Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The VO Boss podcast blends business advice with inspiration & motivation for today's voice talent. Each week, host Anne Ganguzza shares guest interviews + voice over industry insights to help you grow your business and stay focused on what matters...

Apr 12, 2022

Acting is more than just using your voice. It requires whole body movement, agility, and engagement. In this episode, Anne & Pilar share their favorite stretches, exercises, and warmups that can be done in and out of the booth. From Pilar’s jaw release warmup to Anne’s neck stretch, by the end of this episode you’ll be warmed up + ready to perform like a #VOBOSS.

More at


>> It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premiere Business Owner Strategies and Successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a BOSS, a VO BOSS! Now let’s welcome your host, Anne Ganguzza.

Pilar: Hola, BOSS Voces. Bienvenidos al podcast, con Anne Ganguzza y Pilar Uribe.

Anne: Hey everyone. Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I'm your host Anne Ganguzza. And I am so excited to bring back to my booth, my special guest cohost Pilar Uribe. Pilar, how are you?

Pilar: Hello, Anne.

Anne: Look, I feel I'm very spry. I'm very spry today in the booth. And you know why? Do you know I'm spry?

Pilar: Why are you spry? Why are you spry? Why are you spry, Anne?

Anne: Because I did a little warmup, so I'm kind of feeling good in the booth. And I think it's important that we always do awesome warmups and move around in the booth so we can have good energy going forth into our voiceover.

Pilar: I totally agree.

Anne: Thoughts?

Pilar: That that is something that I, something that I just did. Do as I say, not as I do. Try not to do what I just did, honestly. VO BOSSes --

Anne: Drink dairy?

Pilar: Because, well, that's one thing. Yes, of course. I had dairy. I had yogurt this morning, so of course I'm all phlegmy.

Anne: Me too.

Pilar: That's not, that's not fun, especially when you're going to do an audition. That's not great. So drink your water. But one of the things that I was told by a professional is it's really bad to clear your throat. You know, like when people [clear throat noise], that is like the worst thing you can do. Drink water, wait till it passes, stop doing that. But that's literally like putting sandpaper on your throat. It's the worst thing you can do.

Anne: Yes, I have heard the same, and it's very hard because I think it's like a habit from before voiceover. That would be BF -- BFO, before voiceover, before voiceover, when I used to scream and do all sorts of harmful things to my vocal cords, before I realized that we need to treat this like gold, because it is our livelihood.

Pilar: Okay. I have one question though. Did you say BFO?

Anne: Did I say BF --

Pilar: You meant BVO, BVO.

Anne: BVO, okay, okay. I was thinking like best friend in VO. So I kind of combined --

Pilar: Anne, Anne --

Anne: Pilar, that's how I think of you.

Pilar: Anne, will you be my BFO?

Anne: My BFO. there's --

Pilar: Will you be my BFO?

Anne: -- best friend, best friend in VO. So hey --

Pilar: I love it.

Anne: So being best friends, I think I want all of our BOSS listenership -- they're our friends. And I think it would be a really great episode if we talked about how moving in the booth and how warming up and just physicality in the booth can really help us to perform better and just be better all around, better mental, spiritual, physical to improve our performances.

Pilar: Okay. So since we are starting our day, Anne, I invite you to do something with me.

Anne: Okay. All right.

Pilar: We're going to do it all together.

Anne: What is this, a warmup?

Pilar: This is a warmup exercise. It's a jaw release.

Anne: Oh yes.

Pilar: Which we don't even realize half the time how much tension we're carrying in our jaw.

Anne: You know what's so funny, that I actually really need this because the other day, I woke up, and my ear was hurting, but it wasn't like an earache kind of hurt. It was an ear hurting because I might've clenched my jaw at night. And I, I know so many people that clench their jaws at night, and anything to relieve this ache in my jaw will be very helpful. Yes.

Pilar: Okay. Cool.

Anne: I'm ready.

Pilar: All right. So I want you to place your palms on the sides of your face. Okay? I'll hold it on my headphones. You can still hear me, right? Okay. So you're going to place your palms on the side of your face and slowly massage the jaw and the cheek muscles. Okay. So you're taking the palm, and you're massaging the jaw line up and down the jaw line and also your cheekbones and, and with small circular motions.

