Aliso Creek Voice Over Workshop Classes

Improvisation Techniques for Voice Over Actors

For a Complete Performance

So What Is Improvisation?

Most of the time when auditioning or performing for voice overs you have to be careful to read the script exactly as it is written. For example, a bank commercial may have been signed off by the ad agency, the bank's marketing department and the bank's legal department before you receive it.  And you can't wander off and make up words if your reading David Copperfield or the Book of Genesis.

But when we think of improvisation-or "improv" for short- we imagine actors placed in a scene with the license to make up their own dialog or even alter the plot of the scene.  Improv is an acting technique in which an actor is given an outline of the character and the plot points in the scene and then spontaneously creates dialog, movements and interactions to fill out and create the final scene.

Verbatim or Ad Libitum--the Conflict

Oh, sorry for the fancy Latin.  A performance is "Verbatim" when it is performed "word by word" exactly as it is written.  An "Ad Lib" performance is "at one's pleasure", allowing you to make up the words and context as you go along.  These two ways of performing seem to be in conflict.  But both are important parts of an actors skill set.


Free Your Mind! (Both Halves)

left brain right brainWith it's concentration on reading, accuracy and logical presentation, you would think that most voice over activity involves the left--or more logical, precise, objective--side of the brain.  But as voice over has evolved the actor has an increased need to portray emotions as well.  No longer can you get away with "just the facts' ma'am!".  Now a winning performance includes how you feel about those facts.  And that loose cannon right--emotional, aesthetic, subjective--brain takes over.

But how do you give that crazy part of your brain the excercise it needs to come out and play when you need it?  What techiniques can give you the quick, spontaneous responses when you need them?


Improvisation to the Rescue

Improvisation will give you additional creative and emotional skills to enhance your performance and will add depth and color to your auditions and performances.  Some of the benefits of improv training include:

  • Rapid character development
  • Understanding the emotions of your copy
  • Scene visualization
  • Comedy timing
  • Verbal Ad Libs

Our "Improve for Voice Over Classes" Teach These Skills

Most Improvisation classes are designed to enhance on-camera acting skills or comedic sketch comedy.  Our improv class is designed to teach skills that are necessary for a voice actor.  You will learn to release the creative side of your brain when reviewing copy, to expand the setting and the scene in your mind, and to recall these visualizations while you perform.

Instant Acting

Voice over is also called "instant acting"... "OK, you're the cop and you're the lady getting the ticket".  The ability to quickly develop the character and understand the character's motivations, and to react emotionally to the copy will greatly enhance your auditions and make you more responsive to direction.


So if you're a seasoned pro or a fledgling VO talent you'll benefit from our "Improvisation for Voice Over Actors" class. Plan to atend the next session  and get that brain firing on both cylinders. 


*** Check out the class information and schedule here! ***


And... keep talking!


by William Williams


Theater of the Mind!

Voice acting has always been called "Theater of the Mind".  Since the early days of radio voice actors have painted scenes of the wild west or the Sahara Desert or the galaxies of outer space with only the paintbrush of their words and voice.

A conventional actor has a set, scenery, props, costumes, lighting and visual effects to shape the story.

The voice talent is a master story teller that can create an entire canvas with only their voice.  From the classic radio shows like The Shadow to modern animation and video games, the voice over actor makes each word come to life in your mind.


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