Voice Talent “How To” Help

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Daily Voice Warm Up Exercises

I love to give credit where credit is due. The following tips I definitely subscribe to and use religiously. They are not my own but are widely known and utilized among many successful v/o artists. If you have a story to offer for consideration, email it to me . If I post it I’ll crosslink to your site if you have one.


From Bill Smith at THE ACTING STUDIO
“This is one of the best stretches to warm up the articulators. … tongue, teeth, lips.”

Some decades ago, Jerry Lewis “performed” this exercise while filling in for Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show.” It was “The Announcer’s Test — originated in the early 1940s as a reading test for prospective radio talent. In that era, the “prospect” would read the progression
for clarity, enunciation, diction, tonality and expressiveness. And you had to to it PERFECTLY! No stumbles or stammers. And you had to do it with FEELING and MEANING!

It’s still a good tongue twister and a test of technique… and if you’re listening to what you’re saying, you might even have some fun.
The trick that Lewis did was to play it like we sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” A progression, where you start with line one, then repeat line one and add line two. Then you do line 1 and 2 and add the third line, etc.

* One hen.

* Two ducks.

* Three squawking geese.

* Four limerick oysters.

* Five corpulent porpoises.

* Six pair of Don Alversos tweezers.

* Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array.

* Eight brass monkeys from the ancient sacred scripts of Egypt.

* Nine apathetic, sympathetic, diabetic, old men on roller skates with a
masked propensity towards procrastination and sloth.

* Ten lyrical, spherical diabolical denizens of the deep who hall stall
around the corner of the quo or the quay of the quivery, all at the same

Voice Over Warm Up Exercises – Bev Bremers
· Stand up and reach for the ceiling. Stretch your entire torso.
· Try to touch the walls. Stretch every muscle, even your fingertips.
· With straight legs, try to touch the floor. Don’t bounce, just stretch.
· Bend your knees and hang, like a rag doll, totally relaxed. Close your eyes. Make your mind a blank. Take a deep breath and exhale. Stay this way for about 10 seconds.
· Then, keeping this relaxed feeling, slowly return to a standing position, feeling each vertebra as you rise. When you get up to the shoulder area, be sure not to snap your head back.
· Take another deep breath and exhale.
· Slowly roll your head – forward, side, back, side. Repeat. Now reverse – forward, other side, back, side. Repeat.
· Put your head down and hold it for a few seconds. Then put your head all the way back, drop your jaw, and hold it for a few seconds. Then put your head back up.
· Roll your shoulders – 4 times forward, then 4 times back. Let your shoulders do all the work; your arms just happen to be attached.
· Move your shoulders up, center, down, center. Repeat 3 or 4 more times. Then shake your arms.
· Bend your arms and twist from the waist up several times.
· Open up the back of your throat and mouth as wide as possible until you yawn. Then make a pumpkin face, prune face, pumpkin face, prune face.
· Place your hands on your abdominal area, near your waist. Say each of the 5 major vowels sounds 8 times each – HA, HE, HI, HO, WHO.
· Place your hands at the sides of your waist and press in. Take a deep breath (which will push your hands away from your body). Slowly exhale, saying a nice, comfortable “Haahh”. When you run out of breath, just stop – don’t allow your voice to get caught in your throat. Your stomach area should have stayed taut throughout the entire time you were vocalizing. (Think of your stomach as a blown-up balloon). You may feel a little light-headed when you first do this exercise, but this will pass as you get used to this “new” way of breathing. If you do get light-headed or dizzy, just rest for a moment, then resume.
· Relax your lips and blow air out (like you’re giving someone the raspberry with your lips), using your voice, starting at the bottom of your vocal range and going to the top of it. Then start at the top of your range and go down.
· Now do the same thing with your tongue – bottom to top, top to bottom. If you can’t roll your tongue, then flap your tongue in and out instead.
· Say MA, MAY, ME, MOE, MOO very slowly. Now a little faster. If you said it correctly, then say it even faster. Keep progressing faster and faster, as long as you are saying everything correctly. If you make a mistake, slow down your pace, until you can say it right. Keep up this progression until you are speaking at a very fast pace, then say the phrase 3 times fast without stopping.
· Now do the same thing saying LA, LAY, LEE, LOW, LOO.
· Next come the tongue-twisters, following the same progression as we did with the MA, MAY and LA, LAY patterns. Remember, never move faster, if you have made a mistake. Only progress when you have spoken correctly. Be sure to visualize everything you say.


