When we watch those blockbuster movies or TV shows, we can always resonate with the emotions conveyed by the outstanding actors, hosts, singers, and voice actors. They always seem to be able to express appropriate and touching emotions in the right occasions. For example, in advertisements, they can sometimes be very excited, and sometimes very quiet; sometimes formal, sometimes casual and easy-going.
Such charismatic performances used to be far from us ordinary people, but in today's era when more and more people need to consider working as a self-media, we may all face the problem of how to appear more professional and natural on camera or in voice acting. We need to improve that in order to better attract attention and provide value to your audience. Also for somebody who is a professional performer, quickly identifying emotions, being able to accurately express the level of excitement, sadness, anger or other emotions according to different scripts, are also key to success in the field of performance.
So, when we try to express emotions on camera or during voice recordings, we often feel confused - what kind of emotional expression would be the right one? Sometimes students may encounter difficulties in acting: for example, if you are performing a sad scene, you need to express that your character is experiencing great sorrow. If your emotional take is too exaggerated, your audience may feel that your acting is too artificial. But if your performance is too dull, your audience may not truly feel the sadness your character is experiencing.
In my voice training classes, I often use a chart I designed to guide students in exploring their different emotional expression levels. Here's the chart:
This chart aims to quantify different levels of emotions and divide them into five different levels: zero emotion, less emotion, normal emotion, more emotion, and extreme emotion. Actors, voice actors, and singers can use this chart to practice performing different emotional levels. For example, when we see the following script, we can preliminarily set our emotion as exciting.
- Hello everyone! Thank you for participating in today's oven cooking class. This is going to be a very exciting class. We will connect to our cooking laboratory and conduct an online demonstration. Please welcome Chef Tom!
So according to this chart, we can try reading it first with zero emotion - completely expressionless and emotionless. Then go to less emotion, a little bit more excited, and read it again. Next, let's go to the normal emotion, which is the emotion you usually show when you're excited, and read it again. After that, we'll add some more excitement to reach our next emotional level - more emotion, which is even more exaggerated. Finally, we want to say this script in a very exaggerated, over-the-top excited state. Try to reach the "crazy" extreme level of excitement, which is the most exaggerated limit you can reach.
Through this exercise, students can understand the range of their emotional changes from lowest to highest. However, when practicing, we need to treat it as a game~ to let go and be as exaggerated as possible, just like children making funny noises and faces with each other. The attitude of "playing" is very important in this exploration process. Through this "game", first of all, we can expand our emotional expression and try to reach emotional limits that we don't often use. And in our daily lives, most of our performances fall between these two extremes, so we can find the appropriate emotional level for the content in the performance and grasp it just right. Maybe we can say this is the true professional "manipulation" of emotions, haha.
Of course, we can further divide these five levels into finer distinctions, such as between less emotion and normal emotion, and between normal emotion and more emotion.
In my voice acting training program, I would normally lead students to practice with more scripts to help them better master the performance skills of different emotional levels, so that they can present the character's emotions accurately in their performances. If you are interested in my voice acting training program, please contact me. I look forward to helping you explore the world of voice-over performance to the next level.
Learn with Tony Chen:
With 15+ years of professional voice-over performance experience, bilingual English/Chinese voice actor Tony has honed the ability to effectively grab the listener’s attention and engage with them through his crisp, polished delivery. He has worked on projects for clients from over 10 countries, including Universal Studios Hollywood, Microsoft, Amazon, UFC Fight PASS, PepsiCo, Tiffany & Co, and more. With the unique method of "performing naturally first and then techniques", Tony’s professional voice coaching program quickly transforms your voice/singing performance to the next level."