#VOnow — As a Voiceover Artists, how much should I practice?

Debbie Irwin Voiceover Blog — #VOnow — As a Voiceover Artists, how much should I practice?

What equipment did you purchase? Where did you decide to set up your studio? 

I’d love to see it. So, if you’re on Twitter or Instagram, feel free to tag me in a photo of it: @DebbieIrwinVO. Btw, my Instagram account will be fully active come Saturday, August 1st, with posts every Monday, Thursday and Saturday. :-)

OK, so, now let’s get to work. And by work I mean PRACTICE. As you study and practice, practice, practice the craft of voiceovers, you’ll be learning how to:

  • Use your vocal instrument (varying tone, pitch, tempo and volume) 
  • Analyze a script (Who am I? Who am I talking to? Where are we? What is the message? Why is it important? How do I want to convey this?)
  • Develop strategies for reading the text with different listeners in mind (the client, the consumer, the copywriter)
  • Incorporate movement in the body to generate authenticity
  • Understand the rule of “3s”
  • Create a notation system so you can mark your scripts with visual cues (where to breathe, which words or ideas to emphasize, where a shift in tone occurs, which words can be elongated or spoken in a staccato manner)
  • Determine the proper energy level for the read (hospital spots tend to be thoughtful, while promos tend to have high energy)
  • Find clues in the visuals (storyboard or video), and music (if available) to get a better understanding of the project

Handydandy tip: One coach I studied with, Joan Baker, recommended reading a script 20 times before recording it. You should try it! It’s amazing how much nuance you’ll find in those words by the 18th, 19th, and 20th times you’ve read it!



Finding your rhythm for any piece of copy can take time—especially with long-form narration. The great thing about rhythm is that it comes to fruition as you read. So, start at the beginning of the script and read it all the way through. Once you reach the end, continue to read once more from the beginning; chances are by the time you’ve reached the end you will have found your flow and it will be different from when you first began (remember Joan Baker). Rhythm should be fluid and consistent, so re-reading in one fell swoop is the best way to find your groove!


Pronunciation Keys

Scripts can be filled with tongue twisters and tricky syntax. It can be very helpful to have a pronunciation key for any words that might cause a problem. Having a guide makes a huge difference in both how smoothly a voiceover goes, and how quickly the client can get the audio — since there will be fewer pickups (corrections) later!

Handydandy tool: www.Howjasay.com A resource for pronunciations.


Want to get feedback on your work?

www.VoiceRegistry.com has a “Weekend Workout” program where you can submit your audition to be heard by guest casting directors and agents from around the country (for a nominal fee).

www.EdgeStudio.com has a weekly recording contest (free)

You can always tweet me a link: @DebbieIrwinVO


For the next two weeks I’ll be in Scotland on a VO job, YAY! So we’ll talk about that portable studio I previously mentioned. Until then, #VOnow, because practice makes perfect.