The key to saying tongue twisters is to visualize what you’re talking about. Use your other 4 senses as well. Do this with every word you utter, whether it’s spoken or sung as a lyric in a song. Every word represents something, not just blah, blah, blah!

She sells seashells by the seashore.
Regal rural ruler
Rubber baby buggy bumpers
Big black bloody bugs
The boy bought a toy boat.
A box of mixed biscuits
Racetrack tax break
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
Unique New York
Good blood – bad blood
Red leather – yellow leather
She shaved some shale.
I am the very model of a modern Major General.
Friends fly free.
Three free things
Fickle Freddy’s freckles fleck his freckled face.
Try to tie twine around three tree twigs.
We re-weave rips.
And From Susan Berkley…..

Superficial breathing undermines your performance whether you are public speaker, voice-over artist or anyone who wants to sound their best. To help you discover how to breathe for good speaking (and good health) I interviewed respiratory therapist Peggy Nicholson, a leading expert on proper breathing technique.
According to Peggy, to enhance our performance we should breathe deeply from the abdomen or diaphragm, whenever possible. But most people have no idea what this means.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Place one hand just above your stomach and the other on your upper chest.
2. Purse lips slightly as if to whistle
3. Exhale slowly through pursed lips while slightly contracting the stomach muscles. It’s not necessary to force all the air out.
4. Inhale slowly through the nose
5. Pause slightly to allow for better oxygen exchange in the lungs.
6. Repeat. Exhalation should be slightly longer than inhalation.
The diaphragm should do at least 80% of the work of breathing. In order for you to get the most out of this magnificent muscle, you should practice regularly several times a day to ensure that you are not breathing superficially from your upper chest
As voice-over artists, our pronunciation must be perfect.
Need to know how to pronounce a word? Hear the proper pronunciation of unfamiliar words in English at the Merriam-Webster website http://www.m-w.com.
You may also be surprised at how often words in other languages crop up in voice-over scripts — names of people, places, products, and foods. Enhance your ability to pronounce these words by learning the alphabet and some basic phrases in other languages.
No need to go back to school. Just pick up a quick and inexpensive language course for travelers. Basic language learning courses are now available everywhere for the computer and audio CD.
6 Ways To Diminish Pops & Clicks:
Clicks and pops caused by saliva are the bane of every voice talent. The more sensitive the microphone is, the more obvious the mouth noise becomes. Drinking water during a session helps but only to a point. Try sipping 100% fruit juice instead. The fruit acids are supposed to cut down on noise.
I’m in the process of testing to see what type of fruit juice works the best. Voice talent Alan Sklar swears by a product called “Salivart” available at your pharmacy. It was developed to help overcome the dry mouth associated with certain medical conditions.
Inversely, many people also suffer from chronic dry mouth when in the recording booth. Here are a few tips to help when your mouth just won’t cooperate:
1. STRESS MAKES DRY MOUTH WORSE When we get nervous certain stress hormones that effect salivation are liberated in the bloodstream.

2. ADD A LITTLE LEMON JUICE TO YOUR WATER The tartness stimulates the flow of saliva. And remember to drink at least 8 (or more!) glasses of water a day.

3. TRY CHEWING SOME GUM IN BETWEEN TAKES Gum stimulates saliva flow.

4. AVOID SALTY FOODS Even though you may not add additional salt to your food, there is a lot of hidden sodium in the average American diet.

5. DRY MOUTH COULD BE A SIDE EFFECT OF CERTAIN MEDICATIONS Antihistamines are common culprits. Ask your pharmacist or doctor if you can switch to another medication without this side effect.

6. TRY A THROAT SPRAY CALLED “ENTERTAINER’S SECRET”. It’s a lubricating spray specifically for dry throat and hoarse voice and contains all natural ingredients like glycerin and aloe vera.