Anne: Good for when you have sinus issues too.

Pilar: Yes.

Anne: Or you feel it. Can you hear me going, can you hear it? Like, I'm very close to the mic. I am in circular motions.

Pilar: So you can, you can go all the way up to where your cheekbone is and massage there, and you can go all the way towards the ear.

Anne: Okay, BOSSes, you're doing this, I hope you're doing this with us, BOSSes.

Pilar: Absolutely. Just try it. And then you go all the way down to your jaw line and go way up almost to your, your ear, almost to the ear. So continue to massage while lowering and raising your jaw. Now --

Anne: You're lowering and raising the jaw while you're doing this.

Pilar: Yeah, so you're going, ahhh, in the jaw.

Anne: Are we saying anything when we're doing?

Pilar: No, not yet. Not yet. Just lower and raise your jaw. I can't speak right now.

Anne: But you're my -- you're instructing us, so.

Pilar: I am instructing you. Okay. Now --

Anne: I don't know if you can do it while you're instructing.

Pilar: I will. You're going to hear it in a minute. So now keep lowering and raising your jaw while you're massaging. And now you're going to add the sound ma ma ma with a very light lip contact. So it's not, mmm. It's just a light lip contact for the mic.

Anne: Now what is ] that doing?

Pilar: And then you're going to change to whoa, whoa,

Anne: Wait. I'm still massaging, right?

Pilar: Yeah. You're still massaging, and you're changing from ma ma to wa wa.

Anne: Oh, I can feel the vibration.

Pilar: VO BOSSes, if you're doing this, you're hearing the resonance. That's really important because that means that you're using all those muscles.

Anne: That's awesome.

Pilar: We tend to think that we're just using the vocal box and that's it. And sometimes we can hear the chest.

Anne: No, it's our entire it's like facial jaw.

Pilar: Exactly. It's that whole, and it goes up practically -- it's like, like you're using all those muscles and all that movement there, and that will help your sound as it comes out.

Anne: Love it.

Pilar: So do you wanna try another one?

Anne: Yeah, let's try another one. Let's try another one.

Pilar: It's a lip trill. Okay. So this releases lip tension, which we tend to do and we don't even realize it. And it also helps you to connect your breathing and speaking. So place your lips loosely together. Okay? And you're going to release air in a steady stream to create a trill or a raspberry kind of a sound. So it's like [whistle-like breathing]

Anne: That's a raspberry sound?

Pilar: I'm not really sure what a raspberry sound is.

Anne: [lip trill] Isn't that what it is, the trill?

Pilar: But that's what I say -- yeah, yeah, yeah. But you can also do this. [whistle breathing] What is a raspberry sound? That is a raspberry sound, but it's like, what I'm trying to do is I'm trying to get the sound out without moving my lips, which is really cool. Hold on. [lip buzzing] That's a raspberry sound. That's a raspberry. [lip buzzing] So first try. So our microphone is getting a lot of action here. First, try it with an H sound. Then try it with a B sound.

Anne: Oh my God, that tickles.

Pilar: Yeah, it does, it tickles, right?

Anne: I can not, I can not do it. It's like when the dentist does the teeth cleaning, the polishing, and it gets on my lip, it just, I can't. It makes me tear up.

Pilar: So first try it with an H sound and then repeat with a B sound. Okay? And then [sound]. And it seems like it wouldn't be, but it is different. It's a different feeling. So now I want you to try doing the B trill. It can be either [lip trill] or it can be [lip buzz] and go up and down the scales. Okay? And whatever's comfortable. You don't have to go all the way -- whatever's comfortable at the top or the bottom.

Anne: I really think for the trill, you have to let your lips just trill like that.

Pilar: Because there's two ways to do it. There's [one way] which is more the H sound. And then there's the [lip trill].

Anne: That's easy. Okay. My lips are relaxed now.

Pilar: Yeah. Don't they feel kind of like, they feel like you can kind of feel the reverberations.

Anne: Well, once the tickle goes away, I'll, yeah. I'm not sure I can do this everyday 'cause it just tickles. I wonder if I'll get used to it.

