Voiceover Exercises

Scroll down to find exercises for Breathing, Inflection, Articulation (including some Tongue Twisters)

Breathing Exercises

  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 “ahhh”. 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

Articulation

Exercises to overcome “Immovable Jaw”, “Idle Tongue”, “Lazy Lips”, and “Too Much Speed”.

LIMBERING UP

  1. Spread the lips in a smile for “eeeee”, open them for “aaahh”, and close them for “ooooo”. Repeat.
  2. Rapidly say “fud-dud-dud-dah” several times. Now say “ira-ira-ira-ira-ira-ira”.
  3. Make believe you are a truck. Trill your tongue. Be a rattlesnake.

TONGUE

Say each of the following words 5 times, trying to keep the tongue forward, just behind the upper front teeth. Listen for brightness and liveliness of tone.

Tea Deal
Tick Dish
Tail Thick
Nape Table

LIPS

A stiff upper lip is one cause of miss-articulation. Say the words “pit-pat-pit-pat-pit-pat” many times. Try to pronounce the “P’s” and “T’s” very clearly. Now try to pick up the speed. DON’T LOSE THE “P” AND THE “T”.

JAW OPENING EXERCISES

Say the following words while exaggerating your jaw opening.

Hack Yacht Dot
Paw Yard Dart
Tab Tot Dark
Hah Tat Lad

MORE LOOSENING UP EXERCISES

Repeat each of the following word groupings clearly over and over. Start slowly at first. As your articulators become more nimble and relaxed you will be able to pick up speed without stumbling. Do any sort of tongue twister that comes to mind. The more you loosen up before a session, the easier it will be.

Good Blood, Bad Blood
Bad Blood, Good Blood

Red Leather, Yellow Leather

Buttah, Guttah Guttah, Buttah

The Leith Police Dismisseth Us
(see below for entire tongue twister)

Inflectional Changes

Record the following exercises and then listen critically to see if you can hear the difference in the way you interpreted the meaning of the words.

Say the word “YES” to indicate:

  • Certainty
  • Doubt
  • Indecision
  • Sarcasm

Say the word “NO” and, by changes of inflection, indicate the following:

  • Definitely not.
  • Well, maybe.
  • I’m surprised to learn that.
  • I’m annoyed to learn that.
  • I’m pleased and surprised to learn that.

Say the sentence “I’ll be there” so that the following attitudes are implied:

  • Determination
  • Pleasant agreement
  • Surprise
  • Annoyance

Say the sentence “I like Bill.” to bring out the following:

  • A direct statement of fact. You mean literally what the words say.
  • A contradiction of the literal meaning of the words. You definitely do not like Bill.
  • Irritation and surprise that anyone could conceivably accuse you of not liking Bill.
  • Indecision as to your feelings about Bill.
  • Specific indication that your liking is for Bill and not for anyone else who may be present.
  • Your answer to the question “Who likes Bill?”
  • An aggressive and emphatic answer to the question “Who could possibly care for a man like Bill?”

Tongue Twisters

Use these exercises to help warm up your articulators along with your brain! Many of these tongue twisters are familiar. Some came from the “Speech 101, Voice and Diction Class” at San Diego City College. Some are from Beverly Bremers Voiceover Workouts. Others are from actual scripts. Some are familiar. Some seem simple. Some will be the bane of your existence. Just remember to warm up your articulators before jumping in on them!

NEW in 2016 from a real script…

Rear rail wheel wear
Rear wheel rail alignment

Rubber baby buggy bumpers

She sells sea shells by the sea shore.
The shells she sells are surely seashells,
So if she sells shells on the seashore,
I’m sure she sells seashore shells.

Five fresh fish specials daily

Unique New York
New York’s Unique
You know you need Unique New York

Six stick shifts stuck shut.

Another long block of non-stop rock

The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick

I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit;
and on the slitted sheet I sit.

A skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk,
but the stump thunk the skunk stunk.

A Tudor who tooted a flute
Tried to tutor two tooters to toot.
Said the two to their tutor,
Is it harder to toot –
Or to tutor two tooters to toot?

I’m not the pheasant plucker,
I’m the pheasant plucker’s mate.
I am only plucking pheasants
‘cause the pheasant plucker’s running late.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled peppers?
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

The Leith police dismisseth us
They thought we sought to stay;
The Leith police dismisseth us
They thought we’d stay all day.
The Leith police dismisseth us,
We both sighed sighs apiece;
And the sighs that we sighed as we said goodbye
Were the size of the Leith police.

(Thanks to Viv in Winchester England for the correct rhyme)

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