An Archive of Style and Delivery Tips
Through the course of the past year of contributions to HalEisner.com,
I've come to realize what a remarkable forum the internet
can be for bringing various shapes and sizes of communities
together. Especially in an industry that is so dependent on
technology and high-tech machinery, the heart and soul of
a good internet site (like HalEisner.com!) is the community
of people who contribute their work and make this such an
interesting place to hang out.
Alas, my own professional responsibilities and academic
commitments make it impossible for me to continue as a regular
contributor to the site. I will, of course, be a regular visitor
however, and from time to time, when matters of significance
rile me up or interest me sufficiently, I may just have to
drop back in to add my two cents.
In wrapping up this series on voice and performance on the
air for reporters, anchors, producers, narrators and the like,
there is one final thought I'd like to share with you.
Some years ago, in graduate school, during an acting class
being taught by the legendary Olympia Dukakis, I oversaw a
remarkable interaction between a teacher and student. Two
students were performing a scene from Tennessee Williams "Streetcar
Named Desire". The young man was all brute strength and
energy, and took the role on with gusto. The young woman,
however, seemed to be only half there, her mind anywhere but
on the scene in front of her. Olympia stopped the scene and
ran up to the young woman, grabbed her by the shoulders and
shouted "...how do you expect to be an interesting character
when your not a very interesting human being?"
The young actress was devastated, and over the course of
the next semester, she redoubled her efforts to become "an
interesting human being" and ultimately did quite well
as an actress.
The point of Olympia's outburst, however, was not lost on
Ultimately, as you work to develop your physical voice,
your performance skills, your journalistic chops, you work
on two fronts: the physical skill, and the mental agility.
In the long run, developing the physical skills necessary
to speak clearly, strongly, compellingly is immensely easier
than developing the rich, complex mind that has something
So in closing, by all means, do your warm ups and your vocal
preparation. Practice your diction and articulation exercises.
Rehearse your pieces if you have time and develop a strong,
But always remember that having a strong voice doesn't guarantee
that you have anything important to say with that voice. In
the long run, the hardest part of teaching and training reporters
and anchors is not the technical skills of pronunciation and
diction, but rather the mental discipline and commitment necessary
to discover, develop and report good stories. It turns out
that the best voice training has nothing to do with the voice
at all, but rather with the brain driving that voice.
...and of course, keep breathing!
though this will be the final regular installment of "Sounds
Good," Jon is eager to hear from folks who have performance
questions or reporting ideas and would like to discuss them.
Jon can be reached by sending an email to jBeaupré@broadcastvoice.com.
Feel free to write with your ideas, disagreements, and questions;
they will provide the basis of future installments.