12 qualities of a great Russian voicetalentWhat are the ways to improve one’s voice? We suggest 12 qualities which are essential for a career voice talent (and ofcaurse native Russian voiceactor isn't exeption), which help to fully control your voice and are likely to offer the challenge. On mastering them all, starting from clear articulation, expressivity and up to emotionless, dispassionate reading, you will surpass yourself and make your voice audible under any circumstances. Just a dozen of voice skills! “If a dollar fell from the sky each time I was asked to advise on voice improvement, I would be so rich as to stop being a voice talent”, said a famous career Russian voice talent. And there is a large element of truth in it! The following is our attempt to sum up all voice talent’s skills.
1. Articulation Perfectly clear articulation is to be a must for a career voice talent. Every word and even letter are to be audible, no mumbling or chewing on the words is permissible. But there is a thin line separating “underarticulation” and “overarticulation” which every voice talent should clearly feel and balance on. Overarticulation makes your speech artificial. Such excessive articulation causes perplexity, as your interlocutor will not be able to concentrate on the conversation itself. Underarticulation suggests laziness and even some mental deficiency. When a radio or TV presenter is taken on, it is just articulation that is considered in the first place..
2. Neatness By neatness we certainly do not mean regular visits to the bathroom. Your speech should be free from any unwanted sounds as they hamper information perception. Some people have this quality as a natural gift while others spend years trying to master it. As to the unwanted sounds, they are practically the same with most people: swallowing saliva, slight hissing or lisping, etc. Some of them are easy to get rid of, a glass of water or some wetting spray will do. But other defects such as hissing or exaggerated sibilating require a lot of efforts to be corrected. That is why highly rated is the native Russian (or any other) voice talent whose voice does not require too much efforts by the sound producer to remove its defects.
3. Stability Of great importance is stability. If a voice talent can ensure stability of the voice loudness, rhythm, energy, articulation, he is sure to find a market.
4. Commitment The ability to go deep into the stuff to be voiced is essential for a voice talent. His voice is to sound as if he is greatly interested in the problem and eager to awake other people’s interest. If a voice talent does not care much about the stuff how can he possibly arouse anybody’s interest? The commitment also depends on the ability to read off-hand any text running the eyes a few steps forward, going deep into the matter and reproducing the slightest tints. Every voice talent (and not only native Russian narrator) resorts to his own tricks to convey his commitment to the listeners. Some of them gesticulate, others make faces, still others start posing.
5. Ease Supplying information easily is not as simple as it may seem. One must be able to easily catch the meaning of written words and to reproduce them spontaneously and naturally as in everyday speech which is characterized by certain rate and rhythm. Of importance is also the articulation balance which is to prevail over everyday but differ from dispassionate robot-like one.
6. Emotionless reading This quality is of major importance for voice talents reading long training courses, extensive multimedia presentations, technical texts, audio books, etc., that is, when it is a question of a large amount of information. If you possess this quality you do not have to get to know the text before starting voicing it and the voicing time can also be reduced. Besides, if you can sight-read texts simultaneously scanning the sentences ahead, taking into account punctuation marks and emphasizing certain words, you will not only save your time but lighten the work of the whole staff. The nerve pulse providing sight-brain-mouth connection is in charge of this quality which develops as a result of many years’ experience. Read anything you can aloud: bedtime stories, signboards, advertisements, composition of food for dogs on a pack, etc.
7. Reading rate Reading rate is also very important for a career native female Russian voice talent or male, the articulation remaining irreproachable. Sometimes it is necessary to read a comparatively long text and manage in short time, say, 30 seconds. Most often it concerns advertisements. It is in this case that this quality may come in handy.
8. Coordination This quality ranks next to stability and emotionless reading. It deals with your muscles memory: your eyes see written words or sentences, quickly transfer them to the brain and then to the vocal apparatus. We call it “eye-brain-mouth coordination”, which can be developed only by long practice. Of course, to a great extent it depends on person’s abilities, some people can read long texts without a single slip of the tongue.
9. Acting technique This quality is employed whatever work a voice talent is doing. Either he is reading emotionlessly or reporting excitedly, he uses his acting technique, that is, his skill to get used to a role. Some voice talents do it easily, in other cases there must be various one-role voice talents on hand. For example, a person who is good only at emotionlessly reading technical texts will never cope with the role of, say, a shy teenager.
10. Convincingness Sound producers used to say that a voice talent should always speak as if he is dead sure of what he is saying, though sometimes he is quite vague of the subject. This saying must be a guide to action for any voice talent who wishes to do his job professionally. Regardless of the material to be voiced, of rate, intonation, style of reading, you must always sound convincingly.
11. Self-control Any Russian male voice-talent should possess good self-control, or, more precisely, control over his voice: its tonality, loudness, rate, breathing. Tonality is controlled by changing intonation. Loudness should not vary much. Breathing is controlled by breath in and out proportionality and by proper breathing rate. This skill is especially important for introducing changes into the finished records. Professional voice talents can do it so that the changes do not show.
12. Self-confidence This is the weapon you should be armed with during recording. But real self-confidence shouldn’t be mixed with bravado or self-admiration, as it results from your understanding the material to be voiced, from your knowing the sound producer’s requirements and, certainly, from your own experience.