How To Throw Your Voice
Maher Studios gets a lot of email about this subject.
How can I throw my voice?
I do not believe you can teach me to throw my voice. In the past I have tried and I failed.
You say the voice always comes from you, but the ear can’t detect the direction of sound. I tried this and everyone knew it was me. And I did a pretty good job of not moving my lips.
How far will I be able to throw my voice?
So today we are going to talk about how to throw your voice.
If you have tried in the past and failed, it is because of improper training. (If you received any at all.)
Is Throwing Your Voice Real?
Throwing your voice is a misconception of ventriloquism. Ventriloquists do not really “throw” their voice.
People have heard the term so often, many believe it is true.
But the truth is: the voice will always come from the ventriloquist. Never from some point apart from him or her.
Throwing your voice is an illusion.
Like any good illusion, it requires misdirection.
So for my friend above, when she stood in front of people and tried to make them believe the sound was coming from somewhere else – her failure was a lack of training.
For the young man who has tried to throw his voice in the past – he either had improper or no training. Chances are he didn’t understand that the voice doesn’t actually get “thrown.”
How Does The Illusion Of Throwing Your Voice Work?
There are several steps to creating this illusion.
1. You need to understand how the human brain deals with sound.
When we hear a sound, we like to know where it is coming from.
As you watch television or a movie, the sound is actually coming from speakers.
However because your eyes see the person on the screen moving their lips, your brain links the two and you view the event as if the people on the screen are talking.
When you drive down the street and hear a siren, you look around to determine where the sound is coming from. You see the fire truck or ambulance and your mind links the two.
Throwing your voice relies on this process.
When the brain has linked the sound, the illusion is complete. But there are tricks involved to make this happen.
2. You must be able to do ventriloquism properly.
This means taking the time to learn how to do it. Studying and practicing the skill.
Not just watching a couple of YouTube videos and then thinking you can do it.
You need to understand how to pronounce and project words without moving your lips.
You must be able to change your voice for a puppet, or change, squeeze and modulate it for a “distant voice.”
There is a lot going on there – and you must be able to perform it to create the illusion of “throwing your voice.”
3. You must provide believable, appropriate misdirection.
This is where acting classes come in handy. A ventriloquist must be able to act and react as if the voice comes from another source.
In an earlier article, I shared a video of David Strassman on the Hey Hey It’s Saturday TV show. Below, I want to share a different performance on the same show.
This clip features “voice throwing.” Watch it and then we will break it down.
David “threw” his voice to Chuck when he was sitting in the chair.
As you watched it, chances are, you felt as if Chuck were actually talking.
How did this happen?
David began by introducing Chuck to the audience with a short routine.
He used several techniques during this. He was:
- animating the puppet,
- keeping his lips still,
- using a different voice and
- giving Chuck a defined personality,
By doing all of this, your brain accepted the voice was coming from Chuck.
Later, when David was working with Ted E Bare, he created the illusion of voice throwing by:
- Using Chuck’s voice,
- Looking in Chuck’s direction
- Having Ted E. Bare look and interact with the Chuck figure.
While it is easy to explain, it is much harder to perform.
David Strassman has mastered all of the topics we’ve talked about in this article.
And if you learn to do ventriloquism properly, you can use these techniques to “throw your voice” too.