Pilar: Yeah. And there's more, there, there are other things, there's tongue trills. There's lip buzzing. We kind of did the lip buzzing, and here's one thing that's really important: humming. You can do this anywhere. You can do this while you're walking. Humming is really great. So [hums].

Anne: Oh yes.

Pilar: So if you do humming and you concentrate, you will feel it in different parts of your face.

Anne: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Pilar: You will, you'll be able to feel it in your teeth, in your lips, and in your facial bones. So let's just try that really quickly. Just the humming.

Anne: BOSSes are humming.

Pilar: And if you go low, It's a different feeling from when you go high. And in your nose, if you concentrate on feeling it in your nose, you're going to feel all this vibration.

Anne: Yep. I feel it my nose. And I think if you visualize where it's coming from, that helps, that helps. Now this is doing some vocal lip, trills, and hums. Now I also think any exercise around your head, neck, muscles, shoulders is very helpful in the booth. So I feel like I do a lot of the neck stretches where you take your right hand, place it on your left ear and tilt your head to the side. Right? So right hand --

Pilar: Hold on, right hand, left ear.

Anne: Right-hand, left ear.

Pilar: Is your hand over your head or is it under?

Anne: It's over my head, over my head. And so as you breathe in through your nose for three seconds, then exhale, pull your head more to the right. Breathe in for three seconds. Hold it. And as you exhale, stretch your neck further towards your right shoulder. Breathe in for three and then exhale and stretch even further to your shoulder. And then you basically take your head and do on the other side. So take your left hand, put your left hand over your right ear.

Pilar: I was doing it, I was doing it the wrong way at first. I'm like, she's crazy. And then I realized I was doing it wrong.

Anne: Yeah. Breathe in through your nose. And then when you exhale, bring that head down towards your shoulder, toward the left shoulder. Exactly. Then breathe in again. And then as you exhale, bring it further towards your left shoulder. So you're stretching that neck.

Pilar: Oh, that feels good. Oh yeah, you can feel it.

Anne: Yeah. And then you can do that also forward. So take your hand, your right hand, put it on the top of your head, and breathe in for three through your nose and then exhale and then pull your head down to your chest. So chin to your chest.

Pilar: Oh my God. I can feel it all up and down the back of my neck.

Anne: So yeah, those muscles around your neck, when you warm them up, right, your vocal cords are right there. So it's super that that's warmed up as well. And in addition to the physical, like, and I also do head rolls, right? So from left to right, roll your head around the back 'til it reaches your right shoulder and then back again towards your left, and that will help you to relax those muscles around your vocal cords.

Pilar: Okay. Very important. Yeah. And one other that I will suggest is interlocking your hands in front of you and then twisting them and pushing your palms out.

Anne: Oh, forward, yeah.

Pilar: Forward. So you're stretching those, those shoulders.

Anne: Shoulder muscles. Yeah.

Pilar: And then you can bring them up and, and then, and you can actually pull your left --

Anne: Over your head, right?

Pilar: Over your head and then pull your left wrist with your right hand and then go to the right. Oh. And you can feel all up and down the arm.

Anne: And so you're stretching to the left. So you're doing that --

Pilar: Your side.

Anne: Yeah. You're doing a side stretch.

Pilar: You're doing a side stretch. Right. And you're doing, yeah. And then you go to the other side. You can feel all the way up and down the side of your body. Because when you're in the booth, you're using everything. I know that a lot of people sit in terms of moving in the booth. That's an important part of this. People ask me all the time, do you sit or do you stand? And it's like, I do both. It depends on the read. However, whatever it is that you do, make sure you don't -- if you're standing for a very long time, make sure you have a chair that you can sit. And if you're sitting for a long time, make sure you get up, move around, touch your toes, raise your arms up, you know, lift your knees a little bit, because sitting or standing in the same position for a very long time will lead you to feeling tension and --

Anne: Exactly.

Pilar: And so, you know, it's like, you want to be flexible. You want to be easy.

