Is this you? For some people when they host programs, record YouTube videos or do voice-overs, they would deliberately imitate the intonation and accent of their impression of professional hosts or announcers in order to appear professional. However, they find that their actual performance is very different from what they expected, appearing unnatural and stiff, and they even develop fears worrying that their technique is not right. The overall effect is that they feel like they're “reading” rather than having a natural conversation with their audience. So how can we go from "reading" scripts to “speaking” the scripts naturally?
As a professional voice actor with over 15 years of experience, I would like to share a secret recipe from my voice training program with you: It only takes a shift in thinking and practice to help you go from "reading" scripts to "speaking" scripts naturally and smoothly, and avoid being stiff and artificial.
My training method has a crucial shift in thinking, which is "Don't think that you're reading a script, you're just telling someone something." For example, think back to something that happened today, it can be a delicious meal you had or seeing a traffic accident on the freeway... When you tell someone about these things, what are you actually thinking in your head? Are you recalling the scenes and feelings of these events? If you are, think further, are you consciously paying attention to whether your voice sounds good? No, you're just sharing your experience with someone else. The appropriate tone and emotions come naturally based on the content, the listener, and the situation, which makes it convincing but not artificial.
So let's think about it. If we tell someone about something that happened today, and someone put down my speech into text, wouldn't it become a script? Therefore, I believe that the essence of a script is just a way to describe an author's thoughts, emotions, or an event. When you read a script, what you need to focus on is what the script is talking about, and your job is to tell the story using the original words of the script. We don't need to add emotions or accents that don't serve the purpose of conveying the story. This is the key to shifting your thinking and turning "reading" scripts into "speaking" scripts.
You can try this way, practice your own script by telling someone what it is talking about in your own words, and then saying it again in the original words of the script. Ask yourself how you would normally tell someone about something and try to use that same natural approach when delivering your performance of the script.
I believe that natural performance is the most fundamental skill in professional program hosting, voice acting, and even singing - I call it the "first foundation". As for techniques like enunciation and pronunciation, I call them the "second foundation". They serve to enhance and support the first foundation - natural performance, or in other words, the second foundation is the professional method that makes you "sound great" while your speech is already natural.
In our training, natural performance has always been the most important aspect, with techniques serving to enhance rather than take precedence. We aim to help students transition from "reading" a script to "speaking" it naturally, with techniques as supplementary training, in order to allow them to express themselves in a more natural and professional manner. If you want to improve your vocal expression skills, we welcome you to learn about our training programs. I believe that through our vocal training methods, you can find great support to discover your own unique voice and excel in both your career and personal life!
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."
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