What is voice over? How do you dub? How to improve your pronunciation? How to express yourself through voice modulation? What are the career options in voicing?
Popular Indian TV actor and voice artist Manini De collaborated with LITKIDS for our masterclass series. In her masterclass, Manini talks about the process of Voicing and shares her tips and hacks to enhance voice, pronunciation and tonality. While many struggle to understand the career options a Voice Over artist has to explore, Manini explains and simplifies it all for you.
Manini De is an Indian television and film actress and Voice Over artist. In this field since the last 13 years, few of the many dubbing roles she has played are in movies like Iron Man 1 & 2, The Mummy, Total recall, Avengers: Age of Ultron and so on. She has also featured in various Bollywood movies like Krrish, alongside Priyanka Chopra and Hrithik Roshan and is well known for playing impactful characters in popular Indian TV dramas like Ssshhhh…Koi Hai, JassiJaissi Koi Nahi, CID and more.
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In this article, you will read about Voicing based on Manini’s professional experience. You can also watch her masterclass to learn everything about voice acting. Click on the link below.
Apart from being a bureaucrat, Manini’s mother was a playwright and novelist. When Manini was 7 years old, she accompanied her mother to All India Radio for one of her mother’s radio plays and it was nothing short of a dream for little Manini. She was extremely fascinated by the place, the soundproofed studios, mic and the place overall.
Manini still remembers how the sound engineer made her to sit on a stool because she was a tiny child, gave her headphones to wear, put the mic in front of her and asked her to say something. Excited by what was happening, little Manini said “Hi, my name is Manini” and it all felt and sounded so magical to her, as if it wasn’t her on the mic!
Manini’s romance started with radio or voicing from that day on and to this day, even after working as an actress for the past 20 years, if asked what excites her the most? Her answer will always be ‘Voicing!’
WHO IS A VOICE ARTIST?
A voice artist is a performer or an actor who uses his or her voice to convey a certain emotion or message. Let’s take Discovery channel for example, the tone, volume and type of narration that accompanies the visuals, adds a magical layer to it. A voice can enhance or it can take away from a visual.
There are various ways of saying something so it’s necessary to realize the importance of voice as an instrument if you want to understand how to become a voice artist.
There are various institutes and organizations which offer professional training courses. Manini never got that opportunity, but she got a live opportunity of being on a mic and training herself through hearing what she was saying. Also, credit goes to her voice directors who streamlined her voice and helped her with valuable feedback after every take.
If you notice, when we talk to kids, our voice automatically takes up a childish tone. We tend to sort of mirror the child’s way of talking because we feel that’s the best way to sort of connect with the child, when we talk to elders, there’s a certain amount of grace, certain amount of calmness in our voice, whereas when we talk to our friends, there are no rules!
WORK ON GOOD VOCABULARY AND PRONOUNCIATION
Another important characteristic as a voice person is to have good vocabulary and clarity in pronunciations.
Read good books, newspapers, check your speed and clarity, pronunciation, enunciation, punctuation modulation, there are so many things to work on. Manini’s mother got her to read newspapers daily, to understand where the full stop is, where is the comma, how to be in the flow of the news. Hear yourself while you are reading. If it is not sounding right it will not sound right to the other person too.
Manini was also a newscaster in the first part of her career. She was really young and was one of the youngest newscasters in that channel and her habit of reading newspapers as a child, helped her a lot during that time.
Manini to a large extent is a self-taught artist. She always observed popular news reporters like Renee, Salma Sutanji, Meenu Talwar and tried to emulate them.
PRACTICE VOICE EXERCISES
There are various vocal exercises that you can incorporate in your daily routine like –
Yoga is one of the best exercises, there are various asanas and exercises that can help strengthen your vocal cords. Manini personally vouches for pranayama. Click here to learn simple yoga exercises.
2. BREATHING EXERCISES
There are various breathing exercises one can practice to beaware of your breath. Deep breathing exercises are important for good voice tonality. Click here to watch
BE PREPARED FOR COMPETITION
There are several beautiful voices out there. If you notice there are so many advertisements which have the same voice and you may wonder, ‘Why is this so?’, Is there a shortage of voice artists? Well, that’s not the case. It’s probably because that voice has made it’s niche in a particular kind of product line.
