Thursday, 1 May 2014

Getting Out of the Booth

This post comes after a stint away from the Vocal Booth. I've been performing with a professional theatre company that specialises in immersive theatre, in a fabulous project which celebrates the role played by the Codebreakers at Bletchley Park in winning WW2. (Photo by Simon Raynor) Performing for up to six hours a day (of course with breaks) took its toll on me physically, mentally guessed it, vocally. However, it gave me a real opportunity to evaluate in the extreme how physicality can affect our voices. I think it brought home some lessons to me, which I am now taking back to the booth. And you're lucky, cos I'm sharing them with you.

As a performer, you need to warm up. If you don't stretch out and prepare yourself, not only can you hurt yourself, but you leave your performance work weaker and disconnected. Good vocal practice, both on stage and in front of the mic, requires effort, commitment and connection. It is highly unlikely that without taking time to complete a warm up routine that your voice will be at its best, and a good representation of you and your emotional being. It is also unlikely that your built-in equipment for enunciating properly will be ready to do its best work without some help - so utilise the muscles in your mouth, tongue and face that aide your consonants. Lesson number one: always warm up to the extent that you feel you need it. We are all different, so know your own voice and look after it.

And lesson number two: it is all about relationship. Whether you are on stage communicating to another character and/or actor or to the audience for that matter, or whether you are connecting with someone listening to a radio commercial in their car, or with an avid audiobook listener, it is all about how you communicate your material.  Think about the who, what, where and when in regards to the person or people, and your job is so much easier. The voice can be rich and varied, but it is the reason behind the communication that is interesting, not just how pretty you can sound. Consider who and what you are supposed to be communicating  in every Voiceover job, and you are streets ahead of the rest.

Lesson Number Three: GET OUT OF THE BOOTH! I love my Voice work, and it is a borderline obsession for me. However, at times it can be an isolating experience. There is so much value in making new performance connections outside of the studio, and a great way to put into context with the rest of the acting industry where our voice work sits. So go on, open the door & get out and about (it's spring out there and the sun is shining - well maybe not in the UK, but you get my point!)

And on that note, I'm going to finish up my backlog of Voice jobs that I'm still ploughing through since my return to recording. I'm going in the booth, and I could be some time.

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