Jean-Marc Berne, President/Talent
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Everything listed under: Voice Over Training

  • What Does Your Voice Say About You?

    We don't necessarily think about this when we speak to people, but very often the first impression people get of you is when they hear your voice over the phone.  What are you communicating with the tone of your voice? Are you commanding strength and confidence? Or are you conveying insecurity and fear? Today we cover different ways to convey strength, confidence and warmth.

    Now, why is this important?  Because just like in society, it's easy to fall into certain stereotypes, and when it comes to your voice, it's very easy to fall into voice archetypes: the shy, low talker who mumbles, the raspy-voiced deadbeat who's out to steal your money, or the shouty general who likes to bark orders at people.  Then, there's the other side of the coin: the chill guy next door who's everybody's best friend, the confident professional who commands strength, or the warm person who conveys love and care.  Which one do you want to be?

    It's one thing if you're an actor and you're playing different roles, but what if you're a public speaker or a business person and your normal sound is that of a deadbeat, a mumbler or a barker? Well, thankfully there's a fix for that. And I cover it in previous blogs covering projection for your voice.

    Now, I'd like to clarify that because you may have a sound that evokes a negative stereotype, this simply means that's the feeling it creates in others.  And thankfully, the proven techniques above will help you remedy that.

     What do you sound like?  What are some of the obstacles you run into when using your voice?  Please feel free to share in the comments section or reach out to me, as I'd like to help you identify and rectify the issue.

    Until next time, thanks for spreading the word... and may "The Voice" be with you!


  • Learn To Self-Direct To Get More Voice Over Work

    But isn’t there always a director during a Voice Over gig or an audition? If you’re a working Voice Over artist who’s done any work online, you know that a lot of these online gigs and auditions require for you to read the specs and decrypt the directions to give your best performance. And in all fairness, many of them have very specific directions. But some of them are very vague, leaving many of us talent with a big question mark over our heads. So, what to do?

    Today we cover the importance of learning to self-direct. It’s one thing to be at an audition and follow the directions of the Casting Director or Producer, which is a very valuable skill, but self-direction is a different skillset that will make you stand out from the VO crowd. First of all, nowadays you’re expected to have a home studio as a lot of agents and producers want a quick turnaround on auditions, and they want to save some money by receiving online auditions instead of paying a pretty penny per hour for a casting session at a plush Manhattan studio.

    Here are some examples of Audition instructions and best ways to approach each one of them:

    - When you’re instructed to sound conversational, natural, like an everyday person: That means avoid at all costs sounding like an announcer. Make sure to visualize the person you’re talking to, and vary the energy in your read between kinetic and psychological energy. To learn more about kinetic vs. psychological energy, check out one of my past blogs:
    - When instructed to give a warm read: Put your hand over your heart as you’re reading your lines. You’ll automatically soften your tone.
    - When instructed to sound like a celebrity: Study that celebrity. Look them up on You Tube, listen to their quirks, look at their mannerisms. Yes, look at their mannerisms, because believe it or not, our physicality affects our performances and our sound. And the more you match those mannerisms, the better you will capture the full character. Match their energy, the placement of their voices (head, nasal, throat, adenoidal, chest, or a combination of these). Match their clarity, their presence, their tempo, their volume, their inflections and their pauses. Record yourself as you’re doing this exercise so you can check if you’re sounding as close as possible to the person you’re imitating.

    These are just a few examples. And when you’re given vague directions: Go with your gut. What does your gut tell you? Just roll with it and don’t deliberate over your choices. As the saying goes: “Fortune favors the bold.” So be bold, and go forth and conquer!

    Please try this out for your next online audition and let me know how it goes. I welcome your thoughts in our comments section!

    For more great Voice Over tips, info on Voice Over Coaching, Bilingual Voice Over production and Songwriting, please visit the Berne Media Enterprises page. May ‘The Voice’ Be With You, and thanks for spreading the word!

  • Hot Summer Days Require Extra Hydration

    You’re drinking 8 8-ounce glasses a day. But it’s 90+ degrees F out, yet you still feel thirsty, and your mouth, tongue and throat feel dry. You start getting pops on the mike during a Voice Over audition or gig, and your energy level starts to run low. In my last blog I posted about 10 hydrating foods to keep you well hydrated this summer. Today I mention another method I’ve found very effective to counter the effects of the hot weather.

    This one I’m stealing from my own music coach’s playbook, Michael Mingoia. I started using this method after reading his book and finding myself feeling dehydrated on a 95 degrees F day. What is it? I’m glad you asked.

    As any responsible Voice Over talent, you should always have your water bottle with you. But on especially hot days, you might want to consider this:

    Fill half of your water bottle with water. Fill the rest of the bottle with Gatorade.

    Why Gatorade? It’s loaded with electrolytes and it’s proven to be more effective and faster at rehydrating your body than water.

    Why not just have the Gatorade? If you’re a performer like me (who also likes to watch his waistline), I’m conscious about the amount of sugar I take in. And by adding water to your bottle, you’re diluting the amount of sugar that you’re ingesting.

    What about you? What are some of the methods you use for keeping well hydrated on a hot day? Please add your thoughts in our comments section below.

    If you have certain topics you would like covered on this blog, please add your thoughts in the comments section or email me at

    For more great Voice Over tips, info on Voice Over Coaching, Bilingual Voice Over production and Songwriting, please visit the Berne Media Enterprises page.

    And if you’d like to learn many great techniques to be able to do Voice Over work when you’re sick, you definitely want to check “How To Sing When You’re Sick” by my Music Coach, Michael Mingoia. This book is not only great for singers, but for all performers who rely on their voice for a living. It’s only $3.99, and it’s a no brainer to get. I swear by it and recommend it to all my students! Here’s the link:

    Until next time, may ‘The Voice’ be with you, and thanks for spreading the word!

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