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A voiceover script breakdown is always good to have. Knowing a bit more information about your character or characters helps you make decisions early on about your performance. A character’s emotional state, personality traits, habits, pace, tone, and many other elements can be answered by knowing what the writer intended for the performance delivery. But what happens in a scenario where this is not available? This article will look at the secrets inside of text and how to break down a script ourselves.

Text Breakdown and Secrets

Imagine a character is giving short answers to questions; there could be a long list of reasons why. Perhaps he is annoyed at the person asking the questions. Maybe he is late, and he is rushing. Maybe he is covering something up. But note how all three of these simple reasons out of this one scenario come with completely different character intentions. Usually, the text just before or after a scene will fill in the gaps, but if that is not readily available, then you have to choose a direction to go in. The good news is that being able to offer multiple takes means you can try multiple things. The challenge with additional takes is actually ensuring they are truly different. Frequently in voiceover, multiple takes sound too similar to each other.

Breaking Down a Voiceover Script

Voiceover scripts range depending on the scenario. Audition scripts will typically range from a line to a page, and I think this is the most realistic situation script breakdown will be needed. Once you have booked the job, it’s fair to assume you understand the character well enough. Here are some top tips for breaking down a voiceover script:

  • Pay attention to the spelling and grammar (There are hidden pieces of direction as to how you need to perform).
  • Look at the character’s terminology (Are they using slang? What does their vocabulary say about their age and position within society)?
  • Ask yourself, who is my character interacting with? (This will give you background on your character’s social situation).
  • How would you react if you were in your characters’ situation? (Bring your own understanding of emotion to the piece).

Keep Learning About Voiceover Script Breakdown

Really this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to breaking down scripts. There is a vast amount of information to learn about annotating scripts and the best practices for nailing your performance. Some professionals will break scripts down the line by line whilst others paragraph by paragraph. You can, to a degree, play with the grammar in many cases too. For example, a comma might be a pause in one scenario and nonexistent in another. Or even in a third scenario, it may act as a transitionary point to change the tone in a third scenario. Each artist finds their own way of doing it, and this is ok as long as the end result is achieved.


Voiceover Script Breakdown by Alan Shires