Tips for VoiceOver Success

Building Success in a the Changing VoiceOver Landscape

There’s no doubt that the way we’ve worked as voiceover talent in the past, is in transition.

The biggest change has been that working from a home studio, which many were already doing, has become very, very normal since Covid changed our voiceover worlds.

And it looks set to stay that way in many cases and for many reasons.

We once worried that our working from home would mean that sound studios, who have been our partners in voiceover for so long, would lose work.

But the magic of technology, especially Source Connect (SC) has meant we still get to work together collaboratively.  We just don’t get that live hug, a coffee together, or chew the fat face-to-face.

For me, working from home has become seamless since March 2020.

I just upload to an iPad, or print out my script, open up my computer, plug in my interface, open the SC program, link to the studio and whammo!  We’re working.

If you want more information on what I just talked about, here’s a link to my blog on VoiceOver in Covid and setting up a home studio for voiceover.

Of course, the above is my favourite way to do voiceover.  Now that we’re rarely going into studios, this connection is still collaborative.  We still work creatively together to produce something satisfying.

But what about the client who just wants you to record the script he sent, without direction, input or guidance?

That is, he or she wants you to ‘self produce’.

You work .  You also might not be aware but without that collaboration, it’s easy to run into problems.

Here are some tips that might help all that.

Best Self-Producing Practice

I’m going to give you some scenarios and tips for making this process as smooth as possible.

When a job comes through my agent, with an ask to record from home, the scripts gets emailed, I open it on my iPad or print out and read the script.  Sounds simple?

Yes, it can be.  But only if you make sure you know where you’re headed.

And it all starts with that script.

You may look at your script and say, “well that looks easy enough”.  Trust me, it won’t be.  There’ll be things you won’t have even suspected need clarification.  You need to look at that text forensically.

The main reason for being completely across the script before you even boot up the computer is this.

You don’t want to be going back to the job after you’ve sent it off, fixing a word or a phrase here or there.

It’s a total pain…and takes precious time.   There will be many questions.

For instance, can I use contractions, such as converting ‘there will’, into there’ll?

You get my meaning.  The ‘contraction’ almost always sounds better in spoken word.

You’ll need to have understood every single word or phrase and get clear on their meaning.

Understanding the Language 

Much of what’s contained in ‘written language’ can have dual meanings when its converted to ‘spoken word’.

Here’s an example.  ‘and keep shopping for more suitable courses’.  Now does that mean more suitable courses, or more suitable courses.  You must ask that question.

What about words that have two pronunciations?  Is data pronounced, ‘darta’, or dayta.

Is innovative pronounced, innovative, or innovaytive?

Double check pronunciations of names, even if you think you know.

If you aren’t sure about where emphasis should go, ask for clarification.

Questions, no matter how silly they might seem, are essential to making this a smooth job.

Making it Count

So, once you’ve done the forensics and made your notes and listed your questions, you need to find a way to speak to the producer or writer.

Many producers just want the job done and don’t want to be part of the session. This is where you can come unstuck as well.

Say, you ask all the questions and confidently complete the job, only to have the client call and say, “Umm, this line blah blah blah…we were wondering if you could do it a little slower…and while you’re there, the second to last paragraph was too slow.  So are you able to speed it up”.  Grrrr!  So back you go, trying to second guess what they want.

The thing is, most voiceover artists are not engineers.  If you’re like me, you’re self-taught and largely improvising your engineering skills.  To have to go back is a pain.

So, I always ask if the producer can call me or use one of the several digital platforms like Zoom or Google to be in the session with me and then be able to ‘okay’ and clarify everything I’m doing.

This last thing has always proven to be the best strategy to get the job done right first and build a relationship with the client.

It’s collaborative!

I know that on some pay-to-plays this is not possible.  You’ll be able to ask questions of the script regarding meaning and pronunciation, but the p2p’s don’t want you to build a relationship with the client.  It doesn’t suit their model.

In the professional world it’s not only possible, I believe it’s essential.

I hope this has helped you to refine your self-producing experience.

Happy voiceovering!