Tips for Building a Voiceover Career – 4
Making sense of Non-Broadcast scripts
So much material a voice artist works with these days is not for the commercial market. That is, it’s not an ad, written for radio, television or online.
Those ads are always about capturing a market, building a brand and getting a key message to a ‘half-listening’ audience.
That’s why it’s so important to have the skills and techniques that help you analyse a script, so you know what to do on behalf of the advertiser.
In the commercial world you’ll need to be adept at looking at the script and finding key words and phrases, and ‘deep diving’ the words on the page to find the crux of the meaning in each script.
Non-broadcast are all those other scripts we read that are for the business, industrial, medical or corporate sector that are mostly streamed from personal computers or seen in-house on a screen.
When you’re working with non-broadcast scripts though, slightly different rules apply.
Well to begin with, in almost every case, your non-broadcast audience is ‘captive’. That is, they want to, or are compelled to watch.
Some examples of the material being made in the non-broadcast area include:
· Explainer Videos – most often seen on the home page of a company or product website, they tell about what the company/product does and how it could solve your problem
· Training Videos – created either for staff or clients, these how-to videos are full of instructions and information
· E-Learning – more often created for a wide ‘paying’ audience, e-learning can be interactive or instructional videos for the purposes of education, from pre-schoolers through to course participants or graduates, or for any market that needs to take ‘how-to’ to its customers
· Corporate – Company’s from Industrial to Medical make dozens of videos every year, whether it’s information on the latest in Steel Lintels for builders or the procedure for a Knee reconstruction, this is an ever burgeoning area for voice work
· Company Profile or Company Story – often the history of the company or its creator/s found in the ‘About Us’ section of a website.
· On-Hold Messages and Voice Prompt or Response – many companies these days, no matter how small have a capture mechanism for those who call in, so they can be directed to the right person. Larger company’s, such us Utilities, Banks and Insurance Companies have complete voice prompt systems that require no one-on-one with a real person.
So, how do you treat this kind of work differently from voicing in the commercial world?
Firstly, as I mentioned before, you have a ‘captive audience’.
Those watching, either want or have searched for the information/instruction or are required to know it as part of their job. So, when you are narrating the script, you don’t have to work as hard, as you do in commercial advertising, where your job to seduce and manipulate.
You do need to remember this though…you are delivering information.
The most important technique to apply is that you allow each different piece of information ‘time’ to be absorbed or understood by your audience.
As soon as you get your script, work through it, and separate out each different piece of information. I always mark these with a forward slash. hen you’re narrating, pausing for at least a count of one between each different thought or idea, is probably enough time.
Next, remember you’re working in tandem with images.
In fact you’re often narrating to support the visuals, whether they be graphics in dot point form, images or animation, your job is to understand how to deliver the information in the script in a way that corresponds with the visuals.
You won’t always see the images, so you need to ‘second guess’ the script to work out what would more likely be shown on the screen. Of course, if you’re being produced in a studio (as we are lucky enough to do in Australia) you’ll be able to ask questions of your script and may even have visuals to work with.
Another aspect that’s really important to consider is that almost always you’ll be streamed from a computer screen.
Unless the script calls for something different, consider that you’re just talking to one person, right in front of you. You don’t need to project, so be careful of being too loud.
Your voice style needs authority, blended with warmth and friendliness (smiling always helps create this) and a clear, but not too slow delivery.
Non-broadcast is one of the fastest growing areas for voiceover actors everywhere, and as online consumers of everything, we are well used to clicking on videos to research, learn, or make purchasing decisions.
Becoming proficient at this style of reading, creating a great demo, with excellent examples of your style and adding it to your repertoire could mean work in a whole new area.