Speed Reading for Voiceovers

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May 3, 2017 by Emily Lepore

Here are some awesome tips the amazing Peter Dickerson (co-founder of Gravy for the Brain) dove into during his presentation last Saturday night at yet again another great event hosted by Edge Studio.

Speed Reading Tips

  • WARM UP: We stumble a lot when we’re not warmed up. Figure out your technique to warm up your throat muscles and your articulation muscles. (I didn’t do this before I hopped in the booth and guess what–I tripped on my articulation–Take Two!)


  • CONCENTRATE: Like I learned in acting school, leave your shit at the door, enter the rehearsal space ready to give it your all. Same goes when you’re in the booth. The mic pics up everything.


  • FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE COPY: I know, it’s a cold read, how do you do that!? Well, I personally don’t get pulled into the waiting room chit-chat. I read the copy over and over again, mouthing the words or even saying them under my breath. Sure, I look a bit serious and strange, but I’m there to work…I’ll see ya’ll later at happy hour!


  • PUNCTUATION: Sure, we’re not copywriters, and some get insulted or even downright territorial. But, we’re the ones who have to bring that black and white copy off the page and to life. So add commas, periods, ellipsis, exclamation points (sorry Craig Geller -my talented Copywriter friend who calls me out for using too many exclamation points!!) hey, whatever it takes >>>which leads to my next point.


  • MARK UP YOUR SCRIPT: Use whatever hieroglyphics you need to to communicate what you need during the read. I add breath marks, pauses, beat changes, down endings, up endings, happy faces…whatever it takes to pull my emotions, voice, tempo, articulation out at the right time!


  • SCAN AHEAD: This is a practice and a craft in and of itself. Something, after this presentation I’m going to work more on. It’s the art of reading and staying connected to what and why you’re saying something while you’re peripheral vision and brain are reading what’s coming up next. When you nail this, you can add the right sentiment to your delivery and take the script where it needs to go. Sometimes even in one take!

Voiceover techniques, like anything else is a lifelong study. It takes a lot of failure and rejection before you book your first gig or even before you book your 100th gig. Just keep on keeping on!


I was among one of the lucky ones to read the copy fast enough and won this water bottle!

Listen to my read: My Car Spot Record – Take 2!


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Emily Lepore UX Designer

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