You can take help from various voice coaches who train you and prepare you for this world which is as competitive as any other world.
BE OPEN TO CRITICISM
When you enjoy the flow of anything, whether it’s acting, voicing, etc. you are in that flow of grace and you will like what you are doing but it’s important to hear what your voice director is saying. Notice what and how you are doing, see the visual that you are voicing to know how low or high your voice should sound. Come up with the permutation or combination that can make your voice sound perfect.
It is important to be very aware, attentive and open to constructive criticism and discussing ways to get the best results.
Manini feels her journey has been very fruitful because she has always been open to learning. One important lesson she learnt is that even after all these years, until your voice fits a particular character you will not get the job, so it is absolutely fine do not lose heart. It has happened so many times that she had auditioned for a particular role, but it hasn’t worked out, and that’s okay! Because there have also been times when she has cleared the audition in one shot! So again, sometimes it is just a question of perfect time, perfect place, and being perfect for the character.
YOUR VOICE QUALITY
Voice is such a beautiful gift that that God has given us. It is important to understand that it’s a very powerful tool. Your voice is your identity.
If there is a requirement of a very shrill voice, then Manini’s voice quality won’t fit, because she has a bass voice, like a heavier voice. One can only be cast for characters whose voice quality suits your voice.
Now for example, Manini gave her voice for a yoga app in 2019. In yoga, the voice must be very gentle and calming and something that induces a lot of peace and tranquility. You cannot be speaking at a certain pitch or in a volume that is very disturbing for the person to hear because your voice is supposed to be the carrier of tranquility. Hence every sort of job requires a different kind of a permutation combination.
Manini has picked up important learning’s throughout her career; one of them is: Self-awareness. She has always been very self aware and open to learning from every experience.
As a child, Manini used to get very shrilly at times and her mother used to always ask her to temper it down and say, “Don’t be so shrill, add some bass to your voice!” At first, she did not understand, but slowly with time, she understood what her mother was talking about.
Manini was also trained in Indian classical music. This resulted in her voice getting trained very well. Every song has its own expression and requirement, and the voice is modulated accordingly. Manini thinks being trained in music has really helped her to understand certain nuances of voicing. You too can learn the basics of singing, click here!
TAKE CARE OF YOUR VOICE
Manini suggests that it is important to avoid things that affect your voice, like cool things, or something very sour, like pickles can also cause a problem to some. Talking for too long talking at a high pitch or a very low pitch also puts a lot of strain on your voice.
Manini personally is very fond of jaggery so when she is dubbing she keeps a little bit of jaggery in a little box next to her because it soothes the throat. Sucking on jaggery is great for your voice.
Liquorice, commonly called as mulethi in India, works wonders for her throat. She is also a huge fan of warm water. Warm water is good not just for your voice, but it also makes your skin shine, hence that’s great! Keep sipping water all day, stay hydrated. One should also gargle with hot water every day.
CAREER OPTIONS IN VOICING
You can be a voice over artist, you can be a dubbing artist, you can voice for advertisements, you can voice for corporate films, you can voice for government campaigns and you can voice for various other things. There are people doing audio books and voice-overs for OTT platforms. Today, there is a huge demand of voicing artists.
Every person has been given a distinct voice because they are unique. Your voice is like a thumbprint. Nobody has the same thumbprint, nobody on earth! Likewise, voices may sound similar, but they are not the same.
Some people are gifted with voices which are immensely powerful! Their voice has a rare quality; their laughter has a very rare effect on people, and that is something that even Manini finds very fascinating. For example, Manini loves Rani Mukherjee’s voice. It’s a very raspy kind of a voice. Even Amitabh Bachchan has one of those powerful voices.
Lastly, it is important to understand that like any other profession this too has its gestation time. It takes time to build with every brick, so do not be in a hurry! Don’t get disappointed and enjoy the job that you’ve been given and enjoy it as an art form because voicing is an art & that makes you an artist!
It’s time to use your voice for the right reasons!!
Follow these above points & get started on your voicing journey. Share your experience with us on email@example.com. Tune in to LITKIDS YouTube channel for fun contests that can provide you with a platform to hone your skills.
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