When It's Good To Be Nervous

As Voice Over Artists, is it ever good to be nervous? That depends. As long as you’re in control. How, you ask? We’ll get right to it.

Today we explore nervous energy and how we can use it to our advantage. Now let me be clear: it is never good to be nervous during an audition or a Voice Over gig. It makes you lose focus, feel short of breath, and it hinders your performance.

But every once in a while, we’re asked to play nervous characters. So how do we do this and still maintain control of our performance? The following is a simple exercise you can try at home.

To start the exercise, make sure to record yourself as you’re practicing. First, start reading any piece of text as you normally would. Then, without stopping your read, start shaking one of your hands. Notice how it affects your voice. Your read won’t be as smooth, your voice will start to quiver, it will sound hesitant, um… what’s the word? Nervous.

Then, continue to read as you stop shaking your hand. You should notice how you regain control of your voice immediately. And that’s how it’s done.

Remember: it’s important to always be in control of your body so you may be in control of your performance. As long as you are consciously creating nervous energy to portray a nervous character, you are deliberately affecting your performance to create a desired result. And that, fellow Players, is the mark of a great actor.

By the way, did you know that Leonardo DiCaprio uses this technique? If you see him in the movie “The Departed”, you’ll notice he uses this technique in the scene towards the end of the film when he has a mental breakdown at the shrink’s office. I highly recommend you watch this scene again and pay close attention to his hands.

So if it worked for Leo… I highly recommend you try this exercise and let me know how it worked for you.

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!