In voice over timing is everything, well almost everything. New voice over beginners often get so carried away with their performance they forget the commercial needs to fit within :30 or :60 seconds. Here are some thoughts on timing and how you can improve yours.First, take a look at the script. The timing should always be included somewhere up at the top. Most spots will be :30 or :60 seconds long but you may also run into shorter spots, :15 second or even less, for television voice overs.

TV promos, those announcements in between shows, also require you to move fast. They’re only a few seconds long and your timing must be spot on. You’ll also find timing requirements in non-broadcast jobs and corporate narrations but it’s less common.

The good news is a sense of timing in voice over is a little like learning to ride a bicycle. Once you internalize it, you’ll never lose it.

Here’s how to improve your voice over timing:

  • Practice with a stop watch
    I like the stop watch on my iPhone. Most phones have them these days. Make sure you turn off the beep to keep it silent.
  • Practice with a “voice model
    Record and transcribe some commercials off TV and radio. Time them. Practice the script trying to get as close as possible to the timing of the voice talent who booked the job.
  • Too slow? Stand up and speak
    with your hands

    It helps you go faster and pump more energy into the read.
  • Too Fast? There’s probablytoo much “white space” between your words
    Imagine increasing the space between the words on the script, especially at the end of your thoughts.
  • Relax and get into the imagery
    There’s a transcendental component togood voice acting. When the voice actor is a master, we get lost in the imagery of the spot and lifted out of space and time. The actor is only speaking for :60 seconds but it feels as if they took us on a timeless journey, something to aspire to!

Don’t try to do everything at once
It’s almost impossible to perfect more than one skill set at a time. Segregate your practice sessions so you’re working on your timing in a separate session from your technique.



Want to use this article on your website or your own ezine?

You may absolutely share this article with people you think may enjoy it. When doing so, please forward it in its entirety and include the following:

Susan Berkley is a top voice over artist and founder of The Great Voice Company, a company devoted to teaching great voices around the world how to become successful voice over actors. The Great Voice Company is an international leader in voice over training and in providing top quality voice over recordings in all languages to discerning businesses and marketers. For additional information visit

Copyright 2012, The Great Voice Company. All Rights Reserved.  How to Improve Your Voice Over Timing.