So we’ve already mastered misdirection which we covered in our Ventriloquism Secrets: CHEAT SHEET To Throwing Your Voice blog post, so in this post we’re going back to the cornerstone skill in throwing your voice. Enjoy the second part of Ventriloquism Secrets: How to throw your voice with the Distant Voice. Make sure to check the YouTube video on the bottom of this page for quick & easy explanation of distant/drone voice.
Mastering the Distant Voice Effect
We need to practice the Distant Voice so we can convince our audience that the voice seems to coming from a location distant to our body.
Breathe deeply through nose without gasping
The first step is being able to take a deep breath through your nose, rather than gasping thro-ugh your mouth, to create the air pressure to force the air through narrow passageways.
Close off your throat with your tongue
Secondly, raise your tongue so it touches the soft palate in the roof of your mouth and try to use the back, rather than the tip of the tongue to touch the palate.
By raising your tongue, you are effectively closing off your throat which enables the muffled voice effect.
Use your diaphragm to create pressure
The diaphragm is a muscle beneath your lungs, and is used when inhaling and exhaling deeply through your lungs. As the diaphragm is located within the upper stomach areas, when you tighten your stomach area then you automatically tighten your diaphragm.
By applying pressure below your lungs as you tighten your diaphragm, you are constricting the passage of air between your lungs and nasal/mouth cavities, which in turn ‘traps’ your voice in your throat and allows you greater control over it.
Start with a groan
Try to make a groaning noise as you slowly exhale your breath from your throat. As your airways are constricted – due to your tightened diaphragm and closed-off throat – your breath will be trapped around your larynx.
This trapped breath, combined with the groan, creates the Distant Effect whereby your groan sounds distant.
Practice and repeat this exercise, getting used to the both the feeling and the sound of the groan, whilst mastering the deep inhalation, the tightening of the diaphragm and the closing off of your throat. Mastery of the Distant Voice Effect comes when all three activities occur at the same time.
Develop from a groan to AHHHH
Once you have mastered the groan – and the 3 physical actions to create it – then develop into sounds such as “AHHHH”, aiming to hold the sound as long as possible to build your breathing skills up.
As you exhale, start with the AHHH sound and continue until all the air has pushed out from your lungs. Don’t worry about the loudness yet, just aim to practice prolonging the sound as long as possible whilst mastering the exhalations.
In truth, the sound should not be clear – you’re aiming for a muffled effect, which will add to the Distant Voice Effect and create the impression the sound is coming from elsewhere.
Ahhh to Help Me!
As you become comfortable with the sounds AHHH, whilst improving your exhalations and physical skills, try to develop to saying the words “HELP ME!” – which are common in ventriloquism, as well as being easily progressed from AHHH.
“Help Me!” is not only a useful phrase to master, but it adds to the illusion of misdirection – for instance, having the audience look for a voice in a box you are diverting their eyes towards.
Although your enthusiasm will now be piqued with your new skills, DO NOT be tempted to over-practice, as you may damage your voice. Understand that you are exercising your lungs, larynx, diaphragm, throat and vocal cords in new ways – so it’s vital you limit your sessions to no more than 5 minutes when you are first starting.
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