Last weekend I went to London to try and further my voiceover career. So far I have been learning by auditioning for jobs as well as reading resources online. Voices.com provides opportunities but you are competing against many other artists and do not get feedback if they go for someone else. Fiverr is an online marketplace where you talk directly with the client. So a course where the focus is on improving your own vocal talents has to be a good move.
Showreel is run by JP Orr and Mike Charters in a studio in central London. They have many, many years of experience and JP was very friendly and open in sharing tips and tricks with me and my fellow, budding voiceover artists. The group on the beginner’s course I attended had different levels of experience up to this point and all had their own reasons for coming on the course. We each had four scripts to read based on own vocal style and any subject matter expertise we had. The best part of the experience was listening to others; the individual quality in their voices and how they adapted to JP’s advice for the second take was really inspiring. In this positive atmosphere was encouraged each other and the time seemed to race towards 5pm and the end of the course.
Here are some of the tips I took away with me from the day. Sight-reading scripts is such an important skill. The more practice, the easier it will be for the eyes, brain and mouth to work together and produce good sounds whilst you are pouring over the next line. But just as importantly, the voiceover artist has to be willing and able to take direction and adapt the way they are delivering their lines. This was very clear when in the studio ready to provide a second take. Other top tips to take away include using the body to help the voice be expressive, including using the elbows as a physical trigger to help lift or lower the voice and give it melody.
As for me, I was able to experience performing in a professional studio and take direction whilst speaking over a music track. I’ve also been given some great feedback including the many ways I can improve, which is what I needed to know. My vocal range is currently 30-40 years and my voice description is warm, charming, calm and considered tones, with a soft-RP accent.
I shall return to Showreel soon to work on my vocal qualities with JP and Mike, but right now it’s time to apply the feedback and get back to auditioning. Oh, and lots more practice at reading out loud!
For more info about Showreel, you can visit their website at https://theshowreel.com/