Written scripts contain music. As voice actors, we must find the
precise tune for each script. There are pop-up words that add pitch rises and falls, rhythmic staccato words punctuated by d, t, b, and k articulators, round vowels, and mellifluous m, n, l and v resonators. Rhythm changes occur as the speaker lingers on key words and breezes through unimportant words and phrases. Some scripts have fast tempos, and other scripts require a slower delivery. Speed is dictated by complexity of information, attitude, target audience, and product value. For example, the more expensive the product, the slower the tempo. Conversely, the less expensive the item, the faster
When diction is sloppy and word endings are dropped, the
speaker has a locked jaw and doesn't open the mouth properly, so multiple phrases are treated as one thought, the music of the message gets muddled. Musical shifts in speech allow phrases to be separated so the listener can take in the message quickly and easily. Using new body movements and gestures every time you see punctuation or a new phrase results in natural musical shifts. Learning to play the instrument - your body - results in fast, easy, and specific musical shifts.
Read and record the following sentence. The first time, don't
move your body and just read the words. The second time, gesture with your right hand on the first sentence, left hand on the second, and use both hands together when you gesture on the third sentence. Make sure to keep your right hand out and don't bring it back to your body when you say the second sentence. Don't stop learning. Keep trying. Put melody in your voice.
Did you hear the three distinct musical pitches? If you did, you
realized how easy it is to create musicality by simply using very
specific body movements. If you didn't, you probably returned to a neutral body position between sentences. Keeping the body engaged and active results in a balanced sound. The first two sentences are 180 degrees apart as you gesture from right to left. The final sentence splits the difference and brings the two diametrically opposed thoughts together. Practice reading the sentence using other movements like shoulder shrugs, eyebrow lifts, hip wiggles, etc. We're wired for sound. Use it!
Excerpted from third edition of "There's Money Where Your Mouth Is," by Elaine Clark. Due out November 2011. To pre-order your copy visit: Amazon.com