Think of the last time you started a conversation with someone you didn't know. Or maybe you haven't ever tried, but were thinking about talking to that nice lady on the train. How would you start? Offer a compliment? An open ended question? Simply say "Hey, we're on the choo-choo together!" No matter how you approach someone, you want to be inviting, warm and real. It will make them feel welcomed and possibly open up.
There are so many voice over scripts now that have the specs "conversational", "non-announcer", "no radio types", "similar to a John Krasinski voiceover" or "like you're talking to a friend." Now we all know sometimes we don't have the fortune of having scripts written for the spoken word, but as a professional voice talent we should be able to capture the essence of a conversation.
Think of who you are talking to. Who is this person? Who are you? Why did this conversation start? Giving your reads some background will help bring a character to life. It will get you in the mindset of a conversation, not just reading and saying words.
I recently did a few testimonial reads for a car dealer radio ad. To get into the character, I would just start talking to myself about buying a car, thinking about being interviewed and answering honestly to a mock interview. When the self-conversation made way to the script, I was already rolling and the read came across natural, and right into a conversational voice over.
Next time you read a script with "conversational" as a spec, start out by having a conversation. Become the character, and enjoy the moment. Or, strike up a conversation with that nice lady and pay attention to the way you talk to her. Be real and honest. Who knows?!?! Maybe you'll even make a new friend!
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