TV narration tips

How do you read a TV news script so it doesn’t sound like you’re reading?  The first step, obviously, is to write the way you talk.  You can’t read stilted language and sound conversational.  But there’s more to it than that.

KARE-TV reporter Boyd Huppert developed his unique delivery style through trial and error:

Some reporters say 3-2-1 before each chunk of track–a holdover from the days of tape-to-tape editing when a countdown made it easier to find the next section of narration. Huppert never uses a countdown. “It breaks my rhythm and cadence,” he says.  “I read start to finish and take little pauses.”  A comma gets a short pause for nat sound.  The end of a sentence nat break is longer. And the end of a thought break can be even longer.

Huppert gives the end of the story special treatment in the tracking booth.  “At the end I wind down my delivery, slow down and lower my voice, all meant to say ‘conclusion.'”


2 comments for “TV narration tips

  1. Jeff Whitley
    November 18, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    Tip: The 3-2-1 also keeps your levels from spiking when the audio is left on auto. That period of silence, causes the sudden burst of loudness, the 3-2-1 or anything actually said just prior to prevents this from happening.

  2. October 23, 2009 at 10:54 am

    This is a very helpful technique of being able to track good takes of a recording. I completely agree with writing the way that you talk, but there are also going to be a lot of times when you’re not writing the script. For those situations, I think it’s good to be able to understand the purpose of the piece being narrated and what the audience wants from it. Practice and education of the art can help get through the cold reads.

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