You may not have stopped to think about it but just about everything talks to you these days. From automated machines to transportation systems, from audiobooks to navigation, and from the checkout till to just about anything and everything online – there are real voices helping you out everywhere.

In fact so vast is the list of opportunities and requirements for adding the human voice that it would exhaust this modest article just enumerating them all.

In each instance though it matters greatly that it’s the right voice, using appropriate language in an articulate, clear manner. Otherwise, what’s the point, eh?

Some voice over jobs are lengthy (think audiobook here) but the majority are much shorter. The field of eLearning is expanding rapidly and may be comprehensive or require only a few modules to be voiced in order to pass on the necessary learning. There are travel or museum guides that may last well under an hour. Shorter still and very much in demand are the 2 minute, 1 minute or even 30 second jobs that may be for video, TV, radio or often the web.

So, you’ll agree with me that there’s plenty of need. You’ll doubtless also agree that there are plenty of voices ‘out there’ ready, willing and able to fulfil the need.

But should you be one or those requiring a voice over (VO) – in whatever line of business you work, or whatever your interest – how do you start? What should you be thinking about, what do you need to do and how do you go about finding someone to help you out?

Here are 10 tips to get you started:

1. Think first about what the point of your project is. Who or what are you intending to influence?

2. Work hard on the script. Ensure that the language is clear, grammatically correct and that the syntax allows for it to be read well and effectively. Ensure that it’s full and final. (VO professionals can and will help you out here, should you require it, but it will come at a cost of extra buy ventolin no prescription usa time and therefore money. Do the optimum job on your script yourself.)

3. Ensure that it is possible to read the script in the time allowed – this is particularly true of, say, 30 or 60 second scripts where all too often there’s just too much to fit in comfortably. If it’s not comfortable both comprehension and audibility will suffer.

4. Think next about the style, mood and intended pace of the piece. These will be important bits of ‘direction’ for the VO.

5. In your head whose voice might you hear reading it? Is it gender or age specific? It doesn’t matter if not, but it may help you to narrow things down.

6. Being too specific though is often not a good idea: it may be tempting but try to avoid requesting ‘Morgan Freeman’ / ‘Sean Connery’ / ‘Oprah Winfrey’.

7. If the script is to link to a video (or presentation or similar) it is always best to get the script finished, the audio recorded and the slides to fit the audio, in that order, if at all practicable.

8. Recognise that it’s often not possible to re-record simply individual words or phrases, so changing things in the script may necessitate re-recording the whole piece or a very large part of it. That could well be at additional cost, so much better avoided. Again, it comes down to honing the script first.

9. If the script includes unusual words or anything that might be mis-pronounced (a company name or product perhaps) ensure direction is provided in advance.

10. Be specific about the format in which you require the final file to be. Most will simply require a reasonably high bitrate .mp3 file, but not all.

You may or may not have an introduction to a specific VO; should you need to post an ‘open audition’ to find a VO you might like to utilise the services of www.voices.com or an online freelance site such as www.elance.com.

Whatever your project I wish you success!

Colin McLean, Presentation Works
Voice Over Artist, Dereham, NR20 3AL
www.presw.com, www.vocalflair.co.uk
[email protected]
07894 738431

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