How To Use Improv to Build Confidence In Your Voice-Over Work

improvImprov is a vital way for voice-over artists to build confidence in their skills. Why? Because as modern day voice actors, we’re spending more time working alone in our home studios than ever before. With no one to bounce our performances off of, it makes sense that creating fresh, creative, dynamic performances time after time can become difficult. Losing perspective on the work we’re doing can quickly lead to insecurity. These classic rules of improv can help you build confidence in your voice-over work. 

Create the where (and who and why).

Improv is performed without costumes, props, or scenery. Improv actors need to focus on quickly establishing a vivid sense of place, building a relationship to the other actors in the scene, and defining a purpose for being there. As a voice-over artist, this practice can help you become more confident in your script analysis skills, making it easier for you to establish the “Who am I? Who am I talking to? What is my point of view?” in any script.

Learn to adapt.

Actors need to keep moving through a scene together even if the circumstances change, otherwise the entire performance will fall apart. This requires listening to scene partners, making spontaneous choices, and remaining fully present in every moment. As a voice actor, this practice will prepare you to respond to direction, react immediately, and continue varying your deliveries throughout an audition or a recording session.

Contribute something.

One of the basic tenets of improv comedy is known as “Yes, and…” The actor’s job is to accept what is presented (“Yes,”) and contribute something to the scene (“and”) no matter what crazy things actors present to one another in an improv setting. This practice will help you make any script your own, establish your unique point of view, and provide you with confidence when developing characters.

There are no mistakes, only opportunities.

In improv, there’s no safety net, no road map, and no way to control what’s about to happen. At first, it can be a terrifying thing to try. You might worry and think “What if I mess up?” There’s this special beauty in the art of improv. This magic in improv often exists where a “mistake” shows up as an opportunity to make the scene better. As a voice actor, this practice can help you to take risks, feel excited to perform, and turn perceived setbacks into happy accidents.

Improv can help you be more confident and capable behind the mic. Plus, it’s a ton of fun, too! Want to try it out? Look for an improv class or Meetup near you. In the meantime, here are some more improv-centric things to explore:


About the Author

Claudine Ohayon is an Emmy Award-winning director/producer, commercial and promotional voice talent for brands like Verizon, Listerine, and MasterCard, native Brooklynite, published photographer. She was also the live announcer for the first ever televised Hollywood Film Awards on CBS.


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