Conversational Coaching for the Voiceover Professional 

You know something is missing
from your conversational read. 
But you're not sure what it is.

Let’s talk about it.

  Twenty minutes of FREE conversational coaching with Hugh.  

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Looking forward to working with you!

(646) 621-4828

hugh@conversationalvo.com

The conversational read is not "just talking".

No matter what kind of voiceover you perform, nearly every direction requests the conversational read. Agents ask for it. Producers want it. Casting directors specify it. And voiceover talent long for it. And all the explanatory adjectives to help you get there, like: “sound like a real person,” “be genuine,” “talk to one person,” “don't sound like voiceover talent,” or “not announcery” are fine,  but in the real world, we don’t communicate the way voiceover scripts are written. 

In the world of voiceover, you’re asked to perform scripts that are written to be heard and understood immediately. But voiceover language can be unnatural. We don’t use these words, phrases, and patterns in normal speech. And when you record your scripts, those words need to be spoken so easily that listeners are unaware of their artificiality. 

Nobody talks in real life the way they do in commercials. Or corporate narration. Or TV promos. Or political spots, radio imaging, or explainer videos.  And as another "Hugh" wrote: “If you talked to people the way commercials talk to people, they’d punch you in the face.” – Hugh MacLeod, author of ‘Ignore Everybody’

“I know it when I hear it...”

Conversational voiceover is a performance of interpretation rather than presentation. When the words make sense to us, their sounds can take care of themselves. But talking about the conversational sound is a lot like the 1964 US Supreme Court test for obscenity: hard to describe, “but I know it when I see it.” Or for our purposes, hear it.

We may be able to identify the conversational read when we hear a script spoken with conversational prosody, but the conversational read is not “just talking,” and nobody can “just do it.”

Over 125,000 auditions directed – and counting

“If the announcer read is about presentation, the conversational read is about interpretation.”

How to Get the Conversational Read

Some voiceover talent think the conversational read is innate. You have it, or you don’t. Or that they’ll never unlearn the way they’ve always done voiceover. And they give up, believing it’s not for them.

But what is the magic prescription that makes the conversational read teachable? Well, it’s not magic. And there is no silver bullet.

However you can:

  • Impose subtext on scripts
  • Identify structure in the copy and use it to create narrative clarity
  • Apply the descriptions of tone and direction you are given to both the text and your natural vocal qualities
  • Listen to yourself without judgment to redirect your performance
  • And learn to adapt and adjust these ideas (and more) to the cycle of auditions, bookings, and rejection that is such a prominent feature of the voiceover industry

Can everyone do the conversational read? Probably not. But I believe more people can do it than they realize. And the amazing thing? Once you get it, we don’t only hear the words. We hear you.

Let’s talk.

About Hugh

So much has happened in the past few years, I’d like to reintroduce myself. I’m Hugh P. Klitzke.  I teach conversational voiceover. And that is my favorite hat.

I’ve been talking about voiceover for a long time; in the booth, the classroom, one on one and online.  And talent have found my thoughts on the subject to be valuable.

How do I know? When voice talent took my direction or otherwise applied what I wrote or taught, they made money. Not all of the time, but enough of the time. And sometimes quite a lot of it, too. You can’t work at an agency for as long as I did without making money for both your clients and your employer.

I spent almost 15 years, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, directing about 125,000 voiceover auditions. That number is probably a little low. 

I loved every day I was at Buchwald. But something happens when you do the same job for a long time.  You start to hear a little voice in the back of your head asking if there is anything else for you out there. I’ve read that many people who changed their career paths felt a similar thing.

And then there was what my Dad said:  “You might get a different kind of satisfaction from working closely with talent for a longer period of time rather than so many people, so quickly every day”.


And he was right.

Interviews with Hugh

Q & A

Made in 2014.
That’s why I say 85k auditions.
Other things have changed since then, too.
Now my hair is short.
But that suit was really nice.
And the lighting was good.
1:57

Documentary

Made in 2017.
Watermarked from my earlier site.
I talk about teaching voiceover to actors.
And the lighting wasn’t so good.
But I liked that tie.
5:01

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