You’ll hear it from many VO “coaches” that you really SHOULD take some improv classes.
They’ll say, “That’s easy!”…it’s so your VO delivery will have more spontaneity, a greater level of authentic impromptu feeling…and your conversational reads will sound more…er…conversational.
I don’t know about you, but there are other areas of my VO business that deserve more of my time and budget than improvisation.
This attitude may seem a little curmudgeonly to some. That’s OK, I’ve earned that moniker, and I own it. I’ll also cop to being VERY uncomfortable with the improv class/challenge/exercise.
I say that from experience. My daughter attended Chapman Univ as a drama major, and aside from watching her perform improv, and being coached by her in improv, I’ve also participated in a number of group VO improv classes.
I’d sooner chew glass.
I’m not saying no one benefits from improv. Advocates for improv training are many and loud. Here are some resources:
The Ultimate Guide to Improv: 101 Tips for Improv Success (improvclassesandcoaching.com)
10 Improv Acting Tips & Techniques | Take Lessons
How To Be A Better Improviser (dangoldstein.com)
I’m just saying it’s not for ME and maybe not for you. An important part of succeeding in anything (VO included) is knowing what works for your and what doesn’t, what fits your style and what doesn’t, what your strengths and limitations are, etc.
Why would I NOT want to “strengthen my delivery” with Improv?
- Improv is not a single-person activity (it takes minimum 2 or more), and there’s no one else in the booth with me.
- Improv core elements turn on the interaction between people, not role-playing with yourself
- Improv follows some basic rules of engagement, none of which fit well with a single actor in a booth
- I’m not willing to be inundated by yet another “coach” telling me I HAVE TO try this for VO success (we have plenty of those already)
GOOD improv classes are hard to find, as are experienced and qualified coaches. Just like Voiceover, there are no course curriculums/degrees offered in improvisation by any worthwhile universities. That means doing your due diligence in finding someone who claims to be able to coach in improvisation. My guess is the better ones are in SF, LA, NYC, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, etc. In my mind, doing improv training over Zoom would NOT be optimal, but then again, doing improv training itself is not an optimal use of MY time.