My Top 7 Ways To Read A Script Without Gasping For Air
By Susan Berkley


An Inside Voice Over subscriber writes: When I read scripts, I often run out of breath and make big, sloppy slurping sounds as I gasp for air How can I improve my breath control?

Susan Berkley: “I feel your pain Often we get scripts that are crammed with copy, poorly written and poorly punctuated. When reading these overloaded scripts, many people mistakenly think they need to grab a lung full of air, as if they were trying to swim the length of a swimming pool underwater in one breath. You don’t! We only need as much breath as we normally use for speaking, nothing more.

When that happens, here’s what to do:

1. Don’t just start reading and hope for the best. Take the journey of the text by following a roadmap you create on the page. Plan where to breathe in advance and mark your scripts accordingly

2. Breathe at the end of every thought. This is not necessarily the end of a sentence. The places you choose to pause will help your listener understand what you’re trying to say.

3. Inhale with an open mouth. This will help you avoid gulping, slurpy sounding breaths.

4. Pause for meaning, not punctuation. Cross out any periods or commas that don’t make sense and add new ones at the end of thoughts. Scripts are often hastily typed by someone who is not part of the copywriting team. Just because they threw in a comma or a period, doesn’t mean you have to abide by it. Sorry English teachers.

5. Don’t exhale at the beginning of a sentence. Inhale gently and strive for an even exhalation as you speak.

6. Mark your scripts in pencil, not pen. You may choose to change direction after you hear the playback and you don’t want to be locked in to your original read.

7. Mute or edit out big, noisy breaths before you send your voice over to the prospect or client. This can take a little practice because you don’t want to sterilize your recordings so you sound like a cyborg. But the ugly, slurpy sounds always go.

Bottom line? When someone hands you a script, it’s yours! Make sure you understand exactly what the copy writer is trying to say and then develop a plan of attack that will allow you to support the meaning. Get out your pen, pencil and highlighter and mark the script up any way you like that will help you do a great job.. Don’t be shy to ask for questions if you need clarification.

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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

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