Audiobooks and dubbing films for regional audiences in India are opening up a whole new market for people whose vocal cords are their raison d’etre. PC Ramakrishna’s book Find Your Voice: A Definitive Guide for Stage Actors and Voice Professionals could not have come at a better time for voice artistes. The first of its kind in India, the book is an excellent mixture of the theory of Voice and how to cultivate and preserve it, as well as nuggets on the features of the field of Voice. There are two distinct sections to the book. The first three-quarters of the book explicates the theory and practice of Voice production for primary stakeholders: stage actors, voiceover artistes, singers, animation voicers, radio jockeys and public speakers. Ramakrishna recognizes the differing needs of each of these professionals with regard to usage of vocal cords and production of sounds. For instance, voice projection for stage actors as against voice modulation for voiceover artistes. Every chapter has a wealth of exercises and relevant material for each kind of voice professional. The last quarter of the book consolidates and expands these best practices and exercises for a cohesive approach to voice training. The practice material of words, sentences and dialogues in each chapter are classically relevant and appropriate, even if younger artistes may consider them dated.
‘Voice Artiste’, the first chapter on the physics of Voice is an anatomy lesson, describing the parts of our body involved in the production of speech. ‘Voice and the Actor on Stage’ lays out concepts of volume and throw. It is also a primer on phonetic features of sibilants, plosives and end consonants that contribute to clarity. All three concepts add up to audibility. ‘The Chemistry of Voice’ focuses on ‘colouring’ the Voice, adding emotion to it, for example on tone and sounds like shouting, screaming, wailing and laughing that convey feelings. Chapter 4, ‘Voiceover Artiste’, provides an overview of different sub-genres in voiceovers—newscaster, human interest story, the medicine industry, tourism, nature documentaries, children’s stories, ads, son et lumiere—that target different emotions in viewers/listeners. For example, awe and wonder for nature documentaries, husky ‘come hither’ for perfume, and friendly and expressive for children. Two short chapters are devoted to voicing animated films and a radio jockey, including crafting an interesting spiel for an RJ.