Anne: So we've warmed up, and we're moving in the booth as we sit. And literally this takes a few minutes. You don't even have to spend an hour doing this, but every little bit helps. And I think that not only just warming up in the booth by moving around, 'cause now I'm like, wow, I've got some heat going on in this booth. Maybe you do it outside the booth if you don't have any ventilation, but wherever you do the, the exercises and the movement, the lip trills, and the head rolls, and the neck rolls, and all of the side stretches, that's wonderful before you get into do your auditioning for the day. And once you're there too, you can physicate while you're performing your script. And that actually is something that I tell my students every single day, get physical behind the mic.

Because number one, it helps you be much more believable because it's taking away all of that energy that you focus specifically just on the words coming out of your mouth. And a lot of times that doesn't make things realistic because if all you're moving is your mouth and your vocal cords, things become very consistent, right? There's no other energy coming out of you to kind of move or shape a rhythm. That would be something that we do when we're talking to one another, right? When we talk to one another or we converse or we're interacting with other people, which is kind of what you're doing with your audience behind the mic, right, you're interacting with people, you're moving your arms. You're moving your body. You have facial expressions. There's all of this movement happening behind the mic or behind your voice. And that helps us to sound the way that we do.

I mean, it, it has every bit of influence on how we sound. So if I'm just standing or sitting or standing here and I'm just here, I'm just moving my mouth and that's what I'm doing, you can notice that I sound a little bit more staccato. I don't really have a lot of, I don't know, depth or feeling. Right? So now I'm just going to like, I'm going to move stuff around. I'm going to move my hands because I really love to move around because that's what I do when I talk to people, like that's that Ganguzza, you know, moving the hands around and, and all of the expression. And if I want to really convince you of something, you can tell, you can hear it. Right? You can hear it come out in my voice. What do you do, Pilar?

Pilar: I'm all about, of course, I want to use my imagination all the time. But for example, even something as simple as a raising an eyebrow, like, I'll, I'll be like, oh yeah, right. Instead of saying, oh yeah, right. But if I raise my eyebrow, I've already changed the expression. Oh yeah. Right. And it can be an ironic raising of an eyebrow.

Anne: I'm confused. There's my furrowed eyebrow. Confused eyebrow. I have a confused eyebrow.

Pilar: Or it could be like, I'm confused. That's like an ironic raising of an eyebrow. I'm confused.

Anne: No, you're not. That's a sarcastic eyebrow.

Pilar: Exactly.

Anne: That would be a sarcastic eyebrow.

Pilar: Right, right. It's a sarcastic eyebrow.

Anne: Eyebrows, they really help.

Pilar: They really do. They really do.

Anne: They really help to give you that point of view, to give you that little bit of nuanced emotion about that read, and I'll tell you over and over again, that's what we keep hearing. Right? It is that kind of emotion, that point of view that, the you that you bring to the script that helps you to bring yourself to the script. Otherwise we're just spewing words into the microphone.

Pilar: Exactly.

Anne: We don't want to spew words. Let's not spew.

Pilar: Like an inward chuckle, like --

Anne: Yeah.

Pilar: You know, just the shrugging of the shoulders that we, that you know, that you mentioned in your minute. And like, for example, when you, when you say your name, you can say your name, Pilar Uribe, or you can say Pilar Uribe. So I just shrugged my shoulders Pilar Uribe.

Anne: Pilar! Or Pilar Uribe. Pi-lar.

Pilar: Yeah. And so we have this whole stretch of body, which is our shoulders that we can do so much. We can shrug one shoulder. We can shrug to shoulders. We can shrug kind of just like a little kind of a yeah, right. We're just kind of like a little inward chuckle. I just raised my shoulder. So you've got all these parts of your body that you can use that can help you when you're doing a read. Like right now I'm using my hands. You know, what you were saying before, I can be pointing to somebody. I can be gesticulating. I can be raising my arms. You know, another one we were talking about earlier is just when you do a read and you put your hands behind your back. There's kind of like --

Anne: Yeah. Yeah, here I am.

Pilar: Hands behind your back.

