How To Sound Like Yourself

by | Mar 27, 2011 | Coaching | 4 comments

‘Seems like a ridiculous proposition — sounding like you…but where a voice talent gets waylaid is in reading the directions that accompany the audition script.

What’s even worse is when the casting director sends along a link to a YouTube video, and they want you to emulate the style of voice on the video for the project they’re sending you.

Top VO coaches — Nancy Wolfson, for example — admonish their students for letting the specs too heavily influence the actor’s choices in advance of making those choices, though it’s never a bad idea to check the specs AFTER the text analysis process and before submitting the final audition.  So the approach becomes:  read the directions for any specific distinct requests, but mostly deliver your best read according to your analysis of the script.  The idea being that many VO talents can do a fine job with the given script, but only YOU can bring YOUR touch, your interpretation, and your experience to the copy.

There’s actually a very good article about “how to sound like you” on the website “Internet Voice Coach“.




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  1. Mara Junot

    This is one of my favorite topics in VO! Is there possibly another link for the Internet Voice Coach article? (I wasn’t able to get it to work.)

    • CourVO

      Mara (and Billy James),

      Thanks for pointing this out to me. The link is now fixed.

      I appreciate all your comments and visits.

      Dave C

  2. Earl McLean

    It’s funny, I would think that in the majority of cases, the producer/creative team are in fact looking for a particular sound and if they could get the person in question they would just go ahead and do the project…it;s comparative to the movie making process in terms of selecting cast by director and studio. Now if they can’t get their wish they then open the door to the community to supply a solution…We (the community) then get to interpret and showcase our character skills for the script provided.. The bottom line is that the powers that be will indeed go for the sound in the minds eye first and if a credible source can’t then be found for whatever reason, they will look to find an interesting compromise that keeps all parties happy. So auditioning to play someone who’s mannerisms, voice, swagger is completely foreign to you is like playing the lottery in every sense.If you don’t have the complete card set on your audition, you’ll be passed in favor of another who does!

  3. John McLain

    Cool article, Dave…I’ve studied with Nancy Wolfson, and I can tell you, performing “as me” is a lot more difficult that I thought it would be. Such an important acting lesson to learn.

    With a lot of projects, casting folks often ask for “Morgan Freeman” without paying for the real Morgan Freeman. So it tempts the talent to make an incorrect acting choice for the performance, ie:

    1) “Ah, I see…I need to give them by best Morgan Freeman impersonation, because that is what they want.”

    Rather than the better choice:

    2) “I need to trust my talent and brand to service this piece of copy, while using some of the performing techniques that Mr. Freeman frequently calls upon to effectively deliver a message.”

    I also learned this lesson in the theatre. One time I was cast in the lead for “The Sound of Music,” and as I studied and rehearsed the role, I inadvertently started to imitate Christopher Plummer. The director took me aside and said, “John, people can rent a DVD copy of Plummer’s performance for much less than they will pay to see YOU play the role of the Captain. I cast you to become Captain von Trapp, not Christopher Plummer.” Well that changed everything about the performance to say the least.

    Anyway, thanks for shedding light on a great topic, CourVO. Take care!



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