Breathing – we need to breathe

One thing voiceover people (at least early on their career) dwell on is their breathing. We think about whether or not we should reduce the amplitude of the breaths that appear in our recordings. Cut them out completely. Or leave them alone. Well, that depends on HOW you are breathing.

Here is a great demonstration by my pal Patrick Fraley that shows you how you can breathe naturally and then just not have to think about this at all!

The example he shows us in this clip is from audiobooks which is a bit different from commercials where you are often pressed for time and can’t necessarily breathe naturally, but the concepts are the same.

Vocal Health – Intentional Vocal Fry

In order to do what we do, we have to not only be able to read copy effectively, but we have to keep our voices working!

I have a friend who makes a living in voiceover work with his whiskey and cigarette voice, but he is one of the exceptions to the rule. And he doesn’t do any long form work. Anything over a minute or so is pure torture to him.

The rest of us need to make sure we know how to breathe correctly and keep our vocal cords happy and healthy.

Here are some singing exercises that can help you in a lot of ways. This one talks about intentions and then analyzing the results. Using vocal fry to your advantage!

Breathing Exercises for Voice Talent

1. Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose. Exhale slowly through the mouth. Repeat.

2. Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose. Exhale slowly making the sound “ahhhh”. USE YOUR DIAPHRAGM

3. Inhale deeply. Exhale in short explosive bursts (huh! huh! huh! huh!).

4. Inhale slowly and count aloud clearly enunciating each number until you run out of breath. This is also a good warm-up exercise for your articulators.

5. Read the following sentence as many times as you can on one breath. This sentence is filled with words that use air.

He hid at home and sobbed when his sister seized
whatever he had on top in the thin five-shelved closet.

6. Take a deep breath and see how far you can read through this grouping of words. Make sure you are making each of the words come alive as you say them. Don’t just race through them — interpret!

Collecting and projecting, 
receding and speeding 
and shocking and rocking 
and darting and parting 
and treading and spreading 
and whizzing and hissing 
and dripping and skipping 
and hitting and splitting 
and shining and twining 
and rattling and battling 
and shaking and quaking 
and pouring and roaring 
and waving and raving 
and flowing and going 
and heaving and cleaving 
and foaming and roaming 
and moaning and groaning 
and dropping and hopping