How To Voice Copy In Italics

Hey, there!

The other day, I got a note from my client Tom asking me an interesting question.

How would he narrate a passage that included some of the copy set in italics?

GREAT question. Here’s the answer.

This is one of those questions that is kind of like the word “bimonthly.”

It can mean one of two very different things: occurring twice a month, or occurring every two months.

Same word, two different meanings.

Copy set in italics (these words are set in italics, in case you didn’t know what we’re talking about) can have meaning and performance that is very different from example to example, depending upon the context.

Most of the time, writers use italics to indicate unspoken thoughts:

“How’s your coffee, dear?” she said. That’s odd. He used sugar. I wonder what’s wrong.

In this case, dropping your register and speaking confidentially is the order of the day for those italic-set sentences.

But sometimes, italics can simply mean to highlight the word or phrase:

“How’s your coffee, dear?” she said. “Do you mean my espresso? Sucks.” he sneered.

Here, a slight sarcastic emphasis on “espresso” is what’s called for.

There’s another common use for italics, and that’s to express loudness (the opposite of the first example):

“Drink your coffee, dear,” she said. “Drink it, and drink it NOW!

Obviously, you’d voice a sharp interjection for the word “now”.

Everything depends on context. And trust your instincts – what you hear your voice saying in your head is exactly what should be coming out of your mouth. If it’s a bit confusing, read over sentences like that a time or two to get the exact meaning of all the copy together, and you’ll hit on the performance you need.

Hope this helps.

Have you come across any other ways you might have to change your performance to accommodate italicized copy? Use the comments below to tell us all about them.


10 Responses to 6 Steps to a Perfect VO Demo

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  6. Frank June 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm #


    When v123 indicates the audition is for a student/ nonprofit are we to assume it is for $0. If so, why does the audition ask for an amount to be entered?

  7. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    I did get this scam through Voice 123. In our discourse, they offered me the gig and they gave me the name of a legit local place to record and the same runaround with the money. I didn’t send anything, but instead, I called the studio to make sure the booking was for the day we set up, and lo and behold, the people there had no idea what I was talking about. I then tried to call back my “contact person” who was setting this up and there was a fax machine beep on the other end. I immediately contacted Voice 123 and told them what had happened. You know what they say…if it sounds togaed to be true, it probably is. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

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  9. Bernard Prame July 1, 2017 at 9:44 pm #

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