting, Voice Over

Speak the Truth! It’s all about truth and authenticity in voiceover. Of course, your vocal energy is essential to your personal presence on mic.  A commercial sells products, and in most genres within voiceover, the need to tell, not sell is essential to gain the successful and emotional connection to your audience.

Can you exhibit too much energy in your voiceover reads?  When does energy or “perpetual perkiness,” come off as phony, too “sell-y”, or too “announcer – y” and, ultimately a turnoff?

Lack of energy can easily be interpreted as lethargy, boredom or indifference. Or are you sounding not commercial enough? Although there can be a wide range of interpretation on what is deemed as energy or not! Don’t sound like you’re just phoning in your voice over script!

When the voiceover talent receives feedback that they lack energy, they sometimes interpret that feedback to mean becoming a booming-voice announcer copycat.  They envision—and reject, grinning from ear to ear, making a dramatic point, chirping away at ninety miles an hour.  But energy may simply mean firm gestures, a confident posture, and purposeful gestures.  And regarding tone, an animated wave of the hand conveys energy. And you can do that and avoid sounding like an old-style announcer.

The typical old-style announcer is, in many a commercial, is dead. Vocal coach Ann Utterback discusses adding vocal energy to your voice here.

So where’s the line between energy and too much exuberance as a voiceover artist for announcer copy?  Here are some thoughts to consider after you break down the script and are ready to record:

  1. Do you feel the emotion you’re displaying?  Is it real excitement, fascination, intrigue?  Does it flow from you naturally, or is it contrived for effect?
  2. Does the display of energy feel natural?  If you were watching a video of your movements, gestures, facial expression, would your body language seem “over the top” to you or consistent with the message you’re delivering?
  3. Does your vocal resonation  sound out of sync with your delivery?   Does the way you deliver “The software application is running as designed” sound the same as “I just won the lottery!”  It shouldn’t.
  4. Does your display of energy actually detract from your message?  That is, are you so excited that your rapid speaking rate makes your words hard to decipher?  Does your vocal pace sound like you’re having a conversation or is it contrived and sing-songy?  Does your physicality make you sound pedantic rather than passionate?

Energy, yes.  Enthusiasm, yes.  Positive attitude, yes.  Authenticity, absolutely…even quiet energy…But over the top perpetual perkiness, no.

Bottom line….You want to have your listener be emotionally involved with what you’re saying by matching your vocal intensity with the intensity called for in the script’s text and/or subtext.



  1. 13 Top Voiceover Blog Posts This Week - November 17, 2013 | Derek Chappell's Voiceover Blog - […] Speak The Truth: Harnessing Energy In Voiceover  Bobbin Beam […]

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