More Techniques for VoiceOver Brilliance
Essential to your Voiceover Career
I want to talk about one of the most important techniques for voiceover, one that will have you building a name for yourself as someone who really knows what they’re doing.
This is you: You’re either pursuing a career in voiceover, or you already have one, and you know some things.
You’ve certainly discovered that it’s not easy to get traction, to build relationships and make a solid and regular income, but you’re committed to doing just that.
It’s why you continually study, research and learn new skills, why you employ a coach, either a voiceover professional or a producer with years of experience.
And you will have also discovered that there’s a lot more to it than you thought, which is why you’re reading this blog.
When I think of writing a blog, I put myself in your shoes. I ask myself, what do you need to know? What techniques can I share that will help you nail that audition, create a great demo, understand how to create different personas, or believable characters and how to approach scripts that are very different in style and message?
And more importantly what is it that perhaps you don’t know that you don’t know?
Here’s what you probably also know about voiceover scripts.
You know it’s a message.
You know you’re delivering it on behalf of the client.
You know you need to look at the language in the script to find key words and phrases.
You know tone, pace and energy must be key components in considering ‘how’ you’re going to read it; what voice, what attitude.
You know that you need to read it to time.
But I want to talk about something you may not have even considered or perhaps you’ve given it a low priority.
When you approach voiceover scripts, there are always many things to consider.
Especially if it’s a commercial script. You need to consider:
- What style of script is it? Announcer style, Conversational, Retail, Promo, Character or Character Driven?
- What’s the product you’re talking about?
- Where are the key words and phrases that are about what it’s about, and lastly
- who are you talking to
It’s this last consideration that I want to give the most attention to, your audience!
Because it’s my experience that it’s often the least considered by many working in voiceover, whether they’re just beginning their journey or starting to make inroads to regular, sustainable work.
Your Audience is Paramount
The message, after all, is for them. And your job, the voice actor’s job, is to use your skills as a communicator to convince that audience of something.
Those somethings are always apparent in the language of the script.
Often it will be:
- What is the problem they’re having, that you can solve
- What are you here to tell them, that they don’t know
- What information is the script giving, and
- Where does that information appear in the script
You may believe that the most important component in voiceover is you, the voice.
But when you put your audience first, when you create a read, that delivers a message that’s just for them, then you’ll begin booking more work.
Forgetting’ to include your audience could mean your delivery is not believable. If you don’t include them, you’re in danger of presenting a read that is just a monologue and worst of all, it sounds as though you’re just reading the words.
Knowing how to read, without sounding as though you are, is the key to securing premium voiceover work work.
A Technique to Help this Process
The question is, how do you include your audience when there is no actual audience, in the studio with you, especially when you have all those other elements in the script to consider.
So, firstly imagine that audience whether it be an audience of one or many.
Imagine them wanting to hear your message.
Then speak directly to this imagined person or group, as though the words are your own.
And then, imagine them responding to what you’re saying by having them ask you a short question, that you in turn respond to.
“What?” I can hear you saying. “How does that work?” Well, let me explain.
Firstly, look through your script for where a person may, in conversation, naturally respond by asking a question.
Then create 3 or 4 word questions and jot them on the script…otherwise you won’t remember them.
Phrases such as ‘why is that?’ ‘then what happened’? ‘How do I get some?’
Below is a portion of a script, bolded italics, with some questions indicated in non-bolded italics, just as an example of how it works.
Try it by first reading the bolded copy, which is the script…and then give it a try using the technique of responding to the question that’s being asked.
“Having Domain Property Advocates help sell your home means there’s a few things you won’t have to do…
You won’t have to see a bunch of real estate agents…and work out which one to use.
You won’t be given inflated price estimates…
And you won’t have to pay anything for the pleasure…”
Do you get a sense that doing this will break up your read by creating a conversation, where one doesn’t actually exist in the copy, but needs to exist in your read?
Using this technique means that your read truly connects with that all important character in your script, your audience?
Well, I’ll leave you with that one…and hope you find a way to lift your techniques for voiceover to a whole new level.