Tuning the VO Machine

Updated: Apr 16

One of the key elements to being a successful VO artist is 'Natural Aptitude'. But natural aptitude isn't something we are all born with, in reality it is a trained trait.


Through my years of study as a Muay Thai practitioner, my Krus (instructors) always emphasized the importance of muscle memory to me. This is a pretty common term these days, but in case you haven't heard it, it is essentially the training of your muscles to reactively without conscious thought apply the correct technique across various situations.


The same is just as important for voice! Your voice is a muscle that must be trained, and the training of your voice needs to be mindful in order to combat bad habits in delivery. If you don't train your natural aptitude, likely you will either plateau or, more commonly, stagnate.


So how does one train their voice and increase the skill level of their natural aptitude? In my eyes, there are three primary vehicles to do this:

  • Voice Acting Practice: Reviewing scripts, completing auditions, reading everything out loud, etc...

  • Vocal Warm Ups: Phonetic queues, tongue twisters, relaxing sighs, deep projection, vocal scales, etc...

  • Physical Stretches: Forward fold, Straw vibration, rib slaps, stir the pot, shoulder ball rotation, foot roll, etc...

Each element alone is near valueless, all are required to improve natural aptitude in voice over as holistically the benefits of each compound on each other.


In a recording session, you are kept to a strict schedule with no time to work physical issues out in the room, just like in Muay Thai once you're in the ring you trust your muscle memory to pull you through. Voice over actors who neglect these elements of their progression and encounter issues in their sessions will likely struggle greatly to overcome them, and this wastes time in the session. And remember, time in a session is precious!


Bypass working on increasing your natural aptitude at your own peril as a voice over artist! In the future I will further breakdown some of the elements referenced in the three categories referenced above.


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