Voice Over Education Blog

October 2015

How many types of humor can be conveyed by voice?


How many types of humor are there? We came across this neat list of “humor techniques,” that itemized no less than 41 types. No wonder dissecting humor can be such a mystery. There are many lists of humor types floating around, but this one was in a scholarly research paper, building on decades of other research. How, we wondered, can this information be put to use in a voice-over performance?

To start, let’s see that list of 41 types of humor ...

Do you have a voice-over studio “go bag”?


You can enjoy a very nice voice-over career without ever leaving your home studio, but plenty of jobs are still recorded at commercial voice-over studios. (We know, because we are one, and our studios are very active.) What should you take to one? Newspeople keep a packed bag by the door in case of far-off breaking news. Voice-over talent should have a bag ready in case of a hurry-up day-trip. Or at least this list...

NOTE: Before taking any medicinal measure, or if you have persistent vocal fatigue, sore throat, dryness, hoarseness or cough, consult your doctor without delay.

Here’s just about everything we can think of that might come in handy at a studio, that might not already be there. You do NOT need to stock up on everything, just use your common sense and what you know about yourself. Above all, Rule Number One is probably “Don’t be late.” So if you don’t have something on this list, don’t waste time trying to find it. Just grab a sharp pencil, the studio’s address and phone number, and go! But hopefully this will help that from ever being an issue.

Studio Go-Bag Contents

Pencil and eraser. These are for markup and script changes. You’ll often need to revise them, so pencil is the way to go. Either bring a bunch of them pre-sharpened, or a mechanical pencil with extra leads. In fact, it’s good to have a spare or two even of those, in case the mechanism fails or the lead is in pieces. A medium-thick lead will hold up better under both kinds of pressure, and might be easier to read. As for the eraser, get a fresh one from time to time (they tend to harden after awhile), to make it erases cleanly.

Pen. For contracts, notes and whatever.

Highlighter. Optional, and not erasable, but some people like to mark scripts this way.

Reading glasses or bifocals. You may need to see the both the copy and the engineer, director or client.

Do you have a voice-over studio “go bag”?


You can enjoy a very nice voice-over career without ever leaving your home studio, but plenty of jobs are still recorded at commercial voice-over studios. (We know, because we are one, and our studios are very active.) What should you take to one? Newspeople keep a packed bag by the door in case of far-off breaking news. Voice-over talent should have a bag ready in case of a hurry-up day-trip. Or at least this list...

NOTE: Before taking any medicinal measure, or if you have persistent vocal fatigue, sore throat, dryness, hoarseness or cough, consult your doctor without delay.

Here’s just about everything we can think of that might come in handy at a studio, that might not already be there. You do NOT need to stock up on everything, just use your common sense and what you know about yourself. Above all, Rule Number One is probably “Don’t be late.” So if you don’t have something on this list, don’t waste time trying to find it. Just grab a sharp pencil, the studio’s address and phone number, and go! But hopefully this will help that from ever being an issue.

Studio Go-Bag Contents

Pencil and eraser. These are for markup and script changes. You’ll often need to revise them, so pencil is the way to go. Either bring a bunch of them pre-sharpened, or a mechanical pencil with extra leads. In fact, it’s good to have a spare or two even of those, in case the mechanism fails or the lead is in pieces. A medium-thick lead will hold up better under both kinds of pressure, and might be easier to read. As for the eraser, get a fresh one from time to time (they tend to harden after awhile), to make it erases cleanly.

Pen. For contracts, notes and whatever.

Highlighter. Optional, and not erasable, but some people like to mark scripts this way.

Reading glasses or bifocals. You may need to see the both the copy and the engineer, director or client.

What’s my inspiration? Find a more motivating VO performance.


Sooner or later in your voice acting career, you learn that it helps to “become” the character, not just play the character. But how do you do that? Well, sooner or later (probably sooner), a coach or fellow talent suggests (or you have read at EdgeStudio.com) that you choose a prototype. There are various sorts of prototypes. You might select qualities from a specific person, animal or thing. Or you might draw them from people all around you. Or you might find them within yourself.

Here are some examples, used by well-known actors ...

Sometimes you’ll use selected qualities from a person, animal or thing. For example, for Edward Scissorhands, Johnny Depp needed to make his character appear potentially dangerous yet sweet-tempered. So he thought of himself as ... a dog.

Other times it works if you actually imitate the prototype. Most people, even actors, are not expert mimics, so your imitation will probably be imprecise, incorporating aspects of your own voice and nature -- you’ll wind up with a new character. Or you may intentionally veer away from the model. Consider Dan Castellaneta in The Simpsons. As the voice of Homer, he created a character that is simultaneously bumbling, vulnerable, lovable, naively confident and not exactly the best-looking man in the room. His prototype: the versatile character actor Walter Matthau, although Homer is hardly an obvious imitation.

(Many or most of the continuing Simpsons characters have roots in actual actors and other personalities, but here we’re not talking so much about who inspired the writers, but what inspired the actors.)

If it hurts when you do that, don’t do that! How to protect your hearing. Part Two.


NOTE: This is the second post in a two-part article. Click here to read part one!

Last week we talked about hearing loss, how “easy” it is for today’s environments and personal habits to damage your hearing. Some loss is inevitable as we get older. But, short of crawling into a cave, how can you protect yourself? The good news is that there are a variety of ways, and not all of them involve earplugs.

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The purpose of this article is to bring these issues to your awareness. It is necessarily only a summary and details are generalized. To fully appreciate what hearing dangers exist in your environment, and to determine the extent to which you should be concerned and/or take precautions, and what precautions are best for you, please look further into the issue or consult a hearing health professional. If you have any hearing difficulty, noticeable hearing loss, ailment (including but not limited to pain, discharge or pus in the ear), or want expert advice, please consult your physician or a hearing specialist promptly.


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How can you to protect your hearing?

Reduce your exposure to environmental noise. The most obvious solutions is in the classic Henny Youngman joke: "I said, 'Doctor, it hurts when I do that.' He said, 'Don't do that."

Except avoiding noise is easier said than done, and this is no joke.

In the United States alone, 20-30 million are exposed to dangerously high noise levels at times. 30 million people have hazardous noise levels at work. (The similarity in those numbers may be due to our having got them from different sources. Anyway, in both cases, it’s a lot of us.)

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