Anne: Or hands behind your head, right? So you're just, you're casual. If you happen to be standing or sitting, and you want to relax a little bit -- because sometimes when people are trying hard to sound a particular way, their focus is all upfront and it's all here, like in their mouth and in their, like, I feel like it's all around their face. And when you are moving your hands, moving other parts of your body, it just dissipates that energy and really reshapes the tone of what you sound like. Because we're very physical people when we talk, I think, just to each other, when we engage with one another, we're using those hands. And so why should that stop once we're in the booth, right? Because we want it. We're still engaging with our audience.

Pilar: Yeah, exactly. And it's something as simple as putting your arms on your shoulders if you're playing a character, that's in a protective stance or is scared and it's like, this is the way I am now. Or if you've got your hands on the side of your waist, and you're just speaking like this, and you're sticking your chest out, that's a completely different read because you've put something in front of it instead of just speaking here and being really intense. It's almost like you have to trick your mind and you have to give your body an assignment. And then that way, when you give your body an assignment, the tension kind of dissipates as we were talking about. And then you can give a more interesting read and then that's what stops the monotony. You know, even just when you're like, when you're doing long-form, just changing your body stance because it's very hard sometimes to keep the momentum and not be boring.

Anne: Well, exactly. I'm so glad you mentioned that. Because a lot of times I work with a lot of students on, on long format narration like e-learning or corporate narration, something that, anything that's longer than even like 30 seconds, right? We have such small attention spans these days. And so you need to really be conscious and focused on keeping that audience engaged for longer than a minute, in between the periods, in between the sentences, right? There's still things happening. And if you kind of forget about that scene and engaging with the person who's listening, then it becomes a monologue. It just becomes you speaking out into the air. A lot of times I'll refer to you're reading the PowerPoint, and that does not engage with us because you're no longer speaking to me, the listener behind the mic, you're speaking off into the air, and it's only serving yourself.

And that, that comes out in the read, that comes out in the emotion that -- well, are you really talking to me? Are you concerned about how I feel? Not really, because you're reading that PowerPoint. And when you introduce physicality behind the mic, what happens, it will take the focus off of the monologue and bring it back hopefully to where you're engaging or you're not giving a consistent metronome-like read where we all become bored. It becomes more engaged on you. So I would think the only thing that you don't do when you are physicating behind the mic is take your eyes off the page because that's the one thing that's different, right? Unless you're an actor and you're on stage and you've memorized your lines or on camera, then you can obviously not use the piece of paper, but with us, we're not memorizing.


So if we play the paper -- I was told that a long time ago, play the paper. So the person you're talking to is the person right behind the words on the paper. So if that paper became a transparency for us people who are of a certain age and know what a transparency is, you can see a face or think of it as like a teleprompter with you. You can see faces behind it. You're talking to the people behind it, but you are never taking your eyes off that word or the words, because a lot of times, if you do, and I know with my actor students, I know exactly when they're taking their eyes off the paper, because they're missing words. They're stumbling and that's, that's a telltale sign, but play the paper and physicate like crazy. And nobody's, I mean, we can all be silly, right? I mean, nobody's watching you. I mean, maybe they are.

Pilar: Obviously, as long as you don't make noise, there are things that you can do. Like, for example, this is just something that I've done. And then I was thinking, how could it translate to a man? So sometimes what I'll do is I've got my hair up in a ponytail, and I'll just kind of whip my hair out. And just the movement of my head, you know, like a slow motion, like, you know, those hair commercials when they move their hair slowly, that'll give me a different reason.

Anne: I've got a visual now. The brat girl, she's like the brat girl.

Pilar: Exactly, exactly. So that'll give me a different read. And so for men, you know, if you have short hair, it's harder, but like just even putting a hat on and taking the hat off, just like the slow motion of it. Because a lot of the times when we're doing reads, you know, we want to get it done --

Anne: Yes, quickly.

Pilar: -- or not that we want to get it done quickly, but we want to get it over with, and it's in that moment, it's in that present moment that it's so important to be feeling, yes, you're reading, but you can also be doing other things with your arms, and your shoulders, and your head, and just give it that full body because that will -- even though we think it doesn't, it's going to come out in the read.

