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Peak Performance: Mastering voiceover like downhill skiing

Professional voice actor Shelley Baldiga ski day
Our crew gearing up at the top of a backcountry run - Galena Summit, Idaho

Living in the West, outdoor activity is a way of life. It’s how we socialize. It's how we stay healthy. It's how we re-energize, relax, and escape the pressures of work and life. For me, outdoor adventuring is a lifelong passion. This is true every season - from warm weather backpacking and mountain biking to the crisp winter chill of skiing. If there’s one thing I’ve learned through my years outside, when facing a difficult or challenging route, things typically go best when you pick your line and commit. 

Choose your Route

Professional voice actor Shelley Baldiga ski day
Taking turns picking lines

Skiing is an excellent example. When standing at the top of a difficult run, with its steep incline and technical terrain, it is best to push all anxiety aside, scan the terrain ahead, identify the best path through the obstacles, and commit. This is the line you ski. There’s no room for hesitation. The more you waffle or change direction mid-course, the more likely you are to crash and burn. 

skier crash in powder snow
Typical powder crash

Improve and succeed

Sure, the line you pick is sometimes above your skill level. But if you stick to it and muscle your way through, this is often your best chance of making things work. Change direction or hold back midcourse, and you lose your rhythm and balance. Gravity and speed take over. Things get messy. You crash or take twice as long to navigate the terrain. Your overall form and satisfaction suffer. Committing and giving your all to your original choice is often a sure way to improve and succeed.

Set your intention before you voice

The same is true in voiceover. Once you set your intention behind your delivery (what does your character want and why), commit to that choice and give it your all. It puts purpose behind the words you're saying. It solidifies your connection to the script. If you change course midway, your delivery becomes disjointed and confusing. It won’t sound as natural or believable.

Professional voice actor Shelley Baldiga skiing
My favorite lines are through the trees

So, the next time you approach a voiceover script, picture yourself at the top of a challenging ski run. Take a look at what's ahead. Read your script from start to finish. Pick the best route (choose your intention!) Then commit. Don’t let discomfort alter your course. Your read will be more natural and believable, more committed, and in the long run, better. 

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Automotive voiceover Shelley Baldiga
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