Observing a voice actor in the studio taught me....
...that it isn't as simple as it seems. So today I unknowingly followed Angus into the studio to watch him record an Epic Wildlife script about elephants because I was bored and didn't want to do chores.
I watched him overlooking the script, he took few deep breaths in and out and at this point I'm thinking, the script will be done in a few minutes, what's the big deal? It's just reading. HOW WRONG I WAS.
Turns out, being able to read a script of approximately 1500 words without making mistakes AND sound engaging and informative about elephants (a subject Angus does not particularly have a vested interest in) requires some level of skill, concentration and attention to detail.
A few things I picked up that I quickly realized was an important aspect of delivering a fluent read include:
1. Say it right:
The words are pronounced correctly, this is especially important for names of places and people.
2. Become the script:
There's an art to delivering a script exactly the way the client asks for.
When asked to deliver an "upbeat read" the voice actor may need to become physical! That is, movement of the hands, body and a change in facial expression might be required for the best chance at expressing emotions through the mic.
Basically become what the nature of the script requires them to be.
3. Don't just read it:
It's not what you say, it's how you say it.
This is a good principle to abide by when communicating with your sensitive girlfriend AND it's an important concept for a voice actor to grasp as well. A good voice actor can read any piece of text in an engaging way, there's no room for parrot reading. Everything read out loud is done so with intent and meaning.
4. The Tongue is like an Elephant's Trunk:
Training the tongue not to become tongue tied is such an important skill, it deserves it's own article.
5. Know your sound:
Be in tune with your unique voice and know what kind of reads best suit you.
So to sum-up the above, today I learnt that anyone really good at something is good because they put in the time to become that way, and I learnt that elephants are terrified of bees!