Voice Artist

Common mistakes to avoid when starting out as a voiceover artist

By Tom Aurelius
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The market for voice-over recording is experiencing phenomenal growth. Because of this, the industry welcomes a significant number of new aspiring voice-over artists every year.

Some people choose to go the more conventional route and enrol in classes or work directly with a coach, but in today’s world, it is becoming an increasingly common practise to record one’s own voice at home because recording equipment is becoming much easier to obtain.

In order to make a name for yourself, you not only need to hone your craft, but you also need to avoid making the most common mistakes that beginners make when recording. We have put a list together of the most common mistakes that occur with beginners to the trade, and how to avoid them.

Reading at a fast pace

It is natural for your adrenaline to start racing when you are about to record your first voice over. Nerves and anxiety can often get the better of us, which often results in voice actors reading the script very quickly.

When reading at an excessively rapid pace, it is likely that the text will not be understood properly. It also brings up the possibility that the audience will be unable to recall anything from the voice-over recording, which is the complete opposite of a voiceover’s purpose!

This mistake may seem harmless, however does have the potential to place you behind the competition, who are able to regulate the rate at which they talk in order to ensure the audience is able to comprehend the information.

If you are just starting out as a voice artist, it is important to pick a reading pace that keeps you from losing comprehension of the material you are reading. Invest some time into thoroughly comprehending the script, and ensure that the appropriate emphasis on particular words and phrases.

Try to avoid making mouth noises

You may well be wondering, “What is a mouth noise?”

Lip smacks, pops, and clicks are all natural sounds that our mouths produce when speaking. However, whilst in conversation, these are hardly noticeable at all.

However when recording, vocal microphones have the ability to pick up on the smallest of sounds that you make, willingly or not. It is practically impossible to avoid making these noises completely; however, there are precautions that you can take to help prevent them as much as you can.

Be sure to drink enough water before and during your recording session, as being dehydrated can significantly increase the likelihood of involuntary lip licks and smacks occurring in the middle of an otherwise flawless voice recording. This will save time for the audio engineer during the editing stage, as they will not need to spend as much time editing these noises out.

Volume levels

It is possible that your audio recordings will suffer if the volume levels of your voiceover are too high or too low.

The volume level holds the power to not only hinder your recording, but could potentially place you behind other contenders in the field.

If the level is set too low and is only just audible, this could not only create issues in the editing process, but could also prevent your audience from being able to understand what is being said. However, if the volume is set too high, there is a possibility that the sound could clip, leaving the audio unusable.

It is important to spend time learning about volume levels, so that you are equipped with the capabilities to adjust audio levels appropriately. The recommended volume level for voiceovers is between -10 and -20 dB, in order to keep the audio audible without becoming too loud.

Practise makes perfect

Don’t just prepare for upcoming auditions or custom demos. Practise as often as you can! Try reading books, recipes, or instruction manuals aloud, you will soon feel more at ease and learn to make even the most boring of topics sound intriguing the more you train your voice.

When the question “Let’s try this another way” inevitably arises during a recording session, having this skill at your disposal will be a huge help. When life throws you a curveball, practising will give you the confidence you need to handle it.

Poor recording quality

Beginners typically do not want to break the bank on a bunch of fancy, overpriced gear. While that is true, most cheap microphones are not up to the task of recording professional voice-overs.

Low-quality microphones, in particular, will pick up a lot of background noise. When trying to get started in the industry, don’t let low-quality recording equipment prevent you from making a good impression and delivering a top-notch high quality demo.

The quality of your voice-over recording will greatly depend on the equipment you use. Instead of going with the cheapest option, try to strike a balance between the high-end and low-end microphones.

Move on from mistakes

It’s completely normal to make some mistakes in your first few voice-over recordings, but it’s important to not let any mishaps overwhelm you and throw you off guard. When you make a mistake, keep going and don’t stop to apologise.

In the event that a voice actor misses a line or forgets a word, pausing the recording and starting over will only slow the session down. If you keep pausing the recording every time you make a mistake, you’ll only become more self-conscious and more likely to have further mishaps.

Trust the audio engineer to edit out these mistakes rather than starting again from the top, as this will only waste time.

Do you require the skills of a voice artist for a project of your own? We’re here to help.

Here at Matinée Multilingual, we have a vast database of talented voice artists who specialise in everything from explainer videos to interactive toys. Whichever language you require a voiceover in, (we offer over 80!) and whatever your next project is, let us help you bring it to life with our expert voiceover services.

We’ll help you connect and engage with your audience with the perfect voiceover, all the way from offering a selection of hand-picked voice demos, to recording and editing the final audio file. Why not get in touch with us today and find out more about how we can help you?

Call us on +44 (0) 118 958 4934

Or email project@matinee.co.uk

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