0283 – 1 - Colour Important New Information


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2021.10.10 – 0283 – 1 - Colour Important New Information

Here are then, some keys to a good read.

1 – Colour Important New Information

In ad-libbed speaking we naturally highlight the detail that ‘makes the story, the story’ – the information that is new and important, the facts that we want to draw attention to, and which propel the message… the ‘meaning-ful’ words and phrases.

So ask yourself what the script is about and what makes it unusual. What is different, new or unexpected?

The crash was between two cars.” - You would naturally slightly highlight “crash” and “two cars” and speak the other words on a more normal level of intonation.

Mary had a little lamb” – the key words are “Mary” and “lamb” which you draw slight attention to by colouring each of these words as you say them. “Had a” are ‘grouting words’ that hold the phrase together and there is no need to highlight “little” as all lambs are small and so that adjective is of no significance and so does not need to be coloured.

New information usually includes people’s names, their position or title, and geographical places.

The President is in France tonight, meeting with leaders of that country ahead of the big G8 meeting in Paris tomorrow.”

Usually as a commercial voiceover and a newsreader (apart from perhaps when you are directly quoting someone else) you are staying ‘in character’ – that is you are speaking as ‘you’. When you are reading an ebook as a voice actor though you may be various characters, or maybe you are the narrator telling the listener about the thoughts of one or other of them. In this situation, the information is new to the person being portrayed (either the speaker or the hearer), not to you as the reader or narrator.

Let’s take a look at this:

“With one more twist of the skeleton key, the lock clicked and the cabinet door creaked open. Nervously Robert opened the door wider and looked inside. He knew there had to be something of value inside but not exactly what it was. A minute later he was striding into the drawing room with the Chinese-looking vase carefully cradled in both hands. ‘They’ll be furious it’s just a vase’ he thought to himself. And he wasn’t wrong.

‘A vase!’ cried Ranjit in surprise. ‘Is that it?’

Alice said nothing. She had known for some time that the vase was there.”

So here we have every reference to the vase coloured. That’s because different people are thinking or speaking about it. In this situation, the information is new to each of them in different contexts.

So as a voice actor, sometimes you are the narrator of the piece, and sometimes you are one or more of the characters, who themselves may be thinking to themselves, or talking aloud to one or more other people, any of whom may know the information that is being said to them – information that may be new, or old. You really have to concentrate then, to have your intonation fit with your characterisation.

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