Anne: I like the full body. Yeah. And I'm glad that you said that because I tell people when they're making movements behind the mic, right, in order to make a point, sometimes it takes more of an effort. Like, 'cause I could just sit here, like here I am behind the mic, and I want to demonstrate a large circle. Right? So I use my hands and I draw a circle with my hand, right? So I say here's a large circle, but I didn't really draw a large circle. I just drew a circle in front of me. What I want to do is I want to draw a large circle. And so if you can hear what just happened is I actually drew a larger circle, and it just kind of drew my voice into a different sound and a different tone. And you may not want to go that large, but a lot of times you have to go a little bit larger than the immediate inch or two in front of your face.

Pilar: If you're doing video games, you definitely have to go larger.

Anne: Even narration. As a matter of fact, narration, because God, you've got to make sure that those nuances come out. They may not be grand emotions, but they're going to be -- I really want you to listen to this next line. It's really important. And let me talk about the circumference of this large circle over here. And so, as opposed to let me talk about the circumference of this large circle over here, right? There's a big difference when I don't move versus when I do move. And so you need to make that corresponding physical movement that gives it enough point of view, enough emphasis enough passion, whatever that is. I just -- see, I got so passionate. I plosived on my mic. I heard that.

And so, or I might've hit the mic with my hand, but you've got to give that performance behind the mic that allows you to express something that people are listening to because remember you're reeling them back into the story because they don't have to listen to you. If you're in front of someone and you're actually engaging with them, right, they're physically in front of you. And so you've got your body that you can use to help like control the conversation. Maybe not control, but use your body and your face and your hands and your voice to keep people engaged. But behind the mic, it's an imaginary audience that we're playing to, so.

Pilar: Well, and I think it's really important because along the lines of what you just said, what are we doing as voice actors? Whether we're doing long-form or we're doing an audition, our goal is not to get the words out or not to say the words in the pretty way. Just like in a conversation, you are engaging the person who's in front of you.

Anne: Yeah, absolutely.

Pilar: That's the whole point of it. You're doing it for the other person. You're not doing it for yourself.

Anne: Right.

Pilar: So in that sense, you have to be as if that person were right there in the booth with you. So you have to engage, and whatever it is, you can be physical about it. And the great thing about being in the booth is that nobody has to see you making these silly faces. You know, so if you're doing your exercises, you know, and it's like --

Anne: It's so true.

Pilar: -- you're going by them as -- this is a great exercise -- my name is -- and so you open your mouth wide and you go "my name is Tommy, the wide-mouthed frog." And that --

Anne: Tommy, okay, Tommy.

Pilar: "My name is -- hi! I'm Tommy!" And you just opened your mouth so much. And then when you go to do the normal stuff --

Anne: Yeah.

Pilar: -- also those kinds of silly exercises, you know, the big black bug --

Anne: Break the tension.

Pilar: Yep. Yeah. And then they bring you to another space if you're stuck and you're going, my gosh, this sounds the same. What am I going to do? You know, it's like, you turn yourself around, and then boom, you're in a different space and you can continue.

Anne: Yep. So you didn't think that voiceover was so physical, did you, BOSSes? Because it is, it really is. Whether we're warming up our vocal cords, whether we're warming up our muscles around the vocal cords, or whether we're performing in the booth and expressing physicality behind the mic, it is extra, extra, super, uber important.

Pilar: Agreed.

Anne: Then it really can help your performance.

Pilar: It's a lifelong thing.

Anne: That's right, that's right.

Pilar: Really and truly, if you're a voice actor and you're just starting out or you've been doing it for 20 years or you've been doing it for five, you can always pick up new tips and incorporate them. And that's going to make your voiceover time in the booth that much richer.

Anne: Yeah. Great stuff today, Pilar. You guys, you BOSSes, get moving in the booth. Big shout-out to our sponsor ipDTL, where we can connect and move in the booth with our colleagues and clients. Find out more at You guys, have an amazing week and keep on moving. We'll see you next week.

Pilar: See you next week.

Anne: Bye!

Pilar: Bye.

>> Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your host Anne Ganguzza. And take your business to the next level. Sign up for our mailing list at and receive exclusive content, industry revolutionizing tips and strategies, and new ways to rock your business like a BOSS. Redistribution with permission. Coast to coast connectivity